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Image by Edmundo Mendez, Jr.
  • How To Build Your Project Team
    There are two main disciplines required for any house design project. ​ The expertise of a professional house designer The expertise of a professional general contractor and sub contractors​ ​ You will want an excellent house design for your contractor to build, and an excellent general contractor to build it for you. You will end up with quality all the way with no weak links. ​ Sustainable Sedona recommends a collaborative team approach. Build your team so that all parties, including your building designer, interior designer, general contractor, sub contractors, structural engineer, suppliers and any other consultant will collaborate in your best interest...from start to finish. This is the key to a successful house projects.
  • How To Build Your Project Budget
    Cost estimating is a complex process. Early "ballpark" estimates are not accurate because there is so much guesswork involved. As the design phases unfold the details will emerge to narrow in on a realistic budget. An experienced design profession can help to guide your decisions as your go and keep your costs under control. Likewise an experienced contractor on your team can join in meetings and add cost advice in the early design phases. Sustainable Sedona recommends the “front load approach” where you make all your decisions about your house inside and out ahead of construction during design. Make sure your final set of construction drawings is detailed completely to eliminate the guessing game. The “front load approach” will be the best decision you can make to contain the cost of your project.
  • How To Choose A Building Designer
    When it comes to the design of a custom Sedona home, a design professional is an essential ingredient to your team. Sedona is filled with talented professionals who are committed to design excellence, so there will be no shortage of choices in Sedona. Here are 5 ways to help you narrow the field and make your selection. Education A good education is the foundation of any career. Choose a professional who has a minimum of 4 years of advanced education with a strong background in building science, sustainability, building design and interior design, preferable single-family residential design. The design of single family residences is a very specialized form of architecture that differs from the design of a commercial building. It involves a deep interest and understanding of family life and how people use the interior of their home as much as site planning and construction technology. Experience. Experience picks up where education leaves off. A seasoned professional with a rich portfolio of residential projects over many years of practice will be much more valuable than someone fresh from the university or new to the business. Breadth Of Service. Scope of service can vary from a basic set of drawings to obtain your building permit, to a comprehensive set of building design and interior design documents that will cover everything you need to get your permit, accurate and reliable pricing, construction cost control and contractor compliance. There is a tremendous economy of scale in a full-service contract. Local Reputation. Design excellence is a must. Reputation gives you the assurance that others have had a great experience. Be sure to ask for client references and talk with people who have worked with your candidates. Word of mouth helps, but actual endorsements are the best. RAPPORT. Rapport is the vital test of communication. You are choosing more than a business, you are choosing a person with whom you will spend many hours...someone you feel you can trust. Your choice must be a great listener and a great adviser. Your pro will be translating what they hear from you into the design of your house. This person will be your guide through all the important decisions and represent your interests throughout construction and serve as your exclusive advocate.
  • How To Choose An Interior Designer
    Many people use the term "interior design" and interior decorating" interchangeably. Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. Both disciplines provide valuable expertise to remodel projects and new home projects. In short, interior designers may decorate, but in general decorators may not have full design qualifications. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process to satisfy the needs and resources of the client. Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered documenting their formal education and training and many of them specifically require that all practicing interior designers earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their experience and qualifications. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure. for more, please visit NCIDQ website National Council for Interior Design Qualification
  • How To Choose A Builder / General Contractor
    When it comes to choosing a builder or Sedona remodeling contractor there are some very important things to consider. Not all contractors are alike. Some are terrific when it comes to construction, but not design. Others are OK with design but not so good with construction. Most homeowners want great design AND great construction. Often, this is not available in one package. It is a good practice to separate design from construction to make sure you get the best of both worlds, especially if you want quality house remodeling, kitchen remodeling, bath remodeling, or a new addition to your home. Here are three important considerations. ​ Budget Building. When it comes to saving money, it is also important to consider the remodeling contractor's ability to build a realistic budget. Often a remodeling contractor will jump straight into the remodel without creating a preliminary budget. It is difficult to create a budget if the design has not been worked out, which is all too often the case. It is best to have the design developed and on paper in the language of construction to estimate the real scope of work. The assistance of a house designer, architect, or an interior designer who is trained to create good design documents will help to eliminate the cost estimating guesswork and save you money. The cost of design is usually much smaller the wasted construction money. Construction Time frame. When it comes to saving time, it is important to have design work out in advance of the start of construction. Remodeling contractors can work faster if all the decisions are made ahead of time. It takes time to place and receive orders for things like cabinetry, lighting fixtures, tile, carpet, counter tops, appliances, plumbing fixtures, hardware for doors, cabinets, closets and the list goes on! So, stay ahead of the game with design and you will stay ahead of your finances. Reputation. When it comes to reputation, it is critical to work with remodeling contractors who are properly licensed and bonded, and who will stand by the work after the project is completed. Check with the Arizona Contractor's Board to screen you contractors before you hire them. Finally schedule a meeting with your design professional before you hire a contractor and make sure you get all your remodeling questions answered with certainty.
