Architectural Design: The Secret to Creating a Beautiful, Cohesive Space

Architectural design is the practice of defining the elements and structures of a building or space and bringing them together into a cohesive plan. It is the root of custom interior design, illustrating how the pieces within a scheme combine to create balance, rhythm, comfort and beauty. These hand-drawn plans play many roles within our design projects: they offer us a medium in which to play with space; they help us envision the special details inherent in a beautiful, cohesive design; and they serve as a client and partner communication tool. To demonstrate the importance of architectural design, we offer a glimpse into how we used it in one of our kitchen remodeling projects.

Custom range hood

As described in our Kitchen Remodel: From Dark & Heavy to Light & Bright blog post, our clients gutted their dark kitchen to create an open, airy space better suited to their tastes.Tearing out the original cabinetry left a lot of large spaces to fill. To help manage the scale, we decided to create a custom oversized hood as a focal point. Our clients had already chosen a range to fill the bottom half of the wall, along with cabinetry. We had to create a range hood of the right scale, balance and proportion for the size of the wall and the range, and then design the rest of the kitchen elements in relation to it. Our clients were looking for an open feel with unique detailing. Conceptual drawings of our designs would be the key to communicating our vision with our clients, ensuring they understood what the final product would look like.

decorative molding

Beyond designing the size and lines of the hood to set the layout for the rest of the kitchen, the drawing also had to convey the look of the materials and detailing. We planned to use granite, wood, glass and tile in other areas of the space, so we chose copper as the dominant element on the hood to add another material to the overall design. Knowing we had a skilled, local fabricator as our partner, we planned to create a patina over the bright copper. For the trim details, or millwork, our clients wanted a unique look while staying true to the transitional style of the kitchen. We settled on a large-scale, yet simple pattern that kept it from getting lost in the rest of the design. The same was true of the corbels. They needed to be oversized to make them look functional as hood support, even though they are purely decorative. All of these elements were included in our drawings to show how their design fit into the rest of the kitchen.

yellow wall tile

Something more difficult to show on a 2-dimenional tool is the texture and depth we give to wallscapes through dimensional tile. For this project, the tile we selected had heft and movement that added architectural interest and created shadows to excite the eye. To communicate this element in our drawings, we portrayed how the soft yellow color supported the light, bright nature of the design, and described the 3-dimensional aspects in person through tile samples.

We believe that every wall in a room should have a special element, yet come together in cohesive unity. Architectural design brings these structures together by creating a visual plan for the space. Portraying the scale, elevations, colors and details of the overall design through these drawings helps us guide our clients through their design process, ensuring they end up with the space they want. Our clients feel more confident implementing a project once they see everything drawn into a cohesive design. In the case of this kitchen project, the homeowners knew what they were investing in before we started, and we are happy to report they were thrilled with the results.

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