Some Frequently Asked Questions regarding architecture for your home or property.

Q: Just how green are we?

The basic tenets to our “green” policy are as follows:

If done well, less can be more or at least equal: We work to achieve the greatest impact from the least amount of new construction possible. Right-sized additions and houses are less expensive to build, heat and cool and take less time to clean!

Think sun: We have and continue to use passive solar planning principles popularized in the mid-70’s and early 80’s. This means, where possible, we take advantage of the best natural light/ solar heat gain with the siting and orientation of our built work. Obviously, this is easier to do with new homes, where we have the most flexibility to do so, but not to be ignored with additions and remodels.

Thick blanket outside, efficient equipment inside: Super insulation combined with high efficiency heating and cooling systems will reduce your maintenance costs as well as your personal carbon footprint.

Green-lite products: According to a recent study by the Oregon DEQ, while 6% of all construction-related waste is generated during the initial build-out, a whooping 50% occurs during the typical 70 year period of use & maintenance!  The largest impact to waste, as well as the cause of unnecessary spending, comes from the frequent replacement of carpeting, asphalt shingles and fiberglass insulation. Let us put our knowledge to work for you and your budget. We will recommend “greener” and more durable substitutes to normal, everyday building products.

Local Sources: Whenever possible we provide you with product choices found close to home, even reusing salvaged job site materials.

Consider saying “NO” to Vinyl: While vinyl products offer inexpensive alternatives for just about everything from siding to flooring, the Dioxins produced in the manufacturing process do not decompose easily or naturally. Further, vinyl products have a short, useful life and need to be replaced sooner than other products. We can discuss these issues with you further when you contact us.

We strive to keep up to date on the latest developments by completing workshops and classes as often as possible. Our staff is LEED accredited and trained by the Earth Advantage Institute.

Ultimately, we’ll work with you to provide the information you need to make the best choices for your home without turning your house into a yurt with outdoor plumbing.

Q: Why should I remodel?

A: There are several factors to consider. A few to keep in mind:

1. I like my location/neighborhood
2. I can't find a house with the features I'm looking for at the price I'm willing to spend in the same neighborhood.
3. I hope to be buried in the backyard when "the day comes".

Q: Where do we start? How do we begin the process?

A: All remodels begin with a preliminary consultation. We come to your home and review your wish list. We then let you know what is structurally possible given your home and provide you with a reasonable estimate that includes our fee and construction costs. Lastly, we show you any previous work we have done that relates to your project.

Q: What kinds of projects do you do?

A: We specialize in residential remodeling and new residential construction.

Q: What should I consider before starting a remodel?

A: Building a new home or remodeling requires a time commitment. You will be entrusting our firm to do the work, however, there will be many decisions that we will ask you to make and these decisions can take time. For example, if you are planning a remodel to be completed prior to an event, give yourself enough time in order to avoid being rushed.

Q: How much of my investment should I expect to get out of the house when I sell?

A: You will typically maximize your resale value when adding to or updating a bathroom or kitchen or adding a bedroom. Generally, you need to live in your home for at least four to six years after the remodel before seeing the value increase enough to cover the investment.

Q: How long will it take?

A: This depends largely on the scope of the remodel, the client's decision-making timing, financing, etc. Even the most minimal projects, such as a bathroom addition or modest kitchen remodel, can take roughly six to eight months from your first phone call to your last payment to the contractor. For a new home, plan on nine to twelve months to complete the design, drawings and permits. Then allow an additional twelve months for construction.

Q: Can I live in the house during the remodel?

A: Again, scope plays a big part in the livability of your home during the remodel. Remodels involving kitchens or more than one bath are the most difficult to predict given the relative necessity of these living spaces. You may consider a kitchen remodel during the summer, when you can barbeque, or during a planned extended vacation. You may even consider moving out for a period to avoid the dust and mess, particularly if you have young children.

Q: How do I choose a contractor? Can you help?

A: We work with several local, reasonable contractors and are happy to put you in touch with them or, better yet, arrange for a competitive bid between comparable contractors.

Q: Can I use my own Builder?

A: Yes. We provide a separate contract from the builder allowing you to use the builder of your choice if they are available for and capable of completing the work. Further, our drawings are detailed enough to facilitate a good working relationship with any contractor.