Planning Your Home

Building a home is no small feat

With research and consideration you can make the process one of enjoyable discovery and productive planning.

Questions to Explore

After looking at dozens of floor plans and home design sites you may conclude that the perfect design for your dream home is a bit more elusive than you first thought. It’s helpful to take a deep breath and ask yourself a few basic questions about your lifestyle and needs before going much further:

The people living in your new home

  • How much space will you need – not just now, but in the future?
  • Do you need to consider accommodations for multi-generational family members?
  • Will you need a separate unit or entrance?

How you/your family lives

  • What are the daily routines for your family members?
  • Do you entertain frequently?
  • Does anyone have special living or accessibility needs?

Type and style of house

  • Do you want a bungalow, raised bungalow, split-level, 2 storey, 1½ storey, or walkout?
  • Traditional or contemporary (for interior and exterior)?
  • Attached garage, with 2, 3 or more stalls?
  • Developed attic space?
  • Desired floor area?
  • Finished basement—now or in the future?

Types of home layout

  • Numbers of rooms?
  • Type and sizes of rooms?
  • Formal or open?
  • Are major rooms at the front or at the rear of the house?
  • Do you want rooms open to outdoor living areas (decks, verandas, sun wings, patios)?
  • Closet or storage preferences?

Lot specifications

  • Dimensions, setbacks?
  • Adjacent property considerations?
  • Have you checked the Design Guidelines?
  • House size requirements and limitations?
  • Grading plan specifications?
  • Site orientation?
  • Garage location?

Type of construction

  • Basement with either ICF (insulated concrete form), or conventional concrete?
  • Walk-out, crawlspace or conventional?
  • Wood frame construction, timber frame, ICF, SIP (structural insulated panel)?
  • Wall heights on each floor?

Landscaping preferences

  • Low maintenance?
  • Xeriscaping?
  • Do you want professional landscaping services?

Future considerations

  • Overbuilding beyond your needs
  • Fads or trends that might date your home in the future/require costly upgrades
  • Views and window sightlines

Once you get through this list you are well on your way to arriving at the right home plan. Many people will benefit in making decisions about home features and layout by consulting with a residential design firm. A residential architect will fine-tune your requirements, discuss options for various needs that you have, and provide you with concept plans (or modify stock plans that you like). Once a design is approved, a complete set of working plans will be created that you can take to the builder of your choice. Your designer can also provide you with information on the latest energy efficient building practices and green technologies that can be incorporated into your new home.

Working With An Architect

A residential architectural firm can elevate your build from “project” to dream home. Working with you, an architect will take you through a step-by-step process to ensure your vision comes to life. They will help with:

  • Home style
  • Layout
  • Size and configuration recommendations to fit your family
  • Special features
  • Energy conservation design