Country projects have a big difference from Urban projects in that they tend to have more space. While this is almost always a good thing, it creates additional challenges that have to be taken into consideration. In a city renovation or a condo remodel floor plans are for the most part governed by foundation walls, structural walls or building services that run inside of wall that cannot be moved. For projects outside of the city we have to consider all of these aspects as well as where we can put the driveway, the location of the well and septic or large trees, lake views and grade. A home in the country, presents a few more options to consider but this also give us more opportunities for unique designs.
Country properties we have worked on generally involve building a new home or fairly substantial renovations. In some cases, these are recreational weekend properties but they may also be primary residences. Either way, we have to consider the needs of our client and what they would like to see included in the project just as we would for an urban project.
We have worked on many country homes in the past 30 years. As such, we have valuable knowledge of the different challenges that are associated with construction outside of the city. Whether it be locating a septic and well, designing homes that retain heat in the winter, but are still open and breezy in the summer, siting the house on the property to take advantage of views, breezes, or adding features like screen porches and outdoor living spaces. Even issues of working in various townships and their specific zoning bylaws have to be reviewed.
Our role on country projects generally extends to include more project supervision and coordination with the architecture, landscaping, review of the contractor’s work and site reviews with the client. Generally this happens because our clients may be living elsewhere, in some cases several hours away and as such are less available on site for construction related issues.
For these projects, because the distance can have an impact on material availability, we take more care to make decisions early, provide the contractors with time lines for ordering materials and work with the trades to ensure that the products we specify are available when needed.
Each country home we design takes on its own identity and pushes the boundaries of design. At the end of the day we take pride in knowing that every home we have worked on is beautiful, unique and tailored to the individual home owner.