Helping Clients Visualize

As design professionals we often forget that we have developed an ability to visualize the un-built. I have attended design presentation where project architects gloss over the as-built plans (existing condition drawings) for a client's home because the architect/designer assumes the client can visualize it... Most often the client cannot. And, often the architect/designer underestimates the value of their visualization skills.

At Wentworth, Inc. we have helped our clinets visualize, to "see", what we have designed for them. Here are three examples of how we do this for our clients.

3-D Computer Modeling

With the aid of 3-D Computer Modeling our staff create interior and exterior perspectives to help clients understand the design and know how it will look, feel, and perform. We illustrate the three dimensional design on the computer screen or in a printed form for the client to take home. Computer software allows us to move around an imagined interior space and look at it from different perspectives.

Cardboard Study Models

Cardboard scaled study models are a personal favorite of mine. As a kid I built hundreds of cardboard house models for my train set villages and became skilled at it. Now I built them for our clients. I typically use foam core to create the building site with its slopes and contours. I learned that a good scale for a residential study model is for every one foot to equal 1/8". Typically I use water color paper, Elmer's glue, and an X-acto knife to build simple massing models. For a project involving an addition to an existing home - I build the existing house first; the proposed design for the addition are done as plug-and-play components. I have found that this is a good way to help clients visualize how their house will look in terms of the roof lines and forms. A few years ago a study model for a new home in Arlington clinched the design decision with its large sweeping hip roofs and sexy dormers.

Full Scale Mock-Ups
Without a doubt, clients love our full scale mock ups. We love them too, and we have done a variety over the years.

For an Alexandria project involving a fron porch & facade remodel our carpenters created 2' x 2' panels to illustrate three different wood wall cladding treatments. It helped the client to make the right choice for them. A) Narrow strips- for the "country look", B) raised panels with beveled edges- for the highly "formal look", or C) layered recessed panels with molding, and the perfect fit for our client. The client felt it provided the best mix of detail, not too formal and not too rustic.

A project currently under construction in Chevy Chase, Maryland involves a large kitchen and family room remodel. The clients admitted that they had trouble visualizing how it would all come together with a central island and the surrounding cabinetry. Their fears were normal for a homeowner who thought the space might be too tight. To get a comfort level prior to the cabinet mockups from 1/8" hardboard. With a few minor adjustments the client felt comfortable to proceed. The cabinet mock up provided a solid comfort level for the homeowner who had difficulty visualizing the final product.

For more information, or for visualizing your next remodeling project, check out our website, www.wentworthstudio.com

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