Your home is the most personal property you own. It’s where you enjoy a good nights sleep and wake to your morning routine. The place where you eat family meals, entertain and spend time with the ones you love. It’s a special place. So making the decision on how you design and build your dream home should not be taken lightly.

Whether you are planning an interior design focused whole-house renovation, major remodel & structural expansion, building a custom home from the ground-up, or simply furnishing your entire home  — you may have some questions. Here we address the questions we’ve most commonly asked by prospective clients.

Q&A about designing & building your dream home with STUDIO 818

What are the benefits of working with STUDIO 818?

The STUDIO 818 team serves each of our clients using our Design + Build Management framework. We have developed our unique designer-led process to protect you from the headaches, avoidable problems, needless cost-overruns and disappointing results experienced by owners who take one of the typical industry paths.

The top-five benefits you can expect: 

I. Mitigation of change orders and other “surprises”

II. Alignment of your project scope and targeted overall investment from the very first step (see more on this in questions below)

III. Your interests as the owner are protected and the headaches are handled for you with STUDIO 818 in point position on your project (see the question below on the “Owner’s Project Manager”)

IV. The construction process is streamlined and timelines reduced with our Pre-Planning and Master-Planning phases

V. Project outcomes are optimized with systemized attention to the minutest details throughout all design and construction phases

When you put your trust in the STUDIO 818 team you put us in the position to guide and protect you through one of the most complex and stressful processes you can go through as a homeowner.

What makes STUDIO 818 different from the typical designer, architect or design/build firm?

Whether your project is a whole-house renovation, major home remodel or new ground-up custom home STUDIO 818’s framework for serving your needs stands in stark contrast to conventional industry approaches and design-bid-build processes. The difference comes from our extensive real estate investment and development experience where we have designed and built over 50 designer spec homes.

On these development projects our investment partners entrust us with millions of dollars. We bear the responsibility of managing and deploying these funds in the complete design and development of each property to deliver healthy investment returns. This real estate investment experience gives us an unparalleled owners’ perspective that we apply to every client project. 

STUDIO 818’s Design + Build Management framework is so different from typical industry approaches because it was developed by owners to serve the needs of owners.  Our blending of real estate investment experience, design capabilities and project management expertise makes our process unique amoung design-build and interior design firms.

How does your Design + Build Management process work?

STUDIO 818’s Design + Build Management framework covers much more than interior design, finishes and other ‘pretty stuff.’ Much of the value the STUDIO 818 team provides you comes from Pre-Planning, the alignment of project scope to targeted investment, comprehensive Master-Planning, and our central position as the Owner’s Project Manager throughout your project. 

We are your guide and advocate from Pre-Planning to your fully-furnished move-in day. Watch the video below to learn more about our process and the benefits our clients enjoy.

 

Our process begins with an extensive Pre-Planning phase that includes feasibility analysis, conceptual design and alignment of project scope to a targeted overall investment. Next we master plan the entire project, iron out and document all the technical details, and manage the procurement of all finishes, fixtures & equipment.

Then as your project progresses into the construction phase the STUDIO 818 team stands in the gap protecting you and your interests. With our Project Management you’ll avoid the design flaws, change orders and dreaded time-suck that most owner’s experience with a cosmetic renovation, major structural remodel or new custom home project.

On the practical side our process incrementally lays the foundation for the success of your project before the first hammer swings. Once construction starts we make sure the design and details you approved are built as specified. All the headaches are handled right up to your fully-furnished move-in day.  

Just as important is the relationship side of the project. The planning, design, construction and furnishing of your dream home can take twelve to twenty-four months or longer depending on the project scope. That’s a lot of time to be working together.

We love what we do. And we want you to enjoy the planning, design and construction stages as much as the end result. The only way that happens is for you to know, like and trust the team leading your project. That’s why the steps in our Design + Build Management framework are structured to simultaneously build the relationship and trust with the STUDIO 818 team in natural incremental steps.

Click here to see our Design + Build Management framework in more detail.

 

Why do you focus so much on aligning the project scope with an overall targeted investment?

Frankly — because it is the #1 key to less stress & greater success when designing & building your new home.

If you watched the video in the FAQ above you probably noticed we talk a lot about the alignment of your project scope with the investment it will realistically require to complete that work. This is the key to putting your major home remodel project on the right track from the start. 

In our real estate investment and development projects if we failed to properly align the project scope and targeted investment that would mean we and our investors would both lose money. A BIG no-no obviously!

With your whole-house renovation, structural home remodel or new custom home it’s just as important to make sure the project scope and targeted overall investment are aligned from the beginning. If not you can look forward to months of wasted time, frustration and unnecessary financial stress as the project moves forward.

