Since 1996 A. Trevor Fraites, the principal designer behind Trevor Fraites & Associates, has been providing clients throughout St. Kitts, Nevis with custom design services for renovations and new construction.
The Design Process
Should you decide to work with our office to design a new home or renovation, the process can be as interactive and participatory as you wish it to be. We see our role as facilitators, helping clients to identify clearly their needs and articulate their preferences.1
The first thing you get to do is tell us what you want your house to do and how you want it to feel. We do a room-by-room inventory, identifying spatial needs, relation to view, sun and privacy, special furnishings, etc. We ask for your feelings about how you move from space to space. We ask to see your magazine clippings for clues to your tastes. All this information makes up the program, a document which guides the design development and ensures that all requirements are being addressed. We also study the building site extensively to determine the best orientation, access and efficient servicing for the house.2
Then, work usually proceeds from the general to the specific. Following a few weeks of gestation and preliminary design development we will present to you one or more initial design concepts. These will form the basis for a dialogue in which we discover and keep the ideas that work and discard those that don't. We go back to the drawing board and come up with a reworked scheme which is further developed until all parties are satisfied.3
At this point, called Final Design, we will then begin to prepare the working drawings. For a simple home this consists only of 4-5 pages of working drawings. All are sufficient to obtain building permits, accurate cost estimates, and guide the course of construction.
Working with Trevor Fraites & Associates
We believe that every building project undertaken by an owner is absolutely unique; nowhere else do we find the same combination of site conditions, personal needs and wants, taste, budget, materials, etc. This is the primary advantage to hiring us to help create your home. Our expertise is in marrying the functional, structural, aesthetic requirements of a project in a way, which best suits you. This is something hard to find in a plan from a book.
Contrary to what many people might think, hiring a designer can also end up saving money. In our office particularly, we are adept at maximizing the uses of space; often it is possible to trim 100, 200 or more square feet from a house by optimizing the layout, reducing unnecessary space lost to corridors, combining functions and by doing a real in-depth analysis of how our clients actually use their dwellings. Many people, for example, use their formal dining rooms only 3-4 times a year. A combined kitchen/dining area with an efficient but aesthetically pleasing layout, utilizing well thought-out lighting and other means to differentiate the two functions, can in many instances be a very satisfactory alternative at a savings of perhaps 120 square feet and many thousands of dollars.
Few people have built enough to be entirely comfortable with the nitty gritty of the construction world. Cost over-runs, shoddy workmanship, slow progress and other unforseen crises are occasionally unfortunate facts of life in the course of constructing a house. The designer - with a knowledge of the building process, construction techniques and materials, and with the clients interests at heart - is uniquely positioned to act as an advocate in dialogue with the builder.