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As you dream about how you want your childcare center to look, gather design inspiration ideas and photos of what you like.  Inspiration photos can be gathered from a number of sources.  We recommend using an idea collecting website like Pinterest or Houzz to create an idea book that can be shared with your design team.  This is a good way to make sure that when you describe the style of building you want, there are no misunderstandings.  It also eliminates the need for you to label your style.  You make think that you like Farmhouse style when really your vision is more Craftsman style.  By collecting inspiration images, it no longer matters what name or labels are used to identify your thoughts.

Inspiration from Pinterest and Houzz:

When collecting ideas on Pinterest and Houzz, make notes about what you like about the image.  It may be an image of a restroom with a pretty gray tile that you want to use in your Reception area.  Write a note to remind you, and your design team, what it is exactly about this photo that you like and where you think it might be used appropriately.  A simple note stating “gray tile for reception” is all you need.  Don’t worry about what type of building your inspiration comes from.  You may find you like a brick and stone combination from a house image, a porch column trim idea from a swimming pool gazebo, and a reception desk cabinet and countertop from a kitchen image.  Let your imagination stretch beyond the building type and think about how that idea can be reinterpreted for your childcare center’s design.

Collecting Inspiration from multiple websites:

The web is a great resource for inspiration.  If the photos you’ve collected are from many different sources, we recommend that you save the photos into a shared folder on the cloud so that it can be shared with your design team.  Each image has a location for writing a description as well, leave your notes about what you love in this area so that others will know your thoughts.

Always include notes about your photos.  The design inspiration gathering phase can be a long phase.  Childcare owners tend to dream about what their school is going to look like long before they even have a parcel of land selected.  Over time you will have forgotten what you originally liked about an image.  The notes section is there to remind you what you were thinking at the time.  As your style tastes change over time, having the notes handy will help you weed out ideas that you no longer favor.  Removing photos that no longer apply will help you focus on the elements that you will ultimately include in the final design.

-This article was written by Rebecca Calbert. 

Rebecca is a licensed architect with over 30 years of experience.  She owns and operates an architectural firm, Calbert Design Group,  and educates her clients through the commercial real estate development process with online content at SaveOnBuilding.com.  Rebecca’s “purpose” is to educate small business owners and protect them from what they don’t know.

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