Even our clients who tell us “there is no budget” benefit from our framework. Having an open-ended budget overall may be true as a generality. But we always learn through our process that though a client may put no limit on what they are willing to invest designing and building some areas, they may have caps on other areas due to personal preferences. .

The scope-to-investment alignment initiated with our Project Assessment and carried on throughout the Pre-Planning phase of our Design + Build Management framework is essential to your project running smoothly. This is true regardless what your position is when it comes to your planned investment.

 

What is your role as "Owner's Project Manager" and how does that benefit me?

Whether you are tackling a whole-house renovation, major structural remodel, or new custom home, your project is a big investment. You deserve an advocate who will guide and protect you through what is a complex and sometimes confusing process. At times it can be chaotic, especially during the construction phase.

That’s why a critical component of our Design + Build Management framework is our position as the Owner’s Project Manager. In this role we stand in the gap protecting you by preemptively foreseeing and solving problems, maximizing the return on your investment, and mitigating change orders or delays. It’s the same role we have faithfully and successfully executed on dozens of real estate investment and development projects.

An advocate who guides & protects you

As the Owner’s Project Manager we are your single point of contact throughout the project. The STUDIO 818 team leads your project from Pre-Planning & Conceptual Design, into Master Planning and throughout the construction phases — all the way to furnishing your home for your turn-key move in. 

In this process the design team, architect and general contractor are all valuable members of the team required to bring your dream home into reality. But no one team members’ ego should get in the way of achieving that goal in the most efficient way possible. It’s not about any one of us. It’s about you and your goals.

Watch the video below.

With STUDIO 818 leading your project as Owner’s Project Manager we mitigate and manage the disagreements that are likely to arise between strong skilled professionals. Every detail is pre-planned to control project costs and increase efficiency before the first hammer swings. When construction begins we stand in the gap for you handling all the challenges that arise while protecting you, your design and your investment.

 

Is STUDIO 818 the right fit for me and my project?

Finding the right team to entrust with the design and build of your dream home is critical. This should be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life. But making the wrong choice in who will lead your project could mean the process ends up feeling more like a bad date that you can’t wait to escape from.

Depending on project scope design, permitting and construction can take 12 to 24 months or longer. That’s a long time to be working together. Ensuring STUDIO 818 is the right match for you and your project is important to us.

Our Design + Build Management framework is different and it’s not right for everyone. We consider the design and construction of your dream home analogous to commissioning a custom work of art. Your home is unique. It is being designed and built to reflect your personality and enhance your lifestyle. It will take patience and commitment to do it correctly.

To help you decide if the STUDIO 818 team is the right fit for your and your project, here are some reasons clients have chosen to work with us . We may be the perfect fit for you if:

♦ You consider the fit, finishes & details in your home as key indicators of a successful project.

♦ It’s vital that the flow & function of newly designed home perfectly compliments your lifestyle.

♦ You understand dedicating the time to designing and planning in detail ‘before the first hammer swings’ mitigates change orders & shortens construction timelines.

♦ You want the confidence that comes from having a trusted team standing in the gap representing and protecting you throughout the entire design-build process.

♦ Your time is important to you. You’re happy to let professionals handle all the moving parts for you and keep you updated with regular progress reports.

♦ You want to get the maximum ROI from every dollar invested.

 

Is STUDIO 818 the General Contractor on my project?

STUDIO 818 is not the General Contractor on our client projects. That is by design.

On past real estate investment and development projects we essentially took on the role of a General Contractor (GC). So naturally when we decided to found STUDIO 818 and begin working with clients we analyzed the option of being the GC as well as the designer and Owner’s Project Manager.

But there were several reasons we decided against this and instead structured the STUDIO 818 Design + Build Management framework to use an independent GC..

I. TRANSPARENCY.  Some owners have concerns about changes in the construction budget being made to benefit the contractor. By not being the GC, Designer and Owner’s Project Manager we remain independent and eliminate this concern. The investment for STUDIO 818 services is not linked to the construction budget.

II. OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE. Not being the GC allows us to maintain a clear perspective on the project goals. We are able to focus on design integrity, project scope-to-investment relationship, and budget tracking while the GC focuses on the day-to-day minutia of site activities. This division of labor benefits the client by allowing each member of the team to focus on what they do best.  

III. FLEXIBILITY.
Whether explicitly defined or not, all GC’s have specialties they excel at. For example this can be an expertise in the level of finishes they are accustomed to dealing with, the complexity of project scope, or in the construction of specific types of architectural design. By not being the GC we are able to match the contractor that will best serve the client in the specific scope of their project.

