In this article Lexis Homes’ Design and Style Coordinator, Shilynne Ward, explains how she helps clients with the home building process and consults on design decisions. Shilynne shares trends regarding new home design, floor-plans, and tools/resources people can use when looking for inspiration.
Q#1: What is your design role with Lexis homes and where do you fit in the building process?
As Design and Style Coordinator, I work with our homeowners from conception to completion. Starting with the floor planning stage and creating detailed design drawings to convey the homeowner’s design intent to all of our trade partners (framing, electrical, finish carpentry, cabinetry, etc). As foundation and construction begins, we start the selection process. Guiding the homeowners through the various decisions that are to be made from appliances, fireplace, flooring materials, light fixtures, and much more. We are the voice between our homeowners and trades to ensure their vision is what they will receive at the end of the project.
Q#2: What are some of the most important considerations when designing a new home floor plan?
When designing a new floor plan for a custom home, the first step we take as a team is to understand the client’s needs, vision and of course, taking into consideration their budget. When planning out spaces, we need to ensure that the plan is functional, efficient and be used effectively by the homeowner. Some things to consider is sufficient space for circulation, minimizing the length of hallways and pockets of wasted space. This may result in reworking the floor plan multiple times to ensure the best use of the space. The interior layout of a new home also has to result in an appealing exterior. Window and material placement and roof design also need to be considered as the form of the exterior comes together with the layout of the interior spaces.
Q#3: Are there any emerging trends you see when it comes to new home design (e.g. energy efficient, “smart” home connectivity, bungalow vs two storey)?
Recurring themes that we see are open concept plans with function storage to minimize clutter in public ares to allow for hosting large family gatherings, smart appliance that make daily activities easier and overall energy efficiency in the home. Having the ability to customize a home to include high efficiency windows, customizable smart thermostats, HRV air exchange units, and dimmable lighting allows for controling the interior environment with ease.
Q#4: When it comes to finishing (e.g. Paint colour, flooring, cabinets, tiling, wall/ceiling features, staircases, etc) are there some things you recommend or find cool?
Depending on the style/vision that the homeowner has chosen to go with for their new home there are many different finishing treatments that can compliment or enhance the space. Whether it be ceiling details like decorative bulkheads or tray ceiling, decorative tile features in bathrooms, feature walls with paint, wall paper, wood treatment or stylized millwork; all can help carry the theme throughout the home to create a cohesive space.
Q#5: What are some design tips you can relay that will help people from making mistakes?
There can be many unforeseen problems that can occur but having a well-planned design will aid in minimizing those possibilities. The assistance of a professional designer will provide homeowners the peace of mind and professional advice that will benefit them during construction of their new home.
At Lexis Homes, we always ask our clients to provide inspiration photos at the very beginning of the process to ensure that we fully understand their style and vision. We spend time getting to know their high level must haves and many other elements that they want or don’t want in their home. Having some reference to look back on like a strong design concept or inspiration is the simplest way to keep a design on track and avoid a poorly planned home.
Q#6: What resources or websites do you use for design inspiration?
For inspiration resources, we reference various design magazines, and online sources like Houzz, Contemporist and Pinterest when looking for design inspiration. Depending on the style we are looking for will result in different resources used. People are much more aware of design possibilities through TV programs like HGTV and internet resources are available to them, which in turn can make our designs much more complex and unique.
Q#7: Are there any design or decorating tools an average person can use to help them with their design planning?
Other than the resources that are provided above, contacting a professional designer or a home decorator will ensure that their vision is met and creates less stress to achieve it! We always provide our clients with a digital design library of inspiration images based on previous homes we’ve built and have several downloadable guides on our website to aid homeowners in the design and building process. To name a few: “How to Start Designing Your New Home” and “Balancing Needs and Wants in Your New Home”.