I am behind in posting this week, my apologies. Do you ever have those weeks where is seems like life picked up your car keys and drove away with all of your time? I find myself sitting here, on saturday morning, wondering where Monday through Friday went. We have all been there and had those weeks. I certainly am not the exception to the rule! However, some of you tune in each week to see what we are up to or pick up a valuable tidbit of information.
Week Three – During this week I meet with the client for the first time since the initial meeting or signing of the contract. I always start my first meeting with 3 sets of plans. Sometimes they are widely different because the site allows it. Sometimes they are just slight variations on a similar plan. Taking the program that has been given and putting it to paper rarely works the first time. I wish I was that good, but alas, I am not the person that needs to live in this home. And more likely than not, the Architect doesn’t have all the information they need at this stage. You don’t know me, or trust me yet. I think, since you hired me, that you probably like me. So, my main objective in this meeting, is to get my clients to start talking bout how they want to feel in the space. Your home is a deeply personal space. It is where you come home to relax after a hard day at work. It may be where you cook dinner and raise your children. Or it might be where you work. Your home is unique to you, so in these early design meetings is where I get to know my clients. Are you a one or two cook family? Do you entertain outside? Do you work from home? Do you want your home to feel tranquil and relaxing or vibrant and upbeat. Simply taking a plan and organizing the program does not make a home. Sure it would make a building, and sure it would stand up, but will you love it? Will it fulfill your needs? Asking these questions is the Architet’s way of designing the perfect space for YOU. There are some things you will care about and other things you will not.
I find that the first weeks can be hard. The majority of people cannot translate two dimensional plans into three dimensional space. I add dimensions and encourage my clients to find spaces that are the same size. Ask to see your friends and family’s bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. Visit open houses and search the web for images of spaces that you like. Sometimes you are limited by budget or lot size, but at this phase, we could incorporate a larger living room and eliminate a dining room or shrink the size of the bedrooms. It’s a numbers game, so what are your numbers, which space is number 1 and which spaces can you live without? As the process progresses I will do three dimensional renderings, but even then it can be tough for people to truly understand their space. So the first weeks, when we are simply talking about program on paper, you may struggle to grasp what it will look like or feel like. The architect, however, is visualizing the space in three dimensions at a all times. Our brains are trained to see space in this manor, so rest assured that you will see this come together in the following weeks.
So week three is all about the plan and getting to know my clients. You may not know you want something until you see a preliminary plan for your house and the mudroom is missing! It’s just as important to point out the things that you don’t like or aren’t there, as it is to talk about the things that you do like. Very often I leave the meeting from week three with notes like: “liked the kitchen from plan one” “liked the layout for the bedrooms from plan 3” “need to add a mudroom and a first floor laundry area” And I leave my clients by scheduling the next meeting in two weeks – and giving them homework to start visiting space, looking at images online or in magazines, and to really start thinking about how they want to feel in their home.
If you aren’t sure how to answer that question, it’s fine. Typically it comes out over the next few weeks as I get to know my clients. In my house I want it to feel spacious, warm, and relaxed. We love to entertain – my home is filled with earthy warm tones – and my kitchen is the center of our world. But that is me, that’s how I want to use my space, everyone is different – and that’s one reason why you should hire an architect to help you design the perfect space. Because at the end of the day you want to feel “at home”