Al most enjoys custom designs with the style evolving out of the functional aspects of the home. Based on his client’s input, he often develops plans that incorporate a contemporary use of space in a traditional wrapping: the outside appears as time-honored New England architecture, while the interior reflects the more open space of modern styles. Ultimately, he’d like to build a home that is livable for hundreds of years. He has stated, “A house can be planned such that you can live there for the rest of your life, the way that you want to live it. “
He coordinates all aspects of the home, translating between the engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers to ensure that the building integrates into the site from the inside out. Most of his projects include detailed project programming, schematic design layouts, design development, and preparation of working drawings in AutoCAD.
During his programming meetings, Al asks many questions to understand how his clients would like to use each of the spaces. He lays as many ideas on the table as possible, presenting as many choices and getting as many answers as he can, front loading the process. Over the course of one to two hours, he will go through all the spaces that the client wants to include, determining such details as what rooms will have views, what rooms have sun, what options are desired (such as fireplaces), and how the spaces flow from one to the other. Through this process, he begins to understand the different options he’ll incorporate.
The next step is to translate the client’s words into form. During the project programming, the client decides the number of spaces, their rough sizes, included features, and relative layouts, as well as the style type. He takes this input and analyzes the site for natural features, privacy potential, and environmental/climactic concerns (i.e., sun, wind, view, and approach directions). He integrates parameters set by Zoning Boards, Conservation Commissions, Boards of Health, Historic Commissions and/or Building Codes. This phase results in rough sketches of the building showing size and floor plan layout and how it fits into the site.
Once his clients accept the schematic design, Al takes their input and turns these rough sketches into the design elements that provide the home its style and character. These detailed design elements include such items as refined floor plans, views of the exterior, roof design, and trim details. At the end of this phase, the client will see and approve scale drawings.
Preparation of Working Drawings
During the working drawing phase, Al includes refinements to the shell of the building and moves forward into the technical aspects of design. He fills in structural elements, such as framing plans and the engineer’s design input. He also develops door and window schedules, dimensions, notes, details and material descriptions to complete the working drawings that allow pricing and final permitting.
Finally, Al works with his clients to determine if additional services are desired, such as Interior Detailing and coordination of Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Structural Engineers and Specialty Construction Contractors, addressing needs that are unique to each situation. Throughout this whole process, he focuses on teaming up with his clients to develop a home they will love for years to come.