Everyone has their own mixed bag of priorities, frustrations, concerns & interests.
So these answers certainly don't cover everything. We would enjoy discussing your project and your particular "mixed bag" anytime!
As with most things, space planning & functional design can be accomplished in a very rudimentary way or a highly specialized way. Space planning involves possible reconfiguration of walls, doors/doorways, windows, stairs, mechanicals, etc that improve dramatically the way a home works, flows and feels. Functional design is creating the homeowner's unique, advantageous layouts of built-ins (such as cabinetry), appliances, fixtures (such as tubs and toilets), etc within the newly configured spaces.
more q&a below...
The most asked question is..."What exactly is Space Planning & Functional Design?"
Standard consulting many times involves having the client answer the same pre-specified questions to determine their needs. We provide what we call, "adaptive" consulting, which happens throughout the design process and begins with an initial meeting with blank notepaper and a fun conversation. The only way to properly design for each unique household is to provide this focused, adaptive consulting. This will extract wonderful information from the homeowners that they may not otherwise know to give. Also required is providing multiple inventive solutions for the spaces that align with the info gathered in the consultation. Then it is crucial that the homeowner receive unbiased information throughout the entire design process. All these things allow for a developed collaboration effort between designer and client.
Architects are phenomenal at designing structures to conform to the property, exterior aesthetics, rooflines, etc. I actually started out in architecture, but realized it wasn't a fit for me. It was after a very intuitive mentor mentioned space planning, functional design and proper consulting that I found my calling. I started this business to specialize in designing the part of the home where people live...the interior. Architects don't get much training in interior planning and functional layout design. But this is what will make a space function for you. We pay attention to human flow, light flow and workability on a near molecular level. Because, if we are attentive to every minute detail, the aggregate experience is significantly better than the usual.
If you are already working with an architect, whether for new construction or a remodel, we will work with what the architect has determined for the exterior and reconfigure the interior from those drawings to align with how you wish to live. Then we design the built-ins (such as kitchen and bathroom cabinetry) within these newly configured spaces.
Interior Designers are incredible with color, texture, fixture and furniture choices and aethetics in general. We actually work with several interior designers who recommend their clients to us. They prefer that we reconfigure the space, improve orientation, fix light flow, align the functionality to the client and create the construction drawings. Then they take over providing furnishings, colors, etc. to these properly configured spaces.
As with architects, the vast majority of interior designers do not get much training in space planning and functional layout design. A space without proper, dialed in space planning but with beautiful finishes, textures and colors is really just a lovely shade of lipstick on a pig...an aesthetic improvement for sure, but doesn't necessarily function.
A space that works or doesn't work costs essentially the same... you will need practically the same amount of labor and product either way. So we may as well make it wonderfully functional!
No, we provide specialized layout design and construction documents only. However, we have wonderful contractors and cabinet companies we can recommend. Design/build firms are great if a homeowner's most important requirement is one-stop shopping. These firms generally make all their revenue when they sell the project (labor & product) so more often than not, the design, functionality and space planning take a far back seat to just getting the project done. But when it's done you will then be living in those rudimentarily designed spaces for the duration of your stay.
If spending the same amount of money (or, very often, less!) but getting a space truly designed for your unique household is of utmost importance...then you will want to work with a firm that specializes in just that. Like us!
We space plan and design anything from adding a powder room to reconfiguring a whole home to designing a home from scratch! We have created many beautiful basements as well, which if done properly, can feel like you've doubled the usable area of your home! Most homeowners are working on a kitchen area and/or master suite remodel. So of course we design those most often.
Absolutely! It is important to us that our wonderful clients have a great experience after the design phase as well. So we have vetted several contractors that we are happy to refer.
Yes! Brian has much experience with cabinetry (in design, fabrication and sales) and knows what to look for in a cabinet provider. We have vetted companies that produce properly manufactured case goods utilizing good materials. Cabinetry is one area where one can be "taken to the cleaners". There is a lot of garbage out there that looks okay...but we are more concerned about the quality level lurking behind the pretty doors and drawer heads. We are also concerned that these companies price fairly for what they offer, our recommended companies can accommodate any style from traditional to ultra-modern.
This depends largely on how quickly clients get back to us with comments and ideas on that latest design options emailed to them after the previous meeting. Our process is crafted to provide a collaborative experience with each client and so this "homework" is crucial for homeowners confidence in the final product. Some clients get back to us the next day, some the next month. And that's okay, because life happens.
The average time for the design is 2 to 2.5 months. However, we have completed designs for clients in as quickly as 3 weeks.
The initial meeting at your home is no charge, ever. In that meeting we will discuss the scope of your project and give you a cost to interior space plan those areas. This will be one number as we do not charge by the hour...we feel "by the hour" charging is uncomfortable because the client doesn't necessarily know what is being done during all of that accumulating time or when it ends.
This "one number" approach allows you to make a confident choice whether to use our services or not based on "total design cost" information.
How do you determine the design fee?
We provide drawing sets that your chosen contractor can use to obtain permits with your particular city.
For sure! This is an unusual service for a design firm to offer. But we want our client, their contractor, cabinet company, mother-in-law...whomever, to be able to contact us with questions, advice, any frustrations, issues, etc through to the end of their project. We have set aside an hour a day for this very thing and will not nickel and dime people for it! It is better to resolve a question or frustration with someone who will provide un-biased information in a five minute phone call rather than let things fester into a bigger issue. We are happy to help throughout!
We've had many people contact us with a project they feel requires an addition to their home. 95% of the time, utilizing unique space plan philosophies, we discover wonderful solutions for a homeowner's needs and wishes within the existing structure. Every structure, whether small or large, has dead space available for function if laid out properly.
There are times, of course when addition is necessary to accomplish what is wanted. And in those cases only what is necessary to access the desired results. No need to just throw on a big addition, just resulting in more dead space! We will determine layouts and options with the addition and without so you may choose confidently which works for you.