Our Design Process

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If you haven't found your bulding site yet, we can assist you in the site selection process by getting the appropriate site surveys, visiting and reviewing the site with you to choose the best place to build.

The first phase of the design process is the creation of a 'Design Concept'. During this phase, Arrow-wood will gather as much information as possible about the features you need in the home, your budget, your aesthetic preferences (such as sample photos, clippings and magazine pages), the site conditions (access, views, special features, etc.) and local code restrictions. After a few meetings, calls and exchanges of sketches, we will develop an arrangement of rooms and spaces that fulfils as many of your requirements as possible.

This Design Concept will show how the home is sited, how the rooms are generally sized and arranged, and will preview the way the timber frame fits in the building, as well as exterior elevations to show how the home is massed and the general style. This is the best time to make big rearrangements to the room layouts or to change the position of the building on the site.

'Design Development' involves taking the Design Concept into a precise CAD model that shows the specific dimensions of all the rooms, all the details about the windows, doors, utility areas, and other spaces. It is also when decisions about the actual style of timber structure are made, as well as choices of materials for exterior and interior finishing.

This stage also provides more visualization tools, such as 3D modeling and realistic rendering, so that the design can be better understood and 'lived in'. It is crucial to take the time to make any last changes to layouts or room sizes at this point. We can also work with interior designers and landscape designers at this point.

In many cases, drawings from this stage may be used to arrange financing, and contractors will generally provide a preliminary bid for budgeting purposes. This is also the typical stage to present a design to your architectural review board, if your development has one.

Finally, we create 'Construction Drawings'. Also called 'approval', 'permit' or 'contract' drawings, these are the detailed drawings that are reviewed by an engineer for structural soundness, and by the building department to approve in terms of the local building code. Any changes required at this point are incorporated into the final drawings that will be used on-site to build the project. Some general contractors will not provide a final bid until they have this set of drawings in hand.

A word about Engineering - A timber home is usually not a familiar type of structure for a building department, so we find that it is advisable to have the design reviewed and stamped by an engineer. Arrow-wood works with engineering firms that are licensed in all states, so we have no surprises when it comes time to present the design for building department approval. Our timber frame designers are themeselves trained in engineering principles, so the designs they produce are generally approved by the engineers without major changes. Steep sites, extreme snow loads, hurricane resistance and earthquake strength are some of the areas where an engineer will provide invaluable guidance.

For more information on our services, Contact Us for a consultation.