The Architect's Blog

Why Does this Space Not “Feel” Right?



We’ve all been in spaces or seen pictures of places that inspire us and just seem “ideal” for their use. It could be a kitchen that you “pin” because you realize it’s your dream kitchen (even if you’re not necessarily in the market for a new kitchen), or an outdoor space in which you can immediately picture yourself and your friends sipping martinis, or a cozy window seat where you can imagine curling up with a good book.

On the other hand, you’ve probably also experienced spaces that felt completely awkward or inappropriate for their intended use. Maybe it was a powder room that appeared to have a maximum occupancy of 35 people, or a kitchen that was so small, dark, and closed-in that you couldn’t imagine anything appetizing ever coming out of it. Or maybe it was a bedroom that felt more like a hallway than a private retreat.

What sets these two types of spaces apart are design decisions. It can be difficult for the average person to identify all of the components and combinations that contribute to a successfully (or unsuccessfully) designed space, but they usually know it when they see it or feel it.

Some people mistakenly think, “If I just had more space in my home, everything would be better.” While additional space can solve some problems in an inefficient home, more improperly allocated space doesn’t do the home (or the homeowner) any favors. It’s our job as a Long Beach architecture firm to create spaces that work well for our clients, and this may mean keeping the existing footprint of a home and just reallocating how the existing square footage is used.

We begin by thinking about what will enhance a space’s use, as opposed to focusing on what is missing from it. We talk to our clients about how they imagine themselves using a space and use that as a starting point for our design.

Here are a few of the considerations our Long Beach architecture firm takes into account with every design:

Orientation: How should a space be oriented? Is there a view, a prevailing breeze, or natural light that can be captured and made to be an additional feature of the space?

Light: We always need to consider how to manage both natural and artificial light in a way that allows it to be put to its best use. For example, filtered light can enhance a space and give it warmth, but glare can make a space unpleasant to be in or detract from its intended purpose.

Juxtaposition: This is a fancy word that refers to how spaces relate to each other. If you have to go through a bedroom to bring a casserole from the kitchen to the dining room, your designer may want to revisit his or her design.

Texture: Texture can add a lot to a space, but needs to be used appropriately. A wall of stone with lots of ridges can be beautiful and evoke the feeling of craftsmanship, but might be tough to keep clean, so using it as a backsplash in the kitchen wouldn’t be advisable.

Volume: The size and height of a space can do a lot to create feelings of intimacy or expanse. Bigger isn’t always better.

There are other, smaller, decisions that are also critical to a successful architectural design, such as color, furniture layout, fixture selection, and cabinet design. And to make things even more complicated, design sensibilities change along with styles, trends, technology, and the culture in general.

Architectural design is a lot more than just creating floor plans. A good Long Beach architect will address all of the elements mentioned above and give you a space that is well thought-out and appropriate for it’s intended use. A great Long Beach architect will do all that, and also design a space that is enjoyable to be in and even inspires you in your everyday life.

Are you ready to get started transforming your space? We’d love to talk with you! Contact us at our Long Beach architecture firm to get started.

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