creating a needs and wants list

A needs and wants list is one of the most important pieces of information that will assist yourself and your architect in understanding the feasibility of your project.  The exercise of creating the list forces you to think like an architect.  It forces you to understand exactly what spaces you need and what spaces you want.  This information will then be used by your architect to produce a space program listing all of your rooms, sizes, and special details.  Here are a few tips to help guide you in starting the needs and wants list:

spaces [ indoor ]

Instead of simply starting a list of rooms it is best to begin thinking about your family’s current and future routines.  What is a typical morning like?  What about evenings?  What is different about those routines on the weekend?  Do you like to entertain?  Do you have children or are you planning to have children?  Start to consider if you want to have a single floor home or multi-level home.  Those are just a few of the many types of questions you should be asking yourself when making a needs and wants list.  

Now, you can begin listing all of the rooms you think you need and write small descriptions of each room.  Note major pieces of furniture or appliances you may already have and would like to include.  Maybe you have a large painting or sculpture you would like to feature in your new home.

 [ example ]  

Office:  large enough for an L shaped desk. Include a small closet.  There should be space for my trophy cabinet and wall space for my plaques.

Through discussions with your architect and armed with this information you will begin breaking down the spaces into needs and wants.  Your architect will also supply feedback and ideas on how these spaces will interact with one another as well as making you aware of additional opportunities for your design. 

spaces [ outdoor]

Most clients will focus on the interior spaces and forget to think about the outdoor spaces of their new home.  Similar to the inside space need and wants list you should begin thinking about outdoor spaces.  In fact, you may want to blend the outdoor and indoor spaces together.  A connection to the outdoors is a common need for many clients.  You can also get into more details such as exterior fireplaces, pools, patios, and how you see yourself and your family using the outdoors spaces.

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This article was an excerpt from our free guide: "5 Steps to Hiring an Architect and Building Your Dream Home".

Designing and constructing a building (whether a home or large office) is a complex and intimidatingendeavor.
We wanted to create a guide that breaks down the process, introduces you to the terminology, and helps
you get started on your project. Additionally, we added a few simple exercises to get you started right