How To Design Your Dream Home

The primary source of conflict and melodrama in the building process is budget. Set your number, and then listen. If you have a reputable builder or contractor, trust him or her to tell you what things cost. 

And don’t get stuck on the cost-per-square-foot metric. “When a client comes in clutching a printout from Houzz and his estimation of what something costs per square foot, a whole education process needs to begin,” builder Michael Munir of Sharif & Munir says, “and we start with the myth of square-footage computations.” 

If you are building or remodelling, know what you can afford to spend. Start there, and have your builder and architect walk you through your options and explain how real-time costs are established. 

In a perfect world, you would have your architect, builder, designer, landscape architect, and lawyer* onboard and in place before you’ve even selected the site of your new home. Why do you need the whole team there from the beginning? Each individual will be looking out for your needs from a different vantage point. 

This is crucial as you choose the property upon which you’re building. Your team will take things like sun orientation, zoning, setbacks, area-coverage restrictions, and height restrictions into consideration while you’re going on and on about how “pretty” the views are. 

Once you decide on a lot, your team can come together to create detailed plans. On the cost side, it is your builder who will produce and oversee your budget.

*Some people were less enthusiastic about the need for lawyer involvement at any time.

In the age of Houzz.com and Pinterest, a list of wants versus needs can become very confusing. Those all-steel windows that “everyone” could cost you $100,000. You might go with aluminium-clad or wood windows to save. 

The concrete floors that you think are so cool? Perhaps you’ll opt for something a little more user-friendly, like porcelain tiles. Your old furniture could be an issue. Consider the immense size of Aunt Edna’s dining-room table or that seven-seater sofa. Art collections need lighting and wall space defined. 

Your team will work with you to devise a personalized plan that incorporates all of your lifestyle needs ranging from that fridge in the garage to closet space. “We have clients who come in and say, ‘We need 6,000 square feet.’ But they’re in 4,500 square feet now, and there are rooms they’re not using,” Bruce Bernbaum of Bernbaum-Magadini Architects says. 

“Sometimes they have a gigantic list, but their budget doesn’t allow them to have everything. So if they want a library, office, and dining room, we may have to do some combining — bookcases in the dining room, for example. We try to validate their wants and show them how it might all work in 4,500 square feet.”

Steps To Planning A Successful Building Project

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There’s a strong temptation to dive straight into home remodelling projects. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be done, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way if you haven’t done some essential planning upfront. 

Each design professional and contractor runs his or her business in a different way, but homeowners usually need to follow the same steps to get to the construction phase.

Here are six crucial steps to help you plan for a successful home renovation and the reasons they’re so important for any project.

Choose A Design Professional

To create a plan and detailed scope of work, most homeowners hire either an architect or interior designer, and sometimes both. Every company does things a little differently, and design licensing varies in each state. 

Many designers work on projects that don’t involve major structural work or additions and also offer assistance with material and colour selections. 

Architects may take on a wide range of work, or work only on floor plans and permits, and leave the details of the electrical plan, baths and kitchen to another designer.

Selecting a design professional usually starts with an in-person meeting, which can take a few weeks depending on how many companies you are interviewing. 

This is your opportunity to understand the services that each firm offers and make sure they match up with what you are expecting. 

It’s also critical that you have a budget for your project in mind that you communicate clearly to the firm you hire, so the design can align with what you are planning to invest.

Create A Plan

After choosing a design firm, it’s time to start making a plan. There are usually at least two and sometimes three good ways to reach your design goals.

The plans are called schematic designs; they usually involve a rough layout of the floor plan and some simple views of the exterior of the home if there is an addition. It takes time for the design professional to work these out, and then usually another week or two for the homeowners to consider them and make decisions. 

If the project is larger or the homeowners want additional changes made to the schematics, this initial design phase can take several months.

Interview Contractors

Contractors are frequently brought into the process once a final schematic design has been selected. 

Usually, there is at least a general idea of how the home will look from the outside, a dimensioned floor plan and some preliminary material selections. With this much information, it’s possible to provide preliminary estimates of cost.

Contractors are often asked to estimate the schematic design as part of the interview process. It may take a couple of weeks to set up the interviews and generally at least two to three weeks after interviews to receive the estimates. 

Altogether it could take four to six weeks to interview candidates and receive estimates. After that, you may want to call references, visit job sites or do additional research before making a decision about the contractor you will hire.

Go Shopping While Others Are Engineering

Love to shop or hate to shop? This may determine whether you enlist a designer to help with your material selections. Even those who like to shop may be overwhelmed by all the options and want professional input. 

Do not underestimate the number of things that need to be selected, from doorknobs and windows to countertops and light fixtures. 

To really keep a handle on your project cost, it’s best to select every last thing ahead of construction. This will allow your contractor to tell you the prices for what you’d like and properly schedule material purchases based on lead times.

Allow yourself one to two months to choose everything. While you are shopping for tile and hardwood floors, your architect or designer will finalize construction drawings, work with a structural engineer on how the project will be built and put in the details required for permitting. 

If it all goes well, you will work on this step and the previous one concurrently and finish at the same time.

