One of the areas of preparing for a major home remodeling or new home construction project is assisting owners with developing home design ideas and or facilitating the home architectural process. This process is of great importance to both the successful development of the home plans and a sufficient construction budget. Developing working home plans is the end result of selecting the architectural home styles and home design ideas that have inspired you to undertake the home project.
The home plan design process can be separated into two basic sections. The first is often referred to as the preliminary plan phase. This is the creative architectural phase of home plan design. The second section is referred to as the final construction plan phase. This is the phase where the details and dimensions are developed and finalized. We will discuss the artistic and mechanical tasks required with efficiently and effectively formulating working home plans.
The home design and architectural process begins with selecting a trusted adviser to guide you through the experience. The trusted adviser should be selected based upon both their professional competence and their ability to personally connect with the owner. The home design process can be a very personal experience and quickly become intensely overwhelming. It is for this very reason that surrounding yourself with a principle home construction advocate is so important.
Many owners will begin the home construction journey by collecting and identifying home design ideas from magazines and internet sites. These collected images often develop into a collage of inspirational ideas. Once into the home remodeling or new home construction mindset, owners will be inspired by a collection of different sources. Like other people’s homes that they may visit, hotels & commercial buildings and vacation locations that they experience.
Your design team will general consist of a general contractor and a home designer. That might include an architect or interior designer or a home designer. Although these professionals all serve a strategic role in developing the home plans, the owner can experience conflicting opinions concerning home design ideas. One of the most important roles your advocate can play in the home design process is having a go to person to assist you in making decisions. This happens through your advocate summarizing the pros and cons of the opinions differences and their crucial impact on your personal home design goals.
PRELIMINARY PLAN DRAWING
Developing the size of the home is the first step in creating home plans. This begins with completing questionnaires about your personal lifestyle needs. Understanding your lifestyle allows your design team the essential information they need to develop the home’s exterior and interior living space layout the owner is imaging.
The homes size and general shape is also dictated by the lot size and any deed restrictions/ building codes that may have been established as building minimum standards. These types of stipulations can have a significant impact on the preliminary home design and are expressed in the form of the site plan. The restrictive factors may include items such as setbacks, building heights and minimum living area square footages.
Develop a Conceptual Budget Range
The home size and quality of the products desired will drive the conceptual home construction budget. The home builder and architect will typically collaborate in developing the conceptual budget range. They both should have experience with architectural home styles being built for a certain range of dollars per square foot cost factors. So armed with the home size and architectural home styles estimated cost per square foot and general idea of the product quality, the design team can provide the owner with a reasonable budget range.
Design Theme Style
Developing a comprehensive design theme is extremely important in developing architectural continuity between the different living spaces and for providing a benchmark standard for the creative members of the design team. The design theme is also critical in establishing a conceptual direction for the architect in preparing the spatial relationship to the two dimensional drawings. The design themes can typically be expressed in the form of the front elevation graphic images or site plan enhanced artist renderings. These sketches will commonly reflected in a semi realistic freehand illustrations, which are stylized artistic impressions. They introduce the artistic idea of the homes design while capturing the fundamentals of the actual design theme.
Home Site and Neighborhood Considerations
As we mentioned the deed restrictions have a large impact on Houston home design ideas. The restrictions on building line setbacks and building height restrictions can be challenging for the home plan designer to comply with. When these general restrictions are incorporated into the lot site plan, the homes conceptual foot print begins to take shape. For instance when developing a site plan for a pie shaped lot, the home plan designer is required to place the home foot print to fit inside the setback lines while allowing room for the driveway.
In higher density home developments of metro Houston the home sites are much smaller then suburban lots. These lots dimensions impose design restrictions on homes requiring them to be built vertically instead of horizontal. To obtain a home size of 3,000-4,000 sf, the home plan designer is required to build three or four story home structures. Even with the larger home sites the height restrictions may present restrictions on the homes second floor ideas. If the first floor has high ceilings, the home can be challenging to achieve the desired second floor plan while meeting the height restrictions and being true to the design theme.
FINAL HOME PLAN DESIGN
After the preliminary plans have been approved by the owner the home plan designer develops dimensional accuracy for such things as windows, doors and wall layout dimensions. The designer provides elevation details for cabinetry, closets and architectural features including wall and floor sections. During the development of the final home plans other members of the design team become an important part of the home design process. Lets discuss their role in completing your home plans.
The structural engineer plays a major role in transitioning from the preliminary home design to the final home design. The structural engineer reviews the soil report and designs a foundation system to support the home. They also review the framing plans for member structural sizes and imposed load conditions like wind shear and uplift. They will provide detailed construction drawings as part of the design package. They include the foundation plans and wall and roof framing plans.
Interior designers can also play an important role if hired as part of the design team. They will guide the owner through the color and furnishing phase of home design. The typical contribution that interior designers make to the home plan design process are;
- Color Board Creation – This represents a collection of paint colors, tiles and flooring samples. This will usually include hardware selections, plumbing & electrical fixtures and any pattern design work.
- Furniture Arrangements – Furniture layout is a big part of space planning to assist owners with visualizing how to furnish a room.
- Accessorizing – The facilitation and sometime the purchase of accessories such as area rugs, lamps and staging of relevant pieces.
- Art Layout – The selection of art work and the placement often comes under the discretion of the interior designer.
The final drawings will include detailed dimensions and detailed schedule for windows and doors. The final home design plans will also include pages of material specifications and construction performance standards for finishes. These documents will be combined with the fore mentioned structural engineering plans, the legal lot survey and the actual construction plans and permit documents.
As these home plan documents are being finalized your builder will complete the pricing function and submit these documents for building permits. Any relevant owner product selections will be accounted for in the construction budget in the form of an expenditure allowance. The allowance schedule is created for developing budget line items for a standard and quality for products intended to be used in building or remodeling the home.
Your general contractor will develop a scope of work for each vendor and subcontractor that is consistent with the home plans specifications. The general benefit of this document practice is clearly communicate to vendors and subcontractors the expected quality of the workmanship and benchmark for performance compliance. These documents provide an additional level of professional assurance that your home will be build to meet your custom homes expectations.