I remember as a small child, living on James Island, near woods with lots of pine straw nearby. Playing house was a common pastime. But instead of having a tiny playhouse or a tree house, I would make the house using pine straw. Not the entire structure, but just the outline. There would be a kitchen with appliances – outlined in straw. A bedroom and living room – outlined in straw. And I would pretend to live in and decorate my house, outlined in straw. Well, fast forward many, many years – and here I am once again planing a furniture layout without even a complete structure to hold the furniture.
Early in our design process, we began working with an extremely talented designer and architect, Lauren Sanchez (owner of Lauren Sanchez Design). We originally secured Lauren to help us with design elements of the house but we quickly realized she would be an integral part of helping us visualize and plan the architectural re-design of the house. Lauren recommended early in our discussion that we should think about a furniture layout. My initial reaction was a little skeptical, as I usually know how to just wing it with where I want furniture to go and what works best based on how we live. But I soon realized that in order for us to optimize the design of the house, it would be helpful to know how were were going to use each room and where furniture would be placed. We proceeded with the furniture plan and at a minimum I imagined it would help me know what I wasn’t taking to the new “old” house and I could get things out the way. I never imagined how helpful the furniture plan would be during the electrical and HVAC phase of the renovation.
Knowing in advance where the couch would go, beds, side tables for lamps, TVs – well everything, made the install pretty seamless (and we didn’t rely on my memory or guesswork of where I thought I might put things). And the fact that the contractor and electrical team could look at the plan and know exactly where we planned to locate any items requiring electricity was a big time saver. It was also very easy to double check if items were in the right place. And I never would have guessed that it would have been the same for HVAC. Vents might look like they are in the best location, until you look at your furniture layout and you realize there will be a chair or a couch right on top of it.
I realize we may change the furniture layout and we may change our minds on where a guest bed may go (as we have) but in general, having a furniture layout as part of the architectural design of the house was a valuable and worthwhile exercise. I never would have imagined that as a little girl, playing with pine straw to furnish and design my pretend house, I would be inspired again one day to have a grown up furniture plan. Oh the journey continues!
(By the way, this picture is deceiving regarding our progress! But this is what the house looked like when we made the furniture plan!)