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Homes should be planned from the inside out. The current and future needs of the occupants and the lifestyle should influence the design of interior space. Spaces should allow for efficiency in daily living tasks.
Site and budget are also major items to be considered. Designing to capture the views and sunlight or eliminate less desireable views makes the house fit your site. Also important is the slope and any other unique features of the site. Budget is of utmost importance. The most wonderful plans are not worth anything if the building cost is beyond your means to execute them. For this reason it is important to decide how much you are willing to spend and let the designer know what that figure is.
The exterior appearance of the house can be fit around the interior spaces. But most importantly, it is YOUR home we are designing and you will be an integral part of the design process.
The environmental impact of a house can be reduced by building more energy efficient spaces. If your site will allow for incorporation of passive solar heat collection, I am all for using this free energy source. I have experience with components of solar design and will work to incorporate as much as possible into your design if you wish. I also have experience with insulated concrete forms (ICF) technology and can design to use this product either for a basement or the whole house.
The building of energy efficient spaces is only part of the complex "green building" paradigm. When remodeling a house reuse or recycling existing building materials also helps reduce the environmental footprint. Reduce the use of materials by designing smaller spaces. Waste can be reduced by designing the building dimensions to utilize standard sizes of materials. For more information about green building click here.
I also agree wholeheartedly with Sarah Susanka author of "The Not So Big House" that we should build smaller, more cozy spaces with more attention to finish details rather than spend our housing dollar on large empty spaces. Each family needs to identify what types of spaces are necessary and build to meet those needs. For more information on the not so big house click here.