Design is as much about function as it is about style. A house can be beautifully appointed yet the floorplan doesn’t work or not have enough space or have wasted space.
I was in a home yesterday which needed updating and some TLC but the floorplan and the space absolutely worked for my clients. It was interesting to see an older home which had usable space and room to grow as they usually have many restrictions.
We were able to devise a plan for a kitchen expansion and to use an unused bedroom for a better purpose.
The walk through from the dining room to the living room will be widened and will bring those two rooms together in a more cohesive fashion.
It was a wonderful layout and I was surprised and delighted to work with these clients on this project. When I compared it to my bungalow I found it interesting how my layout, while similar, was not nearly as functional as this house. My kitchen layout does not work at all and the possibility of change is much more limiting than the house I had just visited.
Recently I sold a house to a lovely couple in Ponoka which had not been updated in several years.
The house had been overlooked because of some horrific paint colours (John Deere green anyone?) and this couple was able to see past the colours and were able to plan for an immediate re-paint to soften and modernize the palette. The kitchen was typical with honey oak cabinets and pinkish countertops and tile which didn’t scare this couple one bit. They had already owned a home which they had updated and were up to the challenge.
While we were planning the items to update this house I pointed out that the kitchen could be improved in looks but not in function.
Where the kitchen was set in the home left no room for expansion and gave them no options for changes in the layout. I was careful to walk through the functionality of the kitchen advising them to make sure that they were happy with the current placement of cabinets and appliances.
Re-facing kitchen cabinets and installing new tile makes a kitchen look fine but if the configuration of the kitchen does not work all you are left with is a pretty yet poorly functioning kitchen.
When redesigning a home, it is important to look at function and usable space and not just updating colours or materials.
While it can be exciting to pick out new paint colours and accessories, it is a good idea to walk around the space with the help of a professional and recognize what parts of the layout of a certain room don’t work for your needs.
I am able to update my kitchen and make it LOOK better but without major repositioning of certain cabinets and appliances it will not function any better than it does right now.
It is one of those things that will niggle at you and make you dissatisfied with your home, even if you sink precious dollars into a renovation if you overlook the functionality of your design.
Put careful thought and planning into your renovation and regard function as well as colour when you begin dreaming about your next renovation project.
Kim Wyse is a local freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.