Architectural Design and Your Dream Home
Building New Homes or Custom Homes in Sequim and in Port Angeles

Planning to build a new home is really planning to build your dream home, whether you are retiring or still working, whether you live alone or still have a cadre of children.  The design of your new home is building your dream of a lifetime.  So this step of design and architecture is a major priority.

Some home builders have great designs you can choose from.  Some will refer you to an architect they work with.  Do your due diligence to get a plan that really is ideal for you, and an architect who is both outstanding and affordable. 

Architectural services can be understood if they are evaluated according to six phases of the overall process. These include:

  1. Initial Programing
  2. Schematic Design
  3. Design Development
  4. Construction Drawings
  5. Bidding
  6. Construction Observation
Initial Programming

You will have preliminary discussions with the architect to determine your functional needs, general aesthetic goals and projected budget.

Schematic Design

At the end of the schematic design phase the architect will present some very rough sketches to you for approval. These sketches will provide you with the opportunity to verify that the architect has correctly interpreted your desires and the functional relationships between various activities. The sketches will also provide you with a general indication of the exterior design dialogue.

Design Development

At the end of the design development phase the architect will provide you with drafted to-scale drawings that will illustrate the project as it would look when it's constructed. These drawings will very specifically define the site plan, floor plans and exterior elevations. It is important that you provide input to the architect at this time as the design development drawings are used as the basis for the construction drawings and preliminary cost estimates in building a home.

Construction Drawings

Based on owner-approved design development drawings, construction drawings are prepared.  When the construction drawings are complete you will have sufficient information to secure contractor bids and obtain the required permits. The construction drawings are all necessary if you hope to have the contractor build the project as it has been conceived by the owner and architect. Without the drawings listed above, the contractor's bid may be based solely on the owner's vision of the finished structure.


Although this phase is a small percentage of the overall architect fee it can save the owner a great deal of frustration and expense. Typically the architect can ask the right questions with regards to the contractor's project bids. It is very important to determine if the contractor has forgotten or overlooked anything on the construction drawings. If this occurs, the contractor will undoubtedly ask for more money when the project is underway and the owner has already signed a construction contract.

Construction Observation

This phase seems to be the most common phase to omit the architect's involvement, which is unfortunate since it is very difficult for you to detect deviations from the original construction drawings until it is too late. However, if a qualified contractor has been retained then one should expect the project to proceed as specified in the construction drawings.