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McRae & Co., LLC

Larry D. McRae

P.O. Box 2071

Kernersville, NC 27285


Phone: 336-996-3826

E-mail: mcraeandcompanyllc

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Design Articles

Topics of interest relating to home design, construction, renovations and additions

Due Diligence of Design


For every project and of any size, there is a process that I take to start becoming familiar with the clients wishes. It is imperative that we listen intently to our clients and then apply that information to the design. I am amazed at how many projects I have obtained from other architects and designers that it was stated "they just would not listen to what WE wanted and just designed what THEY wanted" a frustration with our industry that is unacceptable!


Our initial "Question & Answer" sessions are broad questions:

1) What are your thoughts for your new project in your desires and wishes for this project, and what goals are expected to achieve?

2) What exactly is the "wish list" and intended scope in broad terms?

3) What members of the family are affected by this design and may we involve them for their thoughts? 

4) What are the site restrictions for the project? A survey will be required and a topographical plan may be requested.

5) In the discussions, an awareness of the city and/or county zoning ordinances are helpful and in some instances, additional research may be required before the design is initiated. Every project seems to incur it's own unique conditions.

6) It helps to determine if the client has done any research for articles, design influences, architectural preferences, finishes, etc. If not, it is encouraged eventually so that the client is familiar with what products may be available.

7)Architecturally, we will determine the clients preferences in style, textures, roof design, window design, etc. and provide the necessary research for architectural correctness. In an existing structure, we will typically incorporate the architecture of the structure, unless a full renovation is requested to renovate or redesign the architecture.


Schematic/Preliminary Design Phase:

Once the client decides to proceed with the Schematic/Preliminary Design Phase, we will request an additional meeting to allow adequate time for an in depth study, especially in new construction. This Due Diligence of Design includes a room by room question and answer process through the entire structure, discussing uses, flow, furniture, accents and preferred features. We will continue with exterior conversations to ultimately have a complete understanding of that individuals' preferences.


Design Options:

As a seasoned designer, it is intended and expected to provide creative, artistic liberties in all design aspects, a quality of a good designer. We always develop several design options to prove to myself and the client, that we have exhausted our options for a thoughtful resolution. However, it is also extremely important and imperative that those creative, artistic liberties never over-power the clients desires, but serves to enhance their desires to transform a thought to a desirable function, architecturally pleasing and ultimately producing an elated client.


Final Plan Preparations:

Upon completion of the "Preliminary Design Phase", some clients prefer to obtain budgetary "ballpark" cost estimates from local contractors to make sure they maintain their budget. Upon client approval, we will then proceed with the "Final Plan Preparations" to complete the drawings with dimensions, notes, specifications and create indepth structural drawings. With our many years of construction/design experience, we develop very detailed Framing Plans, Details and Sections as appropriate for the structure. In addition, at our discretion, we hire a licenseed Professional Engineer to review the structure, size beams per State and Local Codes and provide a set of engineered "sealed" drawings.


Site Plan Preparations:

As required in most municipalities, we will develop a Site Plan locating the home on the site with the driveway, sidewalks, hardscapes, pools, etc. with proper dimensioning for placement. We will request a certified survey to be provided to assure confirmed boundaries and easements. We may also provide a Site Analysis to study grades with a topograhical plan that presents existing and new proposed grade adjustments.


All of which, is required, in my opinion, to exemplify a successfully designed project that allows the "homework" performed and implimented to supply a comprehensive set of working drawings that will assuredly win the respect of the contractor whom will appreciate a workable design.


It would be a pleasure to be your designer and consultant to capture your dreams and wishes for a sucessful design and ease the burden of the design/construction process!


Larry D. McRae

McRae & Co.