Jot it down! - Design Notebooks

8:44 PM

Over the past month or so I've composed countless blog updates in my mind, while sitting at work putting together tax returns.  The problem is that I'm so busy and don't have internet access at work, so when I do have a good "mental post," I can't do anything with it.  By the time I get home and work on homework (for the Interior Architectural Drafting class I'm taking), I'm so exhausted, the thought of coming up with a witty, clever, and exciting post is just too much.  Well, I have this week off, so there are no excuses.  :)

During the beginning of the year I read the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time.  I can honestly say that those books changed my life.  I'm just a little bit obsessed, but more on that another time.  In the first couple books, Anne is always mentioning her "house of dreams."  I'm always coming up with things that I want to have in my future home, whether it be a specific piece of furniture, or a general design idea, these are things that I want to remember when I'm at the point that I can actually do those things.

Keeping a design notebook, idea journal, or whatever else you want to call it is really quite simple. When you're flipping through a magazine and you see a room/idea/piece of furniture/etc. that you like, tear it out.  Then put it into a notebook or binder.  Basically any time you see design you like or think of something you would like in your home, put it in your notebook.  Write it down, draw a quick sketch, pull it out of a magazine - do whatever is necessary to help you remember.   

Who wants to go through a huge stack of magazines like this anytime you need to find "that one picture?" Especially when having it neatly housed in one place is really so simple.

Now personally, I really like having a hard copy of my notebook with pages of pictures and ideas that I can flip through.  However, I know that's not everyone's cup of tea.  Along with my idea journal, I also have a folder on my computer that holds the things that I find online.  If you prefer to have everything digital, you can always take a picture or scan whatever you find in a magazine and keep your notebook digitally.  

Some good things to have in your design notebook:

  • Pictures/Sketches of design ideas you like 
  • Paint and Fabric swatches from rooms in your house (This makes it really easy to match colors when you're out shopping and you see that perfect piece but you're not sure if it will match.)
  • Room measurements - overall dimensions as well as specific furniture pieces or areas that need furniture (Again, this makes it really simple when you're out shopping.)

Having all of this together in one place keeps things organized and makes shopping trips really easy.

Oh, and here's a tip - use clear sheet protectors to keep things nice and neat and allow you to add, remove, and reorganize things quickly and easily. I would also recommend keeping some blank paper and a pen/pencil stashed in your notebook, just in case. 

Once you get started, you'll see how quickly it starts to fill up.  It's always helpful to divide things into different sections.  These are just some of the sections that I have in my notebook:

  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Closets
  • Office
  • Organizing
  • Doors, Floors, and Windows
  • Outdoor Spaces/Landscaping
  • Color and Wall treatments
  • Miscellaneous
In fact, I've taken this idea a step further - one of the things I really look forward to about my own home is having a garden.  I know a lot of research will go into learning about growing seasons, what grows in the area that we end up living in, etc... But every once in a while I'll be eating something and think, "wouldn't it be great if I had this growing in the garden?" So whatever it is goes onto my gardening list. That way one day when I do have a garden I'll be able to "remember" all of those things that I wanted to grow in it.  

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