Additions and Renovations

Additions and Renovations

It is important to have an Architect on board early when considering adding an addition to your home or tackling a major renovation. A poorly designed addition or renovation can actually devalue your house by cutting off access to natural light and outdoor areas, compromising the flow, or ruining the exterior look. For additions, our design process focuses on not only adding the additional square footage you require, but using that addition to better shape your outdoor spaces, highlight views, and improve the curb appeal or appearance while maintaining a functional interior flow and access to natural light. However, adding more square footage isn’t always the answer as new functionality and invigorating space can be created within your current home with a bit of reinvestment and design savvy. So, if you are looking to stay in the home where memories have been created, laughs were shared or proximity to your yoga studio is just too good to walk away, we can help.

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Addition / Renovation Timeline and Process


Design and Documentation: 3-4 months

This timeframe includes our 4 phases of design and documentation, as well as the time necessary for engineers to complete their work on your project. Our 4 phases of design and documentation are Existing Conditions, Schematic Design, Design Development, and Construction Documents. Below is a summary of those phases.

Existing Conditions

Existing Conditions is the foundation for the rest of the design and documentation process. It primarily includes information gathering and documentation of the site and existing home. Information gathering includes studying the context of the neighborhood, researching the zoning requirements, and photo documenting the property and existing home. We spend a considerable amount of time investigating and discovering what makes the home unique, what gives it character, and what is historically, culturally, and economically valuable. Existing Conditions is when we require a site survey to be produced by a site surveyor if one is not already available. With the site survey, we measure the areas of the house that will be affected by the design to create a digital set of as-built plans that are used as the base drawings for the rest of the project.

Schematic Design

Schematic Design focuses on the experience of the home, the location and relationship between different functional areas, how the new design affects the existing site or home, passive sustainable design strategies, and ultimately, the overall design concept of the home. In this phase we design primarily from an aerial view, or the floor plan. We incorporate the information gathered during the Existing Conditions with your project scope to create potential floor plan layouts. We meet with you to discuss these layouts and refine them until we create the best floor plan solution. This is generally done in 2-3 meetings. A 3D model will be created of this floor plan solution to help visualize the overall concept and ideas explored in Schematic Design.

Design Development

Design Development is where the “look” or “style” of the home comes into the process. During this phase, materials including siding, roofing, doors, windows, lighting, cabinetry, counters, hardware, fixtures, tile, flooring, color schemes, and all other finishing details are discussed, often with a visit to multiple showrooms to select major items in person. 3-D renderings are used during this phase to paint the picture of what the spaces will look like. Design Development is also where consultants such as Structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) engineers are involved.

Construction Documents

Construction Documents are the final deliverable you receive from us. In this phase we specify and draw highly detailed plans to be used by General Contractors to price the design, and as needed to obtain the Building Permits. Once the project is underway, we are available by phone and email to troubleshoot any questions that arise during the construction process. We typically make site visits every other week to ensure that the design intent of the drawings is being upheld.

Building Permitting: 2 months

A building permit is required for all additions and most major renovations. The time necessary for permitting is completely dependent on the the local jurisdiction and varies greatly on how well they are staffed and how many projects they are reviewing. The permit is issued when structures are designed in accordance with the building codes and all other applicable codes and ordinances, to ensure the safety of the structure. Time to secure a permit can range from 4 weeks to 2+ months, but again, depends on your local jurisdiction. For this reason, we suggest you estimate 2 months. If your project is in a historic district, the timeline may extend as it also has to be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Office.

Construction: 4-5 months

Construction typically takes 4-5 months for an addition or renovation, but can take more time based on the size and complexity of the project. The general contractor that you hire to build your project is responsible for the schedule and timeline of your project, but estimating 4-5 months for construction is a good start.

Addition / Renovation Specialties

  • Homes in Historic Districts

    We believe strongly in honoring the past when designing for the future. Adding an addition or doing a major interior renovation to a home within an historic district has social, cultural, and construction challenges. Many times these projects need further approval beyond the local building department by, typically, a Historic Preservation Office. Hiring a designer with experience navigating the added design guidelines and having an in-depth knowledge of the local historic architecture is critical in achieving a result that saves and highlights the existing character that made you fall in love with the home while incorporating your modern living needs. We have worked in 8 historic district in Phoenix to date, gathering a wealth of experience and knowledge in the process. They include Willo, Coronado, Pierson Place, Encanto-Palmcroft, North Encanto, Yaple Park, Campus Vista, and Cheery Lynn. We also are recurring invited speakers at the annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference.

  • Midcentury Modern Homes

    The Greater Phoenix area had an explosion of housing after World War II that shaped much of the design aesthetic prevalent in our cities. Most of these iconic designs broke from the traditional style and construction methods of the past creating homes of unique forms, massing, layouts, and elements. Although a majority of these homes are not protected yet, their contribution to our history is significant. If properly redesigned or added to, they are some of the most valued real estate in the area. We have worked on homes by acclaimed midcentury architects in Greater Phoenix such as Ralph Haver, Al Beadle, Charles and Art Schreiber, Bennie Gonzales, and Paul Christian Yeager, to date, and have won a national award in the process. Understanding the opportunities and limitations of these homes allows us to add to their legacy, creating a new chapter in their history. We are heavily involved in the Midcentury Modern community as we are often involved in Modern Phoenix Week as a speaker or having a project on the tour and have been used by Atomic Ranch as an expert Architect on Midcentury homes.