10 Keys to a Well-Functioning House

The design of a house can have a profound effect on how we feel, but we often attribute this to aesthetics. In fact, it’s about so much more including creating a well-functioning house. Good design should enhance our experience of a space, and the way a room looks is almost the icing on the cake. Here are 10 key tips for achieving a comfortable, well-thought-out home.

well-functioning house

Craig O’Connell Architecture

TIPS FOR A WELL-FUNCTIONING HOUSE

  1. Get the Layout Right  The starting point for any kind of change in your home should be the layout and the way the space functions. Spend time looking at how you use and move around your home. Try to establish what is and isn’t working to get a clear picture of what you need to alter. If the space doesn’t work well and you’re finding it difficult to move around or be comfortable, the interior decoration isn’t going to make much of an improvement. Rather, you may need to knock down a wall between a kitchen and a family or dining room, for example, or steal space from a bedroom to create an en suite.
  2. Be Practical  A well-designed home is one that makes things easy for you, so it pays to make room for those everyday tasks like laundry. Not all of us have space for a separate utility area, but clever design may enable you to maximize the space you do have. A washer and dryer can be stacked and concealed behind closet doors, making them easy to access when required.
  3. Use the Awkward Space  Do you have an area you don’t know what to do with? Challenging spaces are often left bare, and bare spaces tend to attract clutter. If an unused corner in your home has become messy, it may take away from the enjoyment of the room. Think about how you can transform the space, as there are clever ways of putting these awkward areas to good use. A nook at the top of a staircase can have a window seat that’s both functional and cozy.

well-functioning house

Melanie Stewart Designs

  1. Future-Proof It  Make sure that your design addresses more than just your immediate needs. It’s very easy to focus your attention on how you want to live right now, especially if you have young children. However, your needs will change over time, so it’s vital that you build in some flexibility. For instance, the opportunity to create a separate living space in an open-plan home may be a good idea for when the children get older, since family members may eventually desire a calm room away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the home.

well-functioning house

Barcci Builders

  1. Designate Storage  A place for everything and everything in its place” really is the mantra for a well-functioning home. When it comes to choosing the right kind of storage, you should let what you need to store dictate the kind of storage that you select. Designated storage is far more efficient and useful than general storage. By having a specific place for each item, you’ll avoid the possibility of everything being thrown in haphazardly.

well-functioning house

Glas Associates

  1. Plan the Lighting  Lighting is one of the most important design aspects of a home and is something many people struggle with. It has such a powerful effect on the ambiance of a room that it is worth taking the time to get it absolutely right. The trick is to get the proper balance of artificial and natural light. Too much artificial light results in a space that feels clinical, but if a room is underlit, everything appears gloomy and uninviting.

well-functioning house

123 Remodeling Inc.

  1. Make Rooms Work Hard  When you’re designing a room, try to see where you can utilize spaces more effectively. Can you give a design feature multiple functions, for example? Can you build in more storage?

well-functioning house

Bilotta Kitchen and Home

  1. Pick Finishes Wisely  Choose finishes that are appropriate for the room. Tiles in a kitchen are a practical, durable choice for flooring. Spend time researching the finishes for your home, and ask about upkeep and suitability for the space where you plan to use them. Even if you love the look of an item, it’s important to think about whether it’s a practical choice for your room.

well-functioning house

Kalaa Chakra Interiors

  1. Layer With Color  Your choice of color isn’t important only for how it looks; it also will have a big impact on how you feel in the space. Get it wrong and the color will shout at you every time you enter the room. Get it right, and you won’t even notice the color — you’ll just love spending time in the space. A good tip is to layer your color palette: Start with a neutral backdrop and build on color carefully by adding bolder shades through accessories and art. However, neutral doesn’t mean painting your walls a bland shade. You can create a neutral version of practically any color by going either very light or very dark. Think grays, caramels, and sandy tones, all of which work in any version from light to dark as a neutral backdrop that you can combine with any other accent color.

well-functioning house

Christopher Patrick Interiors

  1. Let Your Personality Shine  Most importantly, your home should reflect the personality of those who live in it. Choose design elements that you love and that help you feel healthy and happy. This living room features a personal art collection and re-upholstered slipper chairs that have an emotional connection for the homeowner.