  • Should You Buy Or Build A New Home?
    If you are planning to live in a community like Sedona, AZ you will have two choices, buy an existing home or buy land and build your dream. Considerations for buying an existing home. If the remodel is simple, then your cost to remodel will be relatively low. Simple remodels are cosmetic in nature like pulling and replacing counter tops, new paint, new plumbing and lighting fixtures, new cabinet door fronts. If the remodel involves reconfiguration of interior walls to alter the flow of spaces, new appliances, new cabinets, new electrical circuits, new rough plumbing, you need a building permit and a construction team who can demolish walls, reframe new walls, add new plumbing and electrical features. Plan on a much larger budget. If the building itself needs new windows, roof repair, insulation, foundation repair, siding repair, draining repairs or cooling and heating equipment replacements you must plan for a large budget. Major remodels can more expensive than building a new home when you factor in economy of scale, demolition and hidden costs. Major remodels may take as long to build as a new home to build. If the home is in a poor location, you will not have a good return on your remodel investment. If the home is too small, you may need an addition to make more space. Additions require building permits and large budgets. Be sure there is enough margin in the asking price to cover your remodels. Your realtor may not be aware of all the remodel costs. Check with a designer or contractor to get the current costs of remodeling. ​​ Consideration for building a new home. Home prices are rising faster than land prices in Sedona AZ. This gives you a good margin to work with in construction. There is economy of scale when you build an entire house. All the trades are in place for every type of construction, so kitchens and bathrooms are less expensive to build out. You will get exactly what your want in size, flow, location and style.
  • How To Choose Vacant Land For A New Home
    Selecting land for a new home in Sedona is a critical first step in the design process. There are so many factors to consider, and your realtor may not think of them as a residential designer does. It is good advice to have a professional designer with you as you narrow down your options. As you look for vacant land, here are a few more tips to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line for a land purchase. ​ Solar Orientation. You may find a lot with great views but a not-so-great solar orientation. Your Sedona view may be facing the setting sun! We all know how hot the summer setting sun can get as it pours in from the West. Don't buy a view that you will need to cover up with window blinds. Sloping Lots. Let's face it, Sedona is a mountain community, so perfectly level lots are in very short supply, especially flat lots with views. You may see a lot that seems fairly flat, but don't be deceived. Check to see if a Topographical survey is available and consult with a design professional to help you interpret it. There is added cost to build on lots with anything other than a gentle slope. Soil Composition. When you are building on a sloping lot, there can be needing to cut into the lot and or fill portions of the lot to form the footprint of the house, especially if you are looking for single level living. A soil study will help you determine the makeup of the land below the surface. There could be costly surprises like bed rock and water flow that can influence the design. Native Vegetation. The beautiful vegetation of the high desert Sedona region is not easy to replicate. Replacing a beautiful native Cypress, Juniper or Pinion can cost thousands of dollars. Try to choose a lot that will allow you to keep as much of this beauty as possible.
  • House Design Checklist
    So many people have an image of a house that has been brewing in their mind's eye, thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if I could finally build and live in that house? ​ Here is a great check list of design questions to get you thinking more about what is most important to you inside and out, just in case you decide to build that house that you have cooking up in your head someday. And I hope you do! ​ YOUR LIFESTYLE What is the most important requirement for your project, and what do you want to achieve in the end? Who will live in the house, and what are their names, ages, and something special about each of them? Is there a favorite house in your past, and how does it stand out in your memory? How important is “sustainability” to you? Are you interested in sustainable materials and features and which ones? Are you planning to live in this home for as long as possible? How important is “single-level” living? Are there any other special design features that relate to your long-term comfort and well-being? YOUR LOT Have you selected a piece of land, and what is the size of your lot? Does your lot have special features like green spaces, shoreline, water, sunshine, shade, breezes, views? How important are the views? How important is privacy? Is your lot flat or sloped? Do you have a proper land survey that shows certified property lines, easement, setbacks, land contours, utility service locations, water flow? Does your lot have a southern exposure for a passive solar design strategy? Do you also receive any morning or evening sun? Which way does the prevailing wind move? Are there seasonal storm patterns? Do you have good access to the necessary utilities like sewer, power, water, internet, phone? Do you have a soils report? Are you in a flood zone? Are there neighborhood covenants or rules and regulations that you must adhere to? OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES Do you enjoy outdoor living spaces (like patios courtyards, gardens, decks, a pool, a hot