The Systemic Nature of Your Home
Your home may be your castle, but it’s also your school, cafe, retreat center, and hospital. Your home is a hub for your family and your community life. Houses have multiple functions, and this multifunctional nature means that your home’s structure needs to be multifunctional as well. You need to design and protect your home, adding home improvements to make sure that it can serve you well.
Your Home is a System
Your home is first and foremost a roof over your head and walls around your family. It acts as protection against the elements. However, it’s also a cohesive system that works together to create a sense of protection and home. Treating your house as a system will help you create a house that’s a comfortable home.
A whole house systems approach to home construction and renovation considers how each part of the system affects the performance of the home. For example, windows designed to open and let the air out of the top of the house can influence the need for air conditioning on the lower floors of the house.
A whole house system approach looks at many elements of the home, including:
- The local climate
- The site where your house was built
- The lighting choices you use, and how you use natural light
- Water heating for your home
- Energy generation choices for the home, including renewable energy such as geothermal energy and solar heating and power
- Heating and cooling choices for your home, including passive heating and mechanical cooling such as windows and awnings
- Insulation, sealing, and air flow in the home
- The needs, location, and energy use of appliances
- Windows, doors, and skylights
Considering the home as a system allows you to adjust your home improvements to provide a more relaxing, comfortable, and safe environment. When you think about your home as a system, there are many benefits to your home life.
Your utility and maintenance costs decrease because you understand that a choice to renovate in one location will have positive or negative impacts elsewhere in your home. For example, you can strategically install ceiling fans to move warm and cool air around your home, and you can do this in tandem with installing awnings and arbors outside the home to encourage passive cooling.
Your home is more comfortable and less noisy because you know that the choices you make about insulation, flooring, and the location of each room make a difference to your comfort.
Your building is safer, healthier, and more durable. For example, you understand that when you add gutter covers to prevent leaks onto your siding, you’re actually investing in the long-term health of your home. This decreases leaks and water damage to your foundation, roof, and siding, which in turn decreases the amount of mold that occurs inside your home.
When you consider your home as a system, you know that each action has ramifications throughout your home, and you commit to understanding the connections between each element in your home.
What Are the Parts of Your Home System?
As you build your home, purchase a new home or complete home improvements on an existing structure, you need to consider all of the parts of your home system. How is each one contributing to your home, and how can you build, maintain, and repair each one so that it contributes effectively over time?
Your home begins outdoors, with the landscaping, walkways, and lighting that surrounds it. The site your home is on influences the light, heat, and air that comes into your home. Your landscaping can be a place of beauty and calm, but it is also a place of potential danger. As you examine your home landscape, make sure that your pathways, trees, and outbuildings are in good repair and will contribute to your home environment rather than add hazards.
Your home extends to its patios, decks, walkways, and staircases. As you look at your home system, you need to consider how to make these welcoming to guests, and you also need to examine how to make them safe, since they’re a potential source of slips and falls.
Your door is the centerpiece of your home. It’s where you and your guests enter, and it should stand out as a proud part of your home. It also needs to be secure, ensuring that no one can come in if they’re not invited. Consider whether you’ll have an alarm system for your door as well.
Your roof is your protection, and it’s also an element of style. Whether it’s peaked or flat, the roof is one of the defining features of your home. It’s also a potential weak spot, with skylights, peaks and valleys, and areas where water can pool and leak.
Your windows and siding protect your home from the elements and allow you to look out onto the world. You need to consider the energy efficiency and insulation value of your windows and siding, and you also need to ensure that they not only add depth to your home’s design, they have adequate protection from the elements as well.
Inside your home, you have water and energy systems that keep your appliances running. These are the key comforts of your home and, without them, you’d only have a shell. You need to work to keep your plumbing, heating, and energy systems running smoothly, and you must invest in regular maintenance to avoid large repair bills.
Inside the home, you also have your floors. Floors are far more expensive than painting a room, so they’re a more permanent commitment to a style and a lifestyle. For example, a wood floor is easy to sweep if you have children and pets, but it’s also simple to scale it up and make it look classy and adult. It adds warmth and a feeling of history to a room. What are your floors saying about you?
