The paradox of choice is that with too many choices, choice becomes impossible.
1 Start with a vision, a look, and a feeling
When building – especially for the first time – most clients are aiming for perfection instead of a vision. If you find yourself spending 14 hours looking at kitchen taps instead of making structural decisions, this might be you.
Start with how you want the house to make you feel, and work backwards, rather than trying to build a “perfect” house. Your vision for how you want to live and move in your house, how you want guests to experience your house, and what you want Sunday afternoons at home to feel like will all make design and detail decisions much, much easier.
2. Bring in the experts
Your best friends, extended family, kids’ friends, and old neighbours will have lots and lots (and lots) of input for you…but they’re not the experts. Listening to the experts who have done nothing but build and design houses for years will save you a lot of time, heartache, and debate. At Chris Franklin, we have a design expert on staff to walk you through the process and help you make decisions much more easily – as long as you let us help you, the build can even be fun!
3. Lower the number of voices
Those extended family members, besties, parents, neighbours, and work friends mentioned above all have opinions. They also won’t be living in your house. Restrict the conversation of your build with people you not are prone to offer opinions that could derail you, or those who make you second guess the choices you loved when you made them. By only celebrating the success once the project is over, and being as vague as possible in the middle, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches – and be able to surprise your whole social circle with the finished product!
4. Think of budget first, function second, style third
Often we focus on the details of the pictures we pin to our Pinterest boards, or the rooms we save on Houzz, and don’t take into account how that one small detail will affect the budget or the functionality. It’s easier to only choose from the options that are within your budget, so in every conversation with sales staff, your designer, and your builder, eep your budget front and centre for everyone. While there may be sacrifices to be made on style, those can be upgraded down the road – blowing the budget and living in a house that just doesn’t work for your lifestyle can’t be fixed later.
5. Go with your gut, but write it down
Often when you leave design meetings, you and your partner (assuming you have one) will be abuzz with excitement – which means your memories just got a whole lot less reliable. It’s not your fault – it’s the effect of the excitement and the sheer number of decisions you are being asked to make. As soon as you hear or see something that really truly speaks to you, lot it down in detail so you’ll be able to easily recall it later. Have your partner do the same, and then compare notes once you’re out of the meeting. An email the next day is generally fine, and is a way better idea than sending knee-jerk signals that you want to take back later.
6. Give yourself 36 hours for every decision – no more
Giving yourself time for the most important decisions is important, but so is giving yourself a deadline so you can’t bring others in, second and third and fourth guess yourself, or allow yourself to stray to creative ideas that are just too far outside your budget. (Can you tell we’re speaking from experience here?) Giving yourself a full 24 to sleep on the decision, and a bonus 12 if you’re still waffling will keep your decision periods tight but flexible, allowing you to avoid rushing while getting exactly what you want.
7. Remember that (just about) everything is changeable
No matter how life-or-death each build decisions feels like, humans are infinitely adaptable. We can get used to almost anything, what you can’t adapt to you can change, upgrade, and grow.