Home-Design Why It Should Be Important to You?

So why should home design be important to you? Well, think about what it’s like to live in a badly designed home. Every day you get up, and the position of your bed annoys you. You have to walk through a little obstacle course to get to your ugly kitchen, where things are stacked up because there isn’t enough storage space. Then you go to your badly-painted bathroom to brush your teeth. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Or even worse – perhaps it sounds familiar.

The average person spends at least half their life in their home – it is a more familiar environment to you than almost any other. In this situation, any little annoyances that you might have will be magnified a thousand times over until they start driving you up the wall. What you want is for your home to be perfect, and as long as you have the time and the money, it’s well worth going to some trouble and expense to get it just right.

If you want to be happy, then the design of your home should be just as important to you as your job or your family. It’s about putting your personal stamp on your home and making it your own. And you can’t just do it once and leave it either – change is healthy, and helps to keep your life feeling fresh. When you have visitors over, you can be really proud of your home, and feel like it reflects who you are.

Apart from anything else, good home design can add a surprising amount of value to your home for very little cost. Improving the design of your home doesn’t have to be expensive, and even if you do spend quite a lot, it’ll certainly be cheaper than moving house.

Good Home Design Should Be About More Than Just Sustainability

Energy efficiency is very high profile these days, as is sustainability, and environmentally friendly and responsible. All of these are great – but at what expense to our health?

I recently saw a popular home show story on a modular home, being build prefabricated and then fitted together onsite. The home was built from something like a sandwich style material – polystyrene is sandwiched between sheets of colourbond steel or aluminum. This is great for an esky. Do you want to live in an esky?

The main thing about all this energy efficiency is that heat is sealed to wherever you want it to be – in or outside, depending on your climate. In order to do that, you need to prevent any sources of heat exchange. That means sealing draughts. Another way of saying “sealing draughts” is “stopping airflow”.

What happens to the inhabitants of a house when the airflow is stopped?

Another thing you’ll have noticed about eskys is that when moisture gets in, it stays in. So when you let humid air in (and let’s face it, air is humid, it needs to be for our health) and the temperature drops, the moisture in the air condenses. On your nicely insulated walls and floor and ceiling. What happens when moisture forms and stays on a surface? That’s right – mould.

You could, of course, remove a lot of the humidity and thus prevent moisture, and improve your flow, by mechanical means – install an air conditioner. Now you’re living in a temperature regulated esky. And your energy efficiency has just gone out the triple-glazed window.

The alternative (and preferred by Building Biologists) is that you build the house to suit the climate it’s going to be situated in. This involves knowing the climate and seasons of the locality, including where the breezes come from, the temperature range, rainfall etc, and designing a house to suit those aspects, as well as the requirements of the occupants. So if you live in a warm temperate area (for example Ipswich, which has this climate, with some aspects of sub-tropical), you’d design for hot humid summers, with late afternoon storms with a lot of rainfall in a short period of time. You’d design for sharp, cold, mostly dry winters, but not for heavy frost. You’d include social sustainability aspects such as ease of access throughout the house for aging occupants, as well as areas for younger occupants to play and run. Safety, inside and out, as well as security could also be designed into the house and garden (not just putting bars on the windows – landscape design should integrate safety and security as well as beauty and functionality.

All aspects of the occupants’ lifestyle should be considered, now and in the future, and the home should be designed to meet those requirements, not just “this looks nice and the neighbours will envy us” and then sustainability “tacked on” to the design.

Natural materials are preferable – especially natural materials from the local area. This is not just to minimise the transport costs and the transport energy included in the building, this is because the products in the local area have evolved to suit the local area – the woods grown locally will be suited to the climate of the area and minimise the bad effects of the climate and maximise the good ones. A Building Biologist can assist with home design for healthy living, factoring these aspects in. A good architect or builder will also be aware of these factors.

Insulation and energy efficiency is good, and should be a part of your home design, but not at the expense of your health.

It may be that you think having a home designed by an architect or custom-built to your specifications may be too expensive. However, I urge you to really look at the costs, not only short term design and building costs, but also the long term costs of living in that house, as well as the health of the occupants – your family – and work out what’s really important to you.

Home Design – Needing Some Inspiration?

You will spend the vast majority of your life in your home – yes, sure, much of it will be sleeping, but there will also be plenty of times where you just sit and relax, in the evenings and at weekends. With that in mind, don’t you want your home to be nice to look at?

It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of good home design when it comes to your overall quality of life. Your home should be a place where you can relax, but at the same time get things done that you want to get done. If you’re always fighting against your home’s design to do simple tasks, it can seriously affect how happy you are with your life overall. More than one couple has broken up only to find that it wasn’t really their partner that was bothering them at all – it was the shabby home they had together.

Most people think that they can design their home perfectly well themselves, but in reality few can. You have to have a very specific idea of what you want, be able to accommodate everyone who lives there, and then actually follow through and get the job done quickly and to a high standard. If you miss one of these things out, then you end up spending years on home improvements, or with a finish you’re not happy with, or simply with a compromise design that no-one really wanted.

If you want your home designed properly, you should probably bring in a professional, who will take everyone’s needs into account and design an elegant solution to your problems. It can be truly shocking just how much homes improve with a minimal amount of professional design – it’s like the difference between an amateur newsletter and a real newspaper, or a landscape garden compared to a random set of plants. The best part is that you only really need to have it done once (at least until you move), meaning that it’s a very worthwhile investment that will likely improve not only the quality of your life but also the sale value of your home.