You may think that people want features that are exotic or expensive or complicated in their house designs. Some people do. However, most people want simpler, more practical things. Like durability, low maintenance, energy efficiency, good looks, efficient use of space, logical arrangement of rooms, logic and practicality.
Some people may not think that sounds very exciting, but sometimes you just need Dependability from your house. Sometimes good old fashioned peace and quiet and reliability is what you want. Many people take for granted that architect will make their house design look good. And that is true. You should expect that. No architect worth his salt should talk too much about that, because it is expected.
What is meant by RELIABILITY in a residential design? That it works. That it will be there after high winds blow or after modest ground tremors, or heavy rains. That the electrical system provides dependable, constant power. That things stay put and wear minimally. That the home’s joints stay tight and keep out the wind, rain and cold. That the insulation functions properly, keeping your house comfortable during all seasons. That your roof keeps the inside of your house dry. That your sealants and other coatings and materials keep wind borne water from entering your house. That your windows and doors frame outstanding views, have minimal infiltration and are positioned to resist uncontrolled sunlight, heat and cold and water. That your foundation and other aspects of your structural system stay put on solid ground. That the very earth around your house conducts rainwater down and away from the structure. That your sewage system conducts all your waste safely away from your house and deal with it so that you don’t have to think about it. That your well or water source is clean, flowing, unfrozen and tastes wonderful.
Okay, now how about ENERGY EFFICIENCY? What exactly does that mean? Some pie in the sky “Green” thingamajig? No. Special sealant and/or insulation first, that seals the majority of the cracks and crevices from the inside out, which is how Rand Soellner Architect specifies it. Second, special rigid insulation sheeting around the inside of your floor joist bands, preventing condensation that is sure to occur here if you don’t (per Building Sciences Corp.) Third, mass insulation that fills the wall spaces, floors, ceiling/attics that gives you the most “R” value for the least dollar. In other words, a lot of bang for your buck. Fourth, interior vapor barrier that is “smart” that lets moisture through (from inside to outside in summer, and reverses this in winter). In other words, a tightly construction house that properly controls and treats the air in your house so that it sips energy rather than guzzles it.
And LOW MAINTENANCE? What does that mean? It means using materials that last a long time, hopefully forever (as far as your lifetime is concerned), and coatings that last a long time, and hopefully have integral color and finishes as much as possible. Fasteners also enter into this equation, for instance, Soellner specifies galvanized ring shank nails for just about everything. If you have never tried to remove a ring shank nail, try it. You will pull the head off the nail before you will be able to budge the shaft. It is like a screw. The added cost? Pennies. The effect on your maintenance? Things stay put because nails on Soellner projects do Not back out. And those are just for starters.
GOOD LOOKS: take a look at Soellner’s website, and books and magazines featuring his house designs. Even on Amazon.com, along with some of the leading architects on the planet. He is one of the top architects in the world under the category of Rustic Elegance.
LOGIC, PRACTICALITY, EFFICIENT USE OF SPACE: Soellner’s designs typically have little to no hallways or corridors. Every square inch is effectively utilized. Open Space Planning is prominently featured in public areas. What is supposed to be close to other spaces are. For instance, garages are located near to kitchens. dining and living areas look out the back at your views. Closets, foyers, stairs and other non-view spaces are located along the front of the houses, buffering the view spaces. Master suites are located in split plan arrangements, away from guest rooms for privacy and peace and quiet.
For more, please see Rand Soellner’s website: www.HomeArchitects.com