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Our Process

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Pre Design

5-10% of Fee

Fact finding.


Our team gathers all the relevant and interconnected "big picture" information like existing conditions and local zoning;



We will lead the client through an in depth programming exercise

to explore the needs of those who will live, work, or play in the space we are designing. 

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Construction Documents

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During this phase of the design process, we will take the information we’ve gathered from you and through our field surveys to create two to three design options for your consideration. We will generally present these options in the form of sketches, so you can visualize the different routes your project could take. We will also attach a rough cost estimate to each option to aid you in selecting a design that meets both your aesthetic preferences and budget requirements. You will also have the opportunity to request any modifications you’d like us to make to your preferred design. Once you have selected a design option that best suits your needs, we will begin the process of refining the design during the Design Development phase. This is where the real fun begins! Basically, this is the dream-to-reality stage where we figure out what design works best for your site and budget.

With all the ideas on the table, we start sketching several design alternatives based on the mutually agreed upon program (what rooms and features you want). The entire process is iterative, as several options are presented at the beginning, and then based on the owner’s feedback, reworked until a particular design direction emerges. Drawings will be fast and loose, drawn at 1/8” = 1’-0” scale (often by hand). It isn’t uncommon for us to have a roll of trace paper out in a meeting to work with you in real time to tweak plans based on your feedback. Once we have an approved direction, we move ahead with what we call the Schematic Pricing Set, which includes plans, sections if applicable, elevations, and a basic outline specification (list of everything that can’t be drawn at this point).

Once the requirements of the project are determined via the programming process, the design phase begins.  Your architect gives shape to your vision through drawings.  The architect provides a preliminary evaluation of the program, schedule and construction budget developed in the pre-design phase and prepares schematic design drawings illustrating the project to review with the owner.

The designs lay out the program on the site and address schedule and construction budget requirements. Your input into this phase is vital, as you get the first glimpses, and then a more defined look at how your home will take shape. It is important to establish a clear decision-making process with your architect during this phase.

Once approved by the client, drawings at this stage are usually sufficient to initiate any neighborhood review process. If you are working with a builder at this point in the process, they will discuss a preliminary estimate of construction cost (we encourage the selection of a builder early in the process).

(15-25% of fee)

Bidding + Negotiation

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Design Development

At this point, we will take the schematic design you selected, as well as any requested modifications, and revise the design as necessary. We will also update the cost estimate we provided during the schematic design phase to reflect any changes we’ve made to the initial design. We take our clients’ budgets very seriously and continually strive to provide accurate estimates throughout the early stages of design. This phase may require additional give and take as we work with you to finalize the details of the design before moving into the next phase.

Now that we have a general contractor on board and a final design direction, we need a permit. Given the lengthy review processes with many municipalities, we move ahead with all of the required drawings for a building permit concurrent with the full interior design of your project. Once we have the concepts down, we produce a set of permit drawings and submit them to the city. Detailing, interior elevations, and material selections that aren’t necessary for a permit set happen in the next phase. We often produce a full 3D model of the project here to help finalize all of the design decisions. We’ll also do extensive coordination with a structural engineer contracted through us to complete the engineering and detailing of the project.

This is an exciting part of the process where dreams get fleshed out into the three dimensional form of your home. Although your involvement will take time and numerous decisions must be made, working with your architect should be a fun and rewarding experience. You are encouraged to review your plans—to virtually live in them—at different times of day (rings from your coffee mug or wine glass on the plans are welcome).

Spending considerable time contemplating your design now, during the earlier stages of the process, will save time and potentially expensive changes later. As a note of caution, significant changes made after approval of these plans, during the construction drawing phase, may warrant additional fees. Once construction has commenced, changes made to the design (especially those involving structural components of the building), can be quite costly; so make sure to speak up and voice your mind before moving to the next phase of design. The process will continue after approval of progress to this point.

(15-25% of fee)

Construction Administration

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