Design Time in an HGTV World

residential architectural design example

We’ve all done it. We’ve watched HGTV. Maybe it was one segment of a show, maybe it was an entire show, or maybe we binged on every show they aired over a three-day weekend (hey, it could happen). One thing’s for sure: in addition to having great ideas, those designers seem to crank out sketches, 3-D renderings, and construction drawings in no time.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the real world worked that way? Yes, yes it would.

Of course everybody knows those shows are edited for time and the majority of the behind-the-scenes design work is never seen or even mentioned. But it still has us spoiled, doesn’t it? And we’re so used to instant gratification in every aspect of our lives that we get annoyed when we have to wait for something. Access to the Internet via our smart phones means we’re never without information or answers. So the thought of having to wait a few days or (gasp!) a few weeks for architectural sketches is torturous. Seriously? Why does it take that long? Well, here are a few reasons why…

We’re Only Human. It’s true that most architectural design these days is done with computer-aided drafting (CAD), but it still requires the human touch. That means every relevant dimension – up and down, left to right, inside and out, and all around – must be accurately measured, correctly recorded, and precisely input into the CAD program by your architect, designer, or drafter. After all that, their humanity really gets to shine because they get to be creative. They have to figure out how to make your ideas work within the parameters of the measurements (this may or may not involve theoretical physics). It’s also very important to note that the creative process does not adhere to any timeline.

Ain’t Technology Grand? Computers speed up the next step of the process. Sort of. Once the design has been conceived by the human, it gets processed by the machine. There are many programs available to architects and designers that will do just about anything to the original sketch. From turning lines on a computer monitor into photograph quality or 3-D renderings, or adding motion (like walking tours), and putting your project in any outdoor setting you could possibly imagine – there’s a program for that. The time necessary to generate the final product will depend on the complexity of the design and what you want the final display to look like. And any new ideas or changes you think you want to add along the way will add time to the process. But, it’s still better to make those changes at this stage than at the construction drawing stage (that’s another article for another day).

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day. And neither will your project be. Like a fine wine, the entire design process takes time. Trying to rush it along will not get you the best possible result. And another thing those HGTV shows don’t mention: as much as they (should) make you feel like it is, yours is most likely not the only project in design at the firm. Each project receives the time and attention it deserves. Understandably, you might have a different opinion of where your particular project should fall in the schedule, but trust that the firm you chose has your best interest at heart.

So the next time you’re watching HGTV and are blown away by the design concept that’s presented after the second commercial break, you have an idea about some of the work that went on behind the scenes. And when it’s your pet project that’s in the design phase, you should take advantage of that time to prepare for the oncoming chaos of the construction phase. Enjoy the relative calm. Maybe watch some HGTV…