Tuesday, June 30, 2009
IT STARTS WITH AN IMAGE
As a Design/Build firm, on occasion we have heard surprised reactions from homeowners who don't know why we would need a drawing or plans to execute the remodel project they are dreaming about. The dream starts with an image in your mind, and the next step is to get that image down in concrete terms. This means both words and drawings. Without these tools, the project could go badly awry.
FIRST STEP: DRAW WHAT'S THERE
Verbal communication can be tricky, and describing what you envision for your home can be challenging. So how do we tease out the details and arrive at a whole integrated picture? Steve starts with the existing structure, taking measurements and drawing accurately what is there with correct dimensions. How can you transform something until you know exactly what you have and how it relates to the surrounding environment? Together with the homeowner, we identify the precise areas that they are unhappy with and want to see changed.
SECOND STEP: PLANS AND ELEVATIONS
Steve draws the proposed changes in a new plan, including reconfigured space, dimensions and suggested finishes. He bases this on many things: the homeowner's desires and needs; the basic purpose and function of the room; the need for light, shade, privacy, and other external factors; and Steve's own design ideas. He executes the drawings in two versions: as a plan, which means that you are looking down on it as if the roof were removed from your house and you're in a helicopter hovering above; and as an elevation, which is from the perspective of standing in the room and looking at the opposite wall.
THIRD STEP: DESIGN BEAUTIFICATION
But that's not the end of it. I colorize the drawings by hand (I must admit, the most exciting and fun of my job duties). I use colored pencils and periodically add a charming new color like "jade", "celadon" or "burnt ochre" to my collection to aid in capturing the hues of chosen finishes. I also replicate the texture of marble, granite, patterned tile, wood grain, chrome and steel in the coloring. I base my colors on what the homeowner has told us s/he wants. If they aren't certain about colors or finishes, I usually stick to earth tones. The addition of color and textures - and sometimes trees and bushes - to the drawing makes it easier for the homeowner to read what is on the paper. Looking down from above on lines that represent walls, windows, doorways and stairs can be daunting to the untrained eye. Elevations are easier to read.
THE FINAL BOUNCE
Then we present the illustration to the homeowner and discuss all the design ideas, finishes and colors represented. This is the 'bouncing off' period where we exchange ideas with clients to arrive at the perfect solutions to address their remodel project. With drawings to scale, details and finishes, we have a map to steer by.