William S. Briggs, architect, p.l.l.c.
In one way or another, all projects begin and end with one simple concern: cost. No matter the size, the budget allotted to a project is either near or at the heart of all design decisions. When allocating funds to a new construction or home renovation project, it is important that sufficient money be dedicated to ensuring the functionality of the home. As I’ve said many times before, good design must be both beautiful and livable.
I understand why homeowners come to me ready to dive into the details of their project. Truly, there are many fun and exciting decisions to be made about cabinets, appliances, materials, fixtures, and finishes. But, there is little joy in designing a perfect kitchen on paper only to realize it will not fit within the homeowner’s budget. This is why I have a specific design process that I like to follow for each project.
When I’m working on a design, I find myself less concerned with the final details at the start and rather more concerned with how many linear feet of cabinets or square feet of flooring are required. I like to look at multiple levels of appliance packages and lighting qualities. A kitchen could be beautifully decorated, but if it does not provide the cook enough space to work in it is useless. I also take into account how the space serves its homeowners. Hallways must be wide enough to maneuver in, the flow of the rooms in the home must be in order, and the materials should stand up to their intended uses and the space in which they are located. Once the floor plan is clear, we can revisit the budget to see what appliance package makes sense for the kitchen and what kind of flooring is both affordable and attractive.
By deciding on the budget before and during the design process, homeowners save themselves time, frustration, and money. As I work with clients during the drawing process, we start with the big issues and overall vision and work down to the minutiae. This ensures that all key components of good design are examined and decided on before the project begins. Seeing renovations come into being can be fun, not a stress.