What We Do

our creative design and planning process
Cabin in the Woods Site Plan

Discovery Phase


This phase is really about outlining the overall project to set the stage for design work.  We align the scope of the project, discuss client goals, develop a “program” and discuss a general budget for construction.  We review the site, any existing building(s) on site, review permitting constraints, discuss energy efficiency goals, etc.


Discovery Phase may include –
  • Assist clients in site selection….will the site suit the needs

  • Site analysis and development planning

  • Review potential permitting constraint

  • Review general project schedule and budget goals

  • Discuss client project goals

  • Develop a Program – a document that outlines all of the spatial needs and adjacencies of the project

  • Measurement and photo documentation of any existing building(s) on site for renovation projects

  • Highlighting of energy efficiency goals

The “Napkin” Phase

Setting up “the program”

Sometimes the best ideas start out as a simple thought scribbled on a common napkin. Before we can get started we’ll need to translate those first thoughts into, what we call, the program. It is one of the most important tools we use/develop during the process. The Program is a document that lists all of the physical spaces to be included within the project.  It can hold as much information as is necessary to highlight spaces and particular aspects each space must include. Anything that will help provide guidance when laying out the initial design concepts.  This will ultimately lead to approximate square footages required for the project to meet client goals and is an integral part in developing a rough working budget early in the process to allow clients to make decisions about scope, scale and costs.


The Program may include –
  • Types and sizes of furniture
  • Physical dimentions of spaces
  • Critical adjacencies between rooms
  • That must-have appliance in the kitchen
  • The memory of being a kid sitting around the family hearth
  • The hidden quiet space to retreat to
  • The way a particular view must be framed
  • The types of storage needed in a mudroom

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Exploratory Phase

Schematic Design

Now that the stage is set, it is time to envision all that you want your project to be.  This is the time to dream and “depart from the text” under the constraints of the project parameters developed during Pre-Design.  Often this stage includes exploring more than one option for how the building is organized, the massing of the building, the architectural style of the building, which exterior materials want to be incorporated, etc. 


Often most clients are more engaged when responding to design ideas as opposed to describing exactly what they want, and find that having different design options available to choose from creates rich discussions and leads towards better design solutions.  Out of these discussions comes the consolidation of the designs and a merging of the best ideas as a final concept begins to come to life.

It is our job as designers to find imaginative ways to incorporate your ideas, visions and goals into a physical architectural form.  The challenge often becomes finding creative solutions where factors conflict with each other or where clients have opposing visions… these conflicting ideas however is where I look to find really unique solutions that achieve what is the essence of what the client is looking for in their design.

Exploratory phase may include-
  • Exploration of architectural plans & building style
  • Presentation of hand rendered design conception.
  • Exploration of structural system(s)
  • Exploration of heating, cooling & ventilation needs
  • Exploration of landscape design
  • Exploration of interior design concepts
  • Exploration of materials
Mountain Shingle Style - Option A - Entry Perspective

Consolidation Phase

Design Development

This is the point in the process where more precise and specific drawings are created.  Often this is the time when hand rendered drawings are converted to computer drawings in order to further refine other aspects of the building.


Consolidation Phase may include –
  • Building science is integrated exploring wall systems, roof systems, foundation system, insulation systems, moisture mitigation systems, ventilation systems, etc.
  • Energy efficiency measures are further developed
  • Development of architectural plans & design
  • Development of structural system(s)
  • Development of lighting plans and concepts
  • Development of heating, cooling & ventilation needs
  • Development of landscape design and specific grading around the building
  • Development of interior design concepts
  • Development of materials and specifications
  • Development of window sizes and glazing specifications
  • Various kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, fireplace, stair system, etc options are developed

Many of the ideas that were generated during prior phases are explored in more depth in order to make sure the entire project comes together as intended.  The goal of previous phases has been to explore, this phase becomes more about how the building will be put together. 

Documentation Phase

 Construction Drawings

Based on the approved Design Development documents, the drawings for construction are prepared. These final drawings encompass architectural, structural (by engineer under separate contract), and electrical plans that contain all necessary typical/standard architectural details.


Documentation Phase may include
  • Completion of Zoning/Permit Process
  • Documentation of all Owner-Supplied Data
  • Architectural Construction Drawings
  • Integration of Structural systems – design by structural engineer
  • Heating/cooling/ventilation plan developed pending equipment selection
  • Plumbing plan developed pending fixture selection
  • Lighting plan developed pending fixture selection
  • Materials/Specifications
  • Project Administration/Management/Correspondence
  • Presentation

Budget Reconciliation Phase

Bidding & Negotiating

This phase includes the presentation of the drawing and specification package to a General Contractor as well as advice on the qualifications of prospective contractors. If you elect to negotiate a price with a specific contractor, we will most likely have been working with the selected contractor early in the design process to help assess costs as the details of the building are developed.


Budget Reconciliation may include –
  • Interviewing & Selecting General Contractor
  • Working with General Contractor as They Prepare Cost Estimates
  • Administrating Bid Documents to Perspective General Contractors
  • Exploration & Presentation of Cost Control Measures
  • Collaborating with General Contractor During Constructon Process
  • Construction Contract Agreements
  • Project Administration/Management /Correspondence

Construction Phase

Let’s Build it!

As the physical building takes shape, we are on the job site and in the office providing clarifications and supplemental details as needed to ensure the quality and progress of the project. In addition, we can review applications for payment and prepare any change orders that have been authorized.


Construction phase may include –
  • Coordination of Owner-Supplied Data
  • Office Construction Administration/Application for Payment Review
  • Field Observation of Construction
  • Coordination with outside engineering (Mechanical, Structural, Electrical)
  • Change Order Administration
  • Supplemental Drawings
  • Project Schedule Monitoring
  • Project Meeting Notes
  • Project Administration/Management/Correspondence
Built it
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