This month I’d like to continue discussing design options so that you get the best possible outcome from your new homes.

When designing, spend most of your time focusing on the living areas. It’s these areas you will be using the most and it’s important to maximize their functionality, not necessarily their space. If large spacious areas are what you desire, I suggest designing the outdoors as an extension of your living room. If you have young children, consider designing the kitchen and living areas to overlook play areas.

With summer arriving quickly, I suggest you make sure you have openings on more than one side of your living areas. This will allow cooling breezes to flow through in the summer. High, open-able windows or skylights work well to cool the house as hot air rises, and will also let in the winter sun. But make sure the glass is double glazed to ensure efficient insulation.

As a designer, I find people tend to fall in love with the kitchen, so it’s an important feature if you’re thinking about the resale value of your home. Before you start redesigning and renovating, consider what could be re-used from the original kitchen. This would include plumbing. A good kitchen allows ample room to move around but also allow easy reach between different activities that may be going on. Generous amounts of bench space between the sink and cook top is ideal for convenience. Locate dishwashers near sinks as this will allow easy loading as well as less plumbing constructions.

So when redesigning the kitchen and living area, consider some of these tips as to increase the potential value on your homes, save in energy costs and maximize their utility and efficiency.