Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We-Design-Day: Getting Down to Business!

I hope you found the interview sheet helpful in mapping out an idea of where you are hoping to take your project. It can be difficult to put into context what you want to see. It’s very easy to get hypnotized by pretty rooms in pages of magazines or on the design shows on TV. A lot of what we’re working through goes on behind the scenes on those shows too and design is often a work in progress, built through layers of sketch-trace, napkins, and scraps of paper. Window dressings and paint colours play a role but understanding the function of the space is important because it will ensure that it all works together as a space – and that it’s not just a collection of pretty vases and floral balloon valances.

Many of the things you read (on line and in print) will suggest you get design magazines and put together a collage of your design style – this works if you understand that you will likely not end up with that room. That exercise serves the function of finding out what you like (and what you don’t). It helps you find out if you are a modern contemporary or if you’re more a traditional Victorian (or any of the other styles out there). One thing I’ve learned over the years is that those magazine photos are carefully and deliberately orchestrated – ever notice that there are never any cords or light switches visible? The light is always perfect and never dark (or too bright). I liken them to the magazine ads of the “top models” – never a blemish or a line or dimpled thigh – rooms, like models, are perfected before being put to print. Unless you have studio lighting and a degree in photo-retouching, our rooms won’t function like that.

Budget also does a long way in dictating our design style. I’ve worked on million dollar (office) projects that put in bottom line systems furniture because there was no money left after the glass curtain wall was installed and the premium mechanical system put in place. Why? Because the interior environment doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. The function of an interior space is as important as the envelope of the building but if your house leaks heat from the windows, are you more likely to spend $2000 on a sofa or put the money towards new windows?

Write your goal:

Create and open and inviting family space that is comfortable, flexible and that promotes creativity.

That sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Since we are embarking on the season of wishes and lists, we are going to chill out from the rigid design guidelines and dream a little dream… Get a blank sheet of paper or a cool ruled sticky note. List on it all the things you want in your space – this is your design room wish list – list everything you want to see in your space and within reason, place budget concerns aside. This is a wish list; we’ll deal with the practicality of white carpet with a toddler later!

Now get another blank piece of paper and with your room in mind, let’s draw some circles that represent the zoning. Zoning is a word used when you section off a space. Here is a look at mine – I’ve taken all the areas we need (and want) in our space and allotted a certain size bubble for each one. These are not to scale – we’ll refine them next week. Right now, we are just conceptualizing the space. Each bubble, although not to scale, should represent a realistic amount of space – meaning that if your largest activity in your kitchen is dining, the bubble needs to be in proportion to the smallest task.

In my bubble, you can see the "family/play" space takes up the largest amount of space as it will be the primary function of the area. Next week, we'll look at refining it.

This week, you'll need to do some homework! Get another blank piece of paper and start measuring up your room. Draw the basic shape first and then measure the walls. Depending on how detailed you want to get, we can do scaled drawings too - this will help with furniture arrangement.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email! See you next week.

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