Christopher Macklin Design

The Process

The process of moving from the visions of your dream home that dance in your head to the reality of living in your new home can swing from exciting to stressful, depending on many different factors along the journey. We strive to serve you and your family in a way that allows you to stay closer to the “exciting” side of the pendulum by nurturing a relationship with you and your builder throughout the entire process. Here is an outline of how we generally approach a project with you from beginning to end.

Programming is the first step in the design process. Our goal in this phase is to get to know you so that we can create a home that will meet your specific needs and make your dreams become a reality. We can provide you with a Design Survey that will help you organize your priorities and list your ideas. We will explore:

  • Your current living conditions
  • Your needs
  • Your dreams
  • Your reality, AKA - the budget

Site Analysis is where we begin to explore the possibilities and restrictions of your property. Having a survey of your property already performed prior to this phase is highly beneficial for accuracy and planning. Some areas we will research are:

  • Zoning laws and property setbacks
  • Neighboring properties and context
  • Solar orientation and prevailing winds
  • Major and Minor Views
  • Topography
  • Public and private spaces
  • Trees and shading

Schematic design is always a fun time in the design process. This is where you will begin to visualize your desires.

  • Preliminary sketches – site plan, floor plans and exterior elevations
  • Exterior & Interior material options begin to be explored
  • Schematic CAD plans and elevations
  • Zoning Board submittals, if required
  • Preliminary estimate from a local builder

Construction Documentation is the phase in which we pull together all of the information from the previous phases and create the drawings and details that the builder will use to construct your home. You will see:

  • Construction Documents (Foundation plan, floor plans, structural framing plans, roof plan, exterior elevations and details, building sections, wall sections, interior details, schematics for electrical.)
  • Specifications of materials
  • Details of how your home will be constructed

Bidding and Negotiations begin when we have a set of Construction Documents that are complete. This will enable the potential builders to more accurately assess the cost of your home.

  • Meeting with you and your selected builder(s)
  • Organizing and comparing the bids with you
  • Helping you finalize your builder selection (if you haven’t done this already in the beginning)

Construction Observation is the materialization of all the previous phases, where you can walk through, see, and feel your new home while it is being constructed. This is an exciting time, and we are available to help as much as you would like us to. Some tasks performed during this phase include: assisting with construction budgeting & allowances, further detailing of design ideas, and reviewing change orders for sensibleness of quantities and costs. It’s a lot more fun when you can sit back, watch the progress, and let someone else answer the contractor’s questions for you. Our goal is to know you, your family, and your dreams so well by this point in the process that we can step in and take on the mediator role for you. Soon, your life in your new home will begin!


  • "CMD hit the nail on the head with the design of our family cottage. We are so pleased with the end result! We expect our whole family to enjoy it for a very long time. It will probably become a legacy handed down to future generations."

    - Frank & Chris

  • "We can't thank you enough, we'll be more than eager to refer any business we hear of (near or far) and act as a reference should you ever want or need one. You really did not have to do as much as you did for us as we were happy at every stage. Wanted you to know that we are very pleased with the documents, thanks for your attention to the details."

    - Erik

  • "We have had continued compliments on our home and I always mention that it is due to a great design… that you were our most important subcontractor and (considering the scope of the project) our least expensive as well."

    - Ken & Jennifer

  • “I wanted to formally thank you for your creativity, detail, flexibility, schedule management, contractor interaction and design budget management. What started out with a conceptual photograph ended with the jewel of the Port Austin shoreline. The project remained exciting, challenging and rewarding throughout its duration from the start of the demolition to our move in. It was a pretty impressive schedule!

    Cindy and I are indebted to you for producing a family cottage which exceeded, in every way, our expectations and dreams."

    - Bill & Cindy

  • “The home is great and very comfortable.  Easy living I guess would best describe it.  Everyone that has stopped by loves it, and the design concept."

    - Lisa

  • "We enjoy our home more each day and find it to be a great respite. Many thanks for your expertise!"

    - Ardele

  • “Great Job! I was looking over the drawings and they look perfect - thanks a lot. You really came through for me! I appreciate good help. Thanks for staying on top of it all the way you did!"

    - Paul

  • “You put in things that I would have never thought of and yet it all works together very well.”

    - Ron

  • “It’s been a lot of fun working with you, and we both think you’re doing an excellent job. As you know, we are in absolutely no hurry. The more I looked at other lake houses, the more I realized I want our project to be a truly unique one. A lot of lake houses seem to have the same look, and as we’ve discussed with this, we’re hoping we can create something different. We’re loving the ideas you’ve come up with.”

    - Chris & Elizabeth

  • “LOVE LOVE LOVE the kitchen! Seriously! It was the design (again) that made it so great! Thank you for your magic – you are amazing!”

    - Jennifer