IV. CONSTRUCTION EFFICIENCY. With each GC’s specialty comes an increased level of efficiency at that type of work. This translates into greater cost-effectiveness for the owner. For example, a GC who specializes in major renovations will price a new ground-up custom home project higher than a GC who primarily builds new homes. 

V. CONSTRUCTION QUALITY. The same applies to the finish-level a GC is accustomed to. As an extreme example, a GC who builds townhouses or entry-level homes most of the year would be a poor choice for your new luxury custom home. By STUDIO 818 not being the GC we have the ability to match the best GC to the client project we can assure our clients maximum efficiency and quality.

Thanks to our 20+ years of real estate investment and development experience the STUDIO 818 team provides you professional unbiased guidance with our project management and construction administration.

We oversee and manage contractor bidding, meet regularly with the contractor to ensure your project moves along smoothly, and review requests for progress payments to ensure work progress aligns with invoicing.

The STUDIO 818 team maximizes the efficiency of your project by treating it as if it were a real estate development project. Under our watchful eye you can have confidence that you’re getting the best quality work executed the most efficient way.

 

What should I expect to invest in my project?

Obviously there is a wide range in the investment that will be required to complete a whole-house cosmetic renovation, a major home remodel, or a new ground-up custom home. And even within each type of project the range can vary significantly based on a number of factors. For example;

I. The complexity of the architectural design and associated engineering is one driver.

II. The overall square footage is another factor. Size directly impacts the economies of scale (larger projects have greater efficiencies and lower investment per /Sf.)

III. And of course there is the level of finishes, fixtures and equipment that impacts the overall investment.

With that expected variation understood, there is a planned investment level that makes sense to work with STUDIO 818 and employ our Design + Build Management framework with each type of project. Here is some VERY generalized “thumbnail” guidance on each type of project scope. This broad guidance is meant to serve only as a starting point for discussion.

PLEASE NOTE: The following are “ALL-INCLUSIVE” realistic projections on investments you can expect. This is important to keep in mind and are VERY different from the numbers a builder may share. All-inclusive means that the investment per/Sf. guidance provided below includes general allocations for design, planning & engineering, permitting, construction labor, rough construction materials, project management, finishes, fixtures & equipment. The only things these “all-inclusive” numbers do not include are the land, furniture or artwork. 

This guidance is to use ONLY as an initial base for deeper discussion in your Discovery Consultation

INTERIOR DESIGN FOCUSED COSMETIC RENOVATION: With current supply chains, labor and material costs you can figure on investing in the range of $125/Sf. to $200/Sf. as a base starting point for a home renovation focused on the cosmetic aspects of interior design. This is a general investment range when completing a whole-house renovation. The quality of millwork and the level of the level of finishes, fixtures and equipment are big factors in determining the project investment. 

For your best return on investment for our advocacy and services your newly designed and renovated home should end up with a valuation of $1.5-million or higher after the project is completed. This is something we discuss in your Discovery Consultation and definitively let you know in your Project Assessment.

MAJOR REMODEL: With current supply chains, labor and material costs you can figure on investing in the range of $225/Sf. to $350/Sf. as a base starting point for a major home remodel. Architectural complexity with additions and the level of the level of finishes, fixtures and equipment are big factors.

For your best return on investment for our advocacy and services your newly designed and renovated home should end up with a valuation of $2-million or higher after the project is completed. This is something we discuss in your Discovery Consultation and definitively let you know in your Project Assessment.

GROUND-UP NEW CUSTOM HOME: With current supply chains, labor and material costs you can figure on investing in the range of $600/Sf. to upwards of $1,000/Sf. for a new custom home. Site conditions, architectural complexity and the level of the level of finishes, fixtures and equipment are all major factors in determining where you fall in this all-inclusive investment range.

For your best return on investment for our advocacy and services your newly designed and renovated home should end up with a valuation of $3-million or higher after the project is completed. This is something we discuss in your Discovery Consultation and definitively let you know in your Project Assessment.

Again — these numbers are general guidance to provide a starting point for discussion.

These numbers also provide some initial guidance on planned investment levels that make good financial sense to employ our services. Keep in mind that the benefits you gain in efficiency, cost savings and return on investment increase exponentially as the budget, scope and property valuation increase.

To get a thorough understanding of what your total project investment is likely to be schedule your free Discovery Call and we’ll review your project together.

 

Why do you provide guidance on the expected investment requirements for projects?

For our Design + Build Management framework to deliver the results you expect there is a minimum amount of time and effort it will take to effectively deploy the system regardless the budget.

