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.

What to Expect During the Design Phase

In the Design phase of your design-build project, you’ll meet in person with one of our architectural designers to discuss your priorities, dreams, and design aesthetics. The designer will use that conversation to create drawings, then share them with you for your review and feedback. This process is a collaborative and iterative one, and it will continue until you’re truly delighted with the architectural design.

After you meet with the architect, our interior designer works side-by-side with you to furnish the space with the flooring, fixtures and finishes that will make your house a sanctuary. You and your designer may take several shopping excursions together to select your new fixtures, appliances, and furniture. For many of our clients, interior design is the phase they love the most, because it’s the first time they can see and touch the items that will inhabit their new space.

Unexpected Surprises

Because a design-build project is uncharted waters for many homeowners, it can come with some unexpected surprises. Budget constraints are the most common surprise. It’s not unusual for a project’s costs to rise during design discussions, especially as you generate more ideas and your wishlist grows. You may be surprised to see larger numbers than you expect.

We understand the sticker shock, and Giraffe takes every opportunity to find creative solutions that will reduce the costs as much as possible. Sometimes that means finding less expensive materials to work with—for example, laminate flooring instead of hardwood, or an everyday brand over a high-end name.

You may also be surprised by decision fatigue. Many clients have a difficult time making choices when presented with a multitude of options for every detail that goes into a project. At some point, it can be overwhelming to select between flooring options, or to decide the materials you love best. There are myriad decisions—from lighting fixtures to light switch plates—and you may feel the urge to make the perfect decision on each item.

Take the necessary time to make your decisions. Your designer can help you think through your options and arrive at a selection you will enjoy for decades. Most of all, get plenty of rest during this period and practice a healthy holistic lifestyle to reduce your stress.

Tips to Get the Most Out of the Design Phase

Your designer will partner with you to get the most value out of the Design phase. However, there are some things you can do before your first meeting to make your experience smooth and rewarding.

Prioritize your preferences

At some point during the design phase, you will likely need to choose one thing you love over another thing you love. It makes all the difference to know ahead of time what your priorities are. Some items will be non-negotiable for you, and others can be modified or sacrificed altogether.

Make a list of your must-have, your want-to-have and your could-also-have priorities. Perhaps you absolutely need a screened-in porch, but you don’t mind downgrading your faucets from Kohler to Delta. Perhaps a wet bar would be nice, but only if there is room in the budget.

Be flexible when making your selections

Keep in mind that everything you see online may not be available. That item you fell in love with on Pinterest or Houzz could be impossible to purchase for your home. Many of our clients are surprised to find out that their favorite tile isn’t available, because it was handpainted in a far-off village in India. Be flexible and have backup options.

Have realistic expectations on timing

Construction projects often take longer than you might anticipate. If you’re living in your home during a remodel project, it could mean you’ll have builders in your home for a longer time than you first expected.

At Giraffe, we make every effort to keep our projects on schedule, because we understand the inconvenience of having strangers working in your home every day. However, some things are simply outside of a design-build company’s control. If one of your must-haves is sourced from Italy, it could take several weeks for the order to be delivered.

Make use of every resource for ideas

The more ideas you present to your designer, the better. Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram are excellent places to start. If you like modern design, Dwell is another helpful resource. Depending on your style preferences, we can point you to various designers, as well.

Some clients come to the table with thick binders overflowing with samples, right down to the fabric they want on their cushions. That’s helpful, but it’s not necessary. We have other clients with no design aesthetic who need more guidance to identify the styles they love. We can help you find your design tastes and create a plan that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

Even when you know your own tastes, it’s valuable to have an open mind and to let our designers contribute their insights and ideas.

The Giraffe Design Experience

The Design phase of your construction or remodel project is both thrilling and exhausting. Your design team can be the difference between a frustrating, confusing experience and a rewarding one. A design team that exhibits empathy and integrity has a direct bearing on the enjoyment of your home for years to come.

When a homeowner decides to work with us, we embrace a sense of duty and responsibility to live up to those expectations and deliver exactly what they’re hoping for—and then some. At Giraffe, you will find personable and talented designers who put your interests above our own.

Giraffe Design-Build creates inspired designs and environments, built with excellent craftsmanship, delivered with integrity and empathy, to delight people and planet. We create a partnership with homeowners through the design phase, prioritizing our clients’ experience and concerns above our own.

If this sounds like the type of home build company you’re looking for, let’s talk. We’d love to work with you to design your dream home.

Start a conversation with us today!