Design is a dialog between the designer and the client. It is an cyclical process of inquiry and reflection that moves gradually toward refinement that relies on the client’s honest and critical feedback throughout the design process. A typical project flows like this:

1 hour consultation:

This informal conversation is used to assess fit, to learn about your aspirations and to provide an overview of services and fees and tips about how to get the most from your designer. There is no obligation.

Proposal & contract:

A written proposal will be provided that clearly outlines the service, scope of work, base fee and optional services.

Site visit:

A visit to the property is required to assess the opportunities and constraints of your site.


Week 1: You will be provided with a detailed needs assessment and a number of web-based resources to help us understand your dreams and aspirations for your new home. You are welcome to add your own pictures, stories or memories - anything that speaks to your vision.

Concept design:

Week 2-3: Preliminary design work will be undertaken based on your needs assessment and visioning and presented in a concept design report. Concept design is intended both to assess the feasibility of the house with respect to zoning regulations and site constraints and to initiate a dialog. Concept designs will include sketch plans, elevations (facade drawings), a physical or computerized model and identification of key design elements as they relate specifically to your visioning exercise. It is expected that the design will continue to evolve and can change radically at this preliminary stage.

Schematic design:

Week 4-6: Client feedback is assimilated into the plan and options ruthlessly assessed to determine the best possible design. Our clients are invited into the design process to ensure that their ideas are being heard and their needs are being met. Preliminary specifications are developed for assemblies and exterior finishes. Energy performance, budget and building code compliance are assessed.

Design development:

Week 7-10: Following acceptance of the schematic design, detailed drawings are created for building permit and construction. We recommend engaging a contractor as early as possible to assist with sourcing materials, budget analysis and to ensure that the contractor understands and respects your aspirations for your home. This phase includes the selection of fixtures, finishes and furnishings.

Building permit and regulatory approvals:

MAA are skilled at negotiating the complex and challenging regulatory requirements for both urban and rural properties. We advocate for your project and maintain communication with zoning and building officials to answer questions and to ensure that your house remains a priority.


MAA acts on your behalf to assess the quality of construction and to assist the contractor with questions, changes and unexpected site conditions. Our role is to help the contractor to make the best possible house by providing clear, professional plans and specifications and by providing guidance where needed.