tub) and how do you plan to use them? Do you cook and entertain out doors? Are there other physical or recreational activities that you would do outdoors? EXTERIOR BUILDING DESIGN If you could put a label on the style of the house, what would it be? Are you open to a "hybrid" style? Do you want the style to fit in with the environmental nature? What is important to you stylistically? Do you like clean lines or ornate forms? Do you prefer natural materials and subdued color tones, or dramatic color and exciting patterns? Do you want your home to calm you or energize you or both? What is the square footage of the house you envision (exclude the garage area)? Do you have special garage requirements? If so, what are they? Exterior wall materials: wood strips, cement board strips, wood shingles, stone, tile, wood panels, or other? Roofing materials: metal, asphalt, tile, wood shingle or other? Thermal insulation: batt insulation, blown-in, rigid board, or other? Windows and doors: fiberglass, vinyl, wood clad or other? Front door: can you put it into words? Driveway and walkways: pavers, concrete, gravel, pervious pavers, asphalt or other? Retaining walls: brick, concrete, natural stone, or other? INTERIOR DESIGN If you could put a label on the interior design style, what would it be? Are you open to a style that is fresh and new? Do you want the style to match the building design style? Do you prefer large open space or discreet room, or a combination? What is most important for your “get-away” spaces like bedrooms, offices? What is most important for your “come-together” spaces like kitchen, living and dining spaces? How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like? Do you work from home? Do you have special hobbies? How important is your lighting design, and are there special requirement for any of the spaces? KITCHEN DESIGN Who cooks in your house (you, your mate, or both)? Is there more than one chef at a time, and if so how many? How often do you cook, and what are the meals you prepare most (breakfast, lunch, dinner)? What type of cooking do you do (gourmet, fast food, barbeque, baking, and deserts, vegetarian, other)? Describe your collection of pots, pans and cooking utensils. Identify the ones you use most frequently. Leave out the ones you could do without. Do you have special countertop appliances (coffee maker, toaster, mixer, blender, small TV, etc.)? Do you like to see them or conceal them? Describe your collection of dinner ware. Do you like you to see some of them, and if so which ones? DINING ROOM DESGIN Do you want one area or separate casual and formal areas, and/or kitchen nook? What is the shape and size of your dining table and is it expandable? What is the maximum number of people you will serve? How much line of sight do you want from the kitchen area to the dining area (minimum or maximum openness)? Do you want built in cabinetry in the dining area or do you have furniture for storage? GREAT ROOM DESIGN (Living rooms, family rooms, entertainment spaces) Do you want more than one living area (formal room, causal room, and great room)? What activities do you expect in the living area (TV watching, audio listening, conversation, access to a view, access to the outdoors)? How many people do you expect to entertain in the living area? Do you want a dedicated Movie or TV room? Do you want a fireplace in the living area? Do you want built-in cabinetry in the living area, and if so, what functions do you want it to house? MASTER SUITE DESIGN Do you want the master on the main level with the kitchen and living functions? Do you want dedicated master bath off the master bedroom? How often to you take a shower, a bath or both and what is your preference? How important is a private toilet room? How important is closet space? How important is separate sinks? How important is vanity lighting? Do you want a sitting area in the bedroom, and if so describe how it will be used? Do you plan to exercise in the master suite or in another location? Do you want the master adjacent to other bedrooms or in a separate location? Are you an early riser and do you prefer morning light, or do you have other preferences, and if so please describe? Do you want a dedicated laundry facility in the master suite? Do you want a fireplace in the master? Is there anything else you would like in the master suite? GUEST SUITE DESIGN Do you want a guest suite in addition to other bedrooms? If so, please indicate the feature and functions you will require. BATHROOM DESIGN Do you want addition full bathrooms, and if so and how many? If so, please indicate the feature and functions you will require. HALF BATH DESIGN Do you want a half bath, and how many? Does the bath need to be near a special room? If so, which one? BEDROOM DESIGN Do you want addition bedrooms, and if so how many? Can the bedroom serve other function, and if so please list them? If so, please indicate the feature and functions you will require IN HOME OFFICE DESIGN Is the location of the office critical to the plan? Do you require special equipment for your work? Will you share the office, and if so with whom? Does the office need a special entrance? LAUNDRY ROOM DESIGN Do you want a separate laundry room, or can it be part of another room? If so, please indicate the feature and functions you will require. MUD ROOM DESIGN Do you want a dedicated mud room, and if so please indicate the feature and functions you will require? MECHANICAL ROOM DESIGN Do you want a dedicated mechanical room, or can it be part of another room? Do you prefer to house the mechanical systems within the garage, the conditioned thermal envelope, crawl space or other? WORKSHOP DESIGN Do you want a dedicated workshop or can to be part of another space? If so, please indicate the feature and functions you will require.
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