Discover 100 of the Most Beautiful French Homes on Houzz
17 Monday Jul 2017
Posted Architecture, Entertaining, Interior Design, Landscaping, Luxury Homesin
17 Monday Jul 2017
Posted Architecture, Entertaining, Interior Design, Landscaping, Luxury Homesin
17 Monday Jul 2017
Posted Architecture, home building, Interior Design, Luxury Homesin
Your written brief will form the foundation of your entire house design. It is a description of your design objectives, which you will refer back to constantly and, as such, requires careful consideration.
The step-by-step process outlined below is the method I use to create briefs for every project I do. Whether you are designing a new house or extending an existing one, the approach is the same. Work through the steps, and by the end you will have not only a comprehensive and detailed brief but also a greater understanding of what it is you need rather than simply what you want.
Don’t worry about getting it right the first time; there will be plenty of opportunities to refine it later. What matters is that you get everything out of your head and down on paper so that the project can start to move forward.
1. Compile a list of “likes” and then analyze them. The first step in designing your own home is to establish the sort of house you want to create and why. You should begin by collecting images of all the things you like and that speak to you about the type of home you want to create. I find Houzz to be the best tool for this because you can easily share your list and collaborate with other family members.
Now this is where it starts to get interesting. Take each of the images you have chosen and look at it more closely. For each one, ask yourself what it is specifically that attracted you to the image, and note it down. It could be obvious, such as a particular material or shape, or it could be something less tangible, such as a feeling of comfort you infer from the image.
Can you picture yourself living in the room or house in the photo? If so, how does it feel to be there? Ask yourself what it is about that feeling that you want to emulate in your own home. It’s important to try to draw out the qualities that you want your home to have, rather than simply gathering shiny images of how you want it to look.
2. Look more closely at how you live. Now it’s time to look critically at how you live in your current home. It doesn’t matter if you own a house, rent an apartment or sleep on your parents’ sofa. We all inhabit space, and we all do it in slightly different ways.
Ask yourself the following questions about your current living situation. Spend some time on each one and be as critical as you can:
Next, make a list of all the items you own that will require storage in your new home, including the amount of space required for each and the best location for it. Don’t underestimate storage; it can make or break even the best-designed homes.
Finally, sit and watch how people move around in your current living spaces. Can you identify any conflicts that could be avoided in your new home? This is especially common in kitchens and bathrooms, where a lot of activity takes place.
3. Draw up a list of spaces. You are now ready to start compiling a list of the rooms you hope to include in your new home. This is not as easy as it sounds. Lots of “what if” questions, doubts and uncertainty will start to crop up. This is normal and an integral part of the design process. Just keep going.
I would urge you not to dwell on these doubts for too long. Accept that you don’t have all the answers at this stage, and move on. It’s more important to identify the right questions so that you can address them as the design progresses.
Don’t worry about budget or practicalities just yet. There will be plenty of time to downsize if and when it becomes necessary. Be as extravagant as you like. This list is simply a draft of what it is you want — or rather what you think you want. It will be subject to plenty of adjustment before it is finalized, so don’t stress over it too much.
Be sure to consider the entire range of activities you would like your building to host. Think in terms of what the house can do for you, and try to envision any future needs you might have. Don’t forget to include outdoor living spaces in this list.
If you are planning an addition or refurbishment project, include both the existing spaces you want to keep and the additional spaces you want to create.
4. Analyze the list. Next, look at each of the rooms on your list in turn, using a separate page or document for each, and consider the following questions:
5. Establish big-picture goals and priorities for the project. You should now have a good handle on the specifics of each room. It’s time to take a step back and think about the project as a whole. As with any project, it’s important to establish a clear list of goals from the outset. These goals will help guide the decision-making process as you move forward, and form a handy touchstone when you face difficult choices or conflicting opinions.
They might be environmental goals, such as minimizing energy use or water consumption, or economic goals, such as maximizing affordability and minimizing ongoing maintenance costs. Your goals could also be personal ones, such as allowing for flexibility toward any future lifestyle changes or creating the perfect place to hold lavish dinner parties. Think of your goals as the values you want your final design to embody.
