Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We-Design-Day: Fitting it In

Please pass in your homework… Just kidding! How did it go? Did you get stuck measuring or did you get lost? I used to find the whole measuring a space thing daunting and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to go back and re-measure… Even now I have to go back to a job site every so often and get one dimension I’ve forgotten!

I have some cool tools for you to download and use… First, I’ve got a nifty ruled piece of graph paper – this will help you plan your space well and get things ‘to scale’ – so you can see just how much floor space your partner’s 42” television takes and figure out how big a couch you can fit in your formal living room. Next week I’ll share some printable furnishings you can download and cut out too!

Everything is scaled to ¼” = 1’-0” – this means that one square on the graph paper actually measures ¼” but it represents 1’-0” (or if you’re a metric kind of person, that’s 1:25 scale). This will be helpful in the coming days and weeks when we start talking the ‘fun’ stuff – furniture selection and layout.

Because I’ve been down this road before, I did my measured drawing of our basement years ago and because I use a computerized drafting program, I drew it in that. However, I recently noted a few ‘issues’ with my original measurements. I plotted (the fancy term for printing) my drawing and measured it again. As you can see, I have a few little problems with my original drawing and how the space actually measures (note the interior wall measurements in the space labeled “Existing Office”). Inside the room it measures 9’-5-7/8” but the wall in the family room is 6’-10-1/4”. As it turns out (and I don’t know how I missed this), our master bedroom projects out from the house – which means the foundation should match this. It does but I didn’t seem to notice that when I drew the original plans. This caused me much confusion when I measured the basement a few months ago!

But now I’ve got a nice measured plan, drawn to scale, and I’ve also got my preliminary bubble drawing that I’ve further refined and worked it into the space I have. A good way to do this is to overlay your scaled room drawing over your bubbles. Then you can redraw your bubbles, fitting them better in the space you’ve got to work with.

This was a difficult task for me. I have so many different things I want to accomplish in our space that it doesn’t all want to fit. It’s about juggling, shifting priorities and deciding if any of the functions I want to have happen can happen elsewhere in our house. If you look at the drawing below, I scaled down my bubbles to fit the space I’m working with and the dashed lines indicate major traffic paths. I already know I want to take one of the walls out (the one separating the ‘Design Studio’ from the Family area. I also know it’s a non-load bearing wall.

Please, please, please – do NOT remove any walls in your home until you consult with a professional. A structural engineer is the specialist you’ll want to consult if you are removing walls. Taking out a load bearing wall can cause the collapse of your house. I am NOT certified to make decisions on what wall can be removed.

Now that I’ve figured out my general layout, I can start working on my solution. Furniture layout, fixtures, finishes – all will come in to play soon.
Your homework this week is to make a list of all the things you have presently in the space. Identify what you’ll be reusing and if you plan on getting any new pieces. With the templates I’ve provided, draw your room to scale and start playing with the layout. Move the furniture around, play with your space.

A few important things to think about when laying out furnishings:
1.Access to power (for electronics, lighting)
2.Circulation space
3.Leaving adequate space between pieces of furnishings
5.Views/lines of sight
6.Door/room openings (not blocking)
7.Mechanical considerations (cold air intakes, heat registers, radiators)
8.Swings – doors, appliances, etc

There are, of course, specific concerns relating to bathrooms and kitchens – drop me a line if you have any additional questions about those spaces. I’ll be tackling bathroom and kitchen design in upcoming We-Design-Day articles.

Next week, we’ll talk about budgets (and I’ll post the furniture templates)… I’ve kind of been putting the budget talk off as it’s the ‘un-fun’ side of design!

BDI Quarter Inch Graph

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