Linwood Custom Homes - Custom home packages including house plans

Award winning Custom Home Packages including house plans with site specific design.

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Home Design

Choosing the right home plan

is an important first step. There are thousands of stock designs available but most will not be suitable for your project for a variety of reasons. Once you understand what is involved in developing a home design, you can make the right choices so can get the best outcome.

A true custom home incorporates site specific design features. This means it fully considers the characteristics of the property as well as meeting building code and permitting requirements. Your designer will be able to help you create an appropriate site specific design.

  • Why Site Specific Design is Important
  • The Design Process
  • Input for Budget Preparation
  • Advantages of Working with Professional Designers

When you are searching for the perfect home design, you may find that it is difficult to find exactly what you want. Because every homeowner has unique lifestyle, taste and budget needs, careful consideration should be given to all the factors involved in your project.

You will need professionals with various skills to work with you to ensure your home is designed to meet your expectations and can be built on your specific property. You also need to select the right combination of building materials to get the best value from your design.

We can work with your architect or designer to help produce a site specific design. San Juan Islands Home Builders can also help you assemble design expertise, if required. We have developed strong working relationships with an award winning design team. They can help you take your concept design to construction blueprints.


Why Site Specific Design is Important

Site specific design considers how the home is placed on the property. It also looks at the characteristics of the building lot from a technical perspective to help get the best result on the property. Zoning and other restrictions are also taken into account as they may affect the design parameters.

The first consideration is orienting the home to take advantage of views and natural light. These factors will play an important role in determining the design characteristics of the home. Exposure to weather will also play an important part when it comes to choosing the right materials later on.

The slope and topography of the building site will dictate and sometimes restrict the type of structure you can build. Some of the technical issues include setbacks, which not only affect the placement of the home but also placement of wells and septic fields. Geotechnical and other site engineering issues may also affect design.

Typically people start with a look or an interior layout that they like. With modern construction methods most floor plans can be designed to match the desired exterior look. Once this information is available you can then turn your ideas into a preliminary plan, which can subsequently be used to develop blueprints and a budget.


The Design Process

The design process can be quite lengthy with more complex homes. There are a number of key steps involved and some important decisions to be made to get a good finished result. The decisions you make at this stage will affect every aspect of your project from concept to completion.

The design process starts by determining an exterior look or an interior layout that is attractive and suits your lifestyle. Most floor-plans can be designed to match the desired exterior look by using modern construction methods and materials.

The next step is to take your ideas and develop a preliminary plan, which shows floor plans and exterior elevations. These can then be used to generate a concept design. The concept is then turned into a preliminary plan drawn to scale. These working drawings are amended as necessary and, when finalized, are used to create construction blueprints. Blueprints are needed to obtain building permits and for construction purposes as well as the basis for creating a realistic budget.

In developing preliminary plans you need to consider how the home will be placed on the property. This requires looking at the characteristics of the building lot from both a features and technical perspective. Construction method, engineering, setbacks, zoning, placement of wells and septic fields also need to be taken into account.

Getting planning approval can be a lengthy process so you should apply for permits as soon as you have finalized blueprints available. It can take from 4 to 12 weeks just to get building permits. This is why you should apply for permits as soon as you have finalized blueprints available.


Input for Budget Preparation

The design chosen and resultant blueprints are the first critical step in budget preparation. An accurate final budget can only be produced when the information contained in the blueprints is available. Not only does this cover the size of the home and construction method, but also the type and quality of materials to be used.

Because of the nature of custom home projects, it is generally not realistic to use average per square foot prices to take the project to completion. The cost of decks, covered porches, garages, finished basements and main living areas need to be taken into consideration. The quality of materials used and the level of finishing will also make a significant difference. Therefore, any simplistic quotation of finished cost per square foot is totally unrealistic.

This is why you need to prepare a budget based on project specific information. Any other method of calculation can result in problems for the homeowner.


Advantages of Working with Professional Designers

Custom homes can be built using different structural methods. Conventional homes typically involve standard framing and a truss roof structure. More complex homes may include post and beam, timber-frame and log construction or a combination with conventional framing. Not only does the design need to be optimized for best use of materials and construction practices, it also needs to be properly engineered so that it is structurally sound and loads are distributed properly.

This is why it is essential to use skilled people to prepare your design and blueprints. A common mistake for homeowners is to try and use standard designs that are not suitable for their property or cannot be easily modified. The selection of design is, in fact, the most crucial stage and will affect the outcome of the entire project.

San Juan Islands Home Builders has access to professionals who can produce a concept design or modify most custom home plans to suit the San Juan Islands area. Alternatively, they can take your concept plans and produce high quality blueprints.



San Juan Islands Home Builders - Member of Washington Builder Network - 1.866.582.8453