#4 Design Discussion
In step #3, you interviewed Builders and/or Architects that will help you design and construct the home of your dreams, within your budget, with good communication and with respect. Now it is time to get down to business and knock out your home design. Please go into this process with an open mind. Even though you might have a great design in your mind, a good builder will thoroughly analyze and address potential concerns so that your home will be structurally sound and functional.
You and your home have STYLE! – Let’s start with the basics and determine the style of home that is you. Is it Craftsman, Modern, Traditional, Transitional, French Country, New Orleans, Cap Cod, Colorado Western, or Tuscan? These are just scratching the surface of popular styles. Take a look at our portfolio for some examples. Although there are many styles of home to consider, you most likely already have a general idea of what style fits you best. Many times with couples there will be a meshing of styles. In the case of home resale, it is best to mesh two style that already work well together.
In addition, it is best to have the exterior style of your home match the interior for resale as well. There are cross-overs in style that do work, but it is best to get opinions from professionals. Ask your builder, architect or designer to help if you are struggling to find your style and always include your builder in the discussions if you are working with an architect or designer.
Site Design Analysis – There is more to design than your style. Visit the build site with your builder/architect and look for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. The design discussion must overlap with land selection (Step #3) because your design has to work with the land in which you plan to build. Example: If your design calls for a basement and the land is on a rocky hillside, you will likely need to alter your plan or pick a new site. Some plans just don’t fit the land. At a minimum, analyze the Soil, Area Climate, Orientation/Views, Slope, Landforms (trees & buildings) and even the Solar Potential, if you plan to utilize the sun in your design.
During the design phase you will be determining what type of windows, doors, lighting, room sizes/shapes, flooring, number of floors and even landscaping. When complete, the design should be a basis for the fee proposal, but remember that this is a “living document” that will likely be updated throughout the design process and even into the construction process. Alterations to the design need to be followed with a change order to show cost adjustments.
The design stage encompasses a lot more than we covered here in this brief post. Please keep in mind that this is a guide to help you work your way through the building process. There are many unknown variables in building a custom home or it wouldn’t be custom.