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Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

Book Review: Designing Your Dream Home


According to Susan Lang, the author, this book is written for homeowners who are beginning the process of building or renovating a home.  Lang developed a step by step process to hire an architect, interior designer, and builder. The first chapter lays out the organization process. She suggests purchasing 12 three-ring binders (4 one inch, 7 two inch, and 1 three inch) to keep track of all the forms you will be copying out of the book, filling out, filing, and re-filing. You will also need several tote bags, and a wheeled suitcase to schlep all these binders around.

If page one hasn’t scared you away, read the next 7 pages about how to organize said binders. Lang is nothing if not thorough! Then you can fill out 1,000 forms on the exact contents of your home. Is there an actual difference between hunting, hiking, & skiing socks?

What Lang misses in her book, the point of hiring a good architect, is you won’t have to worry about the exact location of the outlets, light switches, or whether you can see the toilet from the dining table. A good architect will take care of this for you and will walk you through the process. The shopping forms are especially incredible to me. There is no way you are going to be purchasing all the face plates for the light switches, telephone jacks, door hinges, ceiling fans, and toilets, if you have a contractor and architect.

It is important to have good ideas of what you want to build and what you need. Most architects will provide a questionnaire for their clients to fill out that outlines exactly what the architect needs to know from their clients in 10 pages or less.

There is some bad advice in the book. Vented attics in hot, humid, climates are not a good idea. It is better to insulate this space and have it heated and cooled. Another particularly bad piece of advice that stuck out to me is, “If anyone in your home is a hunter, plan a temporary area, safely out of the reach of children, for guns to be placed after the hunt. This could be in a hunting closet, or other area with a door that locks.” A gun safe located near the door is a much safer, permanent location for guns.

There are definitely some good points, but the book is cumbersome, redundant, and it is nearly impossible to imagine anyone using it. Our clients are smarter than this book. 

Designing Your Dream Home is available on Amazon