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.

Whether you are building a new home, or expanding or renovating your home, our Architectural Services consist of three main phases: Schematic Design, Design Development and Construction Documents.

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    Schematic Design

    We get started by defining a detailed scope of work, establishing a budget and timetable. We determine the necessary consultants, obtain measurements, site surveys, soils tests, inspection reports and governmental constraints (including historical and neighborhood associations). We then study the site, the sun path, microclimates and neighborhood context. One of our primary tasks is to understand your needs, preferences and lifestyle. We help you inventory your kitchen, home office and closets. We sketch and diagram, exchanging a wealth of concept photos and drawings to visualize your home’s character. At the end of this phase, we agree upon a preliminary site plan, floor plans, exterior elevations and materials, and obtain an estimate from a trusted contractor.

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    Design Development

    Now, the project begins to come to life! We develop the floor plans and elevations, exploring interior spaces, stairs, windows and raised ceilings. We introduce tactics to maximize light and air, and to conserve water and resources. We may use a variety of formats to help you visualize your home: hand-drawn sketches, computer-generated renderings, a virtual reality walkthrough or 3-D printed model. We want you to clearly understand the designs in the format that works best for you. Simultaneously, we begin to design your interior architecture, which includes the cabinetry, ceiling details, built-ins, moldings, appliances, plumbing fixtures, tile/stone and even hardware. The phase ends with much-evolved plans and elevations, and we again provide an updated construction budget from a contractor.

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    Construction Documents

    We then prepare detailed Construction Documents (CDs), which are needed for permitting and building your home. CDs include the plans, elevations and sections, plus electrical and mechanical plans. They also provide waterproofing details and specifications to define the materials. We cross-check and integrate any 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 doorknobs and switch plates to solar collectors and greywater systems. Once CDs are complete, we provide them to your chosen builder or to several contractors for bidding.

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    Additional Services

    Bidding
    By now we have carefully reviewed the project estimate several times. This has often been provided by a builder we have both qualified and engaged in the early phases of design. When you prefer the project to be bid, we recommend contractors who are a good fit — or we 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, we visit the site to monitor the construction quality, offer suggestions and make minor design refinements, when requested. We also answer contractor questions and double-check shop drawings from subcontractors. Key site meetings include days prior to pouring concrete, prior to installing plaster and prior to setting tile, for example. This allows us to ensure the house is built according to the approved plan.

    *These services are optional and considered additional.