The first step in a project is to arrange a site visit to get familiar with all of the unique qualities of the property. Architecture should always try and capitalize on the special qualities of your property. In addition to a full site visit, a full topographic map and location of any and all specimen trees on the property should be generated to allow both the architect and landscape architect to coordinate that information into the design.
Following the site visit, we will meet and have a working session with you and the architect to get deeper into a detailed discussion of the project. This is an important meeting as it allows you to participate in the initial conception of your new home design and guide us in the right direction from the start. This also is a good time for you to gain insight into some of the technical issues that we deal with that you may not have thought about. These issues may have an impact on your project. Some of these include zoning and building code issues, environmental, and health concerns. This is also the time to bring all of your photos and inspirational images, previous plan designs, and programming notes for us to discuss and gain insight into your vision for the project.
Another first step in the design process is to start creating a site plan that takes into account all of the special and unique features of your property, including topography, special features, site lines and site walls. The goal is for our designs to compliment the natural topography and character of the lot, and to allow the lot to have strong influence on the shape and orientation of the home. We will also consider any negative impacts on your property from adjacent properties and future home sites nearby. By taking great care in this step, your home should feel like it “has always been there” as opposed to being “force fit” to the property.
Working in collaboration with the architect and taking our cues from the site, we will create the first and most important part of your home design. Floor Plans and elevations of each level of the home will be created along with computer rendered perspectives. These add a very realistic portrait of what will become a completed house, and will help you fully understand all the design elements as clearly as possible. It is really this series of drawings and renderings that will synthesize all of the programming elements, dreams and physical site information into a three dimensional scaled design of your home. This is truly the “big idea” part of the process, and will create the over-riding direction for all the work to follow.
After the presentation of the conceptual design, and after we have received your feedback, we will begin to refine the design. We begin building up all the various layers of information that we need to define the home in more detail. Meetings will be held during this phase in order to work though the finer elements of the design inside and out. Changes and adjustments at this point are welcome as we get closer to finalizing the completed design phase. Once this phase is completed initial pricing and budgets will be generated.
Toward the end of the design development phase we will start to look inward and begin laying out the interior millwork of the home. This will include elevations of all the key rooms and spaces. Our intent will be to extend the character and attitude of the exterior of the home into the interior so that the house flows in a seamless way.
Once the basic drawings are done, we can then create large scale sections and call outs of the millwork, including cornices, casings, doors and stair parts. Cabinets will also be defined in this phase as well as mantles and fireplace treatments. Lighting and switching will now be fine-tuned as well as flooring type and direction.
Cabinetry and built-ins can be found on all levels of the home and will cover a wide range of functions and finish. We typically design and custom build all of the built-ins “in place” in order for them to have the same architectural character as the rest of the house. Input from you is encouraged regarding how you “live” and expect to be using areas like your kitchen, study, basement, etc...By making our own cabinetry, we can design and build virtually anything you can envision, made of the utmost quality, and greatest value.
Once the design development phase is complete the more technical creation of the “working drawings” needed to build your home begins. At this stage the design is complete, so few if any meetings will be required. Pricing will be finalized as the finishing touches are prepared, and verified once the construction drawings are complete.
The hardscape and landscaping is another critical component of the overall design and is essential to create a site environment that is in harmony with the home. Our landscape architect will work with both you and our team to enhance and tie together the architecture of the home with the site it is now part of. Elements such as gardens, fencing, driveways, patios, walkways, gazebos, pools lighting and fire pits, etc…all need to be designed and coordinated and enhanced with a beautiful planting design, finishing off what some would say is the most important room in your house, or the “outdoor room”. Once complete, pricing for this phase will be generated, and installation coordinated with the finishing of the house.
A critical part of the design process involves the interior “Architectural” selections. By this we mean the following items: Plumbing fixtures, Lighting, Appliances, Flooring, Hardware, Tile and countertops primarily. Often these types of items are handled by a builder by giving you an allowance and directing the owner to go work with a supplier who often has an in house design staff. We find this leads to items that are poorly coordinated with the overall design and are driven by unrelated sales people who do not understand the holistic design direction of the home. By coordinating this with our team experienced in both architectural as well as decorative design, we will make this phase much less stressful and easier.
An important part of any home’s design is the decorative interiors of the home. This includes furniture, fabric, case goods, bedding, art and accessories. Our firm works with a number of different decorators we can recommend and show you projects on which we have had past success. We also frequently work with the owner’s own decorator. Just as the landscape architects input is crucial for the exterior, a good interior designer can “make or break” a home’s overall stylistic success.
During the construction process, client meetings will be held both on and off site on a regular basis, typically dictated by the stage of construction, the level of involvement desired by the client, and the weather. Some phases may require more frequent meetings, others will require less. We will generate a detailed schedule, pointing out deadlines for various selections needed, specific spreadsheets spelling out exactly what you need to choose. Email communications can significantly help limit the time needed on site as we try and keep you informed on a regular basis.
Throughout the course of construction, there can sometimes be the need to bring in consultants to advise on certain specific aspects of the project. This may include lighting, audio/visual, landscaping, environmental, etc… When this need arises we have a large network of professionals we collaborate with.
Needless to say, the overall success of any home is the ultimately dependent on the skills and talents of the team created. The contractor plays a crucial role in forecasting pricing, sourcing, managing, overseeing and coordinating all the various professionals that go into building a home. Country Club Homes is proud to have built over 125 homes in the lower Fairfield County area, having won many awards for our efforts. We pride ourselves on working very successfully with our clients, making each and every project a unique and beautiful creation that we all can be proud of. We strive to make the building process understandable and as stress free as possible, and look forward to working with you on your project.