1. Don’t risk all for a dream you’ve never lived. Don’t be beguiled by all you see in magazines. Instead incorporate as many elements in your design that you know for sure make you happy.
2. Don’t throw away all your old furniture and instead buy everything entirely new. Our possessions are our autobiographies.
3. Don’t expect the finished house to change who you are. It’s more likely that the process of building it will teach you more about yourself.
4. Don’t expect too much of your team. There is an ancient rule of thumb that can be applied to any made thing, be it a spoon or a house, that involves three variables: time, cost and quality. Put briefly, if you want the very best quality, expect to have to wait and pay for it. If you want something cheap, expect that it’ll be shoddy and still take a long time. (You get the picture: change one of these variables and you change the other two). And moreover, you’re very unlikely to get your own way with more than one. Few people are lucky enough to get the very best quality quickly, albeit still paying through the nose. Fewer still will get a cheap house quickly and no-one I’ve met has ever got cheap craftsmanship in double quick time. If you meet someone who has, they’re lying.