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
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.
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.
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
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.
DESIGN BY LISTS
HOW YOU DOING NOW?
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
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
Slab foundation (hard)
Large living room
Morning sun in MBR
Wide front porch
Large family room
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
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”