Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Iterative Design Process - Creating the Plan

When we start a smallish project - ie. removing non-supporting walls, changing out windows, updating kitchens, etc - we don't usually rely on exact drawings to do the work.  Sketches and on-site discussions are usually sufficient.  But for a major project, having a detailed set of drawings as reference is essential.  And critical for getting building permits!

The Beach Cottage is a major project and once again I turned to the folks at Hammond Lumber to help me out.  For a flat fee, they will provide a drawing package for the project (and they refund the fee as you purchase building materials from them).  Their CAD system provides all the info required - and the design can be fed into other systems to determine load requirements and lumber dimensions.  The output is a set of drawings as well as a detailed material list.  This is invaluable to create a cost estimate for the project.

Jamie Connelly is my sales rep and works with me on every step.  I had a preliminary design in mind (I'm an engineer by training and worked many years as a draftsman) that I'd sketched out on my own CAD system.  We used that as a guide when Jamie came out to the site and we took detailed measurements for the Cottage.  Then he worked with Hammond's drafting department to come up with the first version of the plan.  I reviewed version 1 with Jamie and Mike Backman of Waterhouse Builders to look at feasibility and complexity.  After compiling all of their input, I made detailed mark ups of things we wanted to change.  And of course, we made lots of changes!  

For example, I had come up with this photo off of Houzz (one of my favorite sites for new ideas!!)  for my 'design inspiration'.  The folks at Hammond Lumber did a fabulous job of recreating this for our Beach Cottage.  But when I saw how it impacted the master bedroom layout (very odd shaped room without wall space for a queen sized bed!), we realized we needed to make some modifications.  And Mike thought that the complexity would drive a lot of additional building costs.  So……it was back to the drawing board/CAD station!
Source:  Houzz - Great Neighborhood Homes

And as I started working on version 2, I suddenly realized our new design bears a striking resemblance to my friend's house.  Don't you love the row of windows across the shed dormer!  It's such a classic New England look.  And since that's the west side of the house for the Beach Cottage, there will be lots of sunlight streaming in all afternoon.

Want to see how our design came out?  Click here!  

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  1. Just looking through old posts and getting some inspiration for our own older cape in Falmouth. Your friends house is one of my favorite houses in the Falmouth Flats. Love seeing her house as you cross over the Martins point bridge. Did you help design that as well? We are looking at creating more entertaining and smart space with an addition off the back.

    1. Linda - isn't it a beautiful house? I didn't help with it and can't remember the name of the architect. Sorry!!!


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