Find out in our Lovers’ Survival Guide to Home Renovation
Don’t be embarrassed… architectural designer Genevieve Wells of Lewis Visuals has seen it all (and it’s perfectly normal).
The designer’s role is a strange one. We get to go into people’s homes, ask them about their preferences, secret desires and fantasies. We ask probing questions about bedtime habits, we listen to full-blown rows about the size of a woman’s wardrobe… and it’s all quite normal.
Every project is different. Creating your dream home doesn’t have to be stressful if you take time to look at how your family works and let us help you to design a home that works in harmony with your life. So don’t be afraid to tell us about your spider collection, or your irrational fear of anything mock-tudor – every little detail matters in getting it right.
Our home and work lives overlap more than every before, and, thankfully, stereotypical gender roles in the home have also gone out the window. It’s not just men who go out to work and some women just don’t like cooking or cleaning. Why not have two dishwashers or a first floor utility room? Children are more often heard and teenagers sometimes have something useful to contribute. Home offices, indoor/outdoor living – spaces that allow for work, play, and everything in between – are more essential than ever, and these need to be big enough for everyone who uses them.
Listening to your other half
It is a tricky thing when couples have very differing views on their home plans, or worse, that one person has not been consulted in part of the planning. Remember that you will all have to live there when the work is finished. Listen to what matters to each other, list out and compare your top priorities. And most importantly, be prepared to compromise, it might not be possible for your home to have four man caves as well as a huge walk-in wardrobe. Focus on the things you both love and run with them rather than fighting about differences of opinions.
Space to be yourself
Although open-plan living is lovely and very popular sometimes we all need a bit of privacy and our own space. When it comes to changing your home knocking down all the walls may seem tempting, but think about your interests and hobbies – where will you put your bikes, crafts, gym equipment, enormous shoe collection?
And then there are times when someone just wants a bit of me-time: an adult’s only sitting room free from toy creep or separate kids playroom can also work better than completely open plan.
Focus on what matters to you
If you’re planning on changing your home remember what is really important in your life and what you find most frustrating about your current home. If you have nowhere to work a home office should be high up on the list. If you are constantly tripping over toys and are fed up with the house looking like a crèche, more storage or a play area sound important. And if you don’t see enough of your loved ones and feel squashed in small separate dining and cooking spaces maybe it’s time to open things up.
Look to the future
If you’re planning on staying in your property for the foreseeable future it is wise to think about what that future may bring. At the moment your main priority maybe a place to keep your sports car, but in years to come in may need to house a nice family-sized people carrier. Each addition to a family brings new joy, but it also puts pressure on storage, space and your sanity.
As a chartered architectural designer I’ve seen it all; from sneaky scheming to begging and pleading – it is amazing the lengths people go to get what they want, and it is all perfectly normal, in fact its quite entertaining from an outsiders point of view.
Often, our clients pour their hearts and souls into their plans and we just want to make sure there are no broken hearts in the process. Unfortunately sometimes you do have to let go of the idea of a luxury spa room or high-tech handle-less doors, but by focusing one what is most important, letting go of a few fantasies can be less painful.