Finally, consider what relationship each room might have to another one. You might want a kitchen to be close to a dining area or to open onto the garden, for example. Alternatively, you might want to locate the bedrooms away from the main living area to ensure that they are quieter and more private.
Note it all down; you can’t write too much on all this stuff. Be as expansive and as specific as you like, but prioritize each item into “nonnegotiable,” “important” and “nice to have.”
6. Finalize your list and address common mistakes. The last step in this process is about bringing it all together. You should have an overview of the rooms you think you need and their relationship to one another, as well as a fairly detailed description of what each room should contain and how it should feel.
There are, however, some very common mistakes people make during this process. Take one last look at your list to make sure you aren’t guilty of any of the following:
10 Monday Jul 2017
Posted Architecture, home building, Luxury Homes, Remodelingin
Whether building new or renovating an existing structure, creating a new home is a journey of discovering who you are, what you want, how you want to live and where you want to be. It’s a chance for you to define your relationship to the world, to your family and to yourself. Creating a home is more than building “three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms.” It is so much more than the sum of a few parts.
As with any journey, you’ll want to do some research and plan your trip. You’ll want to have a sense of what the end result should be and how much it’ll cost. And while you’ll no doubt be able to go it alone, having a seasoned and experienced guide show you the way will likely mean a more enjoyable, more enriching and overall better journey.
Let’s look at the steps, in chronological order, involved in creating a home.
Starting a project? Find an architect, general contractor, home builder or design-build firm to start
1. Set goals. Creating a new home for yourself is all about setting goals and taking the steps to achieve those goals. You’ll want to establish the answers to a whole host of questions so that you can set these goals.
Goal setting requires satisfying both left- and right-brain activities. So your list of goals will include two sides: a practical, meat-and-potatoes side and an emotional, ice-cream-and-pie side. Each is important, and each needs to be recognized so that the end result will reflect a totality.
Questions to ask:
• What do you want to achieve?
• Where do you want to be?
• What will this cost?
• Can it really be achieved?
• Does plan A make sense?
• What’s plan B?
2. Establish a budget. While a budget should be in any goal statement, it’s such an important piece that it’s included here as a separate task. When making your budget, of course you’ll begin with what you can afford, and how the cost of your house fits in with your overall plans for the future. When you’re ready to get down to details, include everything that will go into the project: the cost of the land, local fees and taxes, design and engineering fees, construction of not just the home but the landscape, plus furniture and decorating.
3. Find some land — or a neglected older house. Where do you want to be? How do you want to live? What are you looking for? Maybe you want that house in the mountains or with the ocean view, but it’s not in the cards right now, for economic or other reasons. No matter; you’ll likely be able to reinvent yourself later. For now, it’s the burbs with the good schools or some other place. The point is, find a spot on the globe that you can claim as your own and build what will be a home.
And maybe that land isn’t a few acres that’s never been trampled on. Maybe it’s an existing house that’s just old and tired and has suffered some neglect. The house whispers to you that it really does want to shed those avocado-colored appliances, that shag carpeting and those single-pane windows, and you know you’re the person to do that.
So take heart if you decide to transform that sow’s ear into a silk purse. You’ll be amazed at the transformation that can take place.
4. Assemble a team. While you might think you can go it alone, assembling a team of tried and true professionals is the better approach. After all, you wouldn’t represent yourself in court. So why wouldn’t you entrust your single largest investment to an experienced team that won’t be learning on your dime?
An architect and a builder (if not one and the same) are going to be your most important team members. These people will act as guide, therapist, advocate and counselor throughout the journey that creating your home is. And, as with all good professionals, the right guide can ensure that the journey is all the more enjoyable.
As you embark on this journey, you will likely want to add team members. A kitchen and bath designer, perhaps; maybe an interior designer, too. Certainly a landscape architect, who shouldn’t be the last person hired when all the money is gone; you want to create a beautiful yard that will complement the house.
