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Custom Homes – Storage Space Can Make Or Break a New Home Design Or Home Addition

Where are we going to put everything? That’s a common question when looking at buying a new home that doesn’t have adequate storage or space. People love their stuff but hate clutter. It’s a problem that is best solved at the design stage.
 
As the population ages and home sizes trend smaller, storage space becomes infinitely more important when designing a new home or home addition. Even if you don’t see the need personally, it’s best to keep your home’s resale value in mind.
 
People love to save! And over time, people’s stuff accumulates and they grow more attached. They won’t buy a home without the storage space they need.
 
Give a Clear Message to Your Designer or Architect
 
Over the years of working with people as they get their new home or home addition concept out of their minds and onto paper, I’ve learned that it’s often difficult to convey their real needs to an architect. Their desire for space and tidiness gets trumped by the “glitter” of more visible and tangible aspects of a home’s design.

 
You must get specific about what you want. Don’t leave storage space up to the designer without making it very clear what you want and why. Then let your designer use her creativity to bring it about.
 
Specific Storage Considerations
 
I hope you’re convinced about the value of creating ample storage! Here are several ways to solve storage problems in your home’s design.
 
CLOSETS:
 
Both the size and number of closets are critical. Walk in closets where possible are best. Hallway closets are always desirable. Consider interior closet designs as well that really maximize the storage and use capabilities of the closets.
 
KITCHEN PANTRY:
 
The size isn’t as important as the value of having one. But the smaller the pantry, the greater the need for excellent design of the space. Separate rooms are desirable but cabinet pantries can also work.
 
LAUNDRY ROOM:
 
The laundry is not often considered as storage space but usually ends up as a storage room! For this reason, designing the laundry with storage in mind is wise.
 
GARAGE:
 
Cars, boats, RVs, and other recreational vehicles can really clutter up your property without providing for their storage. Great design can make these “toys” almost disappear. Also, with forethought, you can design in extra storage for other items at the same time.
 
ATTIC & BASEMENT:
 
Many newer homes and certain markets do not have basements and attics. If you’re designing a new home or addition, look for ways to utilize these as they can be very valuable for storage. And be sure to design in easy access to them.
 
Convenience and Resale Value
 
Keeping storage space high on your priority list will keep a great home design from going sour on you. If left to an afterthought, it’ll become all you think about later on. Don’t let that happen to you!

Define Your Style – Home Design Ideas

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and when it comes to interior design this can often by the best route to take if you don’t trust your own design instincts. There is a danger however, that your house will blend into every other Magnolia drenched, carbon copy home that we see cloned on every street in Britain today. Why do we practice such safe design? Is it because we suffer from a lack of imagination, or are home owners up and down the land just not brave enough to experiment? Maybe in this difficult economic climate we cannot risk straying from that safe colour palette of cream and white?

I say, why create a ‘blank canvas’ (just in case you move home), for someone else to put his or her stamp on. Look for inspiration everywhere and don’t fear your own style. There are several ways in which you can experiment without breaking the bank and below are a few ideas and tips, which could inspire you to create your own unique groove. Firstly, do a little research. Websites such as housetohome have a fantastic gallery of pictures and suppliers that can inspire you and are less likely to be found in the house next door.

Create a mood board. Collect images, colour swabs and fabric samples in order to focus your ideas and inspire you. This way you will be able to see which colours and styles go together and it will also help you commit to only buying what you need. Steer clear of the plain and create simple elegance by choosing a simple colour palette but also experimenting with different textures of paint and fabrics. B&Q have a paint colour mixing service, which can match any of your favourite items.

Add a splash of colour by adding cushions and throws or curtains. Cushions, and more surprisingly curtains, are easy to make if you have a bit of time on your hands and you can get quality designer fabrics at greatly reduced prices online. Stores such as http://www.digbyandwilloughby.co.uk sell designer fabrics at £10 a meter instead of the recommended retail price of £30 to £100 a meter. If you don’t fancy making curtains yourself, Digby & Willoughby can get these made up for you. Alternatively breathe life into a favourite chair with new upholstery with Fabrics from Digby & Willoughby.

Accessorise with one or two unique pieces such as a beautiful free standing mirror or a piece of artwork. To save some pennies you could visit auction houses such as lotsroad or criterionauctions. I recently found a fantastic seascape oil painting in a charity shop and a beautiful art deco bedroom suite on freecycle.org so keep your eyes peeled. Love the traditional? Experiment with mixing the traditional with the new to avoid being old fashioned. Choose classic wallpapers with a funky twist from companies such as Cole & Sons and Zoffany to create a feature wall. Visit reclamation yards such as wellsreclaimation or sites such as salvo.co.uk to find beautiful antique wooden furniture and natural materials to create a classic and unique vintage look.

A statement piece of furniture can be the inspiration for the design of your whole room. Cover an old chest of drawers or table with fantastic hand printed wallpaper, protected with layers of clear varnish and jazz it up with new or antique handles. Try emmamolony.com for hand printed wallpapers. Go off piste, I recently purchase antique music scores from a local bookshop, which cost me 30p each and they make the perfect vintage wall coverings. If you religiously follow modern styles, what is the buzz from the world of interior design, what are the hot colours for 2010?

Colours from Mexico such as, burnt oranges, sunny yellows, gingers and taupe’s are on trend. Various shades of midnight blue with greying whites are in vogue and as well as being chic and ultimately classic, they would be a good long-term investment. Soft vintage colours, such as neapolitan pinks and yellows reflect the current boom in homemade crafts and reclaimed materials. Other colours in style for 2010 will be natural hues, soft beiges and nudes with green or purple accessories. There are plenty of ways to create your own unique style and to update your home. And remember, to play on the words of Jim Rohn, ‘if you don’t design your own style, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!’

Helena Searle
January 2010

Alternative Home Designs – Atriums

Building a home for yourself is the American Dream. For some people, it is important to build something unique.

Alternative Home Designs

You’ve worked your rear end off and reached a financial status where you can do some dreaming. One dream is to buy some land and build a home on it. You’ve found the perfect plot, and now you’re wondering about different styles of homes. Here are some alternative designs to get the creative thoughts flowing.

A very unique home design is the atrium home. An atrium home is designed to emphasize an open middle area, not an exterior appearance. If you’ve been to Europe, you’ve seen this design in larger cities. You’ll be walking down a street lined with bland looking windows. You pop into one of the buildings to find a bathroom and it is like entering another world. The exterior of the building is no great shakes, but the interior is a slice of atrium heaven with an open area covered in a lattice or left wide open. The interior is a collection of sitting areas, plants and perhaps small pools for fish. Not a bad idea, eh?

Taking the design to its full scope, the home is designed…underground. The design can be done in a variety of ways, but it is built below ground to take advantage of geothermal concepts. The primary idea is to use the constant temperature of the ground to regulate the climate in the home. The top of the roof is flush with the level of the ground and everything else is below level. For practically purposes, picture an oasis in the desert, but dug into the ground.

In these modern times, the below ground design has some excellent energy options. You can put solar panels across the top of the roof to generate power and most people will be none the wiser. By being out of the wind, you also cut down on wasted energy.

Going below ground with your atrium home is a pool of creative opportunity. As long as you take care of drainage issues, the design parameters are pretty much wide open.

When space is at a premium or privacy is vital, atrium homes are often the answer. In a large city, an atrium design can help you create an oasis from the noise and madness of daily life.