Our ApproachBuilding, remodeling or adding to a home may well be the most complex and expensive project you’ll ever take on. The process may seem daunting but we are trained to make the process clear and understandable. We will help you define your goals, develop design options for you to choose from and ensure that you receive the best value for your budget.

The Process.Our design process can be broken down into six discrete phases. Each phase builds upon the previous one and each is integral to a complete design.

  • Programming. This is the research and information gathering phase. This phase often goes quickly, but it is one of the most important in the U+B process. In programming we have two goals. First, we need to understand your goals for the project including you spatial needs and aesthetic desires. Second, we must understand the constraints of your project in terms of the site, code requirements, budget and schedule. Laying this groundwork is fundamental for a smooth process throughout the duration of the project.
  • Schematic Design. Once the programming research has been completed the actual design work begins with a series of sketch plan diagrams. During this phase, we work towards determining what the essence of your project through a series of floor plan (*1) studies. It is crucial that the general direction is agreed upon during the schematic design phase as this is the easiest and least expensive phase in which to make design changes.
  • Design Development. In this phase U+B will build upon the approved sketch plan diagrams and begin to refine your concept in both plan, section (*2) and elevation (*3). During this phase many decisions are made on materials, structure, lighting, windows, cabinets and interior finishes. In this phase it is imperative that thoughtful decisions are made on many factors as even the smallest change can have a ripple effect on the entire design. At the conclusion of this phase we often pass along the drawings to a set of contractors for preliminary pricing.
  • Hiring the Contractor. At the end of the design development phase we will typically send the prepared documents to 3 contractors for pricing. After a two week bidding period, we set up a series of meetings for you and U+B to sit down with each contractor face to face to discuss the bids and identify the contractor who you believe will be the right fit for your project based on cost and personality.
  • Construction Documents. This phase documents all the decisions that have been made to date and fully resolves each detail and choice to ensure that all your wishes will be incorporated into the built project. The construction documents become part of your contract with the general contractor and establish his or her contractual obligations. Complete documentation ensures that there will be fewer problems and delays during construction. At U+B we provide very comprehensive construction documents.
  • Construction. Our involvement typically does not end with the conclusion of construction documents. During the construction of your project we attend weekly site meetings, assist with the selection of finishes and fixtures and work as your representative monitoring the contractor’s work.

Summary. At U+B we believe that getting to know our clients well is first step towards a successful design. We work closely with you through each stage of the design process in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of your goals and how best to achieve them within the constraints of your project. By taking a personalized approach to design we often find new ways of thinking about a project and unexpected solutions for our clients. Our over 25 years of experience working on residential projects has shown that maintaining a close dialogue with clients through every stage of our process is the best way to deliver enduring design and the most value for your investment.


  • *1 Floor Plan: A scaled drawing of the arrangement of rooms on one level of a home. Typically including furniture layouts.
  • *2 Section: A drawing representing a vertical plane cut through the structure. Used to study the relationship between stories of a home, heights of ceilings, stairs, and general massing.
  • *3 Elevation: A drawing of the exterior or interior of a building as seen from a horizontal position – without perspective. Simply the views of all the ‘walls’ of a a space in order to study door and window locations, cabinet design and trim at the walls or openings.