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There are many who don’t think it does…and many who don’t even notice it. But good residential design does make a difference.

Eight years ago we moved in to our new house. I had designed it and contracted it (the construction of it is a different story for a different day). Our family enjoyed it. After 8 years, there’s very little that I would change, except how much it cost and some of the subcontractors I used.

As an architect, I thought about it as a whole. I thought about light switch placements, outlet placements. Views from the different rooms, views in to it from the street.

The plan was not conventional. The lot set its placement. The patterns of life and living determined the program. It nestled into the trees hanging off an almost cliff and reinforced what my wife and I wanted for how we lived.

We love our home. We loved our home.

Now, due to various circumstances, we’ve sold it and moved away. We miss it terribly. The house we’re in now is a nice house. By any standard it’s a nice house.

But it wasn’t designed. And I don’t say that disparagingly. Somebody designed it. Things were thought about. But it’s not the same. I’ve tried to think of a good analogy, but nothing great comes to mind.

It’s not designed. But it has “Features“. Fireplaces and granite. Vaulted ceilings. Built-in bookshelves. Double headed shower. Features!

The flow is awkward. The kitchen works if you’re cooking alone. The double sided fireplace in the master bedroom and bathroom (at the tub) is a bit awkward. And the switches and outlets. They just happened. Wherever the electrician could find a place.

There’s no place to put a TV that makes any sense.

But it has Features!

In the software world there’s a term “dogfooding”. It means to eat your own dogfood, or use the software you develop for others yourself. After 8 years of living in something I designed for myself, I can say that it made a big difference. A home designed by a professional is different, very different.

Does it make a difference to live in a house designed by an architect? Yes. It really does make a difference.