Designing Your New Home

In my last post I talked about the very first steps of building a custom home. Today we're going to get to some really fun stuff - design! Once our clients have gathered together all their photos and ideas, we sit down  and go over their needs and wants. We bring plenty of paper to these meetings and start sketching quick layouts. Do the clients want a Master Bedroom near the other bedrooms or away? How should the family entrance be laid out? Butler's Pantry? Outdoor living space? And what about a fireplace?

At this meeting we try to get as much information as possible so that once I get back in the office, I can start designing. Looking at blueprints and being able to understand how a room will look is difficult for most people. Using a CAD/Rendering program such as Chief Architect or SoftPlan has really helped our clients envision their finished project. I begin with the layout, using the design details picked up from the client. Knowing the property is vital at this point as it helps with the orientation of the rooms - is there a view to consider? When planning a lake cottage at least all the public rooms and master bedroom should have lake views. Are there neighbors nearby? Place a closet on that wall.

Once the basic layout is formed, I like to arrange the bathroom fixtures since there are very specific code requirements for those rooms. Then I work on the bedrooms, the living room, dining room and finally the kitchen. Considering the style of the home, I then start placing the windows and doors.

This is where it really gets fun - the renderings! Using the client's preferences, I go through the home, choosing materials and styles for all the surfaces. Of course at this point everything is subject to change, these 3D renderings are such a big help when it comes to designing the home WITH the client rather than FOR the client.

Because we use computer modeling, our clients can easily request to see ceilings raised, colors changed and walls moved before we're even ready to estimate the project. This saves both time and money!

Once I'm happy with the amount of detail in a project, the clients receive an email with their proposed layout and renderings. Sometimes the design stays the same and sometimes a project will go through three or four revisions before we're ready for the next step: estimating.

Be sure to follow real time progress of this project over at The House That Mim Built!

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