Design Process & Philosophy
Proper home design should revolve around the balanced marriage of site, form, function, durability, and cost. The right mixture of these factors is essential in planning a great home.
A home site has many inherent characteristics such as size, shape, topography, views, orientation, and drainage - as well as the location of surrounding homes and trees. Each of these can constrain or enhance a design and should be considered early in the planning process. Even though we can't control the characteristics of a site, we certainly can provide home plans that maximize its use and enjoyment. Home sites are static - designs are infinite.
The form of a home or what it looks and feels like inside and out is extremely important to most homeowners. This is what makes us "feel good at home" and has a large impact on our sense of style. The form or style of a home begins with its overall massing and space planning and ends with the smallest of details and decor. The objective is to capture the essence of the owner's style utilizing classic design features. This allows the home to remain fresh and stylish while aging gracefully.
Our plans are much more than conceptual renderings. Every aspect is drawn to scale and fully dimensioned. Sections and details are plan-specific and are provided to ensure that the desired look and proportion, inside and out, will actually be achieved. We take pride not only in our designs but also in the quality of our plans.
The function of a home or how it will be used is quite possibly the most important design factor but is often overshadowed by other factors such as style or cost. Long-term use as well as daily livability should both be considered. A long-term family home should be able to support changing needs from having infant children all the way through the empty nester stage. It may be necessary to compromise the optimal design for one stage in order to enhance the livability of another. This may involve decisions regarding the location of the master suite, the accessibility of the playroom or features needed for a future pool. Regardless of the long-term needs, the design of the home should also enhance daily living.
All of our designs, small and large, feature proper bedroom separation, larger hallways, wider door openings, and larger kitchen work areas. In fact, all of our designs feature more generous "minimum dimensions" throughout. Closet doors, windows, room entries, and door swing areas are designed to allow for optimal furniture placement and circulation. All of our presentation drawings include furniture layouts to provide scale and illustrate how a particular space might be used. Whether you're looking for a starter home, a family home, a vacation home, or an empty nester home, issues of function and livability should be weighted heavily in the planning process.
The durability of a home often determines whether we will spend our leisure time and resources enjoying it or maintaining it. This starts with proper structural design to maximize stability and provide the feel of a "solid home". It also involves roof designs, covered entries and porches that shed water and weather away as well as the selection of materials and products that can handle the elements. Homes designed and built for longevity may cost a little more up front but are much more affordable in the long run. More durable homes cost less to maintain and also have higher resale values. Also, issues of durability and livability are usually enhanced simultaneously. The most loved and desired homes, like anything else, tend to be those that require the least maintenance. Our homes are designed to stand the test of time both physically and aesthetically.
The cost of a home is affected by all of these design factors. It is certainly more economical to build on a flat dry site than on a steep or wet site. The style and features of a home, the materials used, and the efficiency of design will also have a major impact on the overall cost. As you can see, we love to design homes, small and large, with lots of porches and garages,classic details, and gracious interior dimensions. We also like to use tried and true materials, and we don't skimp on structural elements such as foundations and framing. The efficiency and value in our plans is not derived by simply deleting features... it is created by providing these features in an accurate, economical, and buildable format. Because cost will affect all decisions during the design and construction process, it is important to understand how specific elements actually affect cost and to adopt a realistic budget early in the planning phase.
Determining the proper balance of these factors as they relate to your individual needs will have a great impact on the livability, value and enjoyment of your home. Selecting a quality design with an excellent set of plans is the key to building a great home!