|Nice view of the Eiffel Tower...but it probably would have|
been better in the living room.
“The master bedroom always gets the view in other plans, so I thought I’d give it to the laundry for a change.”
Interesting—but not much of a rationale. It’s a bit like saying, “I always put my paycheck in the bank, so today I’ll throw it in the trash instead.” Some decisions are routine for good reason.
|Orient major rooms to the south so they'll have access to sun|
all day long.
The principle of hierarchy can help you approach your own design problems in a logical way as well. Here are a few example:
• Solar orientation. Simply put, the hierarchy of solar orientation dictates that primary living areas—living room, family room, kitchen, and sometimes the master bedroom—should have first claim on the southern exposure, which remains sunny all day long. Secondary rooms should be located so they get sun at the time they’re used. Hence, a breakfast room would ideally face east for morning sun, a dining room west for afternoon sun, and so on. Ancillary spaces such as closets, secondary baths, and garages are dead last in this hierarchy, so they get the sunless northern exposure.
|Put the fancy stuff in the master bedroom. The other|
bedrooms typically get the dregs.
What if there’s a conflict between view orientation and solar orientation? In most cases, a compromise is possible: the view can be addressed by a limited amount of window, while still maintaining at least partial southern exposure in major rooms. If the view is a real stunner—let's say, the Pacific Ocean—it will take priority even though it means the windows will have to face west.
|An old rule of the One Percent: Put the money where|
people are sure to see it.
• Finishes. No surprise here. Hierarchy says: when the finish budget is limited, spend the money where it’s most visible. Once again, the primary living areas are favored with the best materials.
The hierarchy of finishes applies to exteriors as well—the areas most visible from the street are first in line for the best materials. It’s a time-honored rule used by many developers, who use fine detailing and quality materials on the facades of their homes, and the cheap stuff everywhere else.