What if you’re not in my service area?
I realize that my approach is different from many design/build contractors working in the residential remodeling sphere. I know that the client has a set of problems and goals – not necessarily workable solutions. So the right approach is rarely to simply ask what they want.
I also know that there isn’t a single right answer – depending on the homeowners lifestyle, budget and priorities the solution for one homeowner might be very different than the solution for another. So the right approach is rarely to present a single, recommended design option.
Instead, my process explores various (usually quite distinct) conceptual options as a kind of mix-and-match portfolio of ideas. It’s the start of the design process so that the homeowner and I can get on a common ground to explore the right answer for their particular goals. The process is iterative where we together arrive at a conceptual plan that will meet give them the lifestyle they crave.
My main business is design/build but only provide these turn-key services in Montgomery County, MD and some neighborhoods in Upper Northwest, Washington, DC.
Occasionally, a homeowner not in my service area has confidence that, if they had a conceptual plan, they could find a contractor to develop detailed plans and implement those plans. I am sometimes willing to work with such homeowners depending on my current workload, the homeowner’s ability to provide the items I need, and the challenge of the project.
Conceptual Design vs.construction documents
For remote clients, I can only provide conceptual designs — including floor plans, perspective drawings, and potentially some elevations and material selections. I cannot provide the detailed structural, permit and construction plans needed to execute a remodeling plan. A contractor is unable to provide a price quote or to execute a plan without such details. Thus, the homeowner will need to find another professional to translate any accepted ideas into actionable plans.
I need an intimate understanding of the property and the Client’s lifestyle and goals in order to produce useful alternatives. Here are the items I need:
- Accurately dimensioned Floor Plans of all floors
- Floor plans should note probable load-bearing walls or locations of any visible beams and columns (often visible in the basement).
- Floor plans should note locations of waste stacks, electric services, water services, gas service, and HVAC services and types.
- If known, Floor plans should note probable locations of major systems especially plumbing chases, radiator lines, and ductwork.
- Photos showing every façade and at least 4 images of every room. A floor plan or plans should be annotated with location of camera where photos were taken.
- Ceiling heights for each floor, window and door sizes and for windows include sill height, and molding details (width and style along with photo details)
- Flooring types for all floors where changes are desired
- Height of main floor above grade.
- Copy of current Plat
- After I’ve received the above information, the homeowner needs to commit to one or more lengthy telephone group conversation including all adult members of the home plus any teens or children that wish to participate.
Occasionally, I am willing to visiting a remote location but only if I can do the visit and work within a normal workday and my workload allows.
Since the work is not expected to lead neither to a larger project nor to result in substantial referrals, remote clients will also pay a premium for my time.