When a house is like a car & answers to other frequently asked questions

A chance comment lately made me realize that some of what we take for granted about high-quality home design, especially eco-friendly features, can be daunting for those just starting on that path. Because I want to raise awareness, I’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Isn’t eco-friendly design expensive?

Let’s think about your car for a minute. Upfront, a Tesla might cost you more, but it only needs maintenance once a year, far less than is typical. Because of the energy savings and maintenance savings, in the long run, a Tesla can end up costing you similar to a mid-range luxury car (Lexus) or even less.

tesla model sAlso consider potential savings from a cleaner environment –– anyone with asthma or allergies will relate. If your eco-friendly features also lead to saving energy or conserving water, we’re looking at a higher quality home with better durability.

What are your fees and process?

You will find the best design process is very collaborative. Due to time demands, that can be hard and some flexibility helps. So in my practice, for example, the clients are as involved as they want to be. We prefer more involvement, with feedback and input through multiple meetings and about all selections –– appliances, cabinetry, furniture. This helps make sure we are on track and that you like the choices.

Firms vary in how they structure fees. Mine are completely tailored to your specific situation. This will not be hourly or on a square foot basis, but on project, results and value basis.

Why shouldn’t I just have my architect or builder make selections of finishes and materials?

sesshu designers working with builderYour architect or builder can certainly help and guide you. Talk over with them what they customarily do. You will find they have a lot of other tasks and responsibilities, so if making finish selections is not routinely part of what they do, you might not feel satisfied.

Often, selecting materials and finishes is not their area of expertise. Sometimes they don’t even want to give this direction, even if they will agree to it. If that is the case, you won’t be getting the best service or ideas because they are not fully engaged in this part of the process.

When you have a full team, including a designer, each person focuses on their strengths and areas of expertise. With more engagement, more personalized service and more personalized results, you will be happier with your choices and your house will feel more like your home.