Guideline #2: Please ask your designer and builder if they use sustainably harvested timber.
(clear cut timber is not sustainable, it's a one time cut and that size timber is never to be seen again at that cut block, you are supporting 2x4 and 2x6 size tree farming). Trust me on this one. It may be a new concept but so was a round earth at one time and so was organic food. There are many important reasons to want big timber in our forests. Not only do we benefit from big timber (beauty, strength, volume...) but our larger animals need these big trees for their habitat. There are woodlot owners everywhere that do selection logging in stead of clear-cut logging and don't high-grade their cuts either. Just ask them one thing. Are their tops getting bigger or smaller? If smaller, then they're not sustaining their cut and will eventually support only 2x4 and 2x6 markets. We should support the woodlot loggers that try to maintain this stand diversity of size.
Guideline #3: "The visual and aesthetic focus is the architecture and its link to the garden, not the contents of the space." Len Brackett
Guideline #4: Orient your home to the sun. In the northern hemisphere the living space is to the south, or south-west. The kitchen is to the east to welcome the morning sun. The utility rooms should be to the north to act as a buffer to the living room and kitchen. The coldest walls are to the north and east so minimize windows on these walls or buffer them with shutters or verandas/porches). Maximize windows to the south and to the west again with verandas/porches but this time they should only shade from the hottest sun of summer and otherwise let it in.
Guideline #5: The cape and colonial homes are the most economical design. There is much to be said for two floor houses. By building two floors you maximize floor space and minimize roof size. A roof is a big expense to build and to maintain. Some argue that old age will make stairs a problem. Maybe so, it's an obstacle for you to decide upon. If one remains flexible in their old age, stairs remain an obstacle and cease to become a problem. My grandparents designed so upstairs rooms became guest rooms in later years and she only climbed the stairs to clean or ready a room for guests/family.
Guideline #6: Include a porch to wrap around at least 2 sides of the home. Houses that don't have a transitional space between the outside and inside spaces have a feeling of coldness and separation nature. Porches offer this seasonal living space and transition. The Japanese have perfected this design element known as the engawa.
Guideline #7: Don't ever rush a decision. If you feel rushed, pause, back up, slow down and contemplate (breath slowly and deeply). The answer will become clear eventually. If you don't meditate or contemplate, now is the time to start :)
Guideline #8: Never build on the most beautiful location of your property. Live on the property for at least 4 seasons before breaking ground.
Guideline #9: Divine your water source with several diviners to cross reference. You will be amazed at their accuracy. You will also find out other lines, faults and fractures running through your property that have never proven to be harmonious, healing locations to position your home. The flow of 'chi' or detectable current/frequency of energy is too chaotic to be beneficial to a healing home energy. I was unaware and skeptical of this but I have experienced too much consistent evidence to doubt it any longer.
Guideline #10: Read 'A Pattern Language' by Christopher Alexander. He studied all the vernaculars of architecture and design of many cultures from around the world and distilled one common "language" that we all use to define and make our spaces beautiful. So many great ideas of how to design and build our spaces. Highly recommended before you design your space. One example is to use larger windows that lower the sill level. The classic French design is this and allows for better and more beautiful natural light into the room.