 

Blog by  Denise O’Connor, Houzz Contributor

Denise holds a degree in architecture from Richview School of Architecture at UCD. After graduating in Dublin she moved to London where she worked on residential, healthcare, and office schemes including the award-winning headquarters for Holiday Extras for which she was a project architect at Walker and Martin. In 2005 she returned to Dublin and set up architecture and interior design consultancy Optimize Design. Denise is an architecture and interiors columnist for the Irish Times and a contributor for HOUZZ. She is also a regular contributor to various other publications and also gives lectures on a range of topics. She was a presenter for the first series of the RTE TV show ‘The Design Doctors’ and is the creator and name behind the successful paint collection for Dulux called Signature Collection.

Premier Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Tri-Lite Builders will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or emailing [email protected] to discuss your remodeling project. We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsmen are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

11 Must-Haves in a Designer’s Dream Kitchen

In interior design, it’s important to think big: After all, in some projects, you can’t get everything you want, but you should set the bar high to achieve a great result. But in your dream kitchen, you can have it all — and more. Here I’ve compiled my top 11 must-have design features for a dream kitchen. Some are extravagant, some are just downright practical, and all are worth considering as designer touches you might want to include in your next kitchen renovation — even if for now it’s only in your dreams.

dream kitchenWINN Design+Build

DESIGNING YOUR DREAM KITCHEN

  1. Quartz Counters Quartz is a designer’s dream to work with for many reasons. It’s made using actual stone, so it echoes the natural appeal of materials such as granite or marble. But it is also processed and manufactured in ways that make it strong, nonporous, and color-customizable to create many different looks with good color predictability (as opposed to a stone slab, which can contain more unexpected surprises compared with the sample). This beauty and durability doesn’t come without a price: It is generally more expensive than stone or total synthetics, although the price will vary depending on composition and manufacturer. While granite counters get overexposed on real estate reality shows, quartz is definitely the new must-have for my dream home. Read more about quartz countertops

dream kitchenStock & Associates, Inc.

  1. Custom Cabinets, of course, those beautiful counters will need something on which to rest, so I might as well toss in some sleek custom cabinetry. The advantage of using true custom cabinets vs. typical stock cabinets that can be configured in different combinations is twofold. First, custom cabinets can be fitted perfectly to your kitchen, filling the space precisely and making the best use of corners, spaces between windows, and any height or length of wall.

dream kitchenBrooke Wagner Design

Second, custom cabinets can achieve looks that stock cabinets can’t, especially when integrated with other features such as a banquette seat or kitchen island. This is especially important when going for a sought-after transitional style, where cabinets are desired to be seamless but not ultraminimalist.

Plus, although white tends to be the most in-demand shade, my dream home’s custom cabinets can be any hue I choose.

post architecture inc

  1. A (True) Counter-Depth FridgeIf you’ve gone to the trouble of getting sharply tailored cabinetry, it would be a shame to ruin the lines with a bulky fridge. (Oversized fridges often end up filled with unnecessary food clutter anyway.)Counter-depth refrigerators follow the line of a typical 24-inch-deep counter for a flush look but beware: Some models sold as “counter depth” still stick out a bit past a typical counter when installed. Check the exact dimensions of a model you’re considering, and compare notes with your installer to make sure the lines will truly match up.

dream kitchen

Philadelphia Design Collective

  1. Deep SinkWhile a fridge can sometimes be too big, I’m not sure the same can be said about a kitchen sink. Typical sinks are often around 8 inches deep, but a sink that is 10 inches deep or more (especially a wide one) makes for luxurious ease of use. Being able to easily fit a large pot fully inside the sink for filling or cleaning is very practical. Plus, if you do leave an item or two in the sink to be cleaned later (sitting on top of a perfectly fitted metal sink grate, of course), they won’t be visible in your seemingly bottomless sink.

dream kitchen

Toronto Interior Design Group

A little extra depth is even helpful for tighter sinks, such as those at a bar, prep counter, or butler’s pantry, as it helps avoid splashback when rinsing vegetables or pouring out liquid.

