I live in a home that was built over 220 years ago. Of course, it has been added on to over the years and has been adapted to modern living, but much of the house exists as it did in 1790. The builders of my home knew only one way to construct a house, and that was to design it well and build it to last. They succeeded. We often are asked by clients to design their ‘forever home.’ Whether it is a getaway home that is designed eventually to become a family compound, a full-time home that needs a special room, or a home that someday will be a place to retire, thoughtful design and low maintenance are at the top of the list.
Whenever we are asked to design any project, we approach it the same way the builders of my home did: design it as though a family will live there forever. The forever home starts with good design. Our preference is to avoid whatever the current fad is going around and to design each home or addition in a timeless manner which will look as good in 25 years from now as it will in 125 years from now. I can’t count all the 70’s and 80’s homes we have been asked to redo, sometimes from scratch. In addition to timeless design details, we try to build out of materials that are as low maintenance and high quality as possible. We do keep in mind that there are tradeoffs between costs and quality and often ‘value engineer’ a project to accomplish the best project for the client’s budget. We generally design so a home lives well, is bright and comfortable, and takes advantage of the site and the views. Our clients often ask us to create the interiors in a more modern style which over time are expected to change.
In 2007, Sandee Mahoney and I wrote a book for Taunton Press titled, ‘On the Porch: Creating Your Place to Watch the World Go By.’ In that book, we not only showed examples of porches we had designed; we also included porches designed by architects across the nation. We included a beautiful porch in Louisiana designed by Kevin Harris, a friend from college and colleague of mine. In 2015 he wrote ‘The Forever Home: How to Work With an Architect to Design the Home of Your Dreams,’ in which he details how to work with an architect to achieve your ‘forever home.’ It is an excellent resource for ideas and guidelines for creating that special place you won’t ever want to leave.
Photos by: Rob Karoisis