The first steps to successfully creating your dream home

Discovery + Direction

So you have been considering embarking on a renovation or new build of your dream home for some time now. Your current home no longer meets your family’s needs & it’s probably well overdue to create more liveable spaces to meet your lifestyle.

If all the multitude of decisions, the unknown list of process’, and not knowing what the latest trends are seem very daunting, it’s because it is. It can sometimes be daunting for designers & architects, so it’s quite normal that it’s simply overwhelming for homeowners. That daunting feeling causes procrastination, and the project keeps getting put-off until enough time has passed that the works conceivably could already be completed. As trusted building designers in Melbourne, we have seen this countless times in our 20+ years working with clients.

Our “Discovery & Direction” process will explore your needs, define what the project looks like and creates a roadmap to follow, so it’s clear how to navigate the process ahead & avoid the pitfalls…

Get Started Today with a Complimentary Discovery Consultation

  • Discovery + Directions Discovery + Directions
  • Discovery + Directions Discovery + Directions

6 Common Traps when "Getting Started" with your project...

  • 1 / Procrastinating vs Planning

    Are you Procrastinating or Planning? Most clients who come through our office have been thinking &/or talking about starting the project for months, if not years. In this amount of time the project could have been built, so it’s clear than a nice mix of both has been going on & we call it “Procrasta-Planning”… This is where researching & collecting pictures on google & pinterest have ended with you in a fog of too-much-information & still no-better-direction. This along with reading endless amounts of council websites in search of which rules & regulations are applicable to you, can leave you in a state of overwhelm.

  • 2 / Thinking you can do it yourself

    If you had thoughts you could do it all yourself, you had better think again. The saying “A little bit of experience can be dangerous” is no truer in building a home than in dentistry or surgery. The skills & knowledge built up by experienced designers, architects & builders come from hundreds or thousands of hours developing skills & learning on every other past client’s project they have undertaken. The kind of skills & experience you cant make useful from an “Idiots guide to…” book. A suitably skilled professional with relevant experience will help you get where you want to go faster, easier & cheaper than learning as you go.

  • 3 / Planning without adequate knowledge

    It is said that success in any venture is predominantly about “Doing the Right Things, in the Right Order & at the Right Time”. Designing & Building is a great example of that long string of hundreds of activities & potentially thousands of choices, which need to be organised into the right order. What happens if you miss a vital step, or decide on things out of sequence? What could you be missing out on & what could go wrong. This is where deep knowledge & experience can help develop a comprehensive Project Strategy which will keep all stakeholders on track from the start to completion.

  • 4 / Fear of making wrong choices

    “You don’t know what you don’t know”. This is a hard place to make choices from, especially when you don’t know their implications. We all fear making the wrong choices, in all parts of our lives. It doesn’t matter so much if you buy the wrong pair of socks for $5.50 but in a home, which is the single largest investment you will ever make, you may have to live with any of your wrong choices every morning for 20 years. With the correct guidance, this does not have to be the case.

  • 5 / Confusion about timing, costs & project-program

    “How much will this cost & how long will it take?” This is a common question & is hard to answer without the right experience & understanding. Designers know how to design, builders know how to build, but who is going to be the glue & keep all this information together is a useful way. Building size & complexity affect budget. Choice on finishes, products or custom inclusions can all affect project timeframe. Having a Project Plan, reviewing the Project Budget & keeping to Program can reduce stress & confusion by half, making for a streamlined delivery of your project.

  • 6 / Not asking for professional help

    Asking your Uncle Marty to help you with your project, because he had some experience 15 years ago, just to save a few dollars is not a sensible start, and deep down you know it. With a significant investment, you need to ” employ the right team to help you. An additional 5-8% on top of the expenses you will already spend for piece of mind…

Jumping in with no strategy…

This is what the confident but inexperienced do, and it usually always ends up the same way. Speaking to lots of people, google lots of disparate pieces of information and try to piece it together themselves. This process almost always builds an incorrect view of what is possible, as they miss important warning signs that an expert would easily see & avoid.

People who are experts in their field, often fail when attempting to do it themselves in the building industry, as the information required is complex & the skillsets are just not cross-compatible. Would you ask your trusted dentist to help you when you need open-heart surgery.?

A solid strategy, backed by experience & expertise is the way to start-off any project, to get on track quickly and save time, money, stress & not mess the whole thing up.

