Principle #10 – Make it Easy

Understanding your design before you purchase the construction.


I had a scary moment at the end of a project last year when the client told me “I didn’t know my back yard would look like this!”  While I was glad we got it right for her, the shiver down my spine was reacting to thoughts about what happened if we got it wrong.

As the shiver subsided we decided to evaluate our process.  In our 10 principles for custom home design we were using tactics like hand renderings and postponing interior cabinet and trim drawings until the project was framed up, which allowed the owner to stand in the space and understand the drawings better.  Now, we have decided to search for a better way to let clients see the project designs in 3 dimensions before we create detailed drawings and before the project starts construction.


For this new custom home, our client couldn’t visualize the projecting roofs of the home as we described them to him through our typical 2D elevations (left image). Creating a 3D model made it easy for him to grasp our design intent and understand the project allowing us to move onto smaller details of the home. (middle and right)


3D physical and computer models are not foreign to us.  Over the years we have provided both types of models as needed for clients having trouble seeing the design, and especially on bigger home projects.  What has evolved is new software which allows quicker models to be created, the ability for us to use these models to communicate the design with our clients, and most importantly we can use it as a design tool.  Soon after those clients admitted to us they didn’t fully understand the design, we made a conscious decision to use 3D on all projects no matter the size.


For this mountain retirement home, we created a realistic 3d model of the home to help the clients as well as to describe construction techniques to the contractor (left & middle). The middle image shows the completed house.


During the past year on various project types ranging from custom retirement homes, to intown speculative homes, to renovations of all sizes, we have utilized our 3D modeling expertise to help our clients make decisions during design, adding to our continuing efforts to make our custom residential process easier on our clients.


These 3D models are important because they show the relationship between house and site. For these 2 mountain homes, in order to explain our design and how it fits to the site, we created models to show a challenging driveway and a dual direction sloping site with an elevated entry walkway.


The amount of detail a 3D model contains can vary for each project. For small jobs, a simple mass model can help explain massing and get the main idea across. For custom new homes, some clients may choose to visualize all aspects of the home including the interior in 3 dimensions.



These 2 completely different projects required a different approach to interior models. The top project was a basement and backyard project. The model was used to help the owner visualize the spaces in the basement and their relationship to the exterior. For the lower project, the owner requested a more photo-realistic look to the renderings to help understand the detail of the interior.


Our 10th principle: Make it easy

  • To understand if your project is viable.
  • To make decisions in the right order.
  • To understand the design from the beginning.
  • To find the right team.
  • To protect your time and leverage during construction.


Bryan Jones, Principal Jones Pierce Inc. An Atlanta based Architectural firm specializing in custom home transformations and custom retirement homes in fun places.

A tailored design with a winning process creates life sustaining result.


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