Our Approach

From a design perspective, we face every project with an open mind as we explore the possibilities. Creative problem solving is very much a part of our everyday challenges and in this respect no two jobs are the same. Every house has its own personality reflecting the uniqueness of the homeowners.

On the other hand, the method in which we work with clients and develop a set of plans is very methodical. We feel it is very important to work through the process in a systematic way. This is the approach we take and it is based on years of experience. To help aid our client in understanding the process, we have created a client notebook to serve as a step by step guide through the design process and development of a new home: What to expect, what decisions you will need to make and when to make them and how best to work with us. It is an illustrated guide that follows an actual project, beginning to end, as a sample.



The programming phase, which often happens at our first meeting, is our time to listen. We gather information, both quantitative (lists), and qualitative (mood, character, feeling), in order to develop a program that will direct the design work.

Some people tear pictures out of magazines to communicate their likes and dislikes. Some take exterior photos of houses they like. A walk through your current home, noting your likes and dislikes, can also be helpful to you as you formulate your "wish list". The goal isn't just to list things or features that are appealing, but to understand the reasons behind those feelings. Understanding why you have those feelings makes it possible to incorporate those characteristics into a total design that's pleasing to you.

Other tasks also need to be accomplished before the start of design. We need information on your site so we can analyze factors affecting the building. On large lots, or in certain subdivisions, a site survey will be required. If the seller of the property doesn't have current site information showing the topography of the land, a surveyor must be hired. If you are building an addition, it will be necessary to document your existing house by measuring it, taking photographs, and preparing drawings of the house.

Probably the most important aspect of the programming phase is to discuss your budget. We need to know how much you want to spend on your new home and the types of finishes you expect on both the interior and the exterior.


This phase consists of rough sketches. The intent is to settle on the basic decisions such as the number of rooms and their arrangement, and their overall appearance. Normally, several alternative "floor plans" are presented. Discussing the pros and cons of each will provide a clear direction for the final design, which is developed from the favored aspects of each alternative.


During this phase the design is refined and drawn on our computer system. Problems are worked out, the size of the house is adjusted to meet budget requirements, and the other exterior elevations are designed. For each decision made during this phase, we work through the design to analyze any negative consequences. The more decisions made during this phase and the more time spent working through the design, the better the built product will be.

If you have selected our "Ultimate" service, interior elevations and special details would be sketched at this time.

This phase is your opportunity to make any final changes to the design such as window sizes and placements, variations of ceiling heights, expanding or shrinking any spaces, etc. This is also the time to express any uncertainty with our direction or to let us know if we have not effectively helped you visualize the design. By resolving any concerns during this phase, we can prevent unexpected costs from arising during the development of the construction documents or during the construction of your new home.

Once the basic forms of the floor plans are agreed on, a front elevation sketch is generated.


The next phase consists of the construction drawings and the specifications. The drawings illustrate the quantities and relationships of all work required to build your home. The specifications are written documentation outlining the levels of quality to be met in the materials and workmanship. The written specifications are optional depending on the level of service you select.

The more information that is included in these documents, the greater the likelihood that you will get exactly what you want in the project. Obviously it's important to be specific with your contractor regarding what you want. Since these documents become part of the contract, they also establish his contractual obligations. Anything not contained in the documents is left to chance or the contractor's discretion.


When the time comes to hire a contractor, we can provide assistance in evaluating their qualifications and bids, and in negotiating a contract. We can also answer any questions the contractor might have regarding your project.


Our involvement doesn't have to end with the start of construction. We are available to act as your representative by monitoring the contractor's work for conformance with the construction documents. Even the best documents cannot fully convey all aspects of a three dimensional building without being open to interpretation. Knowing the intent of the working drawings is critical to proper interpretation. Our job is not to "police" or supervise the builder, but to provide assistance to insure that your home is built as intended.

Our assistance to the builder consists of answering questions by phone, providing regular site visits to observe the work, providing supplement drawings as requested by the contractor, reviewing shop drawings, materials, and product samples, and reviewing requests for design changes. Our involvement in this phase can be a valuable service to all parties.