Design Proccess


Understand/ Research

When beginning the design process it is important to understand what challenges/ problems I am looking to solve. Thoroughly completing this step in the process is critical as it sets the design's scope and intention. I attempt to collect the key details of a project through conversations with stakeholders and research. 

In this sample project, I am working with the homeowner to come up with concepts/ ideas for a family lakehouse property. Currently, the property is empty with only an airstream as a dwelling. The ultimate goal is to create a site that has a large communal space, a refined master suite, and several free-standing dwellings for guests.  A note that is very important in this is that the homeowner wants the house to be simple and low-maintenance so he can enjoy his time at the lake rather than worrying about chores.


Once the challenges are understood I begin to ideate on the possible design solutions. At this stage, I allow myself the freedom to dream big and quickly work through ideas in a sketchbook. I design through sketches and quick notes because it is the quickest most effective way for me to get my ideas on the page and explore how they might work.

While many ideas from this stage will be discarded working quickly allows me to narrow in on the ideas that will work and help to focus my efforts for the remainder of the process.


Once initial sketches are done I take inventory of the concepts I sketched out and begin the process of distilling these ideas into a concise design thought.

Throughout the design process, I am constantly returning to this step asking myself these questions: Where am I hitting my goals? Where am I falling short? What needs to be tweaked to improve? 

As these designs become more refined I keep an open dialogue with my stakeholders to ensure they are meeting their needs. In these sketches you can see more covered outdoor space was a want of theirs. Through open communication, we were able to easily make the changes early on in the design process. 


As details are refined and stakeholders sign off on the design direction/concept I begin to dial in the details.  Taking into consideration the realities of a site and its limitations is important here. I find that designing with a 3D model and detailed drawings helps me to understand the spatial relationships and the effectiveness of a design. 

Because this stage of the design process begins to lock in the details it is important to identify possible challenges or problems in the design and make refinements to ensure they do not make it through to the final design.