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Enduring Architecture

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Architect Craig South explores the positive impact quality, well-considered design can have on a family’s future.

After recently catching up with clients who are still living in their home 10 years after it was designed, the importance of well-considered design was abundantly clear. When we were designing the Brown House, all those years ago, they were a young family with two small boys and another on the way, they had never built before and didn’t have a clear picture of what they wanted. But they knew how they wanted to live.

And now, 10 years on, although their lives have changed, and their boys are much older, their home still works perfectly for them. They may have redecorated some of the rooms to match their current tastes, but the spaces remain the same; save for the Toy Store! A small room off the kitchen and dining area that was originally designed for all the kids ‘stuff’, the highchairs, games and toys, has now become the children’s study. And although the use has changed, the proximity to the kitchen means the room is ideal for its new use as it is very easy to keep an eye on homework whilst cooking dinner in the evening!

The value an architect brings to your home is immeasurable; we understand that it is the unique features and quirks that makes a house your home. And these features aren’t necessarily the cedar wall in the stairwell or the double shower in the ensuite, but also include how the spaces are organized to best suit the way your family lives. This may be different for every client; some require large open plan rooms where the kitchen, dining and living areas are encompassed in one space. Whereas other clients want more compartmentalized areas so, like the Browns, they can host dinner parties in the dining room then retire to a separate sitting area. All whilst the children are watching tv or playing video games in another space; connected but still independent. It is our job, as architects, to listen to you and take the time to get to know you and your family so we can tailor your home to meet your specific needs now and into the future.

After 10 years; fashions have changed, fads have come and gone but the well-considered design of the Brown House has stood the test of time. As architects, we want nothing more than our designs to last a lifetime, for the design not to be stuck in a certain era or fashion trend. There may be cosmetic changes to ‘keep up with the times’ but the spaces should remain functional and suitable. I was surprised and delighted to hear that the Browns still receive plenty of positive comments about their home; “When people visit for the first time, they often cannot believe its 10 years old! Our home fits our family so perfectly that people think we have only just recently built, not a decade ago!”

It was a fascinating experience to discuss how the home has developed with the family and the elements they have added over time as and when they could afford them. When we first designed their home, there was always a pool in the plans, but the Browns decided it wasn’t a necessity yet. But knowing it was something they wanted in the future, it was planned for so could be added when the time came. Although the Browns would love to build again in the future, they are confident that the location, size of their section and the spaces within their home will continue to service their needs until their boys have left home, so until their needs change there is no real desire to move.

The opportunity to revisit one of my earlier designs and discover that it is still as functional and beautiful as it was a decade ago has reminded me just how important our job, as architects, is. We help to make your house, your forever home.

Published in Metropol Magazine

Published on Thursday, June 21st, 2018