Articulating the Dream
What are the steps you need to take as an Owner?
Architects and designers have a design voice, an intrinsic momentum of how they resolve spatial issues, frame views, and balance form and function. Your potential investment also has a voice--as yet unrevealed. The first step you need to take is to find the architect with the voice that matches the voice of your dream.
Architects are trained and work their entire careers developing this voice. The architect's voice can document, communicate and resolve your dream in a way that the builder, the community, and the other professionals on the team understand in a way that risks can be quantified and the work priced, or "bought out" in the parlance of our industry.
The steps are:
- Collect photos, examples, movies, of what this voice is to you. I once had a client that told me he wanted the home in the movie "Legends of the Fall". Hard to get a clearer voice than that. Another told me he wanted to bring David Adler and Tommy Church back to life and commission them. A voice from the past...
- Walk projects with architects. Have them show you the opportunities and constraints. Understand the resolution. Understand the voice behind the resolution. Rinse and Repeat until you find a voice that provides you with the next level of insight.
- Have your architect develop the opportunities and constraints map on your site. Make sure they understand permitting and approvals constraints--this can be an expensive omission.
- Have your architect iterate on your program. Do they get it?
- Don't rush into a schematic design yet. This is typically the first deliverable--but you can spend a lot of money generating design after design. If you understand what can be done with the site, your first iteration on schematics will be very close to the final answer.
- Start with a floor/site plan complete with inside/outside relationships, and exterior elevation of the primary facade. Overlay opps/constraints map on this. Look at kitchen/living and master suite spaces--with furniture layout-- to understand flow/privacy/symmetry/arrival sequence. This exercise will probably run $20K +/- $15K.
First cut at a budget: 100% of interior square footage + 150% of hi volume interior footage + 50% of terrace footage+100% of pool/spa footage + 5% of landscaped area footage multiplied by the current average cost per square foot for your area. Add 30% of this total for soft costs, permitting and contingency. Voila, you have to go make some more money.
Check against approvals constraints. Sign off on the numbers.
It will all be ok--there's nothing like a home designed around a dream.