Things You Should Know Before Building

Do You want to live in your dream home but have a hard time expressing your thoughts? This article will give you some tips and facts to help you start off in the right direction. The first step when designing your dream home is a design consultation with your architect. A design consultation brings all your thoughts together and combines them into a starting point for the designer. How do we do that? Before viewing the property there are many questions to be answered based on the needs of the individual(s) who will be living in the new custom home or addition. We are able to evaluate the property based on APN numbers, neighborhood location and design requests. Just by speaking to an architect you will gather valuable information about the process and probably begin to ask yourself questions that would not otherwise come to mind. 

1) Road Blocks 

Before discussing any removal or changes of a structure it’s important to know if your home is categorized as historic. Some buildings are protected and documented by local historic societies or organizations. To determine the status of your home, you can do a title search through the County Recorders Office. 

We are focused on understand your needs in the home you seek. Most consultations will begin with a series of simple questions such as: 

• Lot Location

• Addition or a custom home
Square footage (if applicable) of the existing structure
Incorporating an existing structure into the new design or demolished completely

Lot Location will determine whether a ‘two story building’ or ‘Ranch Home’ will fit in with the local community. Becoming familiar with the Residential Design Guidelines for your area is a great place to start when deciding on an architectural style. 



Every county abides by its own building code and will effect various design possibilities such as a maximum lot coverage or footprint effecting the setback of a home from the property line. If the lot coverage is less then your desired square footage discussing the possibility of a basement or second story is always a great way to capture additional space. 

Protected Vegetation will have to be considered in some cases. Such as the California Oak Tree . Plants and trees can sometimes be relocated on the property without harm which can allow flexibility for landscape design that will complement the new structure. 


2) Life Style 

We may ask you about the size of your family and how often you entertain. Answers to these questions will help determine how many bedrooms will be required and how formally you entertain your guests. Understanding your life style will assist us in designing a home just right for you and your family’s needs. 

Must haves are important to discuss in your initial design consultation. Be sure to compile a list (See example list below) before arriving to your consultation to get an accurate quote for time and cost base. It is also a good idea to have some photo examples of your dream home. 

Bill and Mary’s Dream Home 

    1.    Frame the city lights view from the master bedroom and dinning room.

    2.    Fit Grandma’s Dinning Table in the Kitchen

    3.    Kitchen island

    4.    Walk-in kitchen pantry

    5.    Four bedroom

    6.    Three car garage with tool shop

    7.    Home office space

    8.    Saltwater pool

    9.    Exposed beams and high ceiling

    10.    Outdoor living space and balcony

    11.    Built in fire pit with seating

Saving Square Footage and opening up space by designing a floorpan that naturally flows with your routine is important for daily living. Take into consideration were you spend the most time and at what time of day. This can effect the location of the rooms based on your families activities. It’s important to discuss outdoor spaces such as patios and balconies. These areas are not typically included in the cost per square foot and should be discussed. 

3) Finishes 

Existing furniture can always be incorporate to fit comfortably in the room you desire. 

Our design process is all about providing you with your dream home and one centered around your personal needs. 

Where is the expense? The finishes you choose will effect the overall cost of construction. It’s a good idea to do some research on the finishes you would like to see in your custom home. There are many great finishes that look and feel luxurious and are still cost effective. 

4) Property Assets and Increased Value 

Optimize on the assets your property offers. If you have a view of the city lights or mountains, be sure to discuss features such as accordion doors or a bay window which can frame your dramatic view. 

A Second Dwelling is often an option home owners don't realize they have. Many properties have more than enough space for a second dwelling allowing you to increase the value of the property at low cost. If the property is zoned for subdividing you may have the option of building two structures and selling the second to put some added cash in the bank. 

After thoroughly discussing the layout and design features we proceed in phases. Considering everything in the consultation a proposal and onsite property evaluation will take place. Once a price point is agreed upon the design phase begins. 


Thanks for reading! 

- Deanna