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Step 3b: Define Home Style Objectives

Take One
define your family objectives
home design considerations
let's decide rooms
room adjacencies
square footage dimensions
design requirements
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Define Your Family Objectives

  • The following questions are the kind that any architect
    or builder is going to ask when designing your house. Think how you would answer these questions. It will help decide the rooms and layout in the next exercise:

    1. what room is most important to you and your family?
    2. do you have children? what are their ages? will your children's needs change as they grow older?
    3. will your home be a focal point for neighborhood children or teen-age parties?
    4. do you entertain regularly? what kind of entertainment, formal or informal?
    5. do you provide care or soon-to-provide care for an elderly parent or other in your home?
    6. do you frequently entertain guests overnight? do you require a guest bathroom?
    7. do you need a home office or work area that is separate from the rest of the house? what kind of equipment will you need? what kind of work do you do?
    8. do you need a room for sewing, crafts, exercise, etc.? what are your hobbies?
    9. do you need a separate, formal living room?
    10. do you need any extra or special storage capacity?
    11. do you need an attached garage?
    12. how many cars do you have?
    13. do you have any recreational vehicles?
    14. do you need storage capacity in your garage?
    15. do you need a basement? what kind, cellar type of day walk-out?
    16. are you a private person? do you require a place to escape?

Home Design Considerations

What should you look for when drafting plans for your home:

  • Traffic Patterns:

    Traffic should flow to one side of the room rather than through its center; i.e., by placing the door ways in the corners

    more traffic information:

  • Kitchen:

    Location of the kitchen should have direct access to the dining area and garage where grocery items can be unloaded conveniently.

    Traffic should not flow through the kitchen working area.

    Larger kitchens have a greater resale value than smaller kitchens — you will want to design the working area with appliances in a triangular position for easy working

    more information on kitchen layout:

    see kitchen design basics:

    see our kitchen design directory:
    home improvement center: kitchens

  • Private Areas:

    Bedrooms and bathrooms should be separated visually from the working areas of the house.

    You should have at least one bathroom near working and relaxation areas and with easy access from the outside.

    Never situate bathrooms where you must pass through one room to get to the facilities.

    It is almost a necessity (particularly in a resale) that the master bedroom has an attached master bathroom.

    The master bathroom should be large, with full size bath, shower, his/her vanity sinks and exhaust vans that vent to the outside

    see bathroom design basics:

    see our bathroom design directory:
    home improvement center: bathrooms

  • Living Areas:

    Living areas include the dining room, living/family room, and den

    Designs may vary with rooms segmented by walls or merged into a larger, multi-purpose room with boundaries such as pillars segmented one room from the other

    see our main-floor design directory:
    home improvement center: main floor

  • Energy Efficiency:

    There are some great energy efficient products on the market that can reduce your energy costs and keep you more comfortable

    the government has published materials on energy efficient homes:
    elements of an energy efficient home
    home energy advisor
    energy information for your home

    see our energy design directory:
    home improvement center: attic floor

  • Foundations:

    Poured concrete is the most expensive foundation and best choice for full basements because of its strength and resistance to leaks

    Cinder block is a substitute to concrete, but is not as strong and is subject to leakage.

    Monolithic concrete slaps are used with homes without basements bringing the cost and implementation down

    more structural information:

  • Plumbing/Electrical:

    more plumbing information:

    more electrical information:

  • Room Dimensions:

    bedroom: not less than 7 feet in any direction
    closets: depth at 24 inches or more
    hallways: minimum width 3 feet
    dining room: big enough for 8-person dining table
    kitchen: work aisle at least 42 inches wide

    more room dimension information:

Let's Decide Rooms

Now take the answers to the question above and select the rooms that meet your needs and objectives.

Download our construction specification plan to list your rooms:
click here

  • There are a number of different house plans that you can view to help define your rooms and location. View house plans for ideas.

    For this discussion, we will use the house plan at our Home Improvement Center to list types of rooms to consider.

