Renovation plans

Westport Homes & RDS - A Perfect Partnership

RDS_blog_-Westport-Homes-Testimonial.jpg

We would not be successful without the expertise of the builders and contractors that we work with on a daily basis. They build the vision that we help create. Our relationship with our builders and contractors is important to us. Westport Homes is one of the builders that we work with and here are a few of their thoughts about working with us at RDS. 

Name: Susan Hall, Director of Architecture, Westport Homes

How was your experience with RDS – Residential Designed Solutions?
Our Westport Homes Columbus Division’s experience has been a positive one with RDS for the last 5 years. They are conscious of our schedules and help with many aspects of our architectural needs in the partnership we have established. 

What did you have designed or redesigned by RDS?
We have had numerous master architectural construction document sets developed, options to master plans added and individual specific contracts created.

What services do you like best that RDS provides?
They have assigned one lead designer to our account that takes personal ownership. They oversee our account by knowing all of our specifications, subdivision requirements, and develop out lot specific homeowner standard options and custom options selections with great care to the details. They have even visited our model homes and like to keep up with new model openings so they can stay “on top” of our products offered to home buyers.

Who else did you use or speak with in planning the design of the home before choosing RDS?
Westport Homes Columbus Division has not used any other company for our architectural needs.

What have your needs been and what are your future needs of an architect/designer?
Our needs have been to have help in developing out our preliminary designs into architectural construction document sets, adding numerous options to our existing master home plans, and developing individual lot specific plans. Our future needs are to continue to use RDS in the same manner but at a higher volume of lot specific plan development. I also foresee using their design services for future development of plan offerings to our clients.

How were challenges /issues/decisions/questions handled and communicated?
We handle most of our communications via email. We also communicate by phone as well as meetings in person. RDS has always met our needs and been available to us during our partnership with them. In fact, with our growing volume this past year, they have added additional staff to work on our account during peak times to meet deadlines.

What was your overall experience like?
Our overall experience with RDS has been a positive partnership in meeting the architectural needs for the development of master homes plans, adding standard options to the master plans, and creating individual lot specific plans with standard options, custom options, and local municipalities’ requirements.

What advice would you offer to a builder who is having someone design a home or redesign a space in the home?
We have and will continue to advise anyone needing architectural services to reach out to RDS. RDS has been in Columbus for almost thirty years and they know the building codes and local municipality requirements. RDS is actively involved in the building industry and have the personnel and expertise to help in any aspect of providing design services.

Would you use RDS again?
Westport Homes will most certainly continue to use RDS for our architectural needs.

We take pride in the services we provide our builders, contractors, and clients. Our designers will work with you to help your visions become reality. We’d be happy to talk with you and see what services we can offer. We thank Westport Homes for their continued support and confidence in us. The feeling is mutual; they are a fantastic group to work with.

Jim's Tip - Who Comes First, Builder or Designer?

RDS_blog_Who-Comes-First.jpg

I recently read an article in one of our trade publications written by a builder explaining in great detail why he insisted on being the initial contact with potential clients. He spent a good amount of column space demonstrating that his clients were best represented by working through his process to develop designs for their project. His belief was that only through a process such as his, would clients be able to have plans developed that would be able to be built with-in their budget.

Having worked as a residential designer both independently and in the employ of several builders, I certainly understand his perspective. It is very common for clients to come into our office with grand dreams, essentially with “champagne taste and a beer budget” as the saying goes. Someone must introduce some hard cold facts into the conversation very early so that realistic expectations are set before pen or mouse are in motion.

There is nothing worse than having a set of construction documents fully developed only to find out that the house is way over the client’s budget. A lot of money has been wasted including the builders’ time along with all his trade partners, bidding a useless set of plans. The point that the builder was emphasizing was that costs must be part of the discussion and controlled all the way through the design and construction process. I couldn’t agree more.

All our designers have construction management and hands on building experience which allows us to have a realistic cost perspective when initially meeting with clients. We always have a cost discussion before we get started so it really doesn’t matter who qualifies the client. The key is tracking costs at every step of the design process, from initial sketch “ballpark” pricing to final construction/contract documents.

The point that I want to convey is that it really doesn’t matter who comes first if both the builder and their designer are working closely together. The resulting home will be one that the clients are thrilled to own at a cost they are comfortable with. Contact RDS to see how seamlessly we can become part of your team.

The Challenge - Using Repurposed Timber Framed Barns in Design

RDS_blog_Repurposed-Barns.jpg

Ever have a challenge you can’t refuse? Our client wanted to develop a family retreat and as we began the design process, he came to us with an unusual challenge: to find a way to use two repurposed timber framed barns in the designs. Of course, we were excited about this request!

The smaller of the two timber frames is the cabin, which actually offered more challenges. The horizontal beams fell into some of the head room of the spaces, so we removed some and worked around the others that we were able to keep. 

The larger structure will be the main shared living space. It is built around a very unique gambrel roofed timber frame, which you don’t often see in Ohio. The frame becomes the core of the building and then “tractor shed” additions are added to the sides. One side becomes a bedroom suite, and the opposite is a screened porch, large enough to accommodate all the family at the same time.

The photos of the barn as it was being dismantled show the age and complexity we were working with.

Both timber frames were located and will be erected by Doug Morgan of Mount Vernon Barn Company, whose vision is to save and repurpose one hundred year old barns. I think they are well on their way!

Rendering credit goes to Derrick Davis of Davis Rogers Interiors.