With over 25 years’ experience in building design, I’ve pretty much seen it all. From million dollar properties to modest residential abodes, I’ve worked with home owners from all walks of life. And whilst budget and design and objectives may vary, some things never change; at the end of the day, if I can deliver a streamline design process with an outstanding final product, I’ve got a happy client.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
When I first meet with a client, my initial question is always, ‘So, what have you brought in with you today?’ Some of my clients have spent days upon weeks researching every last detail of their new home, whilst others are self-confessed novices who come to me with an open mind and an empty notepad. I encourage all my clients to bring images with them to our first meeting. It might be pictures of houses they like, or styles that took their fancy, or even designs they want to avoid. All these visuals are an essential part of the design process. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen clients scrambling through their I-Phones trying to find a random screenshot they took last year. My advice? Come prepared.
The Nitty Gritty
Once I get an idea of general style and design, we then get down to the nitty gritty. Single or double story, modern, traditional, etc. Floorplan comes next, where we discuss number of bedrooms, living area and bathrooms. Getting an understanding of the land is also important, not just in terms of location, size, solar aspect, or slope, but also if the land holds any significance to the client. Getting to know my client – not only about the home they want to build, but also about their family and lifestyle – helps me piece together how they live their lives and assists me in the design process.
All things considered, budget plays a big part in what I can make a reality for my clients. If someone wants to build a mansion with the budget for a cabin, then we have a problem. At my first meeting with a client, I make it very clear what’s achievable for their individual circumstances so there’s no hidden disappoints down the track.
Bringing Ideas to Life on Paper
Now the fun begins. With pencil at the ready, what were once ideas now become lines on paper, and slowly a new home starts to take shape. Sometimes the drawing process takes several hours, other times it evolves over days. The external design of the home is just as important as the internal layout, and often changes to the façade will require floorplan alterations to get the look just right.
Presenting the first design draft of the home to the client is always very exciting. During this second meeting, it’s essential my clients understand this is their home, not mine, so honest feedback is vital to ensure we’re all the same path. Once in a blue moon a full re-design might need to occur if circumstances have changed, however more often than not, a few minor changes might get made before all parties are happy and we have full sign-off on the design.
With the design now complete, it’s over to the builder where the home now becomes a reality.