I can speak on this point from my personal experience. I have a deep stainless steel sink in my own kitchen, shown here, and I love it. It’s an easy and affordable upgrade that’s part of my dream home but also part of my real home.

dream kitchen

Anna Braund

  1. Touch-Activated FaucetsWith a sharp, deep sink, let’s make it even easier to use by adding a touch-activated faucet. These smart devices aren’t just for minimalist tech-head homes. They come in a range of styles to suit even more traditional or transitional kitchens. Inside that stylish faucet is a sensor that activates the faucet just from a tap, so you can turn on the water even with your hands occupied. The next time you’re making dough (or just making a mess) and need to rinse off, you’ll be glad you can turn on the faucet with just a tap from your elbow.

dream kitchenTracey Stephens Interior Design Inc

  1. Drawer Dishwashers  Besides looking smart, a drawer dishwasher opens up new intelligent functions. Running a full-sized dishwasher when only partially full is a waste of water, but a unit like this can wash each individual half, giving you more flexibility for the size of the load to be cleaned. Plus, you can be running one drawer while still filling another, so you can clean your often-used items now while other pieces build up a bit over time. Goodbye to waiting an extra day to wash the dishes in my dream home.

dream kitchen

Leona Mozes Photography

  1. Hidden Range HoodI was tempted to include a bold, show-stopper range hood in my perfect kitchen, but I also love one that disappears into custom cabinets, as shown here. Ultimately, I realized that there is no middle ground: The best hoods are either a commanding focal point or quietly hide away to allow other features to speak uninterrupted.

Haefele Design

  1. Steam-Convection OvenLooking to upgrade your cooking? Convection ovens increase the effectiveness of a typical oven by circulating the hot air inside to cook more evenly, making this a modern cooking essential. But newer technology takes that concept one step further with steam-convection combination ovens that some say result in better texture and nutrition. Foods cooked in steam tend to retain more moisture — and thus more vitamins — than foods that are simply baked or boiled. That makes a steam-convection oven not just a part of my dream kitchen, but a step toward healthier eating.

dream kitchen

Highmark Builders

  1. Pro-Style Gas RangeSteam-convection ovens may be high-tech, but when it comes to the range-top, nothing beats the look and power of chef’s kitchen-style burners. Classic red knobs give a punch of color, and the exposed burners on this style of gas range say “Ready to cook.”

dream kitchen

WoodHart Interiors & Design, LLC

  1. Deep DrawersThis is nothing new, but that doesn’t keep it from being in my dream kitchen. Trading out the usual lower cabinets for deep drawers (one or two per traditional cabinet box) gives you easy reach-in access for anything from a large pot to stacks of dinnerware.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry

To improve organization even further, drawer divider systems can break the interior into perfectly sized compartments so everything has its place. Plus, they can be adjusted later if needs change.

Deep drawers are an affordable upgrade too, because many companies provide deeper drawer units at the same cost as a more typical three-drawer model.

dream kitchen

Kube Constructions

  1. Slab BacksplashI thought I had everything I wanted for my dream kitchen with the deep drawers, but then I realized it had to end right back where it started: with a beautiful statement-making stone. The new must-have kitchen look eschews the everyday tile backsplash for the dramatic, custom look of a slab backsplash in the same material as the counters. After all, if you love your quartz counter so much, it makes sense to put the material on a vertical plane to show it off from all angles.I don’t want to be greedy, so that’s everything for my dream kitchen — for now. Your turn: What must-have did I miss from your dream kitchen?

HOUZZ BLOG:  Toronto Interior Design Group is a trusted one-stop-shop residential interior design concierge boutique-style firm crafting timeless interiors.

Premier Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Tri-Lite Builders will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or emailing [email protected] to discuss your remodeling project. We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsmen are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

 

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