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February 3, 2011

15 Essential steps you need to know, when designing your dream home. Part 2 of 5

Last week we looked at steps 1-3 of designing your dream home.

1. Selecting your perfect structure.
2. Floor plans and elevations.
3. Function.

Today we'll look at steps 4, 5 and 6. Whether you are building from scratch, renovating, or just tackling that one room; we'll help you solve your design dilemmas.

4. Budget:

The dreaded "B" word - budget. Create a budget and stick to it. I know it's not fun, but yes, it is essential. Here’s some help…
Speak with your builder or interior designer first. They will have a set amount of money allotted for items such as counter tops, lighting fixtures, flooring etc. Shop within this budget and see what you get for that amount. Remember a good hint is to put your money in things that you touch or see on flat surfaces, these are the items that are most visually prominent.

 Materials such as flooring, counter tops and paint are often where quality really shows. Go for the best you can afford for those surfaces. Items that aren't so visually apparent like toilets, sinks, and high mounted lighting fixtures don't need to be expensive to get that great look.

Master Bathroom  bathroom

So, save on some areas and splurge where it really shows! When budgeting, don’t forget to include essential items such as window coverings, home insurance and property taxes. 

5. Mood and Style:

Choose to create an emotional atmosphere in your home. We live by our emotions. Have you ever seen a home that is lovely, but lacking something? It's probably lacking emotion or mood – the real ‘feel’ of the home.
What mood do I want this house to convey? What's my style? Traditional, contemporary, west coast or 50s bungalow? Look at the exterior of your home and continue that style throughout. Nothing looks worse than when you have an exterior that is a different style from the interior. We need a unified and beautiful look to create a harmonious home.

I live in a Frank Lloyd Wright styled home. In design school, I learned that he spent a lot of time in Japan. His homes and interiors quite often reflected the Japanese style - low, horizontal lines, and low pitched roofs. So I went with a slightly Asian look in my home, minimal furnishings, no clutter, I selected furniture for function - with a Zen like appeal.

Current issue

Look at those tear sheets you've collected from magazines, often they evoke the mood that you love. Try to replicate that mood - if you need help hire an interior designer- this can be the most cost effective way of keeping you on budget. Designers prevent you from purchasing those 'one-off' kind of items. Having those types of items in your design can throw off your focus, ending up with a home that has no cohesive flow. Designers can sum up the mood you are trying to achieve and keep you on track.
80% of your style should be one focused style. Whether it's casual, modern, country, formal or informal; keep your style in mind when selecting tile, kitchen cabinets, plumbing fixtures, or purchasing furniture.

6. Design:

I like to start with the kitchen; it truly is the heart of the home. Select appropriate appliances before designing cabinetry. Note: non-standard sized appliances or fridges will not fit in standard cabinetry. Work with a great designer who knows how to create functional kitchen spaces.

We aren't so concerned about the traditional triangle in kitchen design – whereby the stove, sink and fridge are in a triangle formation. That worked well when there was only one cook in the kitchen, but as kitchens increasingly have multiple family cooks helping out - think about work zones. We need a baking and cooking zone, prep zone, beverage zone, clean up zone. Ensure all work areas are covered and it will make your life so much easier.

Farm Sink traditional kitchen

Look through the other ‘work’ rooms of your home i.e. laundry and bathroom areas. List your day to day activities and ensure your home truly functions to enable your life to flow smoothly. Isn't that what great design is all about?
Stay tuned for more great design tips from Reflections Interior Designs.


  1. Great advice Jil. Budgets are so hard to stick to because there are so many stages and it's easy to go off just a little on a dozen things...Carol

  2. Hi Jil,

    It was nice to meet you on Saturday, albeit briefly! I can see I'm gonna love reading your blog!

  3. Carol, wouldn't it be nice to have no budget? Imagine the fun we could have :)

    Tracey, so great to see you and maybe we can talk more at the next get together!


I just can't wait to hear what you have to say!