This is relevant to design because my full hard disk helped me appreciate my husband more. Specifically, it helped me appreciate my husband, the designer.
Last night I had some urgent computing to do and my computer was complaining because of aforementioned full hard disk; thus, I was forced to find things to delete. I started in on the iPhoto library looking for lens cap photo opps and blurry photos of table corners. As I plowed through the 1000s of photos in our library, I was dumbstruck by what an amazingly thorough designer my husband is.
Let me explain. We've had a digital camera for about 9 years now and I have a lot of photos on my hard disk. And, will you believe that I have hundreds of home design idea photos representing all 9 of those years? Wow!
I think I've mentioned before that Troy's been wanting to build a home of his own since he was a wee lad. So, truly, this design process has been a lifetime of effort and my digital portfolio is but a minor representation of the process. But, to jump ahead to the present timeframe, we bought the land we're building on now in 2005 and Troy's been actively, earnestly, diligently designing our home ever since. And, believe it or not, somehow I didn't really comprehend how seriously and competently he's been approaching this process until just now. (To be perfectly and honestly truthful, I'm thoroughly embarrassed to admit I've sort of begrudged the many hours spent at the computer tweaking and perfecting. So, I suppose it's about time I started to appreciate.)
To give you a sense, here's a small sampling of the many, many photos I found in my library that have contributed to the design process of our home:
The process of design has been an interesting one. Design is something that I find really difficult and sometimes downright vexing. Especially designing an object so big and complex as a house. I also find it difficult to translate 2-D images on the computer to real live 3-dimensional space in my mind. Troy, on the other hand, is an absolute natural at design and his spirit is fueled by the creative process.
This skill gap with relation to home design has proved challenging at times when Troy wishes I were more available to visualize aloud with him. Every good designer loves a sounding board and Troy is a designer who would love me to be a collaborator. I try, but sometimes my vision is limited and we get stuck. So, I defer, because I've learned to trust Troy's judgement in these matters. Everything he makes is beautiful.
Resources we've used in designing our home are
- Lots and lots of photos in magazines and books (we try to collect photos we like by scanning them)
- Drives to look at architecture so we have something concrete to look at and discuss
- Program mapping of functions of the home using little pieces of paper labeled with functions of the home
- A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series), which was a design book that I found very accessible
Troy actually designed and drew initial plans for several homes before we settled on our final design. He's so thorough and his designs are so lovely that he's actually sold one of his designs.
One of the challenges in any design project is balancing form and function. In a very functional design project like a home, function is absolutely key and cannot be compromised, but form needs to be approached holistically so the building looks united and integrated.
A good friend, stone mason, and artist we know advised us early in the process to remember that everyone will have to look at our home for many years to come and it is our duty to make it something worth looking at. We've tried to keep that community vision foremost and make our home something that enhances (or at least doesn't detract from) the beauty of the place it sits.
The primary design criteria for our home are
- The smallest footprint to accommodate the needs of our very busy family who work, play, relax, and learn at home
- Reduce the maintenance related to our very heavy winter snowloads as much as possible (no shoveling, if we can avoid it)
- Make our home accessible to all ages; for us, this doesn't relate so much to ADA accessibility, but making it a place where children, adults, grandparents, etc. can all be comfortable and enjoy themselves
- Natural materials and finishes
- Plenty of natural light that takes advantage of our lovely views
- Openness of space with plenty of small nooks for moments of privacy and comfort in a bustling home, without feeling separated or cut off
(This list is a bit contracted and edited, but represents the main criteria.)
And now that the home is framed and I've had a chance to "live" in it in my imagination for a while, I think we've done a pretty good job. I have no hesitation giving Troy full credit for that success.
Here's the drawings of the exterior of our home to be
And here's what it's looking like in real life these days