Custom Structures

Architects & General Contractors

Frequently Asked Questions

2016-01-07 10:09:00

To be a good designer, you first must be a good listener. Listening and documenting is vital in meeting the requirements of the homeowner. As designers, we take the initial information provided by the client and build on it. Room function and adjacencies, room sizes, open planning, interior focal points and circulation are all important elements of design.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that we get from clients. You may find these questions interesting if you are in the early stages of designing your own home.

  • How much space should be in front of kitchen base cabinetry? This question normally is asked when there is an island in the kitchen. It is recommended that the clearance between the base cabinet and any obstruction in front of the base cabinet be a minimum of 42 inches. This dimension can be reduced to 36 inches, but circulation will suffer.
  • Should the kitchen cabinets go to the ceiling? When ceilings were typically 8 feet high the cabinets were terminated at the ceiling. With ceiling heights today being between 9 foot and 10 foot, cabinets are typically staggered at varying heights. This staggering creates an interesting visual affect.
  • How high are ceilings these days? The answer to this question deals mostly with the client’s desire, but typically we find that most ceilings are around 9’-4” unless the project is a two story home and then it is not uncommon to have 10 foot ceilings on the first floor with 9 foot ceilings on the upper floor. Vaulted ceilings are popular today, as well.
  • How wide should a two car garage be? We feel that 27 feet wide on the interior is as narrow as you want your garage to be. This is based on two 9 foot wide garage doors with 3 feet between the two doors and three feet from the garage doors to the perimeter walls.
  • How wide should stairs be? The code will allow less, but primary stairs work best is no less than 42 inches wide.
  • What is the smallest size of a child’s bedroom? 11’ x 11’ is the smallest bedroom size we would recommend although nurseries are at times smaller. Any closet would be outside of the 11’x11’ perimeter.
  • How thick should the walls be? 2x6 exterior stud walls should be used for improved insulation. 2x4 interior walls are common, but 2x8 interior walls are preferred where there is a passage and you want the door jambs to appear more colonial in detail.
  • How wide should a hall be? To assist with passing or moving furniture you should consider 40 inches rather than 36 inches for corridor widths.
  • How wide should doors be? Exterior doors and doors into bedrooms should be 36 inches wide for relocating furniture and possible accessibility needs. Secondary doors can be less.
  • What flooring is used most often in kitchens today? Here again, this is up to the homeowner, but with our clients hardwood has become more popular than tile in the kitchen.

The ten questions above are typical questions that we are asked when interviewing clients. There is certainly more than one correct answer. The answers provided are what we have found to be the best solution.