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DESIGN BY  LISTS     Published  by  Biltwright  LLC     Copyright  2012  Bob  Johnson     All  rights  reserved.  No  part  of  this  book  may  be  reproduced  or  transmitted  in  any  form   or  by  any  means,  electronic  or  mechanical,  including  photocopying,  recording,  or  by  any   information  storage  and  retrieval  system,  without  the  written  permission  of  the   Publisher.     Biltwright  LLC     411  G  Street  SE  Unit  B     Washington,  DC  20003     ISBN:  1-­‐886110-­‐48-­‐4-­‐6     Distributed  to  the  trade  by:     Biltwright  LLC   411  G  Street  SE  Unit  B     Washington,  DC  20003           “Design  By  Lists”  is  a  reprint  of  a  chapter  from  “Houses  are  Designed  by  Geniuses  and   Built  by  Gorillas:  An  Insider’s  Guide  to  Designing  and  Building  a  Home”  by  Bob  Johnson     Library  of  Congress  Cataloging-­‐in-­‐Publication  Data         Johnson,  Bob  (1952  –     Houses  are  designed  by  geniuses  and  built  by  gorillas:  An  insider’s  guide  to   designing  and  building  a  home/by  Bob  Johnson.  p.  cm.  Includes  index.  ISBN:  1-­‐ 886110-­‐48-­‐4  (alk.  paper)     1. House  construction  -­‐  Amateurs’  manuals.  I.  Title.     TH4817.3.J646  1998       97-­‐49009     690’.837-­‐dc21         CIP

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DESIGN BY  LISTS       Make  a  List  and  Check  It  Twice     Designing   a   house   is   a   lot   like   making   a   Christmas   wish   list.   You’re   excited,   want   everything   (you’ve   seen   on   HGTV)   and   don’t   want   to   leave   anything   off   the   list.   A   list   puts   everything   in   front   of   you   and   helps   arrange   your   thoughts.   It’s   an   excellent   organizational   tool   and   can   be   quite   helpful   in   designing   your   new   home.   A   couple   should  make  a  list  together;  though  you  can  start  separate  lists  first  and  then  combine   them.       What   we’ve   developed   here   is   a   thing   called   “Design   By   Lists,”   a   proven   method   of   determining  what  you  want  and  need  in  a  house  as  well  as  a  starting  point  for  putting   your  design  together.  Whether  you’re  going  to  design  the  home  yourself  or  eventually   bring  it  to  an  architect,  you  need  to  fill  out  the  list.  You’ll  be  surprised  how  helpful  it  will   be.       Gotta  Have  It     You  have  to  know  what  you  can  afford  and  what  you  have  to  have  in  a  house  to  make  it   worth  building.  If  you  cannot  have  certain  things,  there  is  no  reason  to  start  the  project.   The   first   list   is   the   Gotta   Have   It   list.   This   list   should   include   code   or   covenant   requirements   as   well   as   things   that   have   to   be   there   to   get   permit   or   subdivision   approval.  You  should  include  the  minimum  number  of  bedrooms  and  baths.       The   minimum   (or   maximum)   square   footage   should   be   listed   here.   Required   or   prohibited   materials   should   be   listed.   Setbacks,   maximum   height   of   building   tree   removal  guidelines,  etc.  ought  to  be  on  this  list.  It  should  be  an  absolute  list.  Maximum   budget  (from  the  bank,  not  what  or  how  little  you’d  like  to  spend)  should  be  on  this  list.   This   list   will   establish   the   parameters   of   your   house   and   will   require   some   compromises   and  tough  choices.      

GOTTA HAVE  IT   1.   2.   3.   4.   5.   6.  

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DESIGN BY  LISTS       Dream  On!     Whew!   That   was   tough.   Now   on   to   something   fun   -­‐   a   real   wish   list.   Go   for   the   gold,   reach  for  the  stars.  With  the  absolutes  out  of  the  way,  you  can  now  list  the  things  you’d   really   like   to   have   if   you   can   afford   it.   Here   you   are   challenging   yourself   and   your   designer.  If  you’re  using  a  design  professional,  this  list  gives  them  a  chance  to  show  off   their  talent  in  helping  you  solve  a  design  problem.  This  is  because  some  of  your  dreams,   once  known,  can  be  incorporated  into  the  design.       Let’s   say,   for   example,   you’ve   got   a   lot   of   good-­‐looking   books   and   nick   knacks   and   want   to  show  them  off  in  a  home  library.  It’s  not  necessary  to  your  house  and  could  very  well   be  a  budget  buster.  But  boy,  would  it  be  nice.  If  you  don’t  mention  it  in  this  list,  you’ll   never  get  it.  An  advantage  of  using  building  designers  is  their  ability  to  solve  problems   from   a   different   perspective.   What   are   you   trying   to   accomplish?   Do   you   want   a   separate,  single  function  room  or  just  a  nice  place  to  show  off  your  books?  A  solution  to   a  budget-­‐breaking  library  is  to  just  expand  the  dining  room,  for  example,  by  one  foot  on   any  or  all  the  sides  and  let  it  serve  double  duty.       Formal  dining  rooms  can  be  necessary  to  your  home  design  needs  but  is  often  little  used   yet  has  beautiful  furniture.  A  wall  or  two  of  built-­‐in  bookshelves  can  enhance  a  dining   room.   These   bookshelves   can   also   be   used   to   show   off   your   chinaware.   This   is   a   perfect   example  of  solving  a  problem  just  because  you  asked.  Go  ahead;  Fill  out  your  Dream  On!   List   in   the   space   provided.   Put   your   wishes   in   priority   so   that   your   designer   will   know   what  to  attempt  to  solve  first.      

