Making a home is a life-long process. It CAN’T always require renovations because you'd have no time (or money) for anything else!
Home should help you live your life, not just look like it.
Understand what you want to DO in your home because, no matter how beautiful or impressive the design, your home is only as good as the life you make there. If you aren't happy in your life, you won't be happy in your home.
Collaborate with someone else on a design. Hopefully they'll ask lots of questions about your goals, taste, and money -- questions that you might be tempted to avoid working alone.
Home Design should start with explicit questions about your behavioral patterns, adaptability, cherished belongings, underlying beliefs, taste, and the tools of your daily life.
Details matter. For example, if I design a kitchen with a client, it will be a wonderful space for any cook. But the details -- oh those DETAILS -- will fit the client like a glove. The surroundings will accommodate the life they live as well as guiding them towards their aspirations.
Each life, and each space, raises its own set of issues. Sticking with the kitchen example, here’s one of many very pragmatic question sets you can expect to discuss:
As adults, we’re responsible for choosing the kind of home we’ll make, and in turn our homes act on us every day. In our development as people it turns out that both nature and nurture matter, and our homes are an omnipresent part of what nurtures and influences us as we mature. The choices we make about home are inseparable from the personality we develop in the same way that our diet and exercise habits are inseparable from our future health. Making a wonderful home is a significant and powerful activity. It is one aspect of taking responsibility for ourselves, the people we love, and our community -- no matter how large.
Forget the cliché of "Suzy Homemaker." Simply put, making a rewarding home is one of the greatest challenges -- and greatest opportunities -- of adulthood.
Remember that things change.
Your finances might be unpredictable. Values rise -- and fall. Don't overspend what's right for you.
Your improvements might add value to the house, but it won’t BE your house if you improve so much that you’re forced to sell!
Sometimes wisdom lies in doing less, and making fullest use of what you already have. A little creativity and adaptability can go a long way.
Your home should support a life richly lived. It should not require you to be financially richer than you actually are in order to live in it!
Don’t be surprised if your perceptions change over time. You might think that "answers" come with maturity, but sometimes just the opposite is true. As you mature you might feel an increasing sense of frustration and urgency around about your home. That makes sense: by the time you’ve spent thirty or forty years working to make a wonderful home you’ve tried many possibilities. Along the way your life and your needs have continued to change, so you’ve made physical and emotional investments in “solutions” that may not be optimal now -- even if they were once a brilliant success. It’s possible that your home seems to stop working for you just when you start to feel like you were about to get it right. No worries.... Trust the PROCESS!