In our many years as the Bay Area’s go-to builder for accessory dwellings, we’ve worked with some of the top designers in California. They’ve created ADUs in every style and size, and they’ve navigated some of the most challenging permit offices in the state. Here’s how they do it.
The best designers in California turn down some jobs.
There are too many designers who will take any job that comes their way. A sure sign of a top designers is that they only accept jobs that are a good fit.
They understand that the designer–client relationship is something special. If they don’t click with a client, or the client doesn’t click with them, they know that it’s best to move on. There has to be a good rapport for a project to go smoothly.
So the first thing a good designer does is talk with the client to make sure they’ll be a good fit for the project.
The best designers in California know that their estimates are wrong—and they’ll admit it.
In theory, a free estimate is a great idea. In practice, it can be dangerous. Good designers understand this.
Nobody can do a free estimate and get everything right. In fact, free estimates usually end up costing money when the total costs come in way over budget.
Instead, the best designers charge their clients to create thorough design proposals. Through this process, a designer charges a set fee to visit the site for a detailed design meeting. The designer examines the construction site thoroughly, shares design ideas, gives some professional opinions about the project, listens to the client’s needs, and returns to the studio to create a design proposal. That proposal outlines the exact cost of design and permitting work for the project.
It’s a good way to establish a rapport with the client, see if it’s a good idea to continue working together, and deliver an accurate price for the design phase of the ADU project.
Once the designer and client have met, the designer creates a thoroughly researched design proposal.
The best designers in California listen to their clients.
Everyone has different tastes and different needs. One family may need a ton of storage in their ADU while another wants to take a minimalist approach. A Victorian home will need a gentle touch that preserves its historic façade while a Craftsman-style house needs an ADU that both complements it and suits a modern lifestyle. One homeowner may want an easily accessible apartment for family to live in while another wants a separate ADU with tons of privacy for renters.
The best designers listen to their clients’ preferences and needs. They design homes that suit both the tastes and the lifestyles of the people who will live there.
The best designers ask the right questions and listen to the answers. Then they get to work making their clients’ lives better.
The best designers know how to get permits in any city in California.
Every ADU project in California requires permits, and cities can be difficult to work with. The best designers have experience in the area and know a few things about the city’s permitting office. They know where to go, whom to talk to, and what questions to ask. They also know the state laws—including the new ones.
Because they know local and state laws (and how to research permits), the best designers will get the design right without having to make costly changes.
Before completing an ADU design, the designer will research permits to avoid costly mistakes.
The best designers in California can work design miracles.
During the design process, great designers can accomplish astonishing things. They can meet a client’s needs while staying within a budget. They can meld scientific principles, the latest technology, and creative design to solve their clients’ problems.
While designing the ADU, the designer draws on art, science, and technology to create exactly what the client needs.
The best designers in California have a network to support their clients.
Of course, building an accessory dwelling goes beyond design. It requires a general contractor, subcontractors, and engineers. The best designers have done their networking homework. They know whom to call for every part of the job, and they’re willing to make referrals.
To build a successful project, the designer draws on a network of professionals that can work as a team.
When you’re ready to build your life-changing accessory dwelling, you’ll want a designer with knowledge, skill, and experience. Schedule a call today. We’ll introduce you to the right designer for your accessory dwelling.