At our recent “Better Home: Better Life” Workshop we asked, “what does it take to make a good home great?” What unfolded was a look at the roadmap we rely on to answer that question. What it takes is a robust approach to what is broadly described as “design thinking.”

 

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We dug into each of these five steps of our design process, and concluded with a summary of what we think are the “smart choices” and “common mistakes” that people can make when approaching their own projects.

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  • Don’t start with the solution (first understand the “problem”)
  • Observe the behavior of the system (and its limits)
  • Follow a systematic design process
  • Discover the home that could be (great!)
  • Bake high performance in (you can’t paste it on)
  • Move from the general to the specific (look thru the right end of the telescope)
  • Realistically establish what’s possible at what cost (don’t rely on $/SF)
  • If necessary do some now, some later
  • Work with the grain – then choose your battles
  • Think like a movie director (set the stage from scene to scene)
  • Document for clarity of communication so everyone understands each other
  • Make timely decisions
  • Build a palette of materials you love in your style
  • Integrate design with construction (don’t treat them separately)
  • Collaborate with the best team you can find (and trust in their pride of craft)

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  • Starting with a solution (“I need to build…”)
  • Focusing above the surface (not looking deeper)
  • Heading directly to execution (little attention to design)
  • Trusting: “That’s the way we’ve always done it”
  • Overspecializing spaces (a room for every perceived need)
  • Thinking short term
  • Mistaking cost for value (and favoring quantity over quality)
  • Imagining you can do more than you can (or should) yourself
  • Imagining people who build know how to design
  • Imagining people who design know how to build (and what it costs!)
  • Treating design and construction separately (and missing the benefit of integration)
  • Communicating poorly or incompletely
  • Designing as you go (to postpone decision making)
  • Considering design expendable

Interested in learning more or attending our “Better Home. Better Life.” Workshop?

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Visit our event post to learn more, download Jamie’s “Better Remodeling Guide” and subscribe for future Workshop updates.

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