Briefly, let it be said a stock plan is the cheapest route that can be taken in the design process, and if you find one that truly fits your Needs and Wants we highly recommend you purchase it. We also intend to offer some plans on a limited basis.
However, past experience suggests to the contrary. We see lots of clients requesting changes be made to their stock plans. Even small changes can have a huge impact on a design. Usually a designer ends up totally redrawing the plan to make the modifications. If this is the case we suggest that you save your money and avoid the stock plan and create a design that is more in line with your needs.
Design is the most complicated part of the process although it can be the most fun. The enjoyment comes from taking what rests in your minds eye and turning it into reality. Basically, design can be broke down into two phases --- preliminary and final.
The preliminary design phase is where the owner's ideas or vision is merged with the designers experience to produce a rough draft of the project. The final design phase consists of completing the construction documents (plans). These documents are derived from the concepts developed during the preliminary design phase and are approved by the owner. These drawings should have sufficient detail for the pricing and construction of the project.
The preliminary design phase is where we will focus your energy. The creation of a wish list is a good place to start. This wish list could include the some of the following:
· Number and size of bedrooms – for example, the number and location of bedrooms can be determined by size and age of family members.
· Dining room or rooms – do you have a need for formal or informal space or both?
· Would you like a large kitchen? One with peninsula or island cabinetry, or would a smaller kitchen with a walk-in pantry be more preferable. What kind of appliances do you plan on using? Will this be the room where television is watched? Will you need a desk in this room?
· Location of the great room/family room – should it be close to the kitchen or not? Would you like a fireplace in this room? Will this be the room where the most television is watched?
· Is a home office needed? Will there be special built-in needs? What kind of access is important for this office (inside/outside) double doors etc.?
· Master suite – which location is preferable, the first floor or the second? Next to or separate from the other bedrooms? Consider your closet requirements (walk-in or other). How do you wish to access the closet(s) from the bedroom or the master bath?
· Master bath – would you prefer the location of the commode in a separate room or not? Would you prefer a shower, a tub or both? Does the shower need to be doorless? Is there a need for a vanity desk? How many lavatories are desired?
· Would you like a formal living room
· How large would you prefer the entry to be?
Other requirements you should consider:
· Would you like a single or a multiple floor home?
· What would be a good target for your heated square footage and how much footage do you require for your garage and storage? Would you like the garage to be separate or attached?
· Do you have any special needs -- such as a shop or craft space? Does the home need to be handicap accessible?
· What ceiling heights do you prefer (8’,9’,10’, or higher)? Vaults?
· Interior and exterior wall thicknesses (2X4, 2X6, or wider)?
· Are there special furniture considerations?
· What type of architectural style do you desire (Ranch, Country, Federal, Colonial, Victorian, Modern, etc.)? High or low pitch for roofs, (this can include a hip, a gable, etc.) Exterior finishes (masonry, stucco, siding, or combinations of same), windows, doors, and so on.
We also recommend that you start a scrapbook. You can fill this book with anything that catches your eye. Take photos of existing homes that you like. Clip pictures from magazines. Clip or copy any appealing room configurations from any sources reviewed.
Think of where you live and have lived what would you change or not. Sketch some floor plans on paper. You can be as elaborate or as primitive as you like --- a good designer should be able to work with whatever you come up with. Remember, to refer back to your scrapbook and wish list for inspiration.
One final note, there are many inexpensive home design software packages available, but be careful, they can be confusing and difficult to work with. Moreover, because they are inexpensive programs, their file formats are usually not compatible with the higher end CAD packages that your designer is likely to be using. In essence, unless you have a desire to master a minor CAD package, your time will be best spent sketching by hand.
This step is optional