Design Process

I believe it’s important for the client to know exactly what it takes to get from rough sketches to the finished home. The following description takes you through the design process from our first meeting through the building phase.

Getting Started

Getting Started
The first step is to contact me and to arrange a convenient time to come to my office. Our first meeting generally requires an hour or two to discuss your project ideas. During this time, you will also have the opportunity to become acquainted with my staff to determine whether you feel your ideas are compatible with my design process.

Our Initial Meeting
We will discuss the general scope of the project including:

  • The “Design Program” – your specific needs and desires.
    • Is it new construction, a remodeling, or an addition?
    • What special spaces or elements do you want?
    • What could you forego to have something else? (i.e. a smaller bedroom in order to add a bath?)
    • Special interests or hobbies that need to be considered (lighting, acoustics, dark-room?)
    • Textures, circulation, materials, light, privacy, and other elements
  • Desired Budget for Design and Construction
  • Construction Schedule

Subsequent Meetings
Review detailed outline of the Design Program compiled in our initial meeting:

  • Discuss the details –
    • special pieces of furniture or artwork to be incorporated into the room designs (area rugs, pianos, large specimen plants, sculpture, etc.)
    • specific materials – types of wood, granite or plastic
    • scheduling concerns

Visit Project Site

  • Discuss technical aspects: access, grading, site amenities such as large trees, views, neighboring homes, etc.
  • If remodeling, document home with photos, site measurements inside and out, note “as-built” conditions
  • Discuss details – special pieces of furniture or artwork to be incorporated into the room designs

Design Process

Schematic Design
Once the program has been thoroughly discussed and first decisions made, the initial design begins. This is the schematic design phase.

The Schematic Drawings are:

  • Drawings that show a layout of all spaces viewed in the design plan;
  • Drawings of simply rendered elevations that hint at exterior materials and show elements of the house;
  • Drawings of a site plan based on the owner-supplied land survey that shows grading; trees to be preserved, location of driveway, sidewalks, and utility access points, with the design placed within them.

The Schematic Design Phase is the time to:

  • Discuss the preparation of cost estimates
  • Change, add, or subtract major design elements (size of house; relationship and number of rooms; location of walls, doors and windows; siting of house on land, etc.)

Design Development
This phase is a continuing refinement of the ideas incorporated in the schematic design that includes the preparation of some of the details: fireplaces, windows, cabinets, etc.. In this phase, construction documents are initiated.

The Construction Documents are:

  • Hardline drawings, either handdrawn or CAD (computer-aided drafting), that are precise representations of all elements of the design
  • The specifications are written. This is an outline of the quality and type of materials to be used in the construction of the project.
  • Structural or mechanical engineering drawings which are critical for the proper construction of the project.

A typical Construction Document Set includes:

  • Site Plan
  • Elevations
  • Floor Plans
  • Structural Plans
  • Interior Elevations
  • Electrical Plans
  • Specifications
  • Details

During the Design Development Phase, we:

  • Work toward making final, “hard-and-fast” decisions about the design, such as room layouts, built-ins, window type and placement, etc.
  • Make preliminary decisions about finishes, hardware, lighting, appliances, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, and other items to be listed in the specifications
  • Decide whether to work with an interior designer to make final decisions about items in the specifications