The Pre-Design Questionnaire

We have put together a list of questions for anyone thinking of building or renovating a home. You can print these questions out and answer them as a starting point to the process or to just help you clarify for yourself what your needs and goals are. As you go through the questions, keep a few things in mind:

  • As much as possible give qualitative not quantitative information. We want you to present us with questions not answers, that way we can be sure to get to that heart of the matter and not run the risk of missing the real issue. We may know of more than one way to resolve a problem or create an outcome. If this is hard, tell us what and why you like or don’t like something in your house, somewhere you use to live or something you have seen at someone else’s house. Give examples. Use as many descriptive words as you can.
  • If there are differences of opinions amongst members of the household lets us know all the opinions, we want to address everyone’s concerns and may be able to create something that works for everyone.
  • Don’t try to solve the problem, just express your desires even if they seem at odds or impossible to obtain.
  • Don’t be afraid to think about and tell us what your “perfect world” would be like.
  • If it is relevant, try to anticipate future needs or changes.
  • We encourage you to collect images that you like, perhaps it is something in particular or you like the mood or feeling it creates or that you are simply drawn to the image.
  • If a question is not relevant to your situation, just skip it.

The Questions:

  1. What leisure time activities are important, do they take place in the house, on the property and/or what is required to support the activity?
  2. What work activities are important, do they take place at home, on the property and/or what is required to support the activity?
  3. What other activities or needs are a priority, where do they take place and what is required to support them? For example, parenting, religion, entertaining, pets, or whatever activities are at the core of your daily, weekly or monthly life are important to uncover.
  4. Is TV a focus, occasional or not important at all?
  5. Is music a focus, in the background, or not important at all?
  6. Do you own any equipment that needs to be incorporated or planned for in any way?
  7. Do you own any furniture or art items that need to be incorporated or planned for in any way?
  8. Are there styles that you like, are drawn to or want to know more about.
  9. Are your sensibilities formal, modern, casual, sheik, country, minimalist or a combination of styles.
  10. Are there any special features that are important to you for example fireplace, cathedral ceiling, sunroom?
  11. Do you want any rooms or areas to convey a feeling like calm or energizing?
  12. Do you prefer hard surface floors, area rugs or wall-to-wall carpet?
  13. Do you want window treatments? Are the window treatments decorative or for blocking light or view?
  14. Do you prefer natural materials to synthetic?
  15. Is there a message or feeling you want the house to convey?
  16. Is this a primary or secondary home?
  17. How long to you plan to own the house?
  18. If it is a primary house do you spend long periods of time away from home or is it almost always occupied?
  19. If it is secondary, how much time will you spend there and at what time of year? Would it ever be a rental?
  20. Is the house for your use or for resale?
  21. What issues are central to bringing you to this point, what is the highest priority?
  22. Are there any health or wellness issues that concern you such as air quality, mold, toxicity, the natural environment, special needs or future special needs?
  23. Who will live in or use this house?
  24. Do you enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen? Do you have a staff member who prepares meals? Do you eat out most of the time?
  25. Do you entertain a lot, only on holidays, almost never?
  26. Do you have too much of one kind of space and/or not enough of another kind of space?
  27. What is the quality of light you want to achieve For example, morning sun in the kitchen, Dark at night in my bedroom, able to create different moods in the dining room?
  28. What is the quality of sound you want to achieve for example, I want it quiet in my office/ meditation space; I want to be able to hear my kids when they are in the back yard?
  29. What views are important and what kind of connection do you want to establish to the outdoors?
  30. What relationships between rooms and spaces are important for example, I want my office/meditation space tucked away and private, I what the kitchen open and adjacent to the family room, I want the guest space to seem private, I want the kids working on the computer were they can be monitored?
  31. Do you have colors that you love, do you like thins bright, colorful, muted, neutral, or earthy?
  32. Do you have friends, family, grandchildren, that stay for long periods of time?
  33. Do you have, or anticipate in the future, an elderly family member living with you?
  34. Where in your house do people tend to gather and spend most of their time?
  35. Are ceiling highs important to you?
  36. What is you current and/or future budget?
  37. What time line constraints or concerns do you have?
  38. Are there any natural features on your property that are important to view, enhance, protect or experience in any way?
  39. Are there any features on your property or abutting property that you want screened from view?
  40. Are you aware of any problems with zoning, codes, neighbors or anything else that may create an obstacle?
  41. Are there any views that you want to achieve or avoid from any particular location or room?
  42. Are any out buildings part of the scope of work for example, guest house, barn, pool house, garden shed?
  43. What transitional spaces are part of the scope of work or important to you for example, porch, deck, patio, covered walkway,
  44. What outdoor spaces are part of the scope of work or important to you for example, swimming pool, tennis court, play area, garden?
  45. Do you have any interest in or want to know more about, energy efficiency, resource consciousness, healthy human environment, solar or other alternative energy, composting toilets, or grey water systems?
  46. Are you interested in or concerned about curb appeal and/or re-sale value?
  47. Have you built a house, renovated or added on to a house before? What was the experience like?
  48. Is there a particular way that you would like to work with us or something you want us to be aware of or sensitive to?
  49. Do you prefer any mode of communication for example, email, phone, face to face, everything in writing?
  50. What questions do you have for us?