OUR PROCESS

During our 25 years of designing homes, we have refined our project process to be detailed, transparent and efficient – to ensure our relationships with homeowners are mutually positive and meaningful. Our team shares a common goal: to create a delightful shelter, rich with comfortable rooms, innovative details, environmentally friendly features, functional design and enduring style. 

We are excited to guide you through the architecture process, whether you are building anew or renovating your home. Our Architectural Services consist of three main phases:

  1. Schematic Design (SD)
  2. Design Development (DD)
  3. Construction Documents (CD)

In addition, we offer the optional, additional services of Contractor Negotiation (CN) and Construction Administration (CA).

PHASE 1

Schematic Design

The first task of your team is to understand your goals and lifestyle. We learn how you live and entertain, and ways your family might evolve. We comprehend the site, the light and trees, the microclimate and neighborhood context as we start to imagine your home. We conduct sun and wind studies of the site to evaluate possible sustainable features. From there, we sketch and diagram, define a detailed scope of work and establish a budget and timetable. We determine consultants, obtain measurements, site surveys and reports. To visualize the features and character of the home, we exchange a wealth of concept photos and drawings. By the end of this phase, we agree upon rough floor plans, preliminary exterior elevations and a potential site plan, and obtain an estimate from a trusted contractor.

PHASE 2

Design Development

Now, the project begins to come to life! We develop floor plans and elevations and explore interior spaces, stairs, raised ceilings and tactics to maximize light and air. As we learn how you are able to best envision your home, we may share schemes in a variety of formats: hand-drawn sketches, computer-generated renderings, a virtual reality walkthrough or 3-D printed model. We also simultaneously begin to design the interior architecture of your home, which includes the appliances, plumbing fixtures, tile/stone, mouldings, ceiling details, built-ins, kitchen cabinetry and even hardware and fixtures. The phase ends with much-evolved plans and elevations, and we again provide an updated construction budget from a contractor.

PHASE 3

Construction Documents

We then prepare detailed Construction Documents (CDs), which are needed for permitting and building your new home. CDs include a wide range of drawings: plans, elevations and sections; waterproofing details; and specifications to define the materials. We cross-check and integrate the consultants’ work (structural, civil and mechanical engineering; interior design; landscape design and energy analysis), and make sure your home is as energy efficient, insulated and water-wise as possible. When engineering is finalized, we submit to the City for approval and permits. While the CDs are with the City, we work with you to complete your home’s interior architecture and every last detail — from lighting design, cabinetry, paneling and “wet areas” to solar collectors and greywater systems. Once CDs are complete, we provide them to your builder or to several contractors for bidding and building.

Additional Services*

Bidding

We carefully review the project estimate several times during the design process. We often identify, qualify and engage a builder in the early phases of design. When you prefer the project to be bid, we recommend contractors who are a good fit or consider any builders you may refer. We compare and question the bids and arrange interview(s) with you to discuss their process, staffing, invoicing and timetable.

Construction Administration

During Construction Administration, we visit the site to monitor the construction process, offer suggestions and make minor design refinements, when requested. We also answer contractor questions and double-check shop drawings from subcontractors. This allows us to ensure the house is built according to the approved plan.

*These services are optional and considered additional.

Schematic
PHASE 1

Schematic Design

The first task of your team is to understand your goals and lifestyle. We learn how you live and entertain, and ways your family might evolve. We comprehend the site, the light and trees, the microclimate and neighborhood context as we start to imagine your home. We conduct sun and wind studies of the site to evaluate possible sustainable features. From there, we sketch and diagram, define a detailed scope of work and establish a budget and timetable. We determine consultants, obtain measurements, site surveys and reports. To visualize the features and character of the home, we exchange a wealth of concept photos and drawings. By the end of this phase, we agree upon rough floor plans, preliminary exterior elevations and a potential site plan, and obtain an estimate from a trusted contractor.
Development
PHASE 2

Design Development

Now, the project begins to come to life! We develop floor plans and elevations and explore interior spaces, stairs, raised ceilings and tactics to maximize light and air. As we learn how you are able to best envision your home, we may share schemes in a variety of formats: hand-drawn sketches, computer-generated renderings, a virtual reality walkthrough or 3-D printed model. We also simultaneously begin to design the interior architecture of your home, which includes the appliances, plumbing fixtures, tile/stone, mouldings, ceiling details, built-ins, kitchen cabinetry and even hardware and fixtures. The phase ends with much-evolved plans and elevations, and we again provide an updated construction budget from a contractor.

Documents
PHASE 3

Construction Documents

We then prepare detailed Construction Documents (CDs), which are needed for permitting and building your new home. CDs include a wide range of drawings: plans, elevations and sections; waterproofing details; and specifications to define the materials. We cross-check and integrate the consultants' work (structural, civil and mechanical engineering; interior design; landscape design and energy analysis), and make sure your home is as energy efficient, insulated and water-wise as possible. When engineering is finalized, we submit to the City for approval and permits. While the CDs are with the City, we work with you to complete your home's interior architecture and every last detail — from lighting design, cabinetry, paneling and “wet areas” to solar collectors and greywater systems. Once CDs are complete, we provide them to your builder or to several contractors for bidding and building.

Services
PHASE 4

Additional Services*

Bidding

We carefully review the project estimate several times during the design process. We often identify, qualify and engage a builder in the early phases of design. When you prefer the project to be bid, we recommend contractors who are a good fit or consider any builders you may refer. We compare and question the bids and arrange interview(s) with you to discuss their process, staffing, invoicing and timetable.

Construction Administration

During Construction Administration, we visit the site to monitor the construction process, offer suggestions and make minor design refinements, when requested. We also answer contractor questions and double-check shop drawings from subcontractors. This allows us to ensure the house is built according to the approved plan.

*These services are optional and considered additional.