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Awards and PublicationsThe Design Process
(and what my services include)

The first step in the architectural process is to meet you.
I like to sit down with you and your family to discuss your needs and desires for your home, preferably in your current home for your convenience, but also to help me get to know you better.  This initial meeting will cover your daily routines, how you use your home, in addition to a list of rooms you would like, their preferred sizes, your time frame to complete the design and construction work, and your budget for the project.  Many people have clippings of homes they like or photos of places they've been, all of which help me understand what you are trying to create.  After this meeting, I prepare a written proposal that covers architectural services I can offer and associated fee.

Conceptual Design
A conceptual design is produced to begin the dialog process.  This is offered as a complimentary service to give you the best sense of my ability to address your family's specific criteria, rather than showing you a collection of other people's homes with varying degrees of applicability to your circumstances.  This initial design will be based on the actual site for your new home or your existing home for makeovers, taking measured dimensions and photographs, along with research of your local municipality's building code and zoning requirements to give you an accurate picture of what is possible.  Click here for an example of what is included in a Conceptual Design Package.

Design Revisions
Subsequent meetings, phone calls and emails follow, to refine the three dimensional model of your home through discussions of the floor plans and perspective renderings of the exterior and interior spaces.  We will consider such things as room arrangements, sight line vistas, lighting, furniture placement, cabinetry built ins, window and door design.  This process continues until you feel your dream home is materializing, as changes become smaller and smaller in detail.   At this point, a set of documents will be produced, suitable for securing financing and insurance underwriting.

Selection of Materials and Finishes
Taking the design, we begin selecting flooring materials, wall and ceiling treatments, plumbing and lighting fixtures, window and door hardware, kitchen appliances, home entertainment and automation technology.  This can be a combination of things you like and recommendations or product samples I can provide for your consideration.  I will act as your guide through the maze of possibilities, which can be accomplished by visits to local showrooms, online searches or in special cases that involve the talents of an artisan, visits to their studio to see samples first hand.  To give you some ideas, I maintain an online resource of links to a sample of the latest and more popular selections available.

Bidding with Negotiation
After selections have been made, so real costs of construction can be determined, we send the design out to builders to bid the work.  This can be several General Contractors I have worked with on previous houses, or ones you are familiar with, or a combination of both.  In some cases , homeowners act as the builder, in which case I help them source material and subcontractor labor prices.  Bid documents, that include written specifications spelling out details of materials and methods of fabrication, are used to clearly explain the scope of work and so the bids can be compared apples to apples.  I will work with you as your negotiator, explain to you building terminology and industry standards, using my experience to secure a construction contract in your favor.

Building Permit
With a contract in hand, I prepare the design to obtain a building permit from the local municipality.  This typically includes plans, elevations, and section drawings, along with energy calculations and a written application.  In some cases it will involve meetings with building inspectors, planning review boards or zoning hearings.  All of this will be handled by me with your participation as necessary.

Before the permit is issued, I will work with you and the builder to determine strategies for sequencing the stages of construction, so work can be expedited efficiently.  Meetings will continue routinely on the jobsite based on the pace and nature of each building component, including working with you and the builder to resolve unforeseen issues that arise with any house project.  I will watch over the construction to make sure the design we created is built correctly, acting as your agent to insure a house built with integrity.  My job is not complete, until you move into your new home.

My goal is to help you realize your dream for a home with no regrets.  At the end of the process, I want you to be pleased with my services and to feel like you have an architect that understands how you live, so you can contact me with any questions you have about your new home.  Click here if you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your home ideas.

If you would like to see some examples of what I can do for your new home, makeover or a simple addition, please click on the Case Study link.

Contact Matthew Schlueb by phone at 724 . 934 . 7868 or email by clicking here.