Regardless of the latest trends there are some design topics that always need to be considered. These are topics that seem to affect more and more people as we spend more time not only living in our homes but working in them as well.
- Is the extra room off the foyer going to be an office or a guest bedroom?
Which option makes the most sense for your family? Considering the fact that more people are now working from home or have an older parent living with them this question needs to be answered. If the office choice makes more sense, then make sure you sound proof the walls and run data wiring where the desk may be located. If the guest bedroom is more prudent then make sure the doors are wider for wheel chairs and the guest bath is handicap accessible.
- Where will the children's computer be placed?
Families with young children want to monitor how they use the internet. Often times a desk nook off the upstairs hallway is a good place to keep the computer where mom and dad can keep a close
eye on it.
- Should the laundry room be upstairs or down?
This question always seemed to have an easy answer…keep it upstairs where the clothes are located. This however, often leaves mom or dad stuck upstairs away from the rest of the family doing the wash and folding the clothes. Maybe a first floor laundry with a laundry chute from the upstairs is the way to go.
- Dining room buffets and bedroom armoire?
If you have a large piece of furniture that needs to be in a certain room make sure you design for it. Creating a recessed wall for large furniture keeps it from intruding into a room's usable space.
- Should the master bedroom be upstairs or down?
Usually the answer to this question is upstairs if you have small children and downstairs if the
kids are in high school or you're an empty nester. The older we get, the fewer stairs anyone wants
- Party 'flow' for large gatherings?
If you are inclined to have larger gatherings at your home then spend some time focusing on where people will stand to chat. Sometimes, regardless of how open a kitchen floor plan is a choke point can arise that blocks the flow of people to the family room.
- Where will the garage be?
While the best location is on the main floor next to the kitchen, sometimes that doesn't work. Smaller lots or a tight budget can force the garage to the basement due to space requirements
- Breakfast room or eating at the kitchen island?
Like the location of the master bedroom, the need for a true breakfast room seems to correspond with younger children. With kids doing homework in the kitchen, often sitting at the island gets messy and cluttered when people are also trying to cook. Maybe a breakfast banquette is a good alternative that gets the kids away from food preparation while not taking up as much square footage as a true breakfast room.
- Low voltage wiring needs?
Even though everything seems to be going wireless, the need for some low voltage wiring remains. Give some thought to whether you may want speaker wires, Ethernet wiring or maybe you want to hide all the wiring to a flat screen TV over the fireplace. It also makes the most sense to wire for a wireless router higher in the house. If you place it in the basement your service on the second floor may be weak.
- Which "green" options work best for you?
When it comes to "green" alternatives for a home the options seem limitless. The best approach seems to be weighing the payback period on certain items. While a tankless water heater or solar power may have a slow payback, better insulation or upgraded windows could make more