Get Your Permits

Depending on the scope of your project and where it’s located, permitting can take a day, months or even years. You should have some idea ahead of filing for permits about the length of the process, which will allow you to identify a likely start date for your project. 

Permit fees can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on where you live and how big your project is.

Ready, Set 

With the plan submitted for permits and material selections made, your contractor will be able to finish up pricing and write up a contract for construction. 

If the selected materials cost more than the budget allows, there may be a round of “value engineering,” which means changing the scope of work or materials to reduce cost. 

By the time the contract is signed, your contractor will have identified the longer-lead items (like cabinets, windows, doors, tile and sometimes plumbing or electrical fixtures) and may even have them on order ahead of the start of construction depending on the timing of your project.

Professionals You Need for Home Building

Every one of us has that desire to own a house. But not all of us are able to attain such desire because of the lack of resources and money to spend for it. 

That is why, once we are able to save money for house construction, we would make sure that not a single cent will be wasted. 

You will be assured that all your savings will grow into a beautiful and cozy house if you pick the right people to work on your home’s building.

Do you know who these people are? We will be giving you a list of those people who can aid you with the construction. 

Do not just pick anyone who appears to know everything because that person might only need your money. 

So, before you hire people, know what kind of experts and professionals are really needed for house construction. Tap these people when you are ready to build your dream house:

Architects.

Prior to the construction of your home, you would need an Architect to help you with the design. It would be hard to construct without a guide. 

That is why Architects are important, for they are the ones who will design your house. Aside from the exterior design, they will also help you make good use of your existing space, ensuring that there will be good traffic, function and accessibility to the entire home. 

You can also let the Architects know what you want for a home so that they can design something that would suit your taste. The Architects will provide you with the blueprints of your home’s design.

Civil Engineers.

While the Architects are dealing with the design, the Civil Engineers look into the structure of your house. They review the plans if it meets local building codes and check if it is structurally sound. 

Civil Engineers make sure that your house won’t collapse by checking on the foundation and the materials that you will be using. Engineers will be visiting your construction site from time to time to check if they follow the provisions in attaining a durable and stable house.

Electrical Engineers.

Of course, you will be using electricity in your house. You cannot just let anyone do this because the arrangement and distribution of wires and other electrical items are crucial. You do not want to have a fire in your home due to faulty wirings. 

You will be seeing Electricians a lot of times during the construction. In the framing stage, they would be preparing the wires and boxes. 

After the drywall is done, they will now place the cover plates and other items in these boxes. Once that is done, they will be testing the electrical system to make sure it works well.

Master Plumber.

Plumbers deal with water lines, sinks, faucets, drain lines and even gas lines for your cooking equipment. 

They would help you to have a good water and sewerage system in your house. Plumbers work on your kitchen and bathroom and other areas where you need water and drainage.

Contractors.

Contractors are those people who are in charge of building the house. They are the ones who deal with other persons working on the building. Most of the time, contractors have many crews that are knowledgeable of the construction process. 

Contractors are the ones who spend a majority of the time taking care of the construction, watches labourers and workers on the site and supervise the work. So, make sure to choose a good contractor.

Painters And Drywallers.

Painters are people who are good at handling the interior and exterior paints of your house. They can work on different types of finishes you want for your wall and on other areas of the house. 

Drywallers are tradesmen who would put up drywall to hide wires, insulation and studs. They can also work on different wall textures that you desire.

Mason And Roofers.

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Most homes these days are concrete. That is why you would need a Mason. Masons work on the walls, floors and anything that involves cement and concrete. 

They make sure that the work is durable and would follow the specifications given by a Civil Engineer. Meanwhile, roofers are people who work on the roofing area, including the trusses, insulation and the final roofing with your desired roofing material.

Carpenter.

While the Mason deals with concrete, Carpenters deal with wood. There are carpenters who work on the framing of the structure called Framers. 

There are also carpenters who are named Finish Carpenters, for they do more work for the finishing touches. 

They work on doors, windows, cabinets and other woodworks. They can customize the design of your cabinets and other storage areas.

Interior Designers.

When your house is finished, the Interior Designer will get into the scene. They work on the interior design of your house, which will also depend on your taste. 

You can choose what type of interior you want to achieve. It could be modern, contemporary, eclectic, country, traditional, shabby and many others. 

Talk about that with your Interior Designer so he can guide you as to what you need to buy for your decoration and other accessories. Interior Designers are the ones who make the house a home with the items and elements they put inside it.

Landscaper.

While Interior Designers work on your interior, the Landscapers work on your exterior. Your garden or yard will be made more beautiful with the excellent skills of a landscaper. 

He will be able to choose plants and other features for your home’s landscape. With the help of a landscaper, your outdoor area will be as gorgeous as your interior is.

Amazing, isn’t it? Every part of your house will be worked on by a certain professional or expert. With all of these people working hand in hand, you will surely get nice home! So, do not just rely on one person because it takes a group of people with ample knowledge to work on your house construction. 

Once your house is done, make sure that you will be able to maintain a cozy home so that all the efforts of these people will not be put to nothing. Take care of your home in order to maintain its beauty and good ambience.

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