our design process

imagine yourself in a helicopter, hovering above this great building site you have had your eyes on for quite a while.  we are sitting next to you explaining what you are seeing as we drop lower, more detail appears as we drop even lower...and the vision becomes clearer the closer you get.  and soon you are standing in the center of the home, looking around at the fine details of what came out of your mind's eye...this is how we approach the design process.


  • we sit down with you and interview the persons involved with the major design decisions for the project.  many times we can draw out information and thoughts critical to the design process.  with this information we develop a "program" which serves as the road map we follow when we begin the actual design processes.
  • we then look at the site topography, orientation to the sun, seasons, winds, view corridors, view constraints, neighbors (views), etc. and develop a loose site plan that identifies all these "opportunities and constraints".  many times this can be accomplished with google earth maps, but in some instances we need a professional topography map prepared by a licensed surveyor.
  • once we have our “opportunities and constraints” of the site understood, we can zoom in a little and take a closer look at how the program actually works on the site…living areas vs garage, bedrooms (private) vs living areas (public), and do a loose programming diagram of the spaces.
  • if everyone involved likes the direction of the programming diagram, we can zoom in a little closer and start placing walls and spaces together in a structured format that evolves into our first floor plans.

schematic design:

  • at each revision level we keep zooming in a little closer, revealing more detail each time until we are left with our final floor plan design.  during the development of the floor plans, we are keeping in mind what style of architecture we are choosing and how the plan will “elevate” to achieve that appropriate massing and style.
  • with the approved schematic floor plans we draw our building elevations and roof plan to understand how this building works in 3d.  we develop these drawings in conjunction with the floor plans, making adjustments along the way as needed.
  • when it all comes together, w submit a final schematic design package to you for approval before we begin inputting the information into our CAD program for construction / permit drawings.
  • you are still around 100 feet of the ground at this point, you can see the spaces taking shape but the details haven't appeared just yet.

design development:

  • the schematic design package that includes floor plans, building elevations, roof plans and building sections is then converted from hand drawings to electronic drawing format (CAD) for further development.
  • details begin to form at this stage; for example, mill work and cabinetry is identified and located, walls and room dimensions are identified, doors and window styles and sizes are chosen.
  • this phase is still 50 feet off the ground in your helicopter...the final details don't materialize until the construction document phase.

construction documentation:

  • at this phase, all the fine details are identified and drawn within the final drawing set.  mill work and cabinetry is elevated and detailed, sections are drawn through the buildings and details are identified and cross-referenced with the detail sheets.
  • consultant drawings to include structural engineering, energy calculations, electrical, plumbing and mechanical plans are all coordinated by the architect and placed in the working set of drawings to make a complete construction document set that any proficient licensed contractor can provide an accurate bid and build the project.
  • this is where you are standing at ground level and you can use the construction documents to "see" how the project is intended to be completed.

from here your plans are submitted to the authority having jurisdiction and for plan check and permit issuance as well as final bidding from your chosen contractors (3).