Design is More Than a Floor Plan

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

A few years ago, a potential client came to me and brought me a floor plan that was completed by a designer. He just wanted me to finish the “plans” so that he could get a permit. In his mind, he had spent months working with this designer to come up with this floor plan and was convinced that he didn’t need design services from me.


I asked him, “where is the roof plan and how will this look like on the outside?” I don’t think he understood where I was going with my question. He told me that he wanted this addition to match the main building and that’s what it would look like.


So I took out some sketch paper and drew two sketches:

two different exteriors from the same floor plan


I then showed him the two sketches and showed him how both of the sketches represent the exact same floor plan that he had brought to me. But, since the roof had not been designed nor had any exteriors, the design was incomplete. Also, since the outside had not been considered, he risked ending up with an exterior that didn’t meet his expectations.

I was hired immediately to complete the design and the rest of the project.


When working with your architect or designer, it is important to remember that your building is a 3 dimensional object and that height is just as important as length and width to the spaces you envision. It’s never a good idea to design a floor plan in isolation from the roof and the exterior. The entire package must be considered even during the earliest part of the design phase or you could end up with something that doesn’t meet your intent or could even be too expensive to build.

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