As a mother of two, I cook. A lot. It occurred to me that creating great architecture for your home is not so very different to cooking a fantastic meal for your family. Both are essentials, food is the thing that sustains us, architecture (read: building well) is the frame which our daily lives are surrounded and protected by. I have a passion for this because, while many can see instantly (or within the next 24hrs) the effect of good food vs bad, as an Architect I can see and have experienced the positive impact that quality homes have on peoples lives over the course of years.
Just as this makes a great deal of difference in baking and cooking, in Architecture and building, the quality of your materials determines the quality of the final outcome. Your building can decide the health of the family by the toxins it gives off, the insulation values to keep you warm, quality cladding to keep you dry, the light levels which impact on your psychological health. Its worth researching the right products and design carefully to ensure that the best result is achieved and can even save you money in the long run.
2. Develop a customised and tailored menu for your family.
After cooking for children with intolerances and little ones suspicious of new foods, you get to know what is going to suit your family best and also how incorporate how to provide variation to their diets over the course of the week to ensure they get the right nutrients for growth. With building, whether you buy a ‘do up’ or have the amazing opportunity to build your own home, looking carefully at what is going to suit you as a family and also allowing for future growth is important. Spaces impact on how we live our daily lives and its important to get them right – make sure they FIT you, there’s only so much coloured cushions and a coat of paint are going to do, sometimes you need to get heavy with the sledgehammer to add your own flavour to the place.
3. Quick is not always best.
Just as a diet of fast food is going to have an impact on your body, so too is suburb after suburb of quickly built and poorly detailed ‘cookie cutter’ homes on our lives. I like the idea of the ‘slow architecture’ concept (http://slowhomestudio.com/) where careful thought is encouraged to be put into the spaces that surround us with respect to our daily life, the environment, the surrounding urban streetscape.
4. Use a great recipe.
I dont know about you, but to cook for my family I springboard off recipes by great chefs and cooks (Annabel Langbein you are my hero http://www.annabel-langbein.com/) as their experience and expertise gives me a base with which to develop my skills and then try my own variations. Its the same with building, working together with the experience of an appropriate design professional actually helps you with your ideas and gives you the confidence to try new things that you hadn’t thought of before as well, as making sure its the right recipe for your site, climate, budget, brief.
5. Grow your own.
Looking for ways to increase your own personal touch into cooking for your family or building the elements of your home, then look no further than GIY or DIY.
6. Stick to your shopping list and budget.
Overspending at the supermarket or on a building site only causes stress to a tight family budget (and is no good for anyones digestion). Aim to stick to your list and craft your expectations/recipes for cooking and building accordingly.
7. Trust your instincts.
Just as you know what you like to taste and eat (my family are mad for anything with seafood, or a great cake with icing), so you also know what you instinctively like in a home. Choose design professionals that speak the same language and that LISTEN to you.