Custom Design Home – The Design Brief

Where do you start to design a custom design home? The Design Brief.

Do you know what you want? Do you know what you need? These are two very different questions with very different answers. No matter what your budget is, you will have to get clear on this. You will have to come up with a list! We in the design profession refer to it by the more fancy term of “Design Brief” and it can consist of a scratched out list on the back of an envelope to a 30 page document with magazine inserts, sample plans and paint swatches.

The more complete your Design Brief is, the easier it is to come up with suitable custom home design solutions. Some people like to keep their brief very open, leaving it to the designer to miraculously come up with the perfect design. Whilst those with finely honed psychic powers can achieve this task, it really is akin to trying to shoot a moving target in the dark. It is a process that leads to high expectations from a client – especially if the designer has been foolish enough to promise such a miracle – and usually ends in disappointment.

Having a good Design Brief does not mean that you have to come up with a plan as such, that is the designers job! But feel free to express your own creative talents if you want to start working up a preliminary plan. Thumbnail sketches are good! No-one expects you to be an architect. A plan doesn’t have to be to scale, it is important to just get a concept of the sort of spaces you will need. A bubble diagram with labeled circles for rooms is a good starting point.

I describe the design process to my clients as being like doing a jigsaw – they provide the individual pieces and I put it all together for them to create the overall picture. Custom home design does not necessarily translate as “over the top” and expensive. I’ve designed many modest homes that have been a perfect blend of bringing the functions you need with some special features to make a home unique, individual and a reflection of the client’s personality.

Your brief really needs to consist of some basics: Types of room, Room sizes, Vehicle accommodation, How you want spaces to interconnect, Overall house size, Budget, Outdoor areas, Other structures, pools etc., Special needs or hobbies to be catered for, Furniture sizes, …….the list can get as detailed as you like. Include your “wish list” items but realise that budget will dictate how much you can include in the final home design. Remember designers are usually very visual people, so the more pictures you have to communicate your ideas, the better.

Custom Home Design