Imagining an ideal version of the home you already live in is harder than it may seem. People are so adaptable . We get used to our homes to the point that we hardly even see them. It is easy to point to a tired paint color or chipped tile, visualizing a whole new space is hard. Never fear! You can use these three exercises to help break outside of your regular experience and pre-plan a perfect remodel!
In this post I’ll show you how to:
Use memories of your favorite places to imagine your ideal home from the one you have now
Re-work your existing house to help you lead your ideal life on a daily basis
Make friends with each room in your house and figure out what it really needs.
By starting from your lifestyle, from how your family operates and what your current home is, and isn’t, helping you do you can prioritize what really matters. This kind of metal inventory can save you costs and frustrations and help you end up with a your ideal home at the end of a renovation process.
The best part … all it takes to do this is a little time and imagination!
Bring your vacation home with you
We all love to go on vacation and get a little break from daily life, responsibilities and familiar scenery.
But ANOTHER reason people often love to vacate is to literally be in another place. Away from home, we experience unusual luxury, a clutter free living space, or somewhere harnessing the power of design.
At the end of each summer, the internet spits out a host of articles on how to keep that holiday feeling alive. They explain how you can use your favorite beach house to inspire your kitchen decor, or what combination of white fluffy towels will turn your bathroom into a day spa.
But keeping a vacation alive is less about photos or souvenirs. Its more like Tiny Tim keeping the spirit of Christmas in his heart through the whole year.
Let’s dig a little deeper than that
Those are fine things to consider. However, as an architect, I want to ask you about a different aspect of your last, best, vacation. How do the places you stay on your trips make you feel?
What were the best parts of your time away from home?
Thinking about these seriously can help you update your home in ways that have the greatest impact on your psyche and well being!
Do you crave the smooth going-out-the-door routine in a hotel?
Maybe that means you need a power organizer mudroom to facilitate having everything ready to grab when you and your family leave the house
Do you adore the feeling of ritual of morning coffee in your Airbnb?
Perhaps your kitchen needs a dedicated coffee nook. Gather everything for your first cup of the day together in one spot. Sleepwalk right to it.
Do you live for your in-laws back deck. Perhaps it has the chair where you sit in the shade – watching the pups/tots play – with a drink in your hand.
Maybe you need a smoother indoor-outdoor connection in your home.
Why wait to really enjoy life for a week of the year on vacation?
With pre-planning, you can take it with you
Some of these qualities are things you can bring home with you by incorporating room for them into your own home!
Remember, I’m not talking about hanging a print of the ocean in your kitchen (although that can be fun). I’m talking about the design of spaces here.
Let’s walk through your last few travel experiences. These can be work travel, family visits or adventure vacations.
Where did you stay? What did the space feel like?
How did it help you relax or unplug?
What made it different from your own house?
Grab the pdf download at the bottom of this post to help walk you through this visualization exercise.
Let your home help (not hurt) as you dance through your daily routines
Here’s another way to think out side the pinterest-checklist-box when planning a remodel. Rather than asking how your house should look lto be perfect … ask how it needs to help you get through the day.
We shape our buildings. Thereafter they shape us.
How does your home shape you?
Your house (and the way its laid out) might make each day a dream, or have you constantly running back and forth between the bedrooms and the kitchen for odd items, squinting in bad light at your evening reading, or feeling overly exposed every time you open your living room curtains to check the sky.
Jot down your daily routine (I’ve provided a handy visualization tool in the pdf download at the end of the post).
Then think about how your home facilitates the things you need to get done every day.
So what does that mean when you pre-plan a perfect remodel?
It can help to run through a typical week day and weekend day, then break them out into segments like a morning get-out-the-door pattern or what-you-do-when-you-get-home-from-work.
Do you have a smooth morning routine?
Is getting the laundry done easy or a pain?
Do you end up with a mess of paper work on the kitchen island because you could really use a small desk space?
How does the way the light flows in and out of your house wake you up, keep you going, and sooth you to quiet at night?
The way your home is arranged – the light levels, clutter factor, and ease of movement from one part to another – make a huge impact on how you experience each hour of the day.
Look out for Un-Loved Spaces
Are there parts of your house you don’t go into on a daily basis? Note: Guest rooms and basements fall into this category. List under-loved rooms in the house.
Give a little thought to why don’t you use these places. If they are special occasion rooms, are they necessary for their occasional use? Can they be repurposed or improved to make them more a part of your daily life?
These spaces are important. (So are unfinished areas like breezeways and back-basements). As you pre-plan your remodel, you may be identifying new spaces that you NEED. Being realistic about areas that aren’t measuring up will help you out later!
That leads us to the last exercise for visualizing to pre-plan a perfect remodel: looking at each room on its own merits.
Go on a visiting tour of each room in your house
Take some quiet time – and a notebook – and go on a tour of each room in your home. To pre-plan your perfect remodel you need to know what you have at the start.
Find a comfortable seat (bring a chair in, if necessary), put on some soothing music, and just experience the space. How has it been working for you since the day you moved in? How does it feel to you?
Note: this isn’t the time to make a checklist of clutter to bust, dust bunnies to dismiss or peeling paint to repair. If you’re the kind of person who need to address those things first, do it. Feel free to make that list on a separate page.
If you want to focus on the technical details now, that’s important too! Check out my DIY Home Assessment Guide, which is intended to walk you through the process of quantifying your home.
Now set that aside and focus on the bigger picture.
Ask yourself some of the following questions:
What is the room’s “vibe?”
Is it bright or dim in daylight? How about at night.
Is it connected to or isolated from the near by spaces? Does that work for the way you’d like to use it?
Does it feel loud and ring-y or is the sound of the room deadened?
What are its proportions? Small bedrooms can feel cosy but a living room that is too small might seem cramped instead. Would it help if the ceiling were higher? If there were a skylight? An opened doorway into the next room?
Is it inviting and comfortable? Do you want to linger here while you run your list?
If you know something is off about a few rooms but can’t decide what … that’s ok. You’ve already made an important first step. Reach out to a friend, family member or your friendly neighborhood designer to help you identify what your house needs most to turn it into a comfortable, functional and welcoming home!
To Pre-Plan a Perfect Remodel dig deep for what your home really needs
These are just a few easy exercises, to help you think outside the boundaries of your existing home (or the pretty pictures on Pinterest). Throughout your design process, keep these big picture questions in mind. Just by considering these questions you are well on your way to pre-plan a perfect remodel for you and your family.