5. Plan, plan and plan some more. Every large project I’ve ever worked on has had this one thing in common. The owner, whether a private developer, government agency or corporate entity, knew the importance of planning the project in detail before starting to build.
These owners knew that moving walls on paper is a whole lot cheaper than moving walls after they’re built. So embark on a robust planning and design phase.
6. Accept the inevitable. You’ve made the plans, gotten the permits and secured the money; now the only thing left to do is build your house. You’ve accounted for everything, so it should all come together as smooth as silk. Easy, right?
Oddly enough, stuff happens. That’s a given. How you and your team react to these hiccups will be important. My advice is to stay calm, keep your sense of humor and work with your team to address the issue. This is where having the right team in place can pay dividends. An architect, a builder and others who can work together and share ideas without criticizing one another will go a long way to helping you keep your sanity.
Some tips for staying sane during construction:
7. Enjoy your new home. You’ve worked hard and spent more than a few dollars to create your new home, so enjoy it to the max.
Revel in the way the light falls across a room and how it changes with the seasons. Find unexpected places to talk with family members.
Discover how this place gives shape to your life and allows you to become the person you want to be.
In the end you’ll be amazed that your new house is so much more than the sum of just its three bedrooms, living room and so on. It’s the place you get to call home and make uniquely yours.
Thank you to Houzz and
10 Monday Jul 2017
Posted Entertaining, Interior Design, Landscaping, Luxury Homesin
3. No crate? Use whatever you’ve got. An old wheelbarrow, a garden cart, an enamel bucket or even a toy dump truck can be lined with trash bags and filled with ice to make an impromptu drinks cooler.
04 Tuesday Jul 2017
Posted Entertaining, Floral, Interior Designin
It’s officially here –– the first day of summer has arrived! As bright days laze their way into warm evenings, we’ve got our minds set on friends, family, food, and flowers. To start the season, we checked in with Eric Buterbaugh, The Bouqs Co.’s very own Chief Floral Designer, to talk dreamy summer tablescape trends. We styled the table with beautiful tableware and linen courtesy of our friends at Shabby Chic and Parachute Home. Happy dining!
At your next gathering, forget the extra fork. Instead, try adding a bud vase at each table setting to round out your decor. Using a single stem in each vase gives you a lot of bang for your buck, and each flower type lends a unique feel to your tablescape. The diminutive yet ultra-elegant nature of miniature calla lilies makes them a great option.
Featured Bouq: Juliet // White miniature calla lilies
Dread using the same runner for another year? Tap into the table garland trend by adding bright florals and cool greenery for a look that makes your summer table absolutely sing.
Start by layering the greenery together down the center of the table and steadying it with floral wire. Then toss in some focal flowers for a pop of color. The abundant spray roses and alstroemeria in our Bourdeaux Bouq are perfect for adding some season-friendly brightness to your garland. Just pull out a few stems and tuck them in, before featuring your Bouq front and center on the tablescape.
Featured Bouq: Bordeaux // Pink roses and alstroemeria
Floating Florals & Candles
In case you were wondering, Gerbera daisies are great swimmers! Before your next soiree, spare a few stems (our Cabana Bouq is a great option), add water to a bubble vase, and include the blooms for an easy, elegant centerpiece. Experiment with size, color, and texture by mixing and matching different flower types. For those day parties that flow into the evening hours, a tea light or two in the vase will give your centerpiece a cozy glow.
Featured Bouq: Santa Cruz’n // Multi-colored spray roses
Succulent Table Setting
Succulents are perhaps nature’s prettiest, most low-maintenance friend. And best of all, they’re an on-trend and easy way to complete your summer tablescape. You can pick up succulents from your local garden center or pull from our Showstopper Bouq to cap off each table setting. It’s a great way to hold down name cards on breezy evenings, and it also makes for a great take-home gift to offer your guests! They can bring their succulent home to plant for a gift that keeps on giving.
Featured Bouq: Showstopper // Pink roses and alstroemeria with succulents
We’d love to see what you come up with for your next summer party! As always, be sure to use #Bouqlove when you post photos of your outdoor tablescape. It’ll make us feel like we were there enjoying the evening with you.