Real Estate

let’s talk : BUILDING your FLOORPLAN

Good morning!


CAN WE FIRST TALK ABOUT HOW IT IS ALREADY AUGUST?! WHY IS SUMMER FLYING BY SO FAST?! Anyways all, wanted to update you on this past week at Project Philadelphia. This week I got to focus on finalizing the floorplan. I am not an architect (obviously) and have NEVER done anything like this before so I may or may not have gone about this all wrong. Regardless. this is the way I did it and it was SO FUN. Let’s chat about the steps we took to design the layout for this duplex.

So, as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk Building your Floorplan…

When we first purchased this home it was fitted as a 5 bed, 1 bath single family home. At 1,800 sq ft – there was PLENTY of room to capitalize on this structure and turn
it into something more…

We made the decision to convert this property into a duplex due to the surrounding market, and the fact that it was already zoned for multi-family use. So, I walked around the property (many times) and familiarized myself with the place so that I could come up with a rough sketch as to what I thought  may work best. I drew this in excel / powerpoint – so it was nothing to write home about, but it worked as a first pass! Once I had this rough sketch, I walked SEVERAL contractors through this layout to see if they might have anything they would change / fix / add based on their own experience. Once we incorporated everyone’s input, I submitted the drawings to an architect on and he built the final renderings in an application called Chief Architect. It is important to note that not all states require you to have a floorplan “stamped” by a professional architect or structural engineer, so make sure to check your local laws. In fact, MOST states do NOT require professional renderings for residential projects at all. I have included a list of the state laws HERE for your reference! Pennsylvania does NOT require an architect stamp for 1-2 family, detached buildings that are not taller than 3 stories (that’s me!). I personally just wanted to have the drawings formally signed off on by a professional, as this was my first attempt at floorplan design. Since I decided to work with an architect, let’s talk about the role they might play in your project…

An architect can play many different roles in your project depending on what you are looking for;

Preliminary Design: An architect might come out to the building site for a consultation, and gather information on design preference, budget, function needs in order to build an initial floorplan. If you accept this preliminary design you can move onto the next phase…

Design Development: Here is where you can add in details on materials, finishes, and finalize the layout of the property.

Construction Documents: These are the final blueprints that will be used to pull building permits. If you are more on top of it, you can get these done BEFORE you do your walkthroughs with contractors to get the most accurate bids.

Bidding / Negotiations: Some architects will work with you to get bids from various contractors and help you negotiate.

Construction Administration: Here the architect can act on your behalf as a project manager of sorts, ensuring everything is built to plan.

As outlined above, architects can wear many hats throughout your construction process, and can be hired for as little OR as much help as you want. We went a bit rouge on the above traditional route, and designed our own layout, had them “professionalize” it, and stopped there (hopefully)! I thought it may be interesting to include the above functions just as an FYI – because truthfully, I didn’t know all of this before!

Two major reasons stood out to me, time and money. Money plays a factor in two forms here; (1) in order to get a professional architect out to the property this would take longer and require coordination so that I could also make sure I was in town that day – time = money and, (2) using a professional, in person architect / designer was truthfully just more expensive. I had learned about using online architects at a 3-day training course. The guy leading the class builds huge multi-million dollar developments every year and gets ALL of his drawings done online. So, I thought – why not?! So far it has worked out, BUT I will absolutely keep you updated if we run into any issues as the project progresses.

As mentioned we are converting this into a duplex so the units will be laid out as such:

Unit 1: first floor unit, 2 bed, 1 bath with small laundry room, and backyard patio

Unit 2: second & third floor unit, 3 bed, 2 bath

Demo and cleanout are still in progress as we speak! Right now, we are picking out the materials for the project!! Will share all those with you in the coming weeks!

Have any of YOU used an online architect?! Do you typically design your own layouts? Any advice as we continue on with this project?! Any materials you may recommend (paint color, kitchen cabinets, appliances, bathroom tile, flooring – any suggestions are helpful!)?!

Feel free to comment on the blog post HERE and let us know what YOU think!


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Happy Wednesday!

p.s. the picture on the blog today… that is a little tidbit of our final floorplan!

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Me– this week’s post is based on my personal experience and findings

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