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This is the second article in our home design and construction series, written in collaboration with Jim Sneed of the Del Mar firm, Bokal and Sneed Architects. In the last article, we covered 3 tips to improve the curb appeal of your home.

The home design process, whether new construction or a remodel, isn’t for everyone. In this article, we’ll dig into the process itself and help you determine if you can survive it, or if you should consider another solution in pursuit of your dream home:

  • Home Design Mantra #1: There are No Problems, Only Opportunities
  • Home Design Mantra #2: Let’s Get Personal
  • Home Design Mantra #3: The Journey is the Destination

Home Design Mantra #1: There are No Problems, Only Opportunities


The first thing the Del Mar architect tells his clients is the design process is not for everyone, and there’s nothing embarrassing about that. There isn’t one solution, there’s an infinite number of solutions. The design process is all about finding the right solution for that particular house and the person in it. While Jim admits this idea of iteration and sculpting and molding and adjusting irks some people, he finds this to be an inspiring time in the overall process.

“I always tell my clients, there are no problems, only opportunities. The sooner we start sketching and exploring the opportunities, the more fun we’re going to have. I try to explain that we’re building a prototype, that there will be forks in the road. But in the end, this process is beautiful and exciting if we can learn to enjoy the imperfections and iterations.”


Jim says this is really the best example of how an agent and architect can collaborate to help their clients attain their dream home. Even before the purchase or sale of a home, Jim says he has spoken with agents and their clients as they stand on the edge of this huge decision to determine if the home is capable of their vision.

“There’s something about each community around here. La Jolla is La Jolla, Del Mar is something different, something very Del Mar, they all have their own fingerprint and I do my best to craft that distinct feeling with what the client has imagined. It’s all about blending what the client wants and what the city will allow.”

Bottomline: if you are ok with the idea that there isn’t one right solution, but an infinite number of solutions and paths to the home you have envisioned, you are ready to move onto Home Design Mantra #2.


Home Design Mantra #2: Personal Space Must Be Violated


Jim recalls an awareness of physical space as a kid, and remembers looking at blueprints with his parents. This helped him understand how to alter a space to better accommodate the way he and his family interacted with the house, and to this day helps him connect with clients as they begin their home design process.


“The possibility of changing the physical environment of a house, and that I could play a role in how that space came together, I was aware of that from an early age. Most people I think just accept that the physical structure is set and aren’t exposed to the possibilities of change.”


There is a very personal side to any successful home design project that some may feel is intrusive. However, without knowing how a client moves through a space, interacts with it and reacts to it, there’s no way to identify what’s working and what’s not, no hope for understanding how to alter the space to improve it.


“I really like the personality of a place and helping clients figure out how to grab what they like about the community. It’s very important for me to sit with my clients and learn about their process, they way they live, sit in a place, eat in a room, come home and relax after a long day, how they sleep and how they’ll wake up in the morning and dive into the day.”


Bottomline: if you are ok with an invasion of personal space in pursuit of the greater goal of attaining your dream home, you are ready to move onto Home Design Mantra #3.


Home Design Mantra #3: The Journey is the Destination


This one is simple: despite the bumps in the road and the heartache and the frustration and the invasion of privacy and on and on and on, if you can find a way to enjoy the process and have fun with it, you may be ready for a home design journey.


Bottomline: if you are ok with the idea that you may feel lost in the process at times, but know you can roll with the punches, you are definitely ready for your home design project.


More From Our Home Design Series with Del Mar Architect

Have you recently jumped into a redesign or new construction project? What tips can you offer to help someone overcome the fear of obstacles, frustrations and invasions? Let us know in the comment section below.


And stay tuned for the next installment in our home design and construction series: Beware of the Ominous Home Design Ripple Effect.