Design and functionality are the two main objectives when building a new home or renovating an existing one. Of course, design is the motivation that promotes excitement and fuels grandiose dreams. It is also the element we tend to focus on first. However, design without functionality can equal long-term regret and sometimes spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.
Some common regrets are examined below:
Photo: via Houzz (This seating arrangement is great for conversation)
Kitchen Seating Area - Everyone gathers in the kitchen and in many cases, it is the center of home activity. So, seating is important! Most homes today have center islands. While they are very functional, providing additional working counter space and cabinets for storage, seating is sometimes overlooked. While design is definitely an important factor when planning, many get lost in the aesthetics instead and forget this important area. This houzz article demonstrates a common mistake of putting all of the seating in a row, making it almost impossible for people to have conversation. When planning the island, consider the best scenario for social interaction like an extension of the island with seating opposite of each other so everyone can communicate. If space is limited, design the island so seating is adjacent.
Photo: via marblerenewal.ca (Stained Marble)
Counter Tops - Choosing the right surface for countertops is a big deal. After all, you will look at it and work on it every day. Of course you want it to be functional but also beautiful. Many homeowners are choosing real marble and it is fabulous but not very practical for a heavily used area like the kitchen. This article from abeautifulmess.com gives a great example of this issue. Even sealed, it is still very porous and stains easily, causing a very discolored countertop that was expensive. Quartz and granite are always a great choice for durability and longevity.
Photo: via theydesign.net (Built-in pantry cabinet)
Specialty Cabinets - Planning kitchen cabinets is a large part of design and truly requires a lot of thought. It is suggested by many designers to live in the space first before renovating to see what your needs will be. If this isn’t possible, then seeking advice from a professional is strongly advised or you will be wishing you hadn’t ditched the pantry cabinet like this homeowner who felt strongly enough about her regret to warn others. She opted to remove a tall pantry cabinet to make space for more traditional cabinets only to realize she didn’t really need them but she definitely needed that pantry. Now she struggles to reach her canned and dry goods in an awkward corner cabinet. - read her story.
These are just a few examples of design overshadowing functionality. In order to avoid mistakes or wish for “do-overs” in any new build or remodel, planning is essential and unless you have had experience in building and/or renovations, it is wise to hire a professional or at the very least, opt for a consultation. It will be worth the investment at the beginning of the project as opposed to heartache and regret at the end.
For more common mistakes that cause regret, read this article from This Old House.