President

Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. (tkhomedesign.com) has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years.

I love the easy ones! Scott Sedam and I were implementing a Lean Plan Workout recently and a very simple cost saving opportunity presented itself. Eliminate the tire stop in the garage. A tire stop is an area of raised curb in the garage designed to remind drivers to stop once they are in their garage. The argument is that if they really need this reminder maybe they should not be behind the wheel in the first place.

   

Designing a new elevation series is a lot of fun. It is an opportunity to define your brand and create homes that will speak to buyers emotionally. Here are three things to look out for when your elevations are in the sketch phase:

My psychiatrist told me I'm going crazy.  I told him, "If you don't mind, I'd like a second opinion."  He said, "All right. You're ugly too!"

When it comes to TJIs we should take a cue from Rodney Dangerfield and get a second opinion or at least a second look at our joist layout. We send our plans out to the lumber company. The lumber company creates a truss joist layout, develops an estimate, and once agreed upon sends the joists to the job. Simple right?

Construction drawings are complex and getting them right involves a whole lot of moving parts. From working with builder and trades countrywide I have uncovered the five most common areas where mistakes are made:

1. Plan Dimensioning - One of the biggest causes of premature gray hair amongst framers is poor dimensioning. I suggest that you ensure that your drawings are done consistently with what I call dimension logic:

Do you remember David Copperfield making the statue of liberty disappear? It was pretty cool, but I felt certain the green lady was not going to be gone for long. I'm a sucker for a good magic trick though. Here's a chance for you to play magician and make waste disappear for keeps.

Have you ever looked at a detail on a plan and scratched your head wondering how that was going to work? Sometimes the details that show up on plans leave us all wondering what the architect was thinking? I have talked to countless trades that have had to deal with details that "look good on paper but do not work in the field". Why is this happening?

Last week I nagged you about elevation renderings, this week the focus is on floor plan renderings. Floor plan renderings are an easy way to stand out from the crowd. The vast majority of builders present a simple black-and-white CAD blackline drawing of their floor plan selections. Some builders will add a little color to the background of the plan and fewer still show landscaping or furniture.

Traveling around the country I see a lot of renderings - most of them leave a whole lot to be desired. The worst are the black and white CAD drawings with a computer generated tree or two to add some flavor. I also see a lot of 3D computer renderings that are cold and uninviting. Often 3D renderings leave very little to the imagination. Computer renderings can be effective if they are soft and inviting and the sketchy hand drawn look seems to be the most popular with buyers. Selling a vision of the home is far more effective than presenting a computerized "photo" of the house.

Our lives are busy and getting busier. Some of the most popular new design trends focus on making life a bit easier. Simplifying access and flow to perform every day tasks is a hot topic in today's market.

The photos below illustrate two trends that are rapidly becoming very popular:

 

"Baby step onto the elevator... baby step into the elevator... I'm in the elevator."

If you have not seen Bill Murray in "What about Bob," make some time for it — very funny movie. Murray plays a whacky character (big stretch) named Bob who has difficulty doing even the smallest of tasks. The humor appears in the way he handles it: he breaks everything down into baby steps to make the tasks easier. This week I am going to look at baby steps toward advanced framing.

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