“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Dead Poets Society, 1989

To begin the process of formulating an idea, there must first be a need for change. The needs analysis generally occurs on location. The key to this meeting is to include all decision makers for an exchange of ideas which establishes the concept.

CreativityThroughout the pre-production process, the original idea may improve, vary or even change completely. For example, the idea of an addition off the back of a house may become a more economical addition over the garage instead. The potentiality thing about an idea, is that it evolves when collaborated with a design professional.

Ideas are encouraged as finish materials are selected. The more creative the ideas, the more unique and innovative the results.

Trophies result from design awards competitions. Submissions to awards competitions are the result of compelling photography. Photography-worthy projects are the result of creative designs.  And creative designs are the result of unique ideas. So if you are inclined to be the recipient of an award-winning project, be ready to explore lots of ideas.


“This is it, Semmi! Life! Real life! A concept we have been denied for far too long!” – Coming to America, 1988

ConceptualizationCommonly known as the design program, a concept is formed as ideas become solutions to the needs assessment. Conceptualization requires a clear understanding of the vision, level of finishes and general scope of work. It’s essentially the first step in development of the script.

This phase is critical to establish realistic expectations throughout the rest of the process. The concept is written in broad scope terms to establish the target and set boundaries. Once agreed upon, the concept is not varied from unless a concept addendum is drafted to broaden the scope of change the target.

If an addendum is required, expectations are adjusted to realign budget and scope of work. Management of expectations through conceptualization and story boarding is critical to ensure there is no surprise when the script is presented.

“The budget’s a very complicated thing. Even I don’t understand it sometimes.” – Dave, 1993

The remodeling industry is largely unregulated.  There is no standard pricing. And comparing proposals between contractors is never really “apples to apples”.

BudgetingAny competent contractor can provide an off the cuff estimate for how much they thin a given project will cost. Taking the time to assume line item costs for a given project is an entirely more reliable proposition. By establishing more realistic budgeting on the front end, there are far fewer surprises when the script is complete.

Budgeting is all about setting realistic expectations. Our customers tell us that one of the most important reasons for having chosen our company is trust. Trust is developed over time and can be lost in an instant. So if you believe you get what you pay for, you’re in the right place.

A popular phrase is “You can have it good, you can have it fast or you can have it cheap: but not all 3.” This is true because remodeling is a service, not a commodity. Remodeling contractors can’t be shopped like mattresses, golf clubs or cars. They are not going to be able to improve your sleep, your score or your status. What they can do is become an advocate for you. Like a stock broker, real estate agent and surgeon all rolled into one.

The cost of service is relative to convenience, operational standards and quality of the people employed.

“A good story has the power to heal the soul.” – Deeply, 2000

Creativity is unleashed in this phase of the process. Using the approved concept and budget as a guide, space planning and material selections are coordinated in a collaborative process.

StoryboardingBefore each development meeting, an agenda is prepared, followed by a report of decisions and pending items for the next meeting. This prevents the discussions from going off topic and provides a written record of the key elements of the design from which to build on.

The foundation to any great script is the accuracy of assessing the existing structure. As-built drawings provide the canvas for space planning with advanced 3D modeling software. The combination of developing the plan and finishes is the storyboarding process.

Preliminary material selections are prepared to represent the conceptualized palette.

Red carpet entrance to Tenhulzen office
Design Center entrance – Bellevue, WA