It’s like the car ad, it’s critical I know what you like, what you don’t like and what you need.
The design phase of any project is essential to its success. The footprint of the house, how it sits on the lot, its size, shape and features need to be completely finalized long before a shovel hits the ground.
Bill and builder discussing the lot and tree removal.
It’s hard for homeowners to be patient and work through all the fine details it takes to build a new house. As the Project Manager, it is up to me to put together a team that has the ability and vision to execute my client’s project.
Building a new house is a once in a lifetime experience for most people. When provided a blank slate it can be hard to focus on what’s your style and needs.
Start with the exterior style. Is it going to be contemporary, mid-century modern, traditional, farmhouse? One story, story and a half, split level.
Thank goodness for the Internet. I set up boards on Pinterest and Houzz where I can share ideas with my client, Bill. Throughout the project, he and I can post and communicate via these boards.
It’s always a random process at first. Homeowners may be looking at exterior styles and see a stair case they love or a kitchen. That’s okay. Post them. Soon or later that information will be a critical piece of the puzzle.
I had a sense of the style that Bill wanted early on. Contemporary, lots of windows. Bright rooms a big kitchen, large wine room and plenty of outdoor living space. I discovered his love of color. Vivid artwork, crafted furniture and unique features.
I grew up in Texas and have always loved the look of white limestone. One of my favorite contemporary architectural groups is LaRue Architects. I sent Bill to their site and see if this was the style he was looking for. He loved it.
Next step was to find a local design group that could work with us to create this Texas hill country look on a 2 ½ acre treed lot in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ve collaborated with Jeanine Devaney at Charlotte In-Vironments on several projects including my own home. I knew she was talented and fun to work with.
We met, we talked, shared ideas and Bill was sold on working with her team. I had prepared him to expect lots of back and forth before the final designs could be completed. Bill is very visual so Jeanine and her assistant Wendy Watson built a model of the house complete with a scaled stick figure of Bill so he could get a true perspective of the size of the house.
Once we had a handle on the design I started interviewing local builders. I selected two builders for Bill to interview and submit quotes on the project. Ultimately, Shannon Miller, owner of Miller Homes was awarded the project.
I worked with Shannon on the Lowry Residence last season on For Your Home. It was a pleasant experience and the Lowry’s were thrilled with the results of the renovation and expansion their 1920’s bungalow.
Taking time to select the architect and the builder is time well spent.