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Our Approach

The Process for Developing A Mountain Home

A Clear Path Forward for Your Custom Home Design Project

When embarking on a custom home design project — whether it be in Western North Carolina, Upstate South Carolina, or the mountains of Tennessee — it’s important to be prepared for the breadth of information and multitude of decisions you will be required to make. Without proper guidance even the most design-oriented client may feel overwhelmed. At ACM Design, our experienced team of architects and interior designers engages you in the process, welcomes your collaborative energy and actively listens so that we can design a home that suits your needs and reflects your style. We are on this journey together and our goal is to empower you so that you can be bold with your choices and feel confident in your decisions. We invite you to take a moment to learn more about the ACM Design Process.

ACM Design Process: Design Preparation

Design Preparation

Show and Tell
One of the most exciting aspects of designing a custom home is that we can truly tailor the details to relate to the way you live, which is why your first step in the ACM Design Process is completing our Residential Architecture Questionnaire. Your answers to these questions give us insight into how you currently live — and how you want to live — and are essential to the success of designing your ideal custom home. We’ll also ask you to share photos, magazine clippings, scenes from your favorite movies or TV shows — any visuals that can shed more light on your vision of the perfect home. Even the smallest detail is useful, so we encourage you to share.

Get the Lay of the Land
In order to best understand how your home will “fit” on the site, we’ll walk the property and get the feel of the land and its natural attributes. We’ll observe how the sun moves across the property, pinpoint the best views and how we might frame them, and assess form, function and accessibility. Together we’ll envision your future home while standing on the very ground where it will be built.

ACM Design Process: Preliminary Design

Preliminary Design

From Inspiration to Vision
After visiting your site, we process the information gathered so that design ideas begin to take shape. Using a combination of technical expertise and creative intuition, we seek to maximize the potential of your property and your home. We draft conceptual sketches to study how the house could work on the site, how the rooms could flow together, and how the home might look from the outside. We’ll shares ideas, seek your input, and discuss ideas together to determine what works and what needs adjustment.

Function and Aesthetics
Next, we think through the conceptual design by considering options for the floor plan layouts and exterior elevations so we can begin to see the possibilities for what the house could look like both inside and out. This thoughtful study makes room to ensure that the functionality of the spaces balances with the aesthetics of the design. During this part of the process we also contemplate how to properly “ground” the home on your site through hand sketching and creating early 3D study models with our BIM software.

ACM Design Process: Design Development

Design Development

Now You See It
In Step 3 of the ACM Design Process we refine the design by expanding our drawings from floor plans and exterior elevations to building sections and details that show the particulars of the design and construction. At this stage, we will begin to finalize the overall skeleton of the home structure, from the floor to the roof, analyzing the 3D model of the home more closely. This is the time when many of our clients begin to more clearly visualize and understand the detailed aspects of the design and how the spaces will actually “feel.”

Continuing the Conversation
Our clients tend to be design-minded individuals who are interested and engaged in the process. We welcome this energy and encourage ongoing communication which ensures that the design works for you and your family and stays true to your vision of home.

ACM Design Process: Architectural Interiors

Architectural Interiors

Bringing Your Interiors to Life
Once the architectural design of the home has been developed, the attention widens to consider interior elements. We discuss and envision interior details such as trusses and exposed beams, vaulted ceilings, woodwork, flooring, cabinetry, and lighting. In addition to reflecting your personal style and vision, striking the perfect balance between function and aesthetics continues to be a key focus.

The Little Things Are the Big Things
As architects and designers, we are detail-oriented by nature. To that end, it is our job and our pleasure to work with you to design every aspect of the interior of your home. Don’t be surprised if we ask you to “try out” bathtubs and door knobs to see if they “feel right.” Have fun with it! These seemingly small details can make every day in your home a true delight.

ACM Design Process: Construction Documents

Construction Documents

Accuracy is Everything
Once the design of the home has been thoroughly developed inside and out, we prepare the technical drawings which we continually review to confirm that they are thorough and complete. All of the details and specifications must be clear for construction to avoid confusion and to ensure accurate construction pricing from your builder.

Making a Match
While it is not required that you choose a builder in our network, we have developed a proven strategy and process to help successfully match clients and builders. We recommend an interview process, as opposed to a bid process, where you meet with three thoroughly vetted builders who have met our precise criteria and are qualified to execute your home plans. By keeping the interview group at a reasonable number, you have enough variation to compare and contrast styles without running the risk of feeling overwhelmed. This proven process has helped countless clients find the best match with a builder who is an ideal fit for their home design projects and their personalities.

ACM Design Process: Construction Phase

Construction Phase

Guiding Your Every Step of the Way
Opportunities and challenges inevitably emerge during construction — unexpected rock underground, materials that are no longer available, substitutions that offer options for savings, “found” space in a corner of the attic. The ACM Design team is here for you throughout the process to help you manage challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

Clear Lines of Communication
We know the design of your home inside and out so when issues arise you can trust that we will advocate on your behalf to ensure that even the smallest details are not overlooked. As your team expands to include the builder and the trades that will construct your home, clear and consistent communication is crucial.

See the Homes We’ve Designed Using the ACM Design Process

At ACM Design, our client-first approach to home design is about more than just providing services; every architecture and interior design project we take on is about making a difference in the life of that particular client. Should you decide to work with us, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve invested in quality — from our expertise to the materials we use to the systems we employ for construction — and that the success of your home design matters to us. The ACM Design Process allows us to explore what mountain life means to you and execute on the home of your dreams. From the big picture down to the smallest detail, we’ll design a truly custom home that speaks to how you live.

The ACM Design Process weaves together functionality and aesthetics while prioritizing your vision in each of our design service options: new custom home design services, renovations & additions, historic home restorations, interior design, and outdoor living design.