For a Terrific House Choose a Terrific House Design

My grandfather was a developer, my father was a builder, and my mother was an interior decorator. Our family was all about houses and house design. My favorite past time as a child was drawing up house plans on graph paper. I particularly liked drawing in the doors and windows.

I did not go on to become an architect or designer, but I'm still fascinated by house plans. When my friend Jenny decided to build a new house on her riverside lot, I was thrilled to hear about the endless meetings with the architect and the builder. All the details and problems were as intriguing to me as a good mystery. I loved looking at the house plans. In particular, I wanted to know where everything was to go, especially the doors and windows.

Seeing the finished house, with big windows overlooking the river and views from every room, I'm more convinced than ever of the importance of professional house plans. Jenny's house is small, no more than 1000 square feet, but because of the excellent design it doesn't feel small. Everything has a place; no space is wasted, but nothing is cramped. She has the ease and convenience of a small house without feeling boxed in.

All houses, not just small houses, benefit from quality designs. I'm renting a house right now and it just makes no sense. The entryway and living room as so dark they are not very inviting. And there's no air circulation in the dining room, so we're all sweating by the second course. There's a window in the shower, so the window frame is rotting away. Very bad planning.

One good thing about this house is the landscaping in the front yard. My rental house is in a hot climate, so the big banyan trees provide valuable natural cooling. This brings up two points about house design: landscaping makes a difference and energy-saving design is essential these days.

Landscaping is part of the overall house design. For good results, the designer should consider the landscape possibilities when designing the house. That doesn't mean that the details of what gets planted where need to be decided before the house is built. But it does mean that the house design needs to take into account the natural landscaping and the homeowner's garden desires.