Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

New House Project in Daly City

There is nothing more gratifying to an architect than when an old client returns with a new project.

That recently happened to me. A client for whom I designed a sizable remodel and addition about 15 years ago, recently contacted me about a project they have in mind: a brand new house on a site in their current neighborhood.

While they like their current house, which was completely gutted, remodeled, and added on to, they learned some things about what they really like. They were also frustrated by having to live within the constraints of the existing house.

I met with the clients at their current home, and we talked about the things they liked and found they didn’t like about the current house. Some of the things were that assumptions they had made about what they thought they needed, like a bathroom for every bedroom, they didn’t really need. Others were regrets about not spending money, for instance to put in steel beams where they wanted bigger windows, and having to live with the results.

We also talked about the things they really liked, like the expansive windows facing the views they have. They liked the flow of the spaces from the front to the back. They liked the way people congregate in the kitchen in parties, but want a kitchen design that allows that without having guests underfoot when they cook.

We walked over to the new site and they explained what they liked about it. Where they saw opportunities and what they wanted to add to the new house that they don’t have in the current house.

Because we know that Daly City is very strict about their planning and building regulations (some might say “notorious”), we agreed that before we jump into design, I will prepare a feasibility study (a Needs + Options review with some added services) that will answer a bunch of questions about what Daly City will allow us to do, what the approval process might be in various situations, and how long it might take. I will then do some “proof of concept” conceptual design to see if we can fit the house they want on the site they have. There is no point investing too much time and energy into a site that won’t work for what they want.

I start that work this week. The other projects in the studio are also moving forward. I am getting very close to wrapping up the construction documents on several projects. Those clients and I are eager and excited to be applying for permits soon!

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