Get organized. Dreaming is good, and it’s vital to have a vision for what you want to achieve, but achieving it will be much more difficult if you are constantly looking for that scrap of paper you thought you left over there. When you’re starting out, get one cardboard box and put all your materials such as cut outs, photos, tape measure, camera, contacts, sketches, blueprints, color swatches, samples, lists and notes in folders and keep them in this box. When you find something, the cardboard box will be the place to put it and find it later on when you need it.
Buy a sturdy, cloth bound computation book which has graph-ruled, numbered pages and keep it with you until your home is finished. This will help you keep your thoughts organized and your sketches neat. You can use it to tape or paste in photos, lists, quotes, contractor’s numbers and anything else associated with the project.
Keep two lists – Dedicate a couple of pages right up front to things that your house must have, a “need list” for essentials, whether it be 2 master suites, kitchen cabinet knobs or a finished basement, these are the things you require in your home. Dedicate another page or two to a “wish list” for non-essentials. Think of every feature and desire you’ve culled from your various resources. This could be anything from a dog washing station to a two way fireplace. Start making your list now with all the desired features you can think of and add to it as you think of more. Refer back to your need list and your wish list frequently as your design develops. If you have many desired features you may want to use a separate list for each room, area or function of the house. It is also helpful to list features that affect the floor plan separately from features that don’t. Set priorities – what you must have, what you want to have.