Design a Dream Home

Putting It All Together: Design a home, the Complete Step by Step Guide Using the Free Designing Tool SketchUp.

Before we start, by now you should have carefully studied all the steps we discussed before. There are two sections: the first is about general designs elements and principles, and the second is about designing the actual house.

Modern House Design: You will be able to design houses better than this if you want to !

Modern House Design

Or This:

House Design Styles


First, you have studied the very basic Design Elements where you learned about the fundamental issues used to create any design work such as lines and shapes. And you also learned Design Principles where we discussed the principles of home design such as the principles of Unity and Balance.

For the second section, you first came up with a good Housing Scheme which is, as we discussed, the very first step in designing a home. You learned how to create a program using Bubble Diagrams. Then you learned about Home Concept and as we explained it's the second phase of any building design process. Then we moved to the third phase of the design process Developing the Design. Then finally we discussed the last phase Construction Document where we learned how to prepare out final designs for constructions. Now comes the fun part, designing the house, so let's start step by step using the free SketchUp to design your dream house. Please be patient:

Lets start designing the house

We agreed in our previous lessons that designing a house involves more than just a dream in your head. In order to be able to design a perfect house that can be built, we must design it using the same method architects follow. We must follow a certain procedure and think as architects. We also agreed that this is not impossible and anyone with enough passion can do it. I’m an architect and I can assure you that. I hope that you just might feel a little bit lucky that an architect is going to show you how to do it. So please follow my instructions carefully and I promise you, you will impress yourself and everyone around you very soon.

We've talked about "the designing process", now before we start designing, lets do our homework. What we need? I’m going to show you how to design a house using SketchUp, but also I’m going to teach you everything else you need to understand about designing your house at the same time. We will be talking about creating balance and harmony between spaces such as rooms, living area. etc. Also, we will talk in details about The Seven Elements of Design that we have discussed before, but this time we will talk about theses rule in practice (by designing an actual house).

As we learned so far; we first need to come up with a Home Concept. So we need to understand what are we going to design. Ask your self, what kind of a person are you and then you will have a better idea of the kind of house you want for yourself. For example, for our project that we are going to design now I’m assuming that I’m going to design a work-live house for a creative liberal arts professional fully immersed in a computerized environment and married to an avid swimmer who trains at home. Both are greatly concerned with ecology, self-sufficiency and gardens, and want this building to be in tune with nature, by minimizing its impact on the natural context of site and surroundings.

Now I have good information about those husband and wife and what kind of a house they want to live in. Now as we discussed, I need to come up with a program for the house I’m going to design for them.

The Program:

Lets assume those people have a small land that does not exceed 120 square meters:

Using only this space they want to build a house that has:

  1. Living/Dining/Kitchen
  2. Bath
  3. Bedroom
  4. Work Area
  5. Parking for 2 cars
  6. Pool
  7. Service/Laundry
  8. Guest Bedroom + Bath

Now the next step before I even start thinking about design is to study the site.

The Site:

Ask yourself, where you think your house is going to be built? This is extremely important and has great influence upon the design decisions you are going to make for your house. See, it’s not enough to just know how to design, so keep reading.

For our purpose here, we will assume the site is located in a remote rural area, 1 acre minimum size, likely rectangular, with interesting natural features (sloping contours, water course or lake’s edge, island setting possibly, mature woods and/or bog). We will discuss while designing why knowing theses information is important.

Think of this project we are going to design as an exploration of the role that Architecture plays as a link between the human body and nature. This exercise will not deal only in “building” a home, but more in interpreting a series of complex and meaningful interrelationships: husband and wife, work and leisure, built and natural, country and city, inside and outside, light and darkness, etc.

So now we are going to make some preliminary design of the preferred alternative. Emphasis will be on the fine-tuning of aspects of general importance such as ‘parti” ( we will explain what “parti” means in depth, not to be confused with “party“- there is no party here :), sitting, overall circulation, and an understanding of structural and constructive approach to the building. The objective is to produce a communicable number of drawings as a first step. We agreed that we start doing this by simply making bubbles diagrams.

Now I agree this overwhelming for someone who is planing to design her or his own house for the first time. However, this is going to be our house project in the advanced lesson section, but I only mentioned it here so you have an idea of what's involved in designing a house and how architects think and work. For now we are going to first design a simple house where we also consider all the design and environmental factors we mentioned. Our simple house will consist of the following:

  • Number of levels:2
  • Bedrooms:3
  • Potential Bedrooms:4
  • Baths:4
  • Garage Stalls:2

So lets make some bubbles diagrams based on the information we have so far.

First Level Bubbles Diagrams:

First Level Bubbles Diagrams

I made this bubbles diagram using the computer, but you don't have to use the computer. In fact, it's not recommended at all. Use a pen and a piece of paper, it's much better. I only used the computer because my scanner is broken...sorry!!

Alright then, so we have thought about how we want to arrange spaces and the interrelationship between them. If you remember, we discussed that overlapping bubbles means that they are accessible to each other. Refer to Housing Scheme for more information.

Now based on this bubble diagram, we are going to quickly draw our first level floor plan. I'll soon teach you how to I draw this floor plan yourself, but for now just copy what I did if you want to practice.

  • First Level Floor Plan:

First Level Floor Plan

Of course there are no bedrooms here yet because we don't want any bedrooms in the first level.

And here is the second floor plan with the bedrooms. Please based on this second floor plan make a bubble diagram, and if you want send it to me. But remember, bubble diagram must be created before you draw your floor plan, but I just want you to practice here.

  • Seond Level Floor Plan:

Seond Level Floor Plan