The best thing about each of my projects is when my client (who by this time I think of as a friend) is to the point when we can introduce elements that are unique to their project. It tends to happen naturally as we develop the design.
Clients tell me their goals for the space, we talk about what the space needs to accomplish to reach these goals. This is more about the function of the space. We insure it meets their needs and not the needs of an unknown Houzz or Pinterest viewer. As we move forward, we ask, ‘what is the very first thing you see, hear, feel and yes, sometimes even smell’, when you initially enter?
I will use my home as an example. Something that is important to me is nature and being outside. Plants, landscaping and even the birds and squirrels around my home are part of this scene. Because I live in the city ‘nature’ is my yard. When you walk in my front door the first thing you see is straight through my house to the backyard. Actually, before you even get to my front door you may have already noticed the plantings on my parking strip, my front yard landscaping, the vines growing on every vertical surface and scents from different shrubs along the path and maybe even the scents (on a really hot day) from the chickens around the side of the house. What?!? Chickens are part of nature. Sometimes nature isn’t so fresh.
You may also notice the numerous outdoor spaces; The elevated, west facing deck with Adirondack chairs for wine, warm evenings and sunsets. The small, cozy, southeast facing back deck with comfy furniture and a cover. It is perfect for weekend early morning coffee and even in the colder months (i.e. rainy), when we add a fire ring and a string of lights, it’s perfect for watching an Anthony Bourdain on the computer.
A couple steps down from there is a small, sunken, south facing cobblestone patio with table, chairs and benches. We use this when guests are over or when we need dappled sun because Seattle broke the 80* mark. The patio is enveloped by gardens that provide privacy from nearby neighbors and both sun and shade depending on where you are sitting.
Two steps up from there is the backyard with vegetable gardens and an outdoor kitchen complete with recycled granite countertops from Second Use and a Big Green Egg. A Rainier Cherry tree is in the middle with an old swing that the kids spent many years on. If we have a really big group, we have a couple of 6’ fold out tables that we can put on the lawn. We then scrounge up chairs from around the house for seating.These are all very small spaces.
My lot is under 4,000 square feet. Your spaces don’t need to be big. It just needs to be about you. What do you value? What do you like to see when you pull up in the driveway or open your front door? What is important to you and your family? For me, the plantings in the yard that are always growing and changing with the seasons and seeing the outline of my dogs’ head (specifically his ears) in the front window overlooking the street. It’s okay to work a special window (or two!) into your remodel to see what you love, whether it’s nature or the dog who awaits your arrival each day!