There are a number of stages in the Serosun custom home design process that help guide our homeowners to create their dream home in a manageable, step-by-step way. Along the way, you will be supported by both our sales team and the architect/builder design team. Each stage may be done iteratively in order to help define what you want to achieve in your dream home, as well as help you refine that plan to fit into your budget. There may be a number of people on the owner’s team helping them through the process, but at a minimum, your sales representative, architect, and builder will be working with you. You may also engage our designers and landscape architects to help with the finished look of the property and its landscaping.
The design process can take anywhere from 6 weeks to many months, depending on how many iterations are performed at each step, and how quickly you can decide on various items. The permitting and financing efforts can be done in parallel, and typically take 1.5 – 2 months, but there are several variables here that can affect the schedule. Once permitted, construction usually takes 6 – 12 months, depending on the size and complexity of the home, as well as the weather conditions at various stages in the construction process. It pays to start planning early, to ensure the home is completed by the time you want to move in.
Once you decide that you want to live at Serosun, you enter the Pre-Design Stage. At this stage we try to help you understand how to best utilize the Serosun Design Process to your advantage while designing and building your home. We also start to create initial visions of what your home can be like here at Serosun. Our sales staff, builders, and architects will walk you through an informal question and answer process that will help you identify your lifestyles, wants, needs and dreams, in addition to understanding your constraints. We can then map out a path to realizing your dream home. During this stage, you select a lot. This pre-design work can help focus on the lots that best fit what you want in a home, or help your home fit the lot you choose.
Once you go into contract on your lot, we can start the conceptualization of the design. At this point, you select an architect and a builder to work with, and execute contracts with them. During this stage, we begin to formalize your dream home and set it to paper, fitting your home to the lot you have selected, and to your lifestyle. A program is developed which identifies the elements of your home and how your needs are serviced by these elements – how many bedrooms, size of the master bedroom, elements of the kitchen, etc. We also analyze the lot to see what its key features are, how the home might fit on the lot, and relate it to its surroundings. We also start to arrange the home elements (both inside and outside) based on their orientation to the lot and farm, and how they fit your lifestyle, creating a very rudimentary floor plan. We begin “right-sizing the house,” making sure it makes sense in terms of your lifestyle and budget. For some, this might take a few iterations. Concept sketches are typically created at this time to give a perspective of how the house might look. The team during this stage typically includes the architect, the builder, and a landscape architect.
Design Stage, Part 1 : Develop Base Design
At this point, we start to refine the floor plan and model the home in 3D in order to look at the “massing” of the home (the interplay of height, length, and width), roof lines, and orientation on the lot. This is the stage where we review how the house may look based on the floor plans and layout, and experiment with different massing and styles to see what best fits the home, the owners, and the site. We begin to look at some of the passive elements and energy systems that represent the sustainable elements of the home. Once this stage is completed, and we have a stable layout, we can start finalizing some of the details (Part 2, below). The key is to stabilize the floor plans so that we can effectively move through subsequent steps without having to change the home layout and do a lot of design rework. At this point, it may be useful to provide preliminary drawings to the Estate Design Review Board and the County, to make sure that the home will work within the Estate Design Guidelines and the County Building Permit Process.
Design Stage, Part 2 : Refine Design
We now look at the finer details of the floor plan, massing, and exterior trim, to finalize the look and feel of the home. We start to incorporate decisions on many of the home’s sustainable elements, such as framing and insulation systems, energy systems, water systems, exterior trim and finishes, and landscaping elements. We now create the final floor plans, elevations, and perspectives, to communicate the vision for the home. At this point, we again look at the budget, refining earlier decisions regarding the scope and size of the home, as well as the types of systems in the home, to adjust them to the homeowner’s goals.
At this point, we work on the many finish details of the home, including kitchen and bath designs, colors and finish materials, lighting and plumbing fixtures, etc., allowing us to the finalize details regarding the many systems in the home. We start to create energy and water usage models, and make decisions that tune major systems such as HVAC, lighting and electrical, water systems, and appliances. The designer and landscape architect may help the owner navigate through the multitudes of finishes and fixtures that are out there, and to help refine the look and feel the owner wants to achieve inside and out. Detailed cost analyses can now be made, and design decisions adjusted to meet budget.
At this point, the builder takes the lead as we focus on planning, permitting, financing, and construction startup. The architect creates construction documents, and the builder starts the permitting process with the County. The final engineering for the site is completed, and final budgets and drawings for the bank are prepared. Final plans are presented to the Estate Design Review Board for final approvals. If you are interested in getting LEED, NAHB Green Building, or other certifications, the plans are reviewed once more for conformance to those programs. Plans and schedules for construction are worked out, and home construction starts once permits are ready and financing is in place.
While the home is being built, you will go on several inspection walks with the architect to review progress. Once the home begins to take shape, there may be instances where you decide to change some elements of the design. This is not unexpected, as you begin to see the full three-dimensional home emerge. Changes at this stage of the process generally increase the cost of the home, which is why we spend so much time in the earlier stages of the design process attempting to reduce the likelihood of late changes. During construction, the home will be inspected by the County building inspector, as well as any third-party certification programs, such as LEED. Once completed, the home is given a final inspection, and the owner can move in and start their life at Serosun.