The New Jersey Architectural Process
So you’ve decided you want to embark on the journey of building or renovating a home with a professional whose experience, education, and aesthetics have inspired you. That’s a big step, but it isn’t as simple as pointing at a photograph or collecting some images on a Pinterest page. Stonewater Architecture + Interiors specializes in custom creations that match a modern design plan with the personal nuances that speak to you. We have experience starting from scratch on innovative beachfront homes, but we can also take a classic structure and give it new life with our emphasis on natural light and open floor plans. Before we get to any of that, however, there are some basic first steps that everyone has to take with us.
The architect has the vision and the technical skills, but the client has a set of preferences, of likes and dislikes, of goals for the home that will come out of the process. So an essential first step is simply laying out those ideas and working together. If it’s a new project, the client needs to express what they want this home to be, how it should function as an overall aesthetic and an everyday utilitarian space to live in. If it’s a renovation, the client should share their own thoughts on what should change, what is lacking, what should remain. This helps us get a sense of who you are, and what tools we have to match the desired outcomes you want. Sharing images of designs and spaces that you like will go a long way to filling in some of the blanks for us.
In order to create the most accurate, efficient schematics possible, we have to do some due diligence. The land needs to be surveyed; the zoning laws have to be examined; any existing structure to be renovated has to be examined and inspected. If you want a property on the water, there’s a separate series of regulations that have to be met. All these bureaucratic aspects of the process are things we are familiar with, and we can walk you through them. We’ll take these steps to determine what is possible and what will be difficult to pull off, and from there a design can be created. With this in hand, we can fine-tune these ideas in a series of personalized meetings with you, explaining each step of the process and brainstorming ideas for layouts, colors, materials, and aesthetics.
New Jersey’s vast network of townships is full of different zoning ordinances, and some of the work that Stonewater may propose will have to be cleared with those rules before work can begin on generating a design. We know the stumbling blocks to look for, the potential sticking points, the options that may be available. If there are bureaucratic obstacles to any design elements that we have discussed with you, a variance can be requested from the township. This is, in essence, a permit that allows an exception to a particular rule. We can appear on your behalf to apply for a variance and can recommend a lawyer familiar with such proceedings should such a service be required.
The builder will be working extremely closely throughout the process with Stonewater and with you — therefore, choosing who that will be is a vital step in the process. We can suggest a number of builders who we have worked with before and whom we trust. If there’s someone you prefer to use, we can explore that option as well. Ultimately, the design we come up with being presented to a series of builders, who will then estimate their potential costs and submit bids for the job. Once a bid has been accepted, Stonewater can work as a mediator between you and the builder to develop a contract that lays out a timeline and the expectations that each party has for the other.
For many of our designs, the materials are extremely important. We can make those selections with you, deciding on textures, color schemes, and aesthetic values, but the builder will also be part of this conversation: They’re the party that will be working with those materials, after all. And beyond those building blocks, we can consult and work with other professional contractors who can achieve the design goals we’ve aimed for: plumbers, electricians, kitchen specialists, interior designers.