The Value of Residential Design Visioning

Do you want to design your dream home or renovate your existing home but feel uncertain about how to engage an architect for your project? Are you hesitant to hire an architect’s services because you think architects are expensive?

Having an architect guide your project will help you make the most of your budget; so that you get the home you desire with no surprise costs at the end. Your architect will know the critical questions to ask in the initial stages of a renovation or new construction that are key to avoiding costly legal, logistical, regulatory, environmental and design problems.

For all the value an architect provides, the architect’s fee is not ‘expensive’. However, we understand that some client budgets just can’t cover the costs for full architectural services. We also understand that some clients have never hired an architect before and aren’t sure what to expect.

For clients that may not be ready for or need full architectural services, we offer our Residential Design Visioning service.

What is Residential Design Visioning?

Residential Design Visioning is an interactive experience offered at a lower cost than full architectural services. It allows you the chance to be involved in the fun of designing your own home and to experience the excitement of achieving your unique vision.

In this four part process, we will conduct a site visit to define potential project elements. We will discuss with you what your needs and wants are for your home. This information informs the two concept design plans that we create for your review and comment.

The next step is to create a full schematic design of your preferred design concept, including floor plans, exterior elevations and 3D view of the exterior. Then you will have two additional review sessions to work with our team to make any final design adjustments.

At the end of this process, you’ll receive the final design package. This package includes: floor plans with basic dimensions, exterior elevations, 3D exterior views from four angles, along with window, door and finish schedules.

You’ll take this design package to a builder or general contractor and they will provide you with a construction cost estimate and then work with you to obtain a building permit. You are welcome to further engage UK Architects for additional limited or full design services, but your design package will have everything you need to get off to a great start with your builder.

We are also open to including your builder in the design visioning process.  This will improve the ability of the builder to understand the important design decisions and ensure that these are respected throughout the construction process.

Want to know more but too busy to read this article? Click here to download your free pdf copy of the Residential Design Visioning process to read later.

Residential Design Visioning Case Studies

Here is a small selection of projects that went through the Residential Design Visioning process:

New Residence in a vineyard in Essex, New York


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This residence is located in Essex, NY, on the west side of Lake Champlain. Our team made a site visit to explore their property and from there went through a project programming exercise to determine how many and what type of spaces were needed in the home design. We then had two design consultations, each lasting half a day, in order to develop the house design. During these consultations, the owners had direct input with our team on the design of their home.

Once the design consultations were completed and the owners satisfied, our team followed up with online screen sharing sessions to go over final design tweaks. From there, the construction documents were drawn up and delivered to the owners. This project was completed in late fall of 2018. We’re excited to see the finished home!

New Hillside Residence in Woodsville, New Hampshire

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This was a fun project! We were engaged to design a new house on the site of an existing log house with spectacular views looking from New Hampshire towards Vermont. The log house had deteriorated and unfortunately suffered from bad design. The owner had recently retired and now that the house was becoming a full time residence, he needed to do something that better met his needs.

Having not worked with an architect before and needing to understand his options, the Residential Design Visioning process was perfect for his situation. This project was completed in summer of 2018.

Addition to a Residence in Andover, New Hampshire

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This project came to us after the client had worked with 2 other architecture firms. Unfortunately, both of the previous firms were unable to come up with a design that satisfied the client. We listened to her concerns and thoroughly discussed the client’s needs. The most important part of the Residential Design Visioning process is making sure we understand of client’s desires for their home so that we can create design concepts that provide for the spaces they need.

The main challenge on this project was keeping the addition from overwhelming the original cottage. We were able to create a design that the client loved. The use of 3D drawing helped us to accurately show her what her addition would look like before it was built.

New Residence in Lyme, New Hampshire

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This project is an example of a client engaging us with the Residential Design Visioning process and then moving beyond the scope of this process to later consult with us in targeted ways. This is a good example of the flexibility of the Residential Design Visioning process.

This house is for a young family on a spectacular site in Lyme, NH. The concept for this home was to create a modern farmhouse. Due to the amazing 270 degree views, we wanted the main space of the home to feel like the family were living in the view.

The design solution to achieve this was to combine a traditional farmhouse form with a totally modern form.  It’s almost as if the modern form was an addition onto the traditional form.

The living room is the modern form and is almost like being in a fishbowl. This space is open, airy, and light-filled. It has a flat roof so that the bedrooms on the second floor of the traditional portion of the house can see out over the modern portion’s roof.  There is also a roof deck accessed from the second floor of the traditional portion.

After completing the Residential Design Visioning process, the client consulted with us in limited and targeted ways. Anytime they thought about modifying the design, they reached out to us for input.

As you can see from these case studies, the Residential Design Visioning process is a flexible alternative to hiring an architect’s full services. At the end of this process, you can choose to continue working with our team to get the full value of an architect’s services but if you do not, you will have what you need to work with a builder or contractor to complete your project. Your builder or general contractor will provide you with a construction cost estimate and work with you to obtain a building permit.


Click here to download your pdf copy of the Residential Design Visioning process.


Want to see this process in action? This article explains in detail each step of this 4-part process: https://www.ukarch.com/blog/2016/8/22/residential-design-visioning-the-four-part-process