Architectural Design Process

Following is an outline of the design process.

The specific phases listed below are to be seen as parts of a whole and are not intended to be seen as a menu of separate items.  In order for a unique design to be implemented with success, the Architectural process should ideally be continued through all phases.

click here for an expanded .pdf of this document


PROGRAMMING: Initial meetings to discuss your goals for the property (how you will use the property, visions for the end result, what attributes do you like most about your land/view,  what are some favorite features of houses you have seen, what would you expect to gain by using an architect). A boundary and topographic survey (by others) is generally required at this point showing boundaries and zoning requirements at a minimum; contours at 2’ intervals are very helpful on most sites, and imperative on other, more complex terrain.  It is also necessary to identify a project budget at this point to develop an appropriate scope and design.

SPATIAL DIAGRAMMING:  development of space on your property (these include areas with views, more seclusion, areas with sun (afternoon and morning), “big” spaces, intimate spaces, and the sequence of movement between these spaces)  This will be developed through sketch and physical models.   This is a conceptual master plan showing the relationships of interior space within your house and outside spaces across your property.

SCHEMATIC DESIGN:  Development of final diagrams and concepts resulting in floor plans, elevations, and early models of building form.

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT:  Enrichment of the final floor plans into the specifics of how the building will look and the details required for it to be built.  This is a critical phase where the art of design meets the science of structure, energy management and the construction process.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS:  Development of the final building into Documents for permitting and construction. 

BIDDING/CONTRACTOR SELECTION:  Managing the process of finding a suitable building contractor and establishing the contract price and terms.

PERMITTING:  Obtaining a permit for building from the local municipality prior to construction.

CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION:  monitoring of the construction through regular contractor meetings and site visits to maintain conformance with the Construction Documents, to guard against defects and to advise and consult with the Owner.


  • The first meetings are at no charge.  The design and crafting of legacy living environments is very personal and warrants sound research into the people who will be joining you in the process.  Take as long as you like in selecting them.
  • Contract for remaining services:
  • Billed hourly @ $120/hr. Programming through Schematic design phase until design, scope, and estimated budget are defined. 
  • Architect Intern billed hourly at $75/hr. through Schematic design phase.
  • Under a full-services contract, we typically base our Architectural fees on a percentage of estimated construction cost.  For full-services, this is commonly 10% of the total construction cost depending on our involvement and the project complexity.  All prior invoices for Design contribute to this percentage.

This is an outline of the process, showing only the highlights.  Please never hesitate to contact us with any questions. 

I look forward to an exciting process with rewarding results.