When beginning the design process for a new home, a homeowner typically has an idea of what he or she would like his or her house to look like. It is the job of those working on the house to capture that one-of-a-kind style and make a dream reality. A homeowner almost always gets his or her design fantasies from outside sources such as magazines, Pinterest or HGTV. Because of this, it is recommend that those going through the design process create a “style file”; a resource that contains photos of homes, spaces, and notes that explain aspects you like about each image. As the home is designed, the style file becomes an invaluable resource which assists the architect, allowing them to capture what the homeowner loves about the photos, interpolate non-conforming elements, and bring those inspirations to life in the homeowner’s own unique result.
Images in a style file don’t just show the color schemes the homeowner likes and the desired functionality of each area — through the style file, architects can see the atmosphere and mood the clients prefer for each location. The combination of photographs and notes allows the architect to read between the lines and identify those specific features and characteristics the clients desire so they can be incorporated. The inside look at a client’s personal preferences will result in a combination of materials, lighting, and architectural elements that resonate with his or her tastes.
Building Your Style File
Whether it’s a board on Pinterest, Houzz, a folder filled with magazine cut-outs labeled with sticky notes, or a list of links to online resources, the style file should be in a format one can easily use and feel comfortable expressing themselves. It may be assembled over a few weeks, or the result of years of dreaming on the perfect home. The style file doesn’t need to indicate selections down to every last switch plate or cabinet pull throughout the home — just focus on selecting images that capture the desired atmosphere.
A Visual Vocabulary
A client can describe his or her tastes with pictures in a way that mere words cannot: visually. With a style file, architect and client can meet on the same page, whereas with only words, meaning often becomes lost in translation. The photos don’t have to be elaborate; what is important is that they speak to the homeowner and express what they want for their new home on an emotional and artistic level. Through the resources compiled, the architect can absorb the client’s likes and dislikes, and learn how to better express their visual vocabulary.
How Your Architect Uses Your Style File
Equipped with this amazing insight, the homeowner’s personal style and preferences, the images and notes included help an architect’s mind take off- they begin between the lines, forming impressions, and asking clarifying questions. Examining a style file allows them to gain a strong sense of their client’s style, and the moods they would like throughout your home. Architects, then, become enabled to design in the third dimension elevations, sections, as they explore the homeowner’s unique style.
In short, the style file is a translation of dreams to reality. It is how architects and interior designers can begin to better understand their clients. It is also a fun way to dive into the design process. Creating one is not a mandatory requirement for the building process, it will not stop the construction of the dream home or hold back production… but, it will make the process more challenging and potentially stressful.
So, have fun with it, get some Sticky Notes and pens and start marking down pages!
© 2017 Kevin Harris, Architect, LLC
Kevin Harris, Architect, LLC designs custom homes to satisfy, support and sustain our client’s best life, to be an authentic expression of their site, lifestyle and culture, while remaining rooted in history and expressive of the times. For more information on Kevin or the firm go to www.kevinharrisarchitect.com.