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A Comfortable Fit

A Comfortable Fit

It was once stated that a person’s body is the proper measure of his property, as the foot is used to measure a shoe. Although this philosophical musing is from ancient times, it continues to have validity in the 21st century, particularly when discussing residential architecture.

There’s a common tendency to focus on the size—the square footage—of a home as a way of gauging its level of comfort, luxury and value. However, the one true measure of these factors is in how the building meets the needs of the people who use it. Some feel the need for a large home, while others are happy in a modest one. Some families are likely to outgrow their existing homes, while others may only have a small piece of land to build on.


Architects charged with designing homes need to understand these issues well. As the primary professionals in the design and construction process, they need to try to find a balance between their client’s desires and budget, environmental factors, and the limitations and possibilities of the site or the existing building. They need to look into the future, to anticipate the home’s expansion requirements and capabilities, its future resale value and its long-term storage ability. Whether you’re retrofitting your home or building a brand new one, you can personalise and customise the design by using a professional team that can offer innovative solutions which are imaginatively conceived, regardless of size.

When material and labour costs are always a challenge, it pays to consider your space requirements very carefully. A more modest-sized building project will help to manage construction costs and allow you to focus your money and attention on the quality of the detail and finishes. A truly comfortable and sustainable home may not need to be as big as you might first imagine. A well-designed house can potentially be around a third smaller than you originally thought you needed, with all its spaces used every day rather than only occasionally. With a focus on quality rather than quantity, and building better not bigger, the result can be a home with character and a human scale that’s filled with special features which will encourage its owners to care for it and make it their own, to last for generations.

Beginning at the schematic design stage, an architect can help in many ways to make the home more efficient and beautiful. For instance, one of the most enduring and popular design trends is the move away from formal and separate living rooms. By integrating and linking living, kitchen and dining spaces, these can become the main place for family and friends to gather. In the Caribbean environment, we’re fortunate that our homes can be opened up, allowing us to reduce the size of the rooms, increase the size of the windows and doors, and let the indoors flow into the outdoors. Large terraces and balconies can become the most used living spaces, and indoor spaces can feel bigger through their seamless connection with the outside.



By linking spaces creatively, an architect can reduce the amount of wasteful and unnecessary circulation space. An apparently simple decision about where to locate the entrance door and staircase can dramatically eliminate wasted space. Careful thought and attention to detail can help to create useful storage areas, which can help to reduce clutter. An additional room can be incorporated into the roof space, creating a mezzanine which can double as a study, office or sleeping space. Further ways to achieve beauty and character can be found in the finishes and fittings of the home. Doors, cabinets, hardware and finishes should be carefully selected in order to have complete control over the final product and to give the added confidence that the choices will stand the test of time.

Whether you’re looking to maximise your home’s potential for personal use or to increase its value in the competitive real estate market, it’s important to recruit the help of a professional design team. Designing with quality is a specialised discipline and is dependent on the skill of the architect, the capabilities of the builders, the availability of materials and the experience of the subcontractors. With their tricks of the trade, the team can design and build a house that comfortably fits your lifestyle and budget.

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