Phase Two of Renovation: Programming

There are several phases of the design process every homeowner must go through. First, they decide whether it’s worth it to renovate rather than move out. When they decide they want to stay (for a variety of reasons, including a desire to avoid breaking family rituals, a lack of homes for sale in the area, emotional ties to the current home, etc.) they enter the second phase of the design process: programming.

To Add Or Not To Add

Homeowners often jump to the conclusion that building an addition is the only solution to their problems. This is patently untrue, and can lead to far more hassle and spending than necessary. Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, interior design contributors to Deseret News, said the point of programming is to make goals for your home, how you’d like it to function, and how you’d like it to support your family.

Room Utilization

One way to decide whether your home is functioning correctly is by identifying whether each room is serving a useful function. Schwemmer and Robinson said, “Every room in your house should be used at least once a day for something useful. Having square feet in your home that sit idle day after day is wasteful. Why heat, cool, clean and pay taxes on space that isn’t contributing to you or your family.”

Instead of adding on, families might find that they can repurpose space that is currently underutilized. Home offices are no longer as useful as they once were because of wireless wifi access throughout the home. If you still have an office and it isn’t frequently used, think about whether it can be changed to fit the needs of your family.

If you’re really just lacking a few feet in one room or another, you can do that—add two or three feet to a room—rather than adding a whole new area. It’s amazing what a difference a few feet can do to a kitchen, bathroom, or closet space. Schwemmer and Robinson gave the example, “Your kitchen may not have enough width to add that island you want . . . so a few feet could make all the difference.” The designers also said the best way to decide how to handle a renovation that adds space is by speaking with an architect.

Important Questions To Answer

Consider the future when you’re deciding how much room you need or how to use space you already have. Yes, the bedroom situation is tight, but how much longer do you have until the oldest leaves for college? How often do grandparents come to visit? Do you anticipate their needing to live with you in the future? What about your own health? It’s best to have the main appliances all on the main floor if you’re aging. What parts of your lifestyle are adversely affected by the current layout of your home? The answers to these and other questions will shape how your renovation should be implemented.

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