New Homes / Custom Homes
New homes, also called custom homes or new construction are ground-up new construction designed around your lifestyle. Typically these houses are built on vacant land. They may also replace an old house.
We believe in holistic design; great architecture is more than plopping four walls and a roof on an empty lot. Architecture begins internally and extends beyond the walls. Where does that french door lead to? And what does that feature window look onto? We incorporate interior design and landscape design into our services. The result is a thoroughly designed home that moves seamlessly from outside to inside.
Custom Home Timeline and Process
Building a Conversation
We start by listening. We want to learn how you and your family live. What works for you now? And most importantly, what drives you crazy about your current house?
After taking a bunch of notes, we give you homework. We ask that you create a list of "wants" and "needs." This list helps us get focused early and helps us determine a budget and stick to it. With our extensive construction background, we have a thorough understanding of construction costs. We translate your wants and needs into dollars. We design to your budget. Making sure to fit all of your "needs" and as many of the "wants" as possible. If for some reason the budget doesn't align, we continue our conversation and adjust the plans or vision as needed.
This phase typically takes a week or two.
Existing Conditions and Due Diligence
Every lot or site is unique and has its own set of parameters called Zoning. Zoning code changes by Zoning Districts and by the town or city the lot is located. The Zoning Code will determine how big or small your house can be built and where it can be built on the lot. There may also be other determining factors such as building height, easements, impervious surface, building lot coverage, septic or well setbacks, floodplains as well as a host of other factors that vary by the municipality.
A plat of survey is required for this phase. For new construction, a topography survey is also typically required to create a site drainage plan. A Surveyor and Civil Engineer will be required for these documents.
In summary, we need to do our homework to determine what constraints and regulations exist before we put pen to paper. Working in any other fashion would be irresponsible and a waste of your money.
This phase typically takes 1-2 weeks. (Add additional time if a survey or topography is needed.)
New Home Concepts
Armed with your list and our zoning research, we get creative and dream. Keeping all options on the table, we will design 3-4 floor plan concepts. The concepts range from your vision as described to us, to design iterations that will excite you.
As we meet to review the concepts, we discuss what we like and what we don't like. We shelve our ego; we encourage an open dialog. Basically, we want to know what you love and what you hate. These meetings end without decisions being made.
Our intention is to overwhelm you with options and to give you some time to consider everything. We meet again in a week or so and take notes. These meetings typically culminate in an entirely new concept. Taking your favorite elements from each design, we re-group to create the perfect design for you.
We continue working in this fashion throughout the entire design process. We start with floor plans and site layout and then transition to exterior elevations. As things progress, we move onto interior design and landscape design. It's a fluid interactive process, as we move into a new area, we may step back to tweak the floor plans or elevations as we sculpt our new home.
This phase typically takes 1-2 months.
Once the are designs are finalized, we dig into the details to help our contractors build the house. In this phase, we work on electrical plans (lighting plans), plumbing diagrams, structural framing plans, roof plans, site plan development, specifications, window and door schedules, building sections, and construction details. In short, these are the drawings that turn the corner and allow the design to go from concept to reality.
This phase typically takes 1-2 months.
Bidding and Permitting
With the plans complete, we distribute copies to our contractor network. We have a preferred list of trusted builders that will review the plans and competitively price. We will solicit 2-3 complete quotes. We cap the quote at a maximum of 3 to ensure that the builders are interested. If the bid is sent out to 4 or 5 contractors, the builder views their chances of winning the job to be greatly diminished and consequently, their time and attention are not put into your quote.
While pricing is occurring, we fill out all of the permit paperwork and submit the drawings for permit. We're your guide through the whole process. From the initial concept conversation to the post-construction walk-through, we're there making sure that the process is complete and you're not left trying to navigate this complex process on your own.
Bidding and Permitting generally happen simultaneously and take 4-5 weeks.
With the permit in-hand and the contractor selected, ground is broken. We make ourselves available to answer questions as they come up. No set of architectural drawings will answer or cover every construction variable. Therefore questions will arise and you want your architect answering those questions. Plumbers and carpenters are great, but we don't want them making design decisions for your home - especially at this stage. A lot of work has gone into crafting this vision.
We offer two options. The first option sets up weekly or bi-weekly site meetings where we review progress and answer questions. In this scenario, we will also review construction to ensure that the plans are being executed correctly. Based on our review, we will approve the construction payouts. This provides you with peace of mind and makes the whole process more seamless.
The second option, we make ourselves available at a set hourly rate for whenever you or your contractor have questions or need clarification.
Construction generally takes 9-12 months depending on the complexity of the house.