Achieving flow in your house design
Flow seems to be this elusive concept that has failed to penetrate most homes. There is always something in the way or an element that just doesn’t work… and usually you can’t quite put your finger on it. That’s the flow.
As North Shore Architects we work with a range of clients, from alterations and additions projects to dream home builds. And we’ve seen it all. We know what it takes to make a home flow. And it doesn’t simply come down too easy to navigate hallways… it goes to the heart of understanding the client and designing a home that will perfectly suit their needs.
What flow means for your home
Think about a home you’ve lived in. What are the things that annoyed you about that home? Perhaps it was the very small laundry? Or the kitchen cupboard door that was always in the way? Or the lack of storage? Or the floor plan of the home that had you scratching your head?
All of these things impact the flow and how easy it is to live in your home. As architects, we don’t simply focus on a beautifully designed home… we want that home to perfectly suit your lifestyle. Playoust Churcher Senior Design Architect, Marielise van der Merwe explains:
“It’s really important that your architect asks you lots of questions. We ask our clients questions like how they live, where the kids do their homework, do they like to entertain a lot, what leisure activities they have. The answers to these questions help us to understand our clients lives and how their home can support that… and then we build all of that into our design.”
The way we live has changed
For many people in older homes, they don’t have flow in their homes because the way we live has changed… and design has evolved alongside those changes.
Formal living and dining rooms have been replaced with integrated meals, kitchen and living spaces so the family can be together. Closed floor plans where every room had its own compartment have been replaced by more open homes. Marielise explains,
“Today’s way of living is much more open plan. People don’t live in compartments… they live together and want the ability to do different things alongside each other. The open plan living design allows for optimum family time.
A lot of our activities these days are communal – cooking isn’t just mum in the kitchen preparing meals like it in the 1950s… everyone in the family gets involved in cooking now and the open style of living allows for much more interaction.”
The evolution of technology and engineering
People have changed… ways of living have changed… and the technology to support those changes has also evolved.
“The engineering to support open plan living wasn’t there in the past. Homes needed those compartments for structural reasons. You couldn’t put large steel beams in because people didn’t know how to do that.
As architects, we now have ways and means to overcome those challenges with the engineering technology now available to us. Now we can slide doors into walls or even build a home where the walls effectively disappear as you open up the doors,” explains Marielise.
How to create flow in your home
Now comes the question of how you can create that flow in your home. And while we would love to give you the answer, in reality, flow is a very personal thing that we customise to each and every client we work with.
A good architect will ask questions to understand how you use your home and what elements you will need to make it flow.
They will ensure that your design is future-proofed so you will be able to sell it or adapt it to future needs with a master plan. And they will think outside the box to give you the best possible home design for your needs.
Marielise explains our approach at Playoust Churcher:
“We dive deep with our clients to understand their way of life so we pin down every inclusion we will need in their home. Ultimately we are working with our clients to balance what they need and want now with what will sell or can be adapted to any possible future needs.
For many of our clients who want the open home living style we also work with them to incorporate features for temperature control and privacy. It’s not as simple as removing the walls and going all in on open plan living. We create large spaces but we are clever about how we do it. We give options for closing a room when required.
Flow is such a personal thing for every client. We do live in more open plan styles these days but we also all have very different lifestyles. It’s our job to design for those unique differences to bring that flow that will make living in the home so easy for our clients.”
Your project in expert hands
And for every client we work with, we only rest when we know that our design will tick every lifestyle box to incorporate that all important flow into the home.
Read more articles about what architects do.