Things You Should Know Before Building





    Starting a home project can be a very exciting time! However, most people don’t realize all the necessary steps that need to be taken to get the project moving forward in the right direction. In this blog post, discuss some things you should know before building or adding onto your home.





Prepare For Your First Consultation

   The first step when designing your dream home, is to schedule a design consultation with your architect. A design consultation brings all your thoughts together and combines them into a starting point for the designer. How do we do that? Before viewing the property, there are many questions to be answered based on your needs and those living with you in the new custom home or addition. The architect is (make sure it’s consistent throughout the post) able to evaluate the property based on APN numbers, neighborhood location and design requests. The architect is focused on understanding your needs in the design you seek. Most consultations will begin with a series of simple questions such as:



• Lot Location

     Lot Location will determine how many stories the home may be and the style that's permitted in the residing neighborhood. The local community may get involved too depending on various factors. Becoming familiar with the Residential Design Guidelines for your area is a great place to start when deciding on an architectural style.



Addition or a custom home

    Every city and county abides by its own building code and will affect various design possibilities such as a maximum lot coverage or footprint effecting the setback of a home from the property line. If the lot coverage is less then your desired square footage discussing the possibility of a basement or second story is always a great way to capture additional space.



• Square footage

     Determine if you would like to add or takeaway square footage from your existing home. If you’re building a completely new structure, consider how big you may want it to be.



   Protected Vegetation may also have to be considered in some cases. Such as the California Oak Tree. Plants and trees can sometimes be relocated on the property or incorporated into the design without harm which can allow flexibility for landscape design that will complement the new structure.





Road Blocks

    Before discussing any removal or changes of a structure it’s important to know if your home is categorized as historic. Some buildings are protected and documented by local historic societies or organizations. To determine the status of your home, you can do a title search through the County Recorder’s Office. It is also important to note, that your project may take longer than you expect it to. Unexpected things may come up and slow down construction.




Life Style

    We may ask you about the size of your family and how often you entertain. Answers to these questions will help determine how many bedrooms will be required and how formally you entertain your guests. Understanding your life style will assist us in designing a home just right for you and your family’s needs. Saving Square Footage and opening up space by designing a floor pan that naturally flows with your routine is important for daily living. Take into consideration where you spend the most time and at what time of day. This can affect the location of the rooms based on your families activities. It’s important to discuss outdoor spaces such as patios and balconies. These areas are not typically included in the cost per square foot and should be mentioned upfront for an accurate quote on your project.




Wish List

  Must haves are important to discuss in your initial design consultation. Be sure to compile a list before arriving to your consultation to get an accurate quote for time and cost base. It is also a good idea to have some photo examples of your dream home.





   Our design process is all about providing you with the home you've always dreamed of and one centered around your personal needs. The finishes you choose will affect the overall cost of construction. It’s a good idea to do some research on the finishes you would like to have in your custom home. There are many great finishes that look and feel luxurious and are still cost effective.



Property Assets and Increased Value

   Optimize on the assets your property offers. If you have a view of the city lights or mountains, be sure to discuss features such as accordion doors or a bay window which can frame your dramatic view. A Second Dwelling is often an option home owners don't realize they have. Many properties have more than enough space for a second dwelling unit  allowing you to increase the value of the property at low cost. If the property is zoned for subdividing, you may have the option of building two structures and selling the second to put some added cash in the bank.




    After thoroughly discussing the layout and design features the architectural firm will layout the phases of your project in a contract. Following the consultation, you will be presented with a proposal and in some cases an onsite property evaluation will take place prior to signing the contract. Once a price point is agreed upon the design phase begins.