To further frustrate and disappoint ourselves we watch aspirational TV shows which highlight the lives we should be living and the homes in which we should be living them, as Dermot, Kevin or George make another dream home come true. But where do we start and how do we get there, how do I even know what I really want? The dream home is attainable and achievable, but the key part is to know what you want and define your vision of the dream.
So, where do I start? We start at what we want from our house and how it should work for us. A simple list, what we architects call a brief, is where to begin. This list can be spatial; 3 bedrooms, a pantry and a kitchen. It can be a list of aspirations; I want somewhere to read a book in peace, I want to bring the outside in, I want a bedroom like a hotel, I want my kitchen to be somewhere we can all gather and entertain. It can be functional; a place to wash my dog; a place to store my golf clubs, somewhere for the kids toys.
There is no right or wrong answer for your brief; it is just that, your brief, a list of all the minor and major things which you would want.
What we are trying to establish is what your house needs to do and what you would like it to do and also very importantly what it is that you don’t like about your current home. The same principle applies whether you are planning a minor refurbishment, a large extension or a new build house. The RIAI gives some excellent guidance on their website in the form of 20 questions and these will help prompt you in the type of questions to be asking yourself, which you can use as a basis to start this dialogue with yourself and your family.
Architecture, like all design, is creative problem solving, so to solve the problem we need to know what it is. So question, reflect, review, analyse, write it all down, watch all those aspirational shows but most importantly don’t forget to dream.
Diarmuid Reil MRIAI Architect