  • Let's start with the Attic:
    link to view: Home Improvement Center: Attic Floor

    attic storage area
    attic bedroom
    attic living/work area
    attic home office
    attic exercise room
    attic stellar room
    attic art gallery
    attic other

  • Upstairs:
    link to view: Home Improvement Center: Second Floor

    master bedroom
    master bathroom
    master closet
    laundry area
    cleaning room area
    extra room for play room
    extra room for home office
    extra room for exercise
    guest room
    nursery room
    child bedroom
    teen bedroom
    upstairs bathroom
    other room
    other room

  • Main Floor:
    link to view: Home Improvement Center: Main Floor

    dining room
    living room
    laundry area
    sun room
    foyer / stairway
    entry way
    utility / safety room
    den / library
    mud room
    cleaning room
    powder room
    music room
    recreation room
    closet / storage
    other room
    other room

  • Basement:
    link to view: Home Improvement Center: Basement Floor

    dark room
    sports closet
    extra room:
    extra room:
    extra room:
    extra room:

  • Garage:
    link to view: Home Improvement Center: Garage Area

    2-car garage
    3-car garage
    4-car garage
    working area
    storage area

  • Outside:
    link to view: Home Improvement Center: Outside Area

    deck or patio
    circular, side-entry, back-entry, drive way
    swimming pool
    tennis or other recreation court
    recreational area

Room Adjacencies

  • Think of how each room should be adjacent to each other. Example, the dining room should be adjacent to the kitchen; the master bedroom should be adjacent to the master bathroom; the foyer should be adjacent to the living room, etc.

    These adjacencies generally define your house plan. Review them carefully. Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to move a room to the other side of the house.

  • There are three categories when assigning adjacencies:

    1. Primary Adjacencies:
      these include adjacent rooms that are critical to the success of your design such as kitchen and dining room

    2. Secondary Adjacencies:
      these adjacencies improve the quality design of your home but are not necessarily critical. Examples may include a mud room and bathroom.

    3. Non-Adjacent Rooms:
      these are rooms that should not be adjacent to each other to ensure the quality design of your home. Examples may include master bedroom to secondary bedrooms.

      use our construction specification sheet to list adjacencies

  • Drawing a bubble diagram can help illustrate adjacencies. We will use the main floor plan for illustration:

    click to view adjacency diagram

    • Start with primary adjacencies (in red),
    • then define non-adjacent rooms (in green),
    • connect everything with secondary adjacencies (in blue)
    • now put it all together and view a sample plan

Square Footage Dimensions

  • Once you have defined the number and kind of rooms in your house, next calculate the size dimension for each room.

    use our construction specification sheet to list dimensions

  • link to our Home Footage Calculator to calculate the numbers

  • list the rooms in your house on the dimension sheet (page 3). We've provided three sample sizes. You may choose either A-B-C, or enter your own custom dimension.

  • calculate the square footage for each room by multiplying the width by the length: use our Home Footage Calculator

  • subtotal the square footage.

  • for finished rooms, you will need to add 20% to the subtotal amount for wiring, plumbing, wall setup, etc.

  • your total square footage shows the total interior size dimension for your house

  • continue calculating dimensions for garage, basement (finished or unfinished, and other

  • list the dimensions on the construction specification sheet

Design Requirements

  • requirements and amenities include:

    — type windows
    — type doors
    — type flooring
    — whether a specified room will have a fireplace (what kind)
    — whether a specified room will have built-in shelving
    — whether the kitchen will have an island
    — type appliances, etc.

  • these requirements and amenities are listed in your Construction Specification Plan

  • the Construction Specification Plan will be used for the following tasks:

    1. use the spec plan to custom design or revise an existing house plan
    2. use the spec plan to bid the construction project to contractors
    3. use the spec plan to obtain approval and financing for the construction project

  • Go to Step 5:
    Assembling The Construction Specification Plan

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