Here is a perfect example of the very high quality of collaboration that occurs daily in a truly integrated design build remodeling firm. Kitchen designer Ellen Gilday Witts and architect Dan Morales are developing plans for a kitchen addition to a Washington DC home located in Cleveland Park. In this particular project, the homeowners want to explore all the options for a kitchen design.
The kitchen layout is a basic L plan with four options in terms of how the kitchen relates to the rest of the room. The options (photo below) show 1) a short rectangular island, 2) a curved island on the diagonal, 3) a long rectacular island with seating, and 4) no island (replaced by table seating).
Once Dan has drawn the structure and preliminary interior layout of the room, he hands it off to Ellen so she can finesse the details of the interior. This is very easy to do because Ellen’s office at Gilday Renovations is just across the hall from Dan’s. This is a perfect example of how an integrated design build approach works in home remodeling. The easy collaboration begins during the earliest stages of design (and will continue in the construction phase).
Since the house is a duplex, it shares a party wall with its neighbor. There are only two walls (rear facing and side) for views of the yard. Dan is showing four and three over-sized windows on the rear and side walls. He and Ellen are trying to determine the best orientation for the kitchen, one that is advantageous to those views and integrates functionally with the rest of the interior.
At this point, Ellen’s primary focus is on optimizing furniture placement in relationship to use areas and circulation corridors. She is trying to balance the space so that it will work exactly the way the clients want to use it.
In the plan shown above, for example, Ellen indicates (with a red line) that the clients want to have their flat screen television on the left side wall. That means Dan will have to adjust his window placement on the rear wall of the addition and that the furniture will have to orient in that direction. The ability to smoothly work out solutions and make revisions as ideas evolve is probably the single most valuable effect of design build. Changes and revisions aren’t a cause of anxiety or finger pointing. They part of a smooth, coherent development process. No big deal.
The ultimate decision is of course up to the client. In the next post we’ll look a little more closely at the four design options and show the one that the client chose after all.