Quality design is the thread that weaves through all we do, beginning with architectural plans. Whether you are the designer or architect, or you come to us with a professional design, or you hire us to design your project, it all starts here.
The focus of our design efforts has many branches including: efficiency–both in energy and how the home functions for the family–comfort, durability, and future needs. “A home should inspire a better way for us to live,” shares Ty Allen, AIA, our design/build manager. “It should respond to your needs today and also stir us to live better, to do better tomorrow.”
We find designing shelter in this way is both a challenging and an exhilarating process. Ty: “When we begin the design process we ask a lot of questions and we do a lot of listening. It is important for us to get to know our clients. Who they are; how they think; the patterns of their daily lives; the subtleties of how they live. We want to understand their vision, and how they envision themselves living in their new home.”
With this understanding, we become an extension of them throughout the process of designing and building their home so that in the end, they have a home that simply fits.
The modest, single-level home (above) designed for a couple enjoying retirement in Oregon, accounts for aging in place. It did not compromise on design intent, envelope, or craft intensity, but did capitalize on creating open, multi-use common spaces for gathering and relaxing. Allowing spaces to have multiple uses is an efficient way to make the most of smaller square footage. Ty shares: “When we talk about right-sizing a home, we tend to try not to focus too heavily on square footage. Instead, we recognize what activities need to be accommodated and allow those to suggest space requirements.”
Depending on needs, dedicated use areas such as formal dining rooms, isolated office spaces, or a theater space might not be necessary. A more thoughtful approach will address your functional needs, instead of creating rooms that are underutilized. Ty: “We may need to accommodate ‘office-like’ activities, but also provide a place to do homework and take a phone call. This could be solved with an alcove that provides a spot to sit with a laptop or a flex room which might be a space to work out in one moment, and a spot to talk privately or take care of the bills the next.”
It is important for us to have a sense of what types of volumes feel good. Ceiling heights, shapes and materials impact the intimacy and character, or “coziness” of a space. The lower ridge height of the Vermont Street Project in Portland has shown many visitors that timber framing does not always need to be synonymous with very large Great Rooms.
Natural light and views also influence how the overall home, and its individual spaces, feel. Modest homes can gain a sense of expansiveness through large open views and connected common spaces.
In some instances, preplanning future additions or ancillary buildings, or deferring finishing a basement area, are ways to accommodate changing needs, while not overbuilding at the beginning of the project. “There can be good opportunity in master site planning too,” added Ty, “exploring what other structures could be added in the future as a family grows and changes. In this way we can right-size each structure, adjusting with always evolving lifestyle needs.”
The legacy project below began with a carriage house (right, background) and a ten-year plan to add a main house and a few smaller homes for the client’s children and grandchildren as their family expands.
Walking our talk is our DNA. We have over 30 years of General Contracting experience in selected projects local to our Farmington, NY and Portland, OR locations. This makes us more aware of the latest building trends, and better connects us with the many clients who already have a builder or are outside of our GC range. “This is a joy, and more importantly, a continual education from new technologies, improved job management, and, you bet, smart and challenging clients,” says Jonathan, our founder and president. We incorporate all of this into our work, and you benefit at whatever level of right-size build you need us for.
Ty: “Right sizing your architectural plans with intentionality for how you will live in your home, how you imagine your life to evolve, while maintaining efficiency, quality, and comfort will always be the key to a successful project, to the right fit.”
If you’ve found your dream site and are ready to begin planning your right fit home, reach out to our team to get started today.