To create a unique home.
The following patterns have shown me how to design a house beginning with the ground floor to include the kitchen, lounge, and veranda.
Sunny Counter – Place the main part of the kitchen counter on the south and southeast side of the kitchen, so the sun can flood in – shade it in the summer though.
The south facing kitchen and large windows give us a sunny counter and a bright place to prepare food and chat.
Six Foot Veranda– Whenever you build a balcony make it at least 6 feet deep. If possible recess part of it into the building and enclose it partially.
How home and garden co-exist is an important part of our home building plan. Our verandah is 10’x15’. It is spacious and enclosed in the L-shape made by the kitchen and living room. In warm weather we come here to read, play and eat the occasional meal.
Sunny Place – Inside a south facing garden find the spot between the building and the outdoors which gets the best sun. Develop this spot as a special sunny place.
The position of the sun plays an important role in our house floor plan. Our sunny spot is the veranda. We have a wicker chair, store logs and use netting to give it a bit of shade. A nice relaxing place to enjoy a tea break.
Staircase As A Stage – Treat the whole staircase as a room. Arrange it … so that people coming down the stairs become part of the action in the room…
Our staircase comes down into the living room. We often stop and sit on the staircase to look at television or stare out through the French windows. I regularly stop on the stairs and greet family members in the morning.
South Facing Outdoors – Always place buildings to the North of the outdoor spaces that go with them, and keep the outdoor spaces to the South.
We had no choice about the position of the house. The back faces southeast and gives us lots of early morning sun.
Light On Two Sides Of Every Room – Locate each room so that it has outdoor space outside it on at least two sides and then place windows in these walls.
We have light on three sides of the kitchen, which makes for a bright room from morning to mid afternoon. We also have light on two sides in the living room giving lots of natural light.
Intimacy Gradient– Layout the spaces of a building so that they create a sequence which begins with the most public parts … to the most private domains.
When we get round to putting on an internal door in the hallway it will give that extra bit of privacy that we lack at the moment.
The flat where we lived in Norwich had very little natural light, especially in winter.
In designing the house we made sure two of the bedrooms face southeast. They are full of light in the mornings and we enjoy the ripple effect as the suns’ rays bounce off the pond and dance on the bedroom walls.
Connect the building to the earth around it by building a series of paths, terraces and steps around the edge.
By building an access ramp to the front door I have made life easier in several ways.
· It’s a lot easier to get the pushchair in and out.
· The older children use it for roller-skating.
· And of course most importantly I have created a connection to the earth with steps, paths and flowerbeds.
Christopher Alexander and colleagues compiled over 250 patterns to help us with our floor house plan, and to design better institutions and community buildings. And what for?
To create buildings fit for end users. Far superior to what’s on offer by thoughtless developers.
Alexander’s commentary is written in Italics. I have chosen just a few patterns from his pattern language which have helped me create a comfortable home.
How to Design a House > BuildTu Home