GC ArchitectFinding the right architect and setting a clear plan will alleviate a lot of potential issues and can help ensure that tackling a new project is an enjoyable experience. The ideal designer will understand the way you and your family live and your style preferences, and will have the talent and skills to deliver the home you want, on time and on budget.

To make this budding new relationship easier, The Royal Institute of British Architects (architecture.com) has produced a number of helpful documents, including Client conversations and Working with an architect, which outline how important a good brief is to the design process; go to Find an architect/Client hub. Every homeowner and building is unique, so writing a detailed plan will really focus your architect’s mind.

Begin by analysing everything in your home that doesn’t work, starting with space. Then make a list of the living areas that you and your household need, mapping out how your family will use the house on an average weekday. You should also think about how your needs will change when the kids are all home, the house is full at weekends, and how things may have to be reworked as your children grow up.

Finally, consider the finishes that appeal to you. Apps such as Pinterest are brilliant for collecting inspirational images that demonstrate ideas, style, proportion, layout, colour schemes and finishes for each part of your property. A thoughtful and visual brief makes for a more creative design process and will definitely result in a better home.