~ added service ~
1. ENERGY EFFICIENT/GREEN DESIGN/HVAC
This area of architectural design is becoming increasingly more important to clients who have some understanding of the implications of the heating and cooling systems of their house.
This area is one of the most critical parts of house design from the vantage point of construction cost, costs of operating a house, and every day comfort. The industry standard for the design of this aspect is design/build. That means that the general contractor works with the HVAC (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning) contractor to design your system and recommend solutions and costs associated. This can be a significant cost item with a large range of cost and system choices. It is rare when a client is fully aware of what they are purchasing, or the cost benefit implications. Often the contractor selects what he sees as the appropriate solution, and the cost is stipulated without discussion.
Our advanced service offers an opportunity to meet with a consultant who will walk you through the choices that are available, and discuss those options with regard to performance and cost factors. He will then provide a design of your system including the specifications of components and ducting as required. The advantage of this opportunity is the advanced understanding of performance factors and choices, and the costs associated with installation and operations. It also gives the client the ability to achieve accurate and consistent bids between contractors. Additionally, the architectural design can account for the spaces needed for return ducting/venting and locations of controls and thermostats and other system components. This is no small advantage.
Most people are aware of the increasing costs of heating a house. Few know the options and cost/benefits associated with alternative and advances systems that are available. The primary areas of focus are as follows:
A. Advanced, efficient heating and cooling systems (small duct-high velocity, radiant, others)
B. Alternative and advance insulation systems (Foam or spray in options). This is the single greatest factor in reducing heat/cooling costs. Use of advanced insulation requires a revised approach to ventilation of the home, including changes in construction. These need to be addressed for accurate bids.
C. Alternative heating and cooling systems- including (Geothermal, Solar)
D. Fireplace design (Fireplace inserts, optional glass enclosures, etc.)
All of these technologies are constantly evolving. It is our goal to help educate the client to make an informed decision. Making such decisions early again helps target the overall budget.
2. LIGHTING DESIGN
This is another area of significant change and wide choice range. Lighting, alone, is an area that can make an enormous influence on the pleasure and functioning of a house. Recessed lighting and switching is typically the primary area of attention for the architect, in conjunction with other options such as sconces, chandeliers, ceiling fans, strip lights, wall baffles, under counter lighting, etc. Appropriate sized and placed recessed lights make a world of difference. Proper switching, including appropriate dimmers and locations, is critical. Additional and appropriate lighting need not be an enormous cost factor, particularly if this item is budgeted early in the design process. Wall washes need to properly spaced from the wall to function properly. Fireplaces should be properly lit. It is more pleasing to have light sources where the source is not visible, such as greater quantity of smaller lights, and recessed fixtures which set the lamp high in the housing, as opposed to task lighting where volume of light (candles) is provided. Also to be considered is the manufacturer of the lights which will determine the choices available. When the client sees the range of new recessed light baffles that are available which are quite nice, a world of choices is presented. These choices are best selected early in the process of the final design and working drawings, because once the housing for the light has been selected, the choices narrow radically.
Early design can affect many considerations, such as proper spacing of joists can be accounted for so that proper location (such as centering of a chandelier) can be achieved. There are certain special wide recessed lights than can only be installed if a double joist bay is available. This decision needs to be crossed before framing.
Is sum, there is an art as well as a science to lighting design. Our base service allows for a design of general lighting, including location, size and switching, and some specialty lighting. Advanced design will provide specification of manufacturer, size, style, color and baffle selection of fixtures as well low or line voltage, and switching manufacturer and type.
Depending on the goals and resources of the client, we may provide a specialist with which to consult.
3. SOUND SYSTEMS/SMART HOUSE DESIGN
The pleasure of having a properly designed sound system with speakers well located, for either sound system or surround sound television, has almost become standard for the upscale house. Added features such as remotely located and integrated components that need to be computer aid designed add for greater flexibility and space efficiency. These options should be considered, again, early in the process to optimize choices and budget considerations.
Technology is available which allows for computer controlled ("Smart house") lighting, heating/cooling and sound systems. There are advanced technologies available which can control everything from lighting throughout the house to remotely controlled heating and sound systems. There is also a large range of cost. There are hybrid solutions that can be installed to offer a more basic range of choices at significantly lower cost.
With sound system and small house design, it cost very little to install wiring. The technology and components can be installed as budget allows. Yes, wireless systems are available, in some cases. It all relates to cost and client resources.
4. INTERIOR DESIGN
The benefit of providing interior design in the architectural drawings is that it allows for advanced thinking, coordination, and budgeting for that part of the process. The interiors will be the space where you primarily live, as opposed to the curb appeal of exterior living, and will have a large impact on the quality of life and pleasure. This will ultimately be the living space, as opposed to the curb appeal, and will have a large impact on the quality of life and pleasure.
Many considerations come in to play such as trim and molding, door and hardware selection, floor finishes, built-ins, and furniture location. We do provide general furniture layout in our base service which can change thinking on how rooms are laid out, spacing of windows and where doors should be located. Advanced service allows for more evolved consideration of all the details that will affect design. By providing simple enlarged floor plans and elevation study of bathrooms, the design process is assisted to selection of tile, wainscoting, wall mounted towel bars and hooks, size and selection of vanities, sconces, creative lighting, sophistry and baffles, ceiling design, etc.
Our experience indicates that our contribution can be significant in this area. Carrying the vision through to the interior design, or simply providing the design framework so that interiors is more fully thought through, allows for the optimum solutions. When the client sees what is possible,
and available, it helps to gain focus and have assistance to narrow down choices. This helps develop some interior design themes and styles, and project an accurate overall project budget. Choice of flooring such as wide plank hardwood floor may affect choices such as radiant heat.
Heavy marble or granite floors in a typical locations should be discussed relative to proper structural design.
5. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Our company is licensed in Landscape Architecture. Our training makes us sensitive to the issues and design choices as they relate to the exterior of the house. Our role can be limited of expanded depending on the client goals. We invite you to see our work and discuss how this might work with your project. We are big advocates of the integrated design approach "design with nature". This extends not only to fitting the house into the landscape, which is part of our base service, but evolving the design with respect to choice of exterior materials, both hard-scape and plant materials.
6. CONSTRUCTION OBSERVATION
Many decisions are invariably made on the job. Change of taste, budget considerations, or simply a more educated client with new knowledge of product and design choices all affect the outcome of the project. Having a "design" trained eye is an enormous advantage. Will your contractor make good decisions? Possibly, but that is not typically their trained area of expertise. Some do it better than others. It makes sense to have someone with design training and construction knowledge to assist as decisions evolve and to provide for the design overview. It is best to allow for a least a limited engagement of the architect, not and just for framing considerations. Choice of stone, siding and roofing color, floor stain and or style of door hardware, garage and front door lanterns, all are important. Having the architect be a client advocate or clerk of the works is very helpful.
Please call us to discuss the level of service that might be appropriate for your project, and we can review how those arrangements can be made.