designing a custom house

Why designing a custom house is like having a child

For starters, you cannot know before you start what you are going to end up with.  You might have a girl or a boy!  He might have your beautiful eyes, she might have your partner's bulbous nose.  Regardless, you will love your child and not ever regret having this little bundle of joy that you created.  From nothing to a whole new living breathing person who leaves an indelible footprint in your life - it's rather amazing!   Likewise, if you have made the decision to go through the effort of building a custom-house that fits your family, your personal needs, and your lifestyle, it's quite a responsibility, and it's worth it.

Your child's skin color, eye color, hair color, sleep habits, personality, talents, it's all a toss.  Well, maybe some characteristics are predictable within a certain level of accuracy based on the two people involved in the pairing.  Every child is unique and a direct result of the people involved.  Similarly with building a custom-house - the major players involved in the project have a direct bearing on the end result.  This includes the architect, the builder, and you (the client).  The hereditary gene pool for the project is established by this unique combination.

You bring your site, your aspirations, your requirements, your budget.  No two architects will produce the same design for the same set of criteria.  That's the beauty of working with an architect, isn't it.  Architectural design is a creative process, and the resulting product will be as unique as the individual doing the creating.  Heck, the same architect will come up with a different design if they sat down to design on a different day, but I will ponder on that in an another blog post.  Architects come in all sizes and shapes - that's why selecting the right architect is crucial to the outcome of your project.

Design is one thing, building is another.  Yet, the same principle is true.  Given the same set of drawings, specifications, and instructions, no two builders will produce the same building.  Most seasoned builders assemble a team of sub-contractors that they like to work with.  The process of building is still considered a craft.  While the framing might be done by any number of framers per drawings and specifications, we depend on the artistic eye of the mason installing the stone veneer, the carpenter doing the trim work, the iron guy welding the ornamental railing, the tile guy laying the floor tile, just to name a few.  Some would argue that there are talented plumbers and electricians too.

And then, there is the nature vs. nurture conundrum, which also directly applies to the collaborative work involved in designing a custom-house.  Your project develops a personality and characteristics that are dictated by conversations that reinforce or alter a hereditary trait.  At the end of the day, one cannot say whether nature or nature played a more vital role in the outcome. It just takes a life of its own.