–A Zen saying… ” To climb a mountain, start at the top.“
Create a concept, brainstorm, mental imagery… do any thought process without concern for cost. If you lived in your home for a while, I’m sure there’s a few things that you’ve grown to hate that weren’t all that bad when you purchased. Or you overlooked them, knowing they’d be fixed later. Well later is coming. Start making a list. Organize the list by room. Or organize the list by problem areas. What you’re doing is developing a building program.
For example, when you moved in, you remembered having to take the hinges off the door to a bedroom or two. Why did you do that? Maybe you don’t care but good design considers these situations. Maybe the original home builder put a closet in a room and just bumped out the wall and getting into the room was no problem EXCEPT when you spent hours trying to get a dresser into the room.
What’s Your Renovation Goal?
This is fairly simple to define. The activities, once defined, are not so simple to perform if your end result is to build a beautiful usable functional space utilizing local materials, minimizing waste and energy consumption.
The first type of construction is ground-up or new construction. But isn’t all construction new. Yes but in this definition, the second type of construction is renovation work on existing buildings. So there is ground-up new construction and renovation construction of existing buildings.
In my opinion, renovation construction is more complicated than ground-up new construction because one must work with the existing idiosyncrasies of previous owners and builders.
Years of implanting an owner’s personality into a building need to be erased to accommodate a new owner. Previous renovations done by the owner or his contractors may have been done with varying degrees of success or competency… or maybe no capabilities at all. And work could have been done without permits or worse, not built to minimum code standards.
Ground-Up New Construction
The other type of construction is ground-up new and this is like starting with a blank palette. Of course, I don’t mean to cut down every tree to plop a house or building in the middle of the lot. As has been said to me too many times to count, “We used to just throw a rock on the site and that’s where we built…”