Hostess Kitchens are a Thing of the Past?

Janita Norman
March 2019
New Homes

Why do terms like ‘Hostess Kitchen’ and ‘Master Bedroom’ still appear in building plans and marketing of new homes? This is 2019 – what’s going on in our industry? And what on earth is a hostess kitchen anyway?

International Women's Day 2019

Better Balance: Better World

Banishing gender flavoured terms from project documentation around 30 years ago, seemed like an appropriate thing to do. What was a seemingly benign gesture, was perhaps more of an indicator of the changing landscape in the design and building industry in our regional area at that time than I thought.

Building Design is inextricably linked to the Building and Construction which has historically been a male dominated area.

Traditionally, the responsibility of the ‘design’ of your home was entrusted to the Builder. There is no doubt that you could achieve your dream home, as long as it was aligned with your builder’s idea of what was achievable, what you should have and was often a carbon copy (or mirror image) of what he had built before and probably on the site next door!

Making your house your own was totally do-able. “Sure! We can add a fourth, bedroom – no worries!” A Master Bedroom and three others – hooray!

Within the industry, the roles of the Builder, the Client and the Designer have changed. Accessibility to design professionals who can meet the expectations of the contemporary Client is now very achievable.

Women play a key part in this evolution within all areas of the Design and Construction industry. There are more women than ever studying design and architecture with slightly higher than 50% of design students now women.

What is concerning, is the smaller percentage of women designers and architects who are actively practicing. According to Building Designers of Victoria statistics, the current membership consists of 27% of women. Working as sole practitioners, partnerships, in small practice and within the corporate sectors.

While this number seems relatively few, the trend sees more women entering the industry with steady increase in BDAV membership of women increasing consistently each year

There is no doubt being a Building Designer is tough, tiring, requires drive, passion, dedication and commitment. Not always as glamorous as what it might seem. Meeting expectations of Clients, satisfying regulatory requirements, knowing and applying construction science and methodology, preparing and administering contracts, dealing with budgets and project planning is not for the feint hearted. All overshadowed by the sense of achievement when standing inside a completed building.

On this International Women’s Day, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of women Building Designers and to revisit the commitment to encourage, support and mentor young women entering the industry.

Focussing on our abilities, embracing our perspective and philosophy from a female view point will ensure that our place in the design world is strengthened and that we can continue to make relevant and positive contribution to the built form within our cities and towns for our people, family and communities.

14 Design Tips for Successful Project Planning

Our must-have guide to designing your dream home.

A successful home design project begins with an excellent design brief; it is vital to understand your vision for the new home, and to be able to articulate it to your chosen building designers.

This guide will give you 14 handy prompts, important info, and design guidance, that will help you to gain the clarity you need to embark on this exciting journey.

Designers of homes that reflect your unique aesthetic and lifestyle.

The Two Single Most Important Things to Consider When Designing a New Home

Janita Norman
November 2022
New Homes

Designing and building your own home is a joy and a privilege; a rare act of creation that leaves a mark on the world long after our time. But in the same breath, it is daunting and overwhelming, with seemingly endless thoughts and ideas fighting for your attention. Today I want to declutter your mind and ask you to focus on these two simple things...

First: what is your story?

Our homes are fundamental to the way we live. They express who we are and play a central role in allowing us to live the way we want to.

Think about your life, your loves, your experiences, and how you live in your home. Every design should capture your essence and reflect who you are and your lifestyle.

“A well designed home that specifically suits you is a pleasure to live in.”
– Janita Norman, Lead Building Designer

From the outset the vision must be clear.

Knowing why you are building directly informs the design. Articulating why you are building and what you want to achieve will ensure that design is aligned with that vision.

Ask yourself:

  • Why am I building?
  • Who will live in our home?
  • How old are our kids and what do they like to do?
  • Do members of our extended family live with us or visit for long periods of time?
  • Is this our “forever home”?
  • Will the home need to adapt to changing life and family circumstances?
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