While most of our projects are for individuals or families, we also understand that each project we design exists within the greater context of the community. Community involvement creates meaning and balance for our office, and it enriches our design process. Not only do we view our projects with the perspective of the client, but also as part of the city, and the green building movement.

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Design Process for Remodeling/Addition Projects

Preliminary Review Meeting – During an introductory meeting to review the goals for your project, we’ll spend a couple hours with you to understand what you’ve been thinking about. We understand that there’s probably been a lot of time and emotional investment leading to the decision of doing a project. We want to understand what is motivating you and we’ll try to tailor our services to fit your needs.

Proposal – We’ll prepare a proposal based on our preliminary meeting. The design proposal is based on the number of hours for needed for meetings, design time and documentation.

Survey – We’ll visit your house to measure and photograph. We’ll also review the design goals again. Please have your survey and deed restrictions available, along with any other records relevant to the project.

As-built Documentation – Design work starts with drawing the existing floor plan and exterior elevations. We may recommend a topographical survey at this point to understand the grading of your project. Later this information will be required for grading or drainage plans. We may also suggest review by a structural engineer and energy rater to consider structural issues and energy efficiency early on.

Schematic Design (phase one of design) – We believe the ideal design process starts with understanding potential options. We’ll design 2-3 options for you to review. Often ideas are combined to create a solution that works best, and then this is refined through 2-3 revisions. We spend a couple meetings to review and also work via phone and email. The end result of this phase is a nearly finalized floor plan and exterior elevations. Having a collection of inspiration images helps us understand the style that is right for you. Try using Houzz.com to create an idea book.

Design Development (phase two of design) – With the big picture decided, we’ll start working on the details. Much of the focus is on cabinetry, lighting, finishes and fixtures. It’s also a great time to start looking at windows. There’s a lot to decide on – it’s a big shopping trip. Having more time makes it fun instead of stressful. Our goal is to guide you through the decisions, and create thorough pricing drawings for builder negotiation or bid.

Pricing – Whether you decide to bid the project to several bidders, or negotiate with a single builder, we’ll support the pricing process. We want to make sure budget items are resolved before completing the drawings for construction.

Construction Documents (phase three of design) – Once the project scope is finalized we’ll create drawings for permit. It might seem like the drawings are complete, but we still need to add another layer of information that is needed for city review. We’ll also make revisions that come about through the pricing process. Additional details are added to illustrate exactly how we’d like to see things built. Finally, we know that at this point of the project you’ve learned a lot about home design, and you may want to adjust a thing or two. We allow for a few extra hours to accommodate those last minute thoughts. During this phase we also coordinate with the structural engineer and civil engineer, if needed.

Permitting and Builder Contract – The entire set of drawings, architectural, structural, and drainage plans (if needed) are compiled to create the permit set. Some additional paperwork may also be needed from you. Depending on the size of project and city, the process can take one day to two weeks or even longer. During this time, the contract with the builder is also usually finalized. It may feel like it’s taking too long to get the project started – so be patient. Use this time to make any last finish selections that need to be made.

Construction – Finally! – It was a process to get here – so watching the project get started is exciting! Construction itself has its up and downs; there are weeks when things go quickly and then slow down as all the different trades go through the project and do their part. We’ll be along for the ride all through construction including a few site visits. Builders are free to call with questions. We strive to have as many decision made as possible so your only job is to enjoy watching the project take shape and maybe make a few last selections.

One last note – a 3, 4, 5 or 6 month process for design may seem like a long time at first. But once people are in the middle of it the pace usually feels right. We try our best to adapt our pace to match our clients. If you make decisions quickly, we’ll get you to the next phase quickly. If you need more time to think things over –no problem. A month is a short period of time compared to the time you’ll spend in the finished project. We have a great track record of delighted clients, and we are convinced it’s a result of our design process – it just takes a little time to create the place you’ll love to call home…