March 06, 2021

March always brings longer days with more sunlight and this year a ton of much-needed hope. It also brings a ton of work as we specify building materials for our clients.

 

Selecting materials is a complex process and essential to keeping the project moving forward in an efficient manner. Let’s dive into the process and discover why it is so important.

When I start a design at the beginning, I am also thinking about the final finished product. Before I put my sketch into CAD, I spend a ton of time on my client’s Pinterest boards and then I set all my defaults to the finishes that my client is leaning toward. While we typically end up changing these final finishes, during the design process as I’m rendering the space it is easier for my clients to see the space with a design aesthetic that they like.

Once the design is complete in the schematic phase, we start selecting materials. The list is long, but we work through it together. We start with windows and doors since that those are the first things that the contractor needs to order.  How the windows and doors interact with siding, roof, decking, handrails, stairs, and exterior details is important to evaluate first.

Then I send my clients to start shopping for plumbing and appliances. This will allow me to do the plumbing, electrical, and cabinetry plans. The plumber always is on the job site first and needs to know the final selections and have rough-in valves before starting. The electrician follows with wiring, so we want to be close to the design (ie. sconce locations).

We typically meet in person at my studio (yes, all masked up and socially distanced) and start selecting tiles, paint, cabinetry, countertop, and hardware.

Lastly, we select light fixtures. We have determined that there will be a type of fixture when I do the electrical plan and that creates a shopping list.

I prefer to have my clients order as early in the process as possible. The appliance and plumbing supply houses will hold the products that are already paid for in the warehouse until the contractor is ready for them. Tile is typically fast unless it is special order or custom, so we wait for the installer to request quantities before ordering. Cabinetry is typically either custom or special order and needs to be designed and ordered well in advance.

It is true, right now with Covid everything is taking much longer than it should. So, my advice is to plan, plan, plan and order early.