Find answers to frequently asked questions. Please contact us with any other questions you may have.
What is “home design?”
Greenovision Home Design provides services similar to those provided by an architecture firm. We design single family residential homes and other home elements; we do not design multi-family units or commercial projects. Our services include site analysis, site planning, schematic design, detailed 3D renderings, basic biddable construction drawings, detailed “kit-like” construction drawings, construction observation, and consultation with general contractors & other home professionals. We also offer hourly consultation as well as exterior and interior paint + material mock-ups. Our principle designer holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture and has more than 30 years of experience in the housing industry as a carpenter, contractor, and designer. If stamped drawings are required, we work with a third party licensed structural engineer. Greenovision is not an interior design studio, however, interior comfort, features, and materials are thoroughly considered in our designs. These interior details are included in our plans. If further interior details are required, we can work with a third party interior designer.
This is my first time having a home designed. What's the process?
Like many of our clients, this may be the first time you’ll design and build a home from scratch. Our team will guide you throughout the entire process, from the initial design meetings until the day you move in. Get started by reading our step-by-step process.
Why should I work with a trained home designer?
Your home is an important investment that will be around a long time, so it is equally important to invest in a carefully thought-out, truly custom design developed by a trained home designer. It can be difficult and expensive to change a home after it is built, so it is always more efficient and cost effective to design your home smartly from the very beginning. Working with a home designer provides you, the homeowner, the best of both worlds- you derive the benefits of working with a designer that is educated and experienced in architecture, but without paying an architect’s rates.
Home design is a continual practice of analysis and critique. At Greenovision we’re regularly evaluating aesthetics, art, functionality, performance, economy, living experience, building science, environmental relationships, volume & space, and many other elements of design and construction. It’s this continual analysis that drives us to innovate better ways to habitate by integrating the most efficient and functional design strategies & construction methods into your home. Most importantly, comfort and the quality of your living experience are thoroughly considered.
A trained home designer will carefully evaluate the positive and negative conditions of your site. The environmental conditions are combined with your lifestyle and home criteria, budget, and sustainability criteria resulting in a functional, energy-efficient, durable, & beautiful home design that is unique to you and your site.
If you are interested in building an energy-efficient, passive solar home, we do not recommend having a contractor or draftsperson “design” a passive solar home for you. While passive solar & cooling design principles are simple in theory, correct implementation is a complex process; incorrect design may result in a poorly functioning home.
Can Greenovision build my house?
While Greenovision started as a design-and-build firm, since 2014 we have put the tool belts aside and have been focusing on custom residential design ever since. However, Mark’s contracting and construction experience brings a practical and efficient approach to Greenovision designs, offering a distinguishing benefit to our clients. As part of our services, we recommend and work closely with trusted general contractors and other subcontracting professionals.
Through Mark’s experience as a builder (which most architects and designers do not have), he considers building methods and affordability to be closely linked, so part of our strategy in designing new homes takes into account how builders can be helped through our drawings and our connection to them. Greenovision’s construction drawings often are very detailed allowing the builder to cut walls floors and roofs directly from the drawings rather than figuring out these dimensions themselves. Most architects and designers do not go this far with their drawings. This method, like a kit of parts, saves on labor costs as it gives the builder more information so that they are not having to literally figure out the building on site, often in bad weather. This also make the estimation of costs in materials more accurate and reduces material waste.
Where does Greenovision work?
We primarily work in Southwest Montana including Gallatin, Park, Madison, Broadwater, and Lewis & Clark counties. However, since the majority of our design work is done remotely on the computer, it may be possible for us to work outside of this area including in other Northern states, project depending. Many of our clients have lived out of state while their new home has been designed and built. When this is the case, we communicate with our clients regularly by Skype, email, and phone. Location is not necessarily a deterrent, so please contact us with a description of your project and we can discuss the best way we can help you reach your goals.
What is the difference between a home designer, architect, and draftsperson?
In a nutshell, both home designers and architects have degrees in architecture, however an architect has a license in architecture and a home designer does not. It is possible for an architect to have a bachelor’s degree (or less of a degree) rather than a master’s degree. At architecture school, students are taught the art and science of building design and structure. Good students learn how to be critical thinkers and are taught to engage in a continual practice of analysis and critique.
At Greenovision, our principle designer, Mark, holds a master’s degree in architecture, which he earned after first working over 15 years as a builder and contractor. After graduating, Mark apprenticed at an architecture firm and found himself working on hospitals and large-scale government projects (libraries, schools, fire stations, etc). Since Mark’s passion is the designing and building of new residential homes and remodels with a focus on modern energy-efficient strategies, he decided to open his own home design company and not go down the path of becoming a registered architect.
An architect is a design professional who has chosen to earn a license in architecture. This requires many years interning at firms along with passing a series of exams that are mainly a memorization of codes. Credit hours in different areas of architecture are required including large-scale commercial and government projects. While a registered architect is absolutely necessary to design a large scale project, an architect is not required for designing a single family residential home. Additionally, earning and maintaining licensure in architecture requires substantial fees, which the client ultimately pays for in higher rates.
At most architecture firms, the architect is essentially the manager for the project. The architect may develop the initial design, but then supervises the interns and draftspeople who continue to develop the design and draw the construction plans. Under this sort of supervision, communication gaps may occur. At Greenovision, we focus on fewer projects over the course of a year than an architecture firm and therefore we are able to do all the work ourselves. We do not hire outside draftspeople or less-experienced interns to help us with our projects. This means that our clients get our sole attention and expertise throughout the project. As part of our services, we recommend and work closely with quality contractors and other specialists as needed such as a geotechnical engineer, structural engineer, heating specialist, solar panel installer, etc. The contractor and specialists’ valuable input is integrated while your home is in the initial design phases.
A draftsperson is usually a person with a 2 year associate degree focused on learning how to draft (draw) blueprints and plans for homes, but does not have architectural design schooling. A draftsperson is trained to operate computer drafting programs quickly and efficiently. Some draftspeople offer home plans directly to builders and homeowners without working under the supervision of a trained designer. These plans are typically 5 pages long, provide minimal information to the builders & clients, and are used mostly for obtaining a building permit from the city.
Do I need a registered architect to design my home?
No, in Montana and most other states, you do not need a registered architect to design your home, however, it is highly recommended that you work with a trained home designer. Because Greenovision designs residential homes that are less than five dwelling units, by law we are not required to obtain a Montana Architect’s License. Nevertheless, Greenovision carries the appropriate insurance for home design and we carry appropriate business licenses. We follow modern building codes (International Residential Code) and Montana Energy Code standards as a minimum, however, we aim for higher standards than most modern codes require.
Does Greenovision sell premade home & floor plans?
We do not offer pre-made home design plans and do not believe in “one size fits all” design. Every Greenovision home or home element is “truly custom” and is designed completely from scratch. If you are interested in building an energy-efficient, passive solar home, we do not recommend purchasing pre-made plans or having your contractor “design” a passive solar home for you. While passive solar & cooling design principles are simple in theory, correct implementation is a complex process; incorrect design may result in a poorly functioning home. It is critical to work with a trained home designer, like Greenovision, who is experienced in passive solar design and incorporates these strategies into your new home while it is still in the initial design phases.