The 6 Benefits of the “Discovery + Direction” Process…

  1. You will have an experienced guide to help navigate the process, keep you focused
  2. You will have a Project Roadmap that’s clear & easy to follow
  3. You will not fall into any of the potential pitfalls
  4. You can start & finish the project earlier
  5. You will have got clear on your project and have the basic information to make good decisions with and no more guessing
  6. You won’t feel overwhelmed and you’ll have the confidence to move forward with the rest of your project

If you are asking the following 6 questions, you need the discovery + direction process…

  1. How do I know I am doing the right thing here & could it be done better
  2. Can I afford this project and what are the cost of drawings & permissions
  3. Is what I am thinking of doing the best thing for me & is it really possible
  4. What are the regulations & rules that apply to my property and how do they affect what I want to do
  5. How long will it take to complete this project
  6. How do I avoid making costly mistakes & wasting my time

Three key steps for the "Discovery and Direction" process...

  • 1 / Initial Consultation

    The no-obligation free initial consultation is your opportunity to bring all your ideas & sit down with our Design Director for an informal relaxed meeting and discuss your project over a coffee. Sessions typically take an hour and are held in our studio office.

    It’s our chance to understand your property, your family’s needs, wants & dreams, any initial design images & sketches and help develop an initial Design-Brief. It’s your chance to better understand the regulatory frameworks relating to your property & if what you are thinking is even possible.

    You will get to know us, see how we work, how we distil your ideas & adopt good design principles, and the sense of style in our other projects. You’ll leave that meeting feeling confident about your initial design brief & how the process works.

  • 2 / Site Visit + Initial Concepts

    A site visit is the next step for the Design Team to experience your property first-hand. This gives both owner & designers the chance to discuss the Initial Design Brief within context of the property & its surroundings. This helps give the discussion some realism & enables all to start visualising the proposal. Our team will undertake a site-feature study to map the existing conditions. Once back at our studio-office, we’ll begin working up some Initial Concepts Layouts, and discuss these with you, ensuring we satisfy your Initial Design Brief, and confirming the Design Direction of the project.

  • 3 / Project Feasibility + Roadmap

    After confirming the Design Direction for the project we will discuss feasibility issues such as potential timelines, risks and cost estimates. We’ll also outline a Project Roadmap, discussing the milestone stages, what consultants are required on the project and how the Design-Team, Client & Build-Team can best work together to ensure the best result for your project.

    Our team has helped many families design & build their Dream Home. They all agree that the solid foundation created in this stage played a big part in developing the right strategy & project clarity to help the Design Team and themselves to make the right decisions throughout the project. The clients finished the stage feeling confident that they were heading in the right direction, that they wouldn’t waste time money or energy on the wrong things and that DCF had the right strategy tools & expertise to help guide them through the project successfully.

  • To get started with the Discovery & Direction process, log your details to book in a no-obligation Free Initial Consultation. Once we have your details we’ll give you a quick call back in the next 24-hrs to schedule the Consultation and get some basic information about you and your project and so we can both prepare for the meeting.

What our Clients say

  • “Understanding what we could successfully achieve with our new home was paramount to us before moving forward.  The Discovery and Direction process was ideal to help us with that – it showed us what the possibilities for our block were, how our design ideas could be best incorporated into one unique concept and an indicative roadmap of process, milestones and likely costs.”

    Trish and Gerhard, Kew
  • “I would highly recommend anyone undertake the Discovery and Direction process with DCF to ensure you understand what is involved both from a financial and time perspective up front.  This relatively low cost exercise gave me a clear indication of where I was heading before jumping right in and possibly hitting some significant roadblocks.  The initial concept we worked up in the process incorporated all my ideas and I was clear on how to move forward to the next stage.  The finished design was amazing and just as per the initial concept.”

    Jim, Brighton East
  • “We are very grateful to have gone through the Discovery & Direction process with Darren and the DCF team.  It enabled us to understand what was possible with the significant renovation of our existing home.  At the conclusion of this process we decided it would be quicker, easier and we would get everything we wanted if we built new rather than renovated.  If we had not gone through this process we believe we would have possibly been very disappointed with a renovation that didn’t meet all of our family’s needs.  Thank you DCF for your professional insights, we really appreciate your hard work and love our new home!”

    Brett and Susanna, Malvern East