When designing a new project there are lots of decisions to make. Interior finishes, exterior appearance, paint color, door sizes, plumbing fixtures, and the list goes on and on. You have an idea in your mind of what you want but how do you get there? Here are some things I consider in every project.
Purpose: What do you want to be able to do in your space? If you are going to build a game room to entertain then you need plenty of floor space for seating and “hanging out”. Do you need enough space for a pool table? How big will the TV screen be? Will the space double as a guest room or possible an apartment in the future?
I visualize the space from the middle of the room out. Make a drawing or build a model and start placing your furniture and fixtures in the room first. This will help you determine how big the space needs to be.
Location: This is VERY IMPORTANT. When adding on to an existing home or building you might not have very many options about where the addition will be. But when adding a new building to your property location is very important. When considering the location of the building I always like to know where North is. If you want to take advantage of our South East summer breeze in South Texas you don’t want your patio on the North side of the building. And shade from the West can make your space much more comfortable in the late summer days. Are you a morning person? If not, you don’t want the bright Eastern sun shining directly into your bedroom window. And how will the new building change the existing views around your property. Adding a cottage or backyard office can help block less desirable views from adjacent properties but you don’t want your new office to block the sunset views you enjoy from your back porch!
Appearance: What do you want the exterior and interior to look like? When building a cabin amid a group of oak trees in the backyard using natural wood finishes and earth tone paints can help the space blend in and feel warm and cozy. But adding brilliant colors and bold plants and flowers will make the space stand out. And don’t be afraid to add color to the inside as well. Vivid paint colors for walls or trim can define the purpose of a space. If using more neutral colors for the interior walls then consider adding bright colored furnishings or window coverings. And wall finishes don’t have to be boring. Adding reclaimed wood, metal or tile can add real character.
When adding storage space consider both built in and modular. A built in closet can be a great space to hide away the clutter but in a tiny space flexibility may be more important. Consider building or buying a wardrobe closet instead. Even kitchen spaces can be more flexible by adding islands or work stations on wheels that can be moved. A kitchen island on wheels can double as a crafting table or even be rolled out onto a patio to serve as a buffet table.
Budget: The dreaded “B” word of a project. But don’t only think of what the project will cost today. Consider what the costs will be tomorrow, next month, next year or beyond. It really baffles me why someone would build a $300,000 home but not have any budget money left for landscaping or furnishings. And will you be able for afford maintenance and upkeep costs? While a large wooden deck and natural wood siding might sound appealing, are you prepared to clean and stain/seal your natural wood every few years. Products such as metal siding, or concrete siding, such as those from James Hardi®, can reduce your maintenance costs considerably.
• Buy the Best Materials You Can Afford
• Use Materials with Long Life Expectancy
• Don’t Built To Big
• Budget for Unexpected Costs and Changes
• Include Money for Finishing Touches
• Plan on Maintenance and Upkeep Costs
By planning your entire project from start to finish you can be assured you will end up with a new space to be proud of. Adding new spaces such as a cottage, cabin or office can also increase your property value if you plan on selling in the future. A new backyard tiny home can even become a rental property for increased income. A backyard cabin can be a private home for your college student to allow them privacy and keep them within their budget.
Kevin C – C3 Contracting
Built Small, Built Smart, Built to Last