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How Appropriate Design can Save Money and Enhance Your Investment

Choose the "Design-Build" process

Working with the contractor from the planning stages of a project, or the "Design-Build" process, is highly recommended. It allows you to build a solid relationship with your contractor from the project's inception, and leads to a smoother, more successful outcome. When the contractor is involved in design, budgeting, permitting, financing and other up-front work, they'll also understand the project goals and limitations intimately by the time construction begins.

Work With the Site

We strive to design projects that work with the site and/or existing structure, not against them. With difficult sites this involves common sense and creative, cost-conscious solutions.

With a remodeling project, working with the existing house means supporting your new needs and goals without destroying the structural integrity of what is already there. For example, designing the roof tie-in is often a challenge, both in terms of cost and in giving the customer a roof that will not leak. With our experience, we can apply practical design solutions to these issues, while at the same time envisioning a project that does not look like an addition.

Design a Smaller Home

Living spaces can become too voluminous to be comfortable. Some designers will add more square footage to a project as the easy way to fix design problems, without consideration for the home's effective comfort. It usually takes much more "thought per square foot" to design a smaller home than it does to design a large home. The outcome of carefully considering the size, layout, and purpose of each room, is a warm and functional home which costs less to build, maintain and live in. These are all tenants of our green design philosophy.

Keep it Structurally Simple

Jim Merrill's contracting background informs his understanding of "real world" construction and the ways to keep each design structurally simple. Even when creating dramatic and aesthetic spaces, Jim will keep the underlying construction logical and straight-forward so that they can be built on a reasonable budget. Contractors appreciate this sensibility, which is why they continue to be our primary source of referrals.

Carefully Consider Materials

Merrill Design prides itself on familiarity with most construction materials available today. We know which are easy to work with, which are durable yet beautiful, which are locally available, and of course which are appropriately priced. One of the simplest ways to control the cost of your project is to select materials which function best for that balance of durability, look, and economy. When considering exotic materials, consider limiting their use, or avoiding them all together in order to stay within your budget.


485 Rainier Blvd North, suite 103 Issaquah, WA 98027 .. Tel: 425 - 557 - 3774 .. Fax: 425 - 557 - 3760 .. info@merrilldesign.net