Welcome back to Couture & Construction, an uplifting podcast dedicated to the many different aspects of the luxury building industry. In episode twenty-seven, we’re joined by Andrew Scott, Chief Designer and Founder of the August House Co, to discuss the process for creating our dream home design. Episode 27 delves into the concept of the home design as the foundation for the entire luxury build process.
A home designer creates the architectural plan set for builders, anything from site plans, foundation plans, floor plans, or elevations, to get the bones of the house in place. First, Scott likes to determine what stage in the build process the client is in and what are their goals. He goes through a list of questions to gather the needs and wants of the clients – everything from size and function to style – to essentially build a profile for the client. Next comes the budget discussion.
Like past guests of Couture and Construction, Andrew likes to get the whole team – builder, contractor, designer, etc – together in the beginning. Once you’ve found the lot, that’s a good time to bring in the builder. You can’t start on the design of the house until you have the land. The house will be tailored to the site as geographical elements can affect the design and floor plans. Then the builder and home designer walk the lot to determine what is possible with the design. Having the whole team together from the get go allows for the best collaboration.
Scott gives us the scoop behind August House Co’s tagline, “Modern Houses for Contemporary People.” At August House Co, they do a lot of traditional houses, but “modern takes on traditional forms.” This just means they don’t want to repeat history, will design something contemporary, and push a bit more progressively with the design. What are the differences between traditional, transitional, and modern? According to Scott, traditional means there is a set of rules, a guidebook, and forms and details you follow with the design, but you can mix and match and play within that box. While modern is the opposite, there are no rules and whatever you want to come up with goes. Transitional is the blend of the two, taking traditional forms with modern touches and details then blending them together.
What are some house design trends pre-Covid, during Covid, and post-Covid? Pre-Covid the trend was smaller homes closer to the city. During Covid and likely post-Covid, all the urban-minded people are moving out of the city to get more space. The homes are just getting bigger to allow for many functions: work, play, school, fitness, and escape. Homes will include offices, home gyms, playrooms/classrooms, and pools.
What are the questions that need to be asked when embarking on a remodel design? The first and biggest question is “why?” Why are you wanting more space, what are the biggest pain points that led to the desire to remodel? This allows the designer to be more creative and thoughtful with the existing footprint to do an addition or remodel the existing structure. The smallest tweaks can make the biggest difference.
The process of the design begins with both the interior and exterior. Andrew likes to start with a Pinterest board for each to build some style preferences and parameters on what the clients want and like. This way, when they start laying out the floor plans they’re always building them with the exterior style the client wants in mind. Scott says he always takes the time to walk through the floor plans with the client to be able to thoroughly explain the design. Scott’s plans are known for beautiful textural designs. He likes to stick to the motto “less is more,” so on the exterior he likes to keep it to 3-4 materials, but loves to mix mediums. He always tries to go for something bold, something warm, and try to blend those two. If there are budget restraints, they’ll put the beautiful finishes on the front of the house and be more economical in the back.
What are the key things you need from a client to make a successful design? The initial conversation should provide a general idea of your budget, your style, and what are the most important things to you – the most crucial things on your wishlist, i.e a big kitchen because you like to cook, a home office, a playroom, etc. How does billing work when creating a home design? There are two styles: lump sum or hourly contract. Lump sum is based on square footage, anywhere from $1/sq ft or $5/sq ft depending on how detailed the project is. The design is essentially the “instruction manual” for the process, so it’s paid upfront before construction starts and likely isn’t covered in financing.
What are the most important features of a home? Scott’s three things are: 1) floor plans, 2) the connection between indoor and outdoor, and 3) elevations. “The floor plans are the secret genius, it tells the elevation where to go,” Scott says. The floor plans solve the needs of the family. Then the connection between the indoor and outdoor parts of the space is super important. Scott’s goal when he walks through a home during the framing walk is to have every room so well lit from thoughtfully, well placed windows, that you won’t even need to turn on the lights. Lastly, elevations are “like the cherry on top.” Elevations are what the clients want that blends the styles they’ve been thinking about and what makes their home unique.
Looking forward, Scott thinks that homes will continue to be more custom and tailored to people’s needs in the post-pandemic world. Tune in to Episode 27, “The House Plan” to hear more from Andrew on the process of home design.
Andrew Scott is the founder & design director of August House Co., a modern residential design company for contemporary people. August House Co. exists to help people escape the ordinary + live modern. It is built on three core values: Take care of our people (clients & team), honor them by being transparent, and push the boundaries of creativity, always. When Andrew isn’t working on the business, you can find him with his wife and two daughters, hanging with family and friends, going on adventures, playing golf, remodeling their mid-century modern ranch, and searching for the best barbecue in Nashville.
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