"why are we doing this?" A Planning Process

Most construction and remodeling projects start as a result of a household reaching a stage in life that triggers the need to do "something" about housing. Some of these events include: the birth of a child, children going to school, the kids are growing but the house isn't, first time home buyers without children are just entering the world of work and/or home ownership, empty nesting, and retirement. Besides money, life safety, and life cycle concerns; some people just like working on improving and expanding their homes to modernize them or to improve upon or restore the original design.

The 'Wish List' is one way to clarify and review the reasons for doing the project. This method organizes ideas into categories. For example:

  • The "Must Includes" (a third bedroom, ample closet space, or a storage room);
  • The "Would Be Nice If Possibles" (a roof level deck, a hot tub, special windows, art studio space);
  • The "Under No Circumstances" (changing the style of the house, blocking sunlight from a garden space, or using disliked construction materials);
  • The "Remaining Questions" (a list of the questions "not yet answered" is a great way to make sure that such questions are not forgotten along the way).

An example of a more detailed planning process can be found on our Kitchen Design topic page. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0671692593/thesoundhomeresoA/">

But don't forget to dream a little, the ideas you gather might not be too difficult or too expensive to incorporate into your plans. This is the time to gather such ideas.

I like to cook, and I love construction. One book that has given me some ideas about both subjects is http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0671692593/thesoundhomeresoA/">Monet's Table.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=067976948X/thesoundhomeresoA/"> Another book on my bookshelf is http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0912020008/thesoundhomeresoA/">Handmade House by Art Boericke and Barry Shapiro. The book is out of print but may be available by special order or in your local used bookstore. This is a great idea book, even though most of us would choose some more conventional designs. Another good idea book is http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=067976948X/thesoundhomeresoA/">Shelter by Lloyd Kahn.

See also: The Value of Planing and A Field Guide to Bad Construction and Remodeling Projects and Is It Wroth Remodeling

This is also the time to go to various home shows, open houses and other locations which might stimulate ideas.