DREAM ON!   1.   2.   3.   4.   5.   6.   7.   8.   9.  

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DESIGN BY  LISTS     The  Way  We  Were     This  list  is  especially  useful  because  you’ve  already  got  a  track  record  of  likes  and  dislikes   in  a  house.  Certainly  you’ve  lived  in  a  number  of  homes,  apartments,  college  dorms,  or   tents.   (In   2008,   I   lived   in   tent   for   six   weeks   at   Fort   Bragg   with   sixteen   of   my   closest   friends   on   a   sixteen-­‐inch   wide   cot   sixteen   inches   apart.   That   is   not   going   to   happen   again.)     You  probably  have  at  least  one  opinion  about  each  of  your  former  residences.  This  list   asks   you   to   list   everywhere   you’ve   lived   before   and   state   something   you   liked   about   living   there   and   something   you   didn’t.   It   could   be   anything   from   where   the   sun   set   on   a   particular  room,  e.g.  the  kitchen,  making  it  hot  when  you  cooked  supper  to  where  a  light   switch  was  (poorly)  located.    

THE WAY  WE  WERE   HOME  

LIKED

DISLIKED

    How  You  Doing  Now?     This   list   will   be   crucial   when   you   develop   a   house   plan.   Simply,   measure   the   rooms   in   the  house  you’re  currently  living  and  comment  on  how  that  size  works  for  you  now.  If   the  size  is  OK,  say  so.  If  it’s  too  small,  try  to  estimate  how  much  larger  it  needs  to  be  for   it  to  work  for  you.  Do  the  same  thing  if  you  can  afford  to  downsize  a  particular  room,   which  is  common  in  older  houses.      

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DESIGN BY  LISTS    

HOW YOU  DOING  NOW?    

Room                                                    

                                                 

Size                                                    

                                                   

Comments                                                    

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DESIGN BY  LISTS     Treasure  List     We  all  have  treasures  and  heirlooms,  things  that  are  going  into  our  next  house.  While   this   often   includes   furniture,   it   can   also   be   treasures   such   as   rugs,   artwork,   and   even   stained  glass.  If  these  things  are  oversized,  you  need  to  make  it  clear  up  front  that  the   new  house  has  to  be  big  enough  to  accommodate  these  treasures.        

TREASURE LIST   1.   2.   3.   4.      

PUTTING IT  ALL  TOGETHER  

To  illustrate  what  your  “Design  By  Lists”  should  look  like,  a  sample  list  is  provided  on  the   following  pages.    

GOTTA HAVE  IT   1. 1,500  square  feet  minimum  (covenant  requirement)   2. Three  bedrooms   3. 2  ½  baths   4. House  no  wider  than  48  feet  (side  yard  setback  restriction)   5. House  foot  print  no  deeper  than  70  feet  (front/rear  set  back  restriction)   6. 24  x  24  garage  with  apartment  above   7. First  floor  master  suite  with  two  separate  closets   8. Master  bath  with  two  sinks,  separate  48”  shower  and  tub   9. Nine  foot  main  floor  ceilings   10. $400,000  budget  including  lot      

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DESIGN BY  LISTS    

DREAM ON!   1. Four  foot  hallways   2. Slate  or  metal  roof   3. Stone  exterior   4. 8’  X  8’  foyer   5. 8’  front  porch   6. Wood  burning  fireplace      

THE WAY  WE  WERE   HOME  

Charlotte

Atlanta

LIKED

DISLIKED

Breakfast bar  

Slab foundation  (hard)  

Colonial style  

Small lot  

Savannah

Large living  room  

Small foyer  

Atlanta

Shady deck  

Morning sun  in  MBR  

Boston

Large foyer  

Small closets  

Brunswick

Wide front  porch  

Small MBR  

Pensacola

Large family  room  

Pool

Charlotte

Large master  bath  

Dishwasher blocks  door  

TREASURE LIST   1. 15’  x  12’  Persian  rug   2. 5’  x  7’  antique  poster   3. 4’  x  12’  dining  room  table   4. 1’  x  4’  stained  glass  piece  

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DESIGN BY  LISTS      

HOW YOU  DOING  NOW?    

Room Living  Room   Dining  Room   Kitchen   Breakfast  Nook   Family  Room   Master  Bedroom   Master  Bath   Powder  Room   Hall  Bath   Foyer   Bedroom  #2   Bedroom  #3   Bedroom  #4   Laundry  Room   Hallways   Stairways   Garage   Patio   Deck   Entry  Porch    

                                     

Size 12’  x  13’  8”   11’  4”  x  12’  7”   9’  9”  x  14’  6”   9’  9”  x  10’  2”   14’  4”  x  13’  5”   13’  6”  x  15’  6”   5’  1”  x  9’  6”   4’  x  7’  6”   5’  x  8’  8”   4’  x  6’   9’  x  11’6”   10’  8”  x  12’  6”   9’  6”  x  11’  6”   3’  6”  x  5’  6”   3’   3’   22’  x  20’   8’  x  10’   10’  x  12’   4’  x  6’  

                                       

Comments Too  small,  need  14’  x  15’  minimum   Too  small,  need  12’  x  13’  6”   Need  10’  6”  versus  9’  9”   Need  10’  x  10’   Need  15’  x  15’  minimum   OK   Too  small-­‐need  some  help  here   OK   OK   Need  8’  x  9’   Need  11’  x  12’   OK   OK   OK   4’  upstairs   OK   22’  x  24’   9’  x  12’   OK   5’  6”  x  7’  6”  

 

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design-by-lists