Your home has key rooms as well. From the bathroom to the bedroom and kitchen, each room has a different role to play in your comfort and that of your guests. As you build a home, choose a home, or conduct home improvements, you need to consider how the placement of each room in relation to one another will change the way you use your home.
In order to function well, you need to understand your house as a system and understand how each of its parts contributes to the functioning of the house as a whole. When all of these parts are working together, your house can function as it should. What are the functions that your home should provide for your family?
Your Home is a Place to Relax
When you come home, you want to be in your relaxed and comfortable space. Your house should feel like your natural habitat. Whether you enjoy a garden, a cozy fireplace, or a kitchen that’s made for recreational cooking, consider relaxation as you find a new home, build an addition, or make home improvements.
Sleep is part of the relaxing element of your home. If you’re considering your house as a whole system, think about how a restful sleep fits into the picture. For example, while some people enjoy a house that has every bedroom on the main floor, others find that it’s more comfortable to separate living, working, and sleeping spaces.
Your Home is a Place to Nourish Yourself
As you consider the house as a system, you need to think about the parts of the house that feed you and your family. Today’s homes have refrigerators and stoves, but it wasn’t always this way. In the past, houses had root cellars and iceboxes. As you consider what you need to feed your family, think about how you’ll store and cook your food, but also think about the ways in which food nourishes your family. You may value an outdoor space to barbecue, a kitchen with an open plan that merges into your living area, or a large dining room where you can entertain friends and family. Food is about much more than nutrition, and designing a kitchen, dining, and entertaining area should nourish your social connections as well.
You can also consider your home as a place to store and grow food. Many families have gardens, and you can create a garden that reflects your need to nourish yourself. Whether it’s growing an apple tree or adding a potted tomato to the deck, you can use the landscaping around your home to provide for your family.
Your Home Improvements Should Reflect Your Changing Family
A home is a place to raise a family, grow together with a partner and with friends, and care for those who need it. As your family changes, your home needs to change as well. At first, you may choose a small home to accommodate you and a partner, but as your family grows, you may need to add on or change the use of a particular space to welcome your growing family. You’ll need places for children to play, both indoors and out. As your children get older, they want places to entertain their friends, and they need privacy as well. You may transition into the role of caretaker after a time as well, and you’ll need room for your aging parents. As you age as well, you’ll need to consider the accessibility of your home and ensure that you can still navigate stairs or perform home maintenance.
There are many living arrangements that don’t just include the nuclear family as well. Many families choose to rent part of their property to others and may add a lane-way house or a suite in the basement. Some people live together in multi-generational families who have their own separate living areas but come together to socialize. To be functional, your home must reflect your family life.
Your Home is a Gathering Place
For many people, home is an inherently social place. It’s a place for friends to gather, and it’s a place where your extended family converges for special occasions or for longer visits. As you consider the functions of your home, plan for the types of gatherings that you enjoy. Whether you like hosting children’s play in the recreation room or you enjoy having a sophisticated, adult patio space, you need to design your home and any home improvements to reflect your need for a social space while maintaining your privacy as well.
Your Home is You
In many ways, the place where you choose to live and the way you maintain it is a reflection of who you are as a person. This is especially true when you own your home. The longer you own it, the more home improvements you make, and the more your home reflects your particular values.
For example, if you value family and community gatherings, you might contract a home improvement company to create a large deck with a barbecue for home entertaining, or you could install a pool and invite all of the neighborhood children to play while your children are young. If you value beauty and relaxation, you might want a cottage garden that’s full of the scents of the country, even if your home is in the city or the suburbs. You might add a water feature with calming fish and a bench where you can read.
Whether you’re aiming for a sleek, modern-looking home or a home that’s a little messy but exudes warmth and family comforts, your home needs to reflect who you are as a person and as a family.
Your home is a system, and each part must work together to create a cohesive, working whole. At Harry Helmet, our home improvement company can work with many different elements of your home, helping them integrate. We install roofs and awnings, and we also help protect your roof and siding with the latest in gutter protection and gutter heating technologies. Our company has been in business since 1981. Our experienced local installers work to understand your home and its needs so that we can give you the renovations you need. View our photo gallery and see some of our thousands of successful home improvements.