THE FIRST VITAL STEPS IN DESIGNING YOUR BUNGALOW’S INTERIOR
Here you stand, in your new, empty house. Perhaps you were fortunate to buy a house that needed little restoration, or perhaps you’ve been working for months to rescue it from a tragic combination of remuddling & neglect. And now the paint is dry, the floors are gleaming & the windows slide up & down.
Either way, it’s a blank slate. How do you even begin to fill it, making these echoing spaces a welcoming, rejuvenating home that serves your needs & pleases your eye? And fits your budget.
This series of articles will walk you through the process. Each article builds upon the ones previous, so start here, & read sequentially.
The choices can seem overwhelming so where do you start? You may have received mountains of advice from various sources- family, online, the “experts” on HGTV & find much of it to be contrary & some of it downright nonsensical.
But, hey! This your house- your retreat, your communication & above all, it must serve your needs well. So, your first task is to determine your own needs.
YES, YOUR NEEDS! YOUR PREFERENCES! YOUR HOUSE!!!
Most of my friends are very house proud- artists, interior designers, architects, bent on creating magazine-worthy homes & they have the skills to accomplish this.
However, one of the most beautiful Arts & Crafts houses I have ever seen was the spacious home of a large family. Built in the early teens by a man who owned a lumberyard, it was a glorious display of woods from all over the world. Every room was clad in a complementary mixture of species of the American forest- oak, maple, walnut, cherry, Douglas fir, redwood, chestnut.
A magnificent staircase of a multitude of woods greeted you upon entry.
Throughout the house there were softly gleaming floors, wainscoting, box beam ceilings, wide window & door trim, box beam ceilings.
Truly one of the finest houses I had ever had the pleasure to view, it was regarded by the homeowner simply as a home in which to rear her family. The perfect setting for the most collectable Arts & Crafts furniture, textiles & lighting, it resembled a daycare rather than the A&C showplace it could have been because that was the ambiance that best served this child-centered family.
GETTING STARTED DESIGNING YOUR BUNGALOW’S INTERIOR SPACES
Your first step is to determine your own needs & the needs of your family. (Mine are in parentheses below each question. I have included them not to influence you, but to serve as a reference when I making choices in putting rooms together in future articles.) These needs can be complex. Fortunately the layouts of bungalows, with their distinct, separate private & public spaces, can accommodate these needs. Some things you should consider are:
- If you have children, how can they have space to be kids & learn to handle their bodies without destroying the environment? (Nope, & I did not invite small children to the Hare house. My beautiful quartersawn oak floors were very thin & delicate as were the leaded glass doors of my built-ins, some of which were at floor level. My Tampa house was sturdier & I was happy to have children of all ages bouncing around in it, & often did!)
- How can your home comfort & recharge you? Is your greatest joy found in being in the kitchen preparing gourmet meals? Do you draw inspiration from being surrounded by beautiful objects? Is your house mostly a closet or a sports storage facility that you visit only to sleep & prepare for your next adventure? (My home is my point of orientation to the rest of the world. It must be beautiful & filled with objects that delight me. It must bring comfort & gladness to those who enter. In years past, it needed to provide space for a committee to meet, munch on snacks & plan events & occasionally, mischief. It must teach.)
- What furniture & accessories will come with you? Do you like them? Which are your favorites? (To the Hare house, I brought little. I moved from a Mid-Century house & sold my collections. I started from zero. To my Tampa house I lugged rugs & art. My master bedroom came fully intact, confusing those seeing it for the first time, who had come upon it in Jame Powell’s BUNGALOW: THE ULTIMATE ARTS & CRAFTS HOME.)
- What is your budget? Buying a house & moving are expensive & restoration costs can be high. You will probably need to create your interior over time so you need to decide on your priorities. (I tend to overspend & do not recommend it to anyone!)
- Will you decorate room by room? Will you hit the basics & embellish later? (I furnished both bungalows pretty quickly, but embellished for years. I hated my Tampa living room couch & it took me 5 years to find a set I wanted. (And then my cat peed on it which is why I have no photographs!)
- What are your skills? Are you handy with a saw, a hammer, a paintbrush? Do you have a natural aptitude for learning these skills? Are you willing to learn? (No. My skills are in design & I am too fussy to learn construction skills. I am really good at assembling a skilled team & coaxing them through projects, educating them about preservation as we go. I taught my handyman to to restore windows!)
- What are your physical capabilities? (Uh….)
- How much time do you have to devote to the creation of your home? How much attention? (Like with $$$, I devote way too much time to my house, but, every morning I wake up & fall in love again.)
- Who will help & support you? Who will oppose you & how will you deal with that? (I’m a fortunate woman to have had a supportive mother & extra-supportive husband. I have educated my friends in historic preservation & made new ones who are as dedicated as I. I have learned much from them.)
- What are your favorite colors? Color theory is discussed here, but I always suggest that you start with what you love. (I love purple & you will see in my color articles that I justify the use of purple in Arts & Crafts decor. I love how tones of purple combine with the natural hues of the Movement & dream of ways to use it. Just picture appliqued irises on a linen pillow!)
The above exercise in designing your bungalow’s interior spaces may take you 10 minutes to do or it may take you 10 hours, but, looking into your own heart before making decisions is the best way to protect that heart.
After you have answered these questions, read my article on Jane Powell’s book, BUNGALOW DETAILS: INTERIOR. I highly recommend that you read this book because it will guide & inspire you.
Part 2 in this series will cover some basic design points as applied to the bungalow, taking you from the general, as described in the Introduction, to the specific. As we move along, I’ll link to other articles to read to embellish the information.
Let’s make your home beautiful!
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