On a larger design-build project it’s pretty obvious the broader scope and complexity will require more time, money and effort on our part. The cool thing is that as the scope and overall project investment increase the investment for our services decreases as a relative percentage of the construction costs.

The more complex the scope of work the greater your return on investment for our services – in efficiency, cost savings, timelines . . . and your peace of mind.

The budget paradox

 

Sometimes people have the misperception that a lower construction budget will equate to a lower investment for our services. Unfortunately the real-world math doesn’t work out that way.

If the targeted overall investment for a project is tight relative to the scope of work that doesn’t eliminate steps in our Design + Build Management process. Neither does it reduce the work required to deliver stellar design results.

In fact it takes proportionally MORE time to create a functional, stunningly designed home with a tight budget than it does with a targeted investment more appropriately aligned with the scope of work.

That’s because a project with a low targeted investment relative to the scope of work creates a lot of limitations. These are limitations that must be worked around in the pre-planning and conceptual design phases. And when it comes to the master planning, project management and execution of the masterplan those things take the same effort with a tight budget as they would on a project with a targeted investment matched to the scope of work. 

With this in mind we know it won’t make good financial sense for clients to make the investment in our full-service Design + Build Management services below a specific investment threshold. Unlike the typical Architect or Interior Design firm we’re not going to take your money just to design and plan something that in the end far exceeds the investment you wanted to make.

To get a clearer picture on what your project will entail the first step is to schedule your free Discovery Call so we can review your project together.

 

Why are furniture, furnishings and artwork not included in your "all-inclusive" investment guidance?

Furniture, furnishings and artwork are very personal. Although there are general guidelines for the investment in different levels of furniture, it is more of a matrix requiring many specific inputs.

For example; furniture, furnishings and artwork require a detailed floor plan. Layer on top of that architecture and design aesthetic along with personal preferences in style, quality level, cost, quantity, product availability and numerous other inputs. Imagine how all these factors interplay with each other and you can understand how complex providing accurate guidance on a planned investment for these important components of your home.

The STUDIO 818 team has a system to pre-plan the investment for the furnishing of your newly designed home. But This guidance can only come from understanding your unique style, desires and goals.

If you are considering a project the primarily involves the design, procurement and installation of furniture and furnishings may we suggest you schedule a free Discovery Consultation. Just go to our contact page, click the “Schedule my Discovery Consultation” and select the “Furniture and furnishings” option.

 

What's the investment for STUDIO 818's services?

Our framework covers much more than interior design, finishes and other ‘pretty stuff.’ Much of the value the STUDIO 818 team provides you comes from pre-planning, the alignment of project-scope to targeted-investment, comprehensive master-planning, and leading the project as the Owner’s Project Manager throughout.  

Many of STUDIO 818’s full-service Design + Build Management services are fixed-fee making it easier to determine the total investment in your project up-front. We do not determine the investment for our services based on a percentage of budget or square footage as is common in the industry.

Instead the investment for our services is based on the specific number of design areas a project entails and the complexity of the design. This approach ensures you receive the level of attention and detail your project scope requires, and that our compensation is commensurate with the amount of work dedicated to executing stellar design 

The investment for our services is impacted by various conditions such as total square footage, challenges with the building site, complexity of architectural design, quantity/level of custom millwork and level of finishes. 

Our white glove service includes everything you need to complete your project outside construction labor and material costs, including:

♦ Alignment of project-scope to targeted-investment (initial & ongoing)

♦ Pre-planning & Conceptual design

♦ Master Planning for the project 

♦ Specification of finishes, fixtures & equipment

♦ Orchestration and oversight of Architectural & engineering plans required for permitting

♦ Detailed technical drawings & specifications (for contractors & tradespeople)

♦ Management of the contractor bidding process

♦ Procurement & order management for finishes, fixtures & equipment

♦ Overall budget management for the project from concept to completion.

♦ Construction Administration and owners’ representation throughout the entire construction process right up to your move-in

♦ Fully furnishing and decorating your home for a fully turn-key experience

♦ STUDIO 818 standing in the gap as the Owner’s Project Manger protecting you from concept, through construction, right up to your move-in

To get a thorough understanding of what your total project investment is likely to be including STUDIO 818’s advocacy and services — we schedule your schedule your free Discovery Consultation today.

 

Do you provide interior design and furniture procurement without construction-related project management services?

Yes. To get started — go to our contact page, click the “Schedule my Discovery Consultation” and select the “Furniture and furnishings” option.

 

TAKE THE FIRST STEP

It’s simple to get started. Click the button below to schedule an appointment for your free Discovery Consultation and let’s review your project together.

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