Conceptualizing our new home was never difficult. Our efforts spun out of the need for more bedrooms, desire for a separate play space for the boys that didn't leave toys overtaking the main living space, and the need for a better kitchen layout to accommodate dietary needs. As we mapped out our wish list it seemed as though we were being practical in our approach, starting with a basic design that allowed for simpler construction and hopefully a faster build. Yet, as we began to translate our ideas into an actual plan we quickly realized how our design vision cramped our practical needs and vice versa.
We began to prioritize our wish list, identifying the areas where our need was greatest (bedroom space) and how we could creatively solve other needs (desire for a mudroom and better storage). There were stylistic approaches from the architectural viewpoint and practice elements from day to day living that ultimately guided our process. Often times it was helpful to look at areas of use in segments, separating out a section of the house from the larger picture when thinking about the main level, while the opposite seemed to be true when planning for the bedroom and bathroom space on the second floor. Ultimately our vision came together enough to have set of plans that allowed us to begin construction.
One of our goals was to have a lot of natural light throughout the entire house and for there to be a open feel to the main living space (kitchen, dining, and living rooms). We settled on a separate play space for the boys close to the kitchen that would allow for separation of toys from the main living room; however, this space might also become a den as the boys got older (creating a more formal living room in the main space) and transition to other areas for entertainment (e.g. a finished basement space). A home office was another priority on the first floor that has been placed where morning light can be enjoyed and will hopefully become a source of energy and inspiration.
The boys have been included in the process from early on. Their obvious areas of interest include focus on their bedrooms (not surprising given that the older boys currently share a room) and playroom. The most recent obsession has been on understanding how Santa will make his way into our house. There has been much discussion about chimney design and feasibility of Santa making his way down the inside of the chimney. Construction has also lead to conversation about how water comes in and out of the house, including a curious discussion about how toilet work. Seeing the project come together through the eyes of the boys has made some of the more frustrating construction hiccups more palatable and even humorous at times.
Striking a balance between creating a functional space that also fits your design style can be challenging. One of the more surprising aspects of this process has been just how easy it is to overly focus on smaller details that keep you from finding creative solutions. Likewise, it has been important to think about how we will live in the space and not just about the way we want a certain area to be physically designed. We have run into tricky spots (for example, the master bath and closet layout) that required creativity and a bit of compromise to find a solution everyone agreed upon, as well as functional dilemmas (e.g. the location and size of the laundry room) that we hope will function well but we won't ultimately know until we are living in the space.
Watching the walls go up will be exciting. Things are moving along and every day the space is looking more and more like the home we have dreamed about.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families and design ideas based on our adventures building a home from the ground up.