Assembling the Best Team to Design Your Dream Home

Great relationships lead to great results

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Building a custom home can be a daunting experience with so many variables to consider. Who are the players involved? What are their responsibilities? And where should a homeowner begin? A coordinated, thoughtfully assembled team is key to having a smooth, enjoyable, and successful experience. Selecting team members who work well together will mitigate oversights, mistakes and tension.

Most homeowners start with an architect or builder but finding any experienced professional is an excellent initial step. Architects and builders are often found via testimonials and recommendations from friends and colleagues. Someone with a solid reputation that listens to ideas while contributing their perspective and guidance is ideal.

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Once an experienced professional has been chosen, they are relied upon to tap into well-established professional relationships to help assemble the team. It’s best to look for individuals with matching personalities and communication styles. Building a new home can often take years, so in addition to industry qualifications, it is essential to find professionals that are compatible on a personal level. There will inevitably be challenges to overcome and difficult decisions to make throughout the process. Working with communicative professionals is key to maintaining a positive relationship with a team and will immensely impact the quality and experience of building a home. 

Team Member Roles

There are many disciplines involved in building a home. The core team consists of an architect and builder who are adept at coordinating other entities and providing overall project direction. A structural engineer, interior designer and landscape designer join once a concept is solid to the homeowner’s liking. Understanding the roles of the various team members clarifies what questions each person can help answer and to whom comments should be directed.

Architects

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Architects are the design experts, combining program requirements with budget and the homeowner’s stylistic dreams. Architects create a home that is both functional and beautiful. They consider spatial organization, efficiency, sunlight exposure, visual harmony, materials, comfort and safety, among other aspects to make a home special. Ultimately, the construction drawings produced by the architect are used for permitting and as a technical guide for the builder.

Structural Engineers

Once the architect designs the home, the structural engineer uses wind, snow, and roof loads, among other variables, to size and specify foundation walls, columns and beams. This ensures a home will stand for years to come. Early coordination with the architect can help seamlessly integrate structural members with items such as ceiling details and HVAC systems, so close coordination between disciplines is essential.

Builders

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Builders are involved in all aspects of construction, from coordinating subcontractors to ordering materials and submitting for a permit. There are many benefits to bringing in the builder during the design process. Builders can provide cost estimates and advise on construction methods that affect the design. Other benefits of close coordination include a focus on quality, an intimate understanding of design intent, and the added benefit of starting fabrication earlier on elements that may be difficult to make or have extended lead times.

Interior Designers

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Interior Designers work closely with the owner to bring out their unique style throughout the home. These professionals help by selecting interior finishes, furniture, textiles, appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures.

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They work closely with cabinet manufacturers and carpenters to ensure everything comes together seamlessly. An interior designer can also aid in a home’s cohesion by maintaining the relationship between the exterior and interior of the house.

Landscape Designers

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Landscape designers can help transform a home from sitting on a piece of land to full integration into the landscape, continuing the function and beauty throughout the site. Their knowledge of local vegetation, site analysis and ecosystems provide much-needed expertise. A landscape plan may include everything from walking paths to water features, patios, gardens, and drainage. 

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When choosing team members, it’s recommended to focus on personality and communication styles as much as professional qualifications. Excellent homes are created by teams who understand that they are stronger working together than as individuals. With a great group of design professionals, homeowners can relax and enjoy the exciting process of bringing their dream home to life!

Kathryn Shelby and Jayme Ciacio are Project Managers at TKP Architects, an award-winning architecture firm based in Golden, Colorado. View TKP’s profile or contact TKP Architects at 303.278.8840.

Content for this article provided by TKP Architects.

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