Design Build

Design Build /

This Sustainable Home Is a Sign of Things to Come

hand holding a model of a house | sustainable home

Pilar and Cristian were dreaming of building a home away from the busy neighborhood of their children’s youth. They needed a home that would be easy to age into and also welcome their friends and family for dinner or an extended stay. They desired a place to look forward to coming home to.

Located on a two-acre property just outside of Ann Arbor, the home is designed to embrace the picturesque views and green acreage. The homeowners prioritized a lifestyle of gardening, outdoor time with pets, and plenty of space for visitors to enjoy—a kind of destination spot for family when they come to town.

Design Build /

Can You Afford a More Sustainable Home?

model of a house on moss | can you afford a more sustainable home?

Many homeowners come to Giraffe with questions about lowering their heating bill or creating a more comfortable climate for their living space. Their home loses heat or it’s inefficient, and it’s a great concern of theirs. These clients might not use the term, but they’re asking about sustainable design.

We all want to be comfortable in our homes, and sustainable solutions can provide that extra comfort. Giraffe’s goal is to become the authority in sustainable design in the Ann Arbor region. Our staff throughout the company are driven by sustainability—from designers to builders to our company’s office team. (more…)

Design Build /

What to Expect During the Design of Your Home

closeup of interior designer showing fabric samples to clients | what to expect during design of your home

The dream you have for your home is the genesis towards realizing a living space that’s custom-made specifically for you. It’s the privilege of your design team to catch your dream and translate it into a design plan that will guide your entire homebuilding or remodeling project.

If this is your first time remodeling or building a home, you may be wondering what to expect from your design team. What will they expect of you, and what can you do to make your experience as rewarding as possible? Let’s explore those questions.

Design Build, Projects /

A Spare Room Becomes an Office and Personal Oasis

Spare Room into an Office and Personal Oasis

Jessa and Tony blend careers, family, and personal growth—all with a dash of grace. But their living space wasn’t conducive to that balance. With living areas that created barriers instead of inviting flow, they experienced conflict between how they wanted to live, and what their environment could provide.

“We have a nice house, but it didn’t come with a formal office,” Jessa explained. “We’re both physicians, and we can do admin duties from home, but we didn’t have a good base to do that work.” Instead, they were operating out of a spare bedroom. (more…)

Design Build, Projects /

Transforming a Drab Basement into a Warm Sanctuary

basement hallway and stairs leading to first floor

For many homeowners in Southeast Michigan, a basement is an afterthought—a spare area for storage, laundry, and utilities. For others, it’s a fun space for play or entertainment. But for Ann Arbor homeowners Paula and Allen, the basement is the emotional touchstone of the entry into their home. And it was setting the wrong tone.

Paula and Allen’s home is built into a hill, and the garage enters into the basement. For them, the lower level serves as their foyer. It’s the space that welcomes them home after a long day of work. But the greeting wasn’t the warm sanctuary they longed for. (more…)

Design Build, General, Projects /

Designing Your Home Build Journey: Take Time to Dream

couple daydreaming of a new home design
The dream you have for your home is the genesis towards realizing a living space that’s custom-made specifically for you. Your vision for your home puts the whole manifestation into motion. It’s the first step in a journey that ends with a home you will delight in for years to come. During the dream phase of the journey, it is paramount to capture, document, and share a clear vision that will serve as the North Star of your project. A documented vision will guide you and your build-design team and keep you pointing True North in the midst of budget questions and the inevitable bumps in the road. (more…)
Design Build /

How Important Is a Design-Build Approach for Your Project?

design-build project drawing that fades into a photograph
Transforming your living space is anything but trivial. You have a dream for your home, and as you work with a designer your dream begins to take virtual shape. The transition from virtual plans to realization in the actual space of your home is the most critical hand-off of the entire project. A smooth handoff from design to build results in a truly inspired space that brings you and your family delight for years to come. A poor handoff can result in costly mistakes, cost overruns, and unpleasant surprises that linger on and take away from your enjoyment of the completed space. (more…)
Design Build, Projects /

Traditional Kitchen Reimagined with Organic Inspiration

Gilman kitchen

Chris and Bob are homeowners who had recently moved to Ann Arbor from Boston. Their beautiful Colonial house has a classic charm that is evident from the street. The house incorporates several unique features that you don’t see in houses anymore, including a true butler’s pantry and a dumbwaiter. The kitchen opens out to a second-story deck that overlooks a spacious yard, and well-placed windows invite natural lighting throughout the house. (more…)

Design Build /

Remodeling to Stand The Test of Time.

Ten years ago, when Joel and Patricia were looking for a home for their growing family they fell in love with a 1970s Tudor style home and saw so much potential for what it could become. The existing floor plan felt dated and segmented; several rooms without continuity, and an outdated kitchen. For this house to feel like home it needed to be more open and flowing, but they wanted to keep the traditional feel. The new design had to marry the traditional with the updated functionality. (more…)

Design Build /

Kitchen renovation brings Northern Michigan feel to Ann Arbor

Jan and Rob enjoy the tranquility of their home that is more reminiscent of a Northern Michigan retreat with views of woods and river than its college town location might suggest. But this wasn’t always the case. Helping their home make the transition through the growing pains of several disconnected additions, to a space that felt like a balanced, expansive whole, required a team effort of creativity, flexibility, and collaboration. (more…)