I need to share an experience from earlier this year, one that I don’t want to see happen to anyone else. A prospective client came into our office after having already made a major purchase of land. She had also completed some design work towards a project that we could quickly see wasn’t going to work on this site. The zoning and even the logistics prevented it. A variance wouldn’t be enough, if even possible. The emotions I saw pass over her face in the moment of hearing that diagnosis, no matter how gently put, felt heart-wrenching for all of us in the office.

Having seen a version of this story too many times, we designed what we call a Design Discovery Review. This can be a tremendous help when you want to build or renovate a house and you don’t know how much it’s going to cost or even what all of your needs are. We will hear a homeowner say “I need a master bedroom addition” and realize the client’s lifestyle and the potential of the entire house haven’t even been considered, or the site might pose special challenges. Often, people may not even know who to talk with about these issues or how much these extra challenges are going to cost!

In addition, HGTV has brought about an unrealistic expectation about costs and schedules for various projects or the ease with which they can be accomplished. In reality (not reality TV), a homeowner is likely to find out the cost in the local market far exceeds the costs quoted on a home improvement show or a generic online website. The Design Discovery Review brings clarity to the costs, budget and expectations of a project in the “real world.”

Think about it, no surgical operation would ever start without a doctors thorough diagnosis, and a construction project should never start without taking this first step as well.

Needless to say, our office visitor from earlier this year hadn’t gone through this process. What we’ve been hearing from those who do is that they find greater clarity on the project and the construction process. Our hope is that they are able to make informed decisions with greater certainty, and that their risks and costs associated with unknowns tend to be lower. By doing this, we can take some of the stress away and increase the client’s peace of mind.

Getting financially and emotionally vested in the project only to discover that your idea isn’t going to work isn’t fun. It’s the opposite of fun. So, if you know someone starting out on a project, counsel them to get familiar with the needs and costs, whether it’s through our office or whomever they consult with. That way, they avoid getting to the stage of hearing a painful project diagnosis.

To ensure your project gets the right start, go to Design Discovery Review or call us on 630.789.2513.

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