The Design Process
This page is dedicated to the explanation and illustration of the Process of producing the Design and the Construction Plans which you and your builder then use to realize your dream home.
The Design Process really begins with the dreams that you have for your new home or for improving your present home. We are the means to that end. We employ our many years of practical experience together with the fertile imagination of our designers to translate your dream into a thoroughly considered design and complete and detailed plans.
The Process consists of these Five Phases:
- The Program Phase
- The Concept Phase
- The Design Development Phase
- The Interior Design Phase
- The Construction Plan Phase.
Your Program Phase
In this phase we ask you to provide:
- The topographic survey of the home site, and other legal descriptions of it.
- A written statement which we call your Program which describes your ideas about your new home, your wants, needs, and your specifications for the home.
- Photos and magazine clippings showing things you like or wish to have included in your home.
- A completed questionnaire about your home.
This is the Phase in which we learn about your dreams, your ideas, your needs, your life style, your personal tastes, and your home site. It is the phase that makes your home a truly Custom, designer home. It is the phase in which you express yourselves and inform us to the degree you are able and willing to do so. We will meet with you, preferably in your present home, to help us to learn about how you live in it and about your tastes and your personal styles. We will also wish to visit and learn all about your home site, the area around it, and gather the geo technical data about its soil, water, foliage, weather patterns, solar aspects, views, and all. You may wish to have a large degree of specification of the style and details of your home or you may wish to give us the lead in creating a uniquely styled home with some surprising and delightful details. We encourage you to write your Program expressively, to add images of homes or details of homes that you particularly like whether you wish to suggest or to specify with them. We also will provide you with a questionnaire to help you think about all the aspects of your home to include with your Program.
The Design Concept Phase
In this phase we study all the information we have gathered and develop our concepts about how all this can be put together with foundation, walls, and roof and how this will co-relate with its site. There are two parts to this phase. In part one, we use concept sketches to help us to organize our thinking and to begin to express our concepts for your home. These sketches are often called Bubble Sketches as the various areas of the concept are roughly defined with circles and ovals. These sketches are rough and barely schematic in nature and are practically meaningless by themselves. They only address the basic organization of areas, how they relate, and the ideas of movement and flow within them. We will share our sketches with you and explain what they represent while we discuss how our ideas are coming together into Concepts for your home. We may discuss several Concepts. The one or two that have the most promise will go to the next step. In this second part we translate the bubble sketches into rough Schematic Floor Plan sketches and exterior views of the house and then discuss them with you. In this phase we are not yet dealing with specific materials or design details or even exact sizes of rooms. That will come in the next phase. When we have agreed on one Concept/Floor Plan we move into the third phase.
The Design Development Phase
We will also begin to develop our ideas for the features of the Interior Design of your home.
We develop the Siting Plan showing how the house will be located on the property. We will consult with the Structural Engineer. You may begin to consult with Landscape designers during this phase. You may also begin the Cost Tracking program we recommend for most of our clients. In this, a qualified local builder is consulted to roughly estimate the costs of construction of the proposed design. The designs may be revised until we have worked out the details of the design and are confident in our selections of materials for the construction and the Interior and Exterior surfaces. Window and door styles, roof lines and eave style, trim style and materials are selected. This phase is complete when you have formally approved these aspects of the design of your home. In this phase, the selected Concept is developed into accurately scaled Floor Plans and Exterior Elevation drawings.
We do our advanced 3D virtual modeling after these inital phases are completed by the hand of the artist/designer.
The Option of Rendering Images of the Proposed Design
At this point in the Process you have the option of ordering computer renderings of the proposed design. The renderings are a big help in really getting to see how the house will look. It is possible to have renderings made of some or all of the Interior as well. A couple exterior renderings are shown here.
The Interior Design Phase
In this phase, the design of the features of the Interior are developed and detailed.
The extent to which we detail the Interior is a choice you will be asked to make. Some clients wish to be very hands on in this and yet because selecting all the individual parts that are needed to complete the Interior is such a lot of detail to manage and pull together, many are glad to take advantage of our services in these selections. We will work with you to take the part of this load that you do not wish to do yourselves. We will be responsible for the design of the architectural elements such as trim, panelwork, mantle pieces, and cabinet style. This phase is complete when you have formally approved the Interior Design and the whole Design of your home. Only then do we move on to produce the Construction Plans.
The Construction Plan Phase
In this phase the Documents of Construction are produced. These Documents are the means by which you will obtain your Building Permit: by which you will receive bids from various contractors on the same work; and which will be a crucial part of your Contract with the builder you choose. All Structural and Mechanical aspects are designed and documented. Materials and products are specified. Window and Door schedules are included. Schedules of finish materials are completed. The details of the Exterior walls, roof, foundations, interior walls, floors, cabinets and all aspects of the Interiors which we have been responsible for are included. Detail drawings of all the build in features of the house are specified. This phase is complete when we deliver the Plans to you.
The Construction of Your Home
This is not a standard feature of our contract agreements, but we will consider these options, if you wish. Once you have received your completed Construction Plans, you will need to select your builder, if you have not already done so. It is best practice to research the builders who work in the area of your home site and select three of them, all of whom you find to be reputable and with whom you can develop good rapor. Ask them to make bids on the Construction Plans. It is important that the builder you select be prompt and clear in all their communications with you and that they break down the costs of construction and share their accounting with you openly throughout the construction process. The next thing that is needed in all but the most rural areas is to submit the Construction Plans to the local Building Department for Plan Review. In some places this is a matter of a short over the counter visit, in other places it may take some weeks to have the plans reviewed. In the strictest of these Plan Review departments they may find something more to require: some added language or some minor modification to the plans. This work is done as part of our commitment to you. The best practice for submitting the plans is to have the builder you have chosen make the submittal and pull the Permit. You may wish to engage us to help you select a builder and/or to supervise the construction of your home.