Architectural Services

Once our office has received the signed proposal letter, the authorization from the client to begin services, and a retainer check, the process of our architectural services begin. The design process takes the client through multiple stages of design from preliminary design all of the way until the final set of construction documents. Below you will see listed all of the services we provide.

Basic Services: (All included in a typical project proposal)​​
Preliminary Design Drawings
First stage of design where we show the client detailed, annotated, and dimensioned 2-D floor plans and the most affected building elevation.

Variance Application Drawings (if applicable)
Prepared design drawings for submission for a variance application, as required by the town’s jurisdiction.

Design Development Drawings
Developed approved preliminary design drawings, further incorporating owner’s selections of windows, materials, finishes and related details in preparation for the construction document phase.

Construction Document Drawings
Finalized technical design drawings, based on design development drawings approved by client. These drawings include the plot plan & zoning information, architectural drawings, electricals & lighting, structural drawings, and plumbing. These are the drawings that are required for bidding, permits and construction.

Architectural Guidance
Throughout the design process, we hold your hand throughout all design phases. Through years of experience, Xiomara has built a large network of highly-regarded professionals in the field that will help the client in selections of finishes, appliances, kitchen cabinets, lighting fixtures, and other elements of the project.

Contractor Bidding Assistance
We work with a large group of reputable experience contractors that have earned our trust through 10+ years of experience and service to our clients. We recommend 3-4 contractors to each of our clients based on nature of the project, the town, style of home, and the personality of the client. In preparation to their bidding process, we meet with the bidding contractors for a detailed review of construction documents to assure the transition to construction is a smooth experience.
Additional Services:
Home Feasibility Assessment
Looking to purchase a house but aren’t sure if it can accommodate your present and future needs? We provide the same services as a typical initial consultation, except that you can have this information before you make any decision to purchasing the house or before you make an offer.

Variance Application
The variance application process can be a tedious one. The variance drawings, included in our basic services, are only one part of a variance application. Although our variance drawings are well detailed, we offer our services to complete all of the necessary paperwork.

Planning / Zoning Board Hearing Presentations & Attendance
The presentation of your architect and his/her experience is crucial to maximize your chances of having your variance approved by the Zoning Board. With her high rating of approval and her more than twenty years of experience presenting projects in front of the Zoning Boards throughout Bergen County, Xiomara knows the means and methods to prove to the board members why her projects should be approved.

3-D Renderings
These design drawings are a great tool to help visualize the proposed design in three-dimensions. We also highly recommend these as a supplement at variance hearings.

Contractor Bid Preparation Analysis
Having trouble understanding and comparing prices coming from multiple contractors? We provide you with a chart that will allow you to compare apples to apples for your final decision on selecting a contractor.

Construction Administration
After you have selected your contractor and construction beings, we offer site visits as an additional service, where we will observe construction on-site for compliance with the intent of the construction documents. The client can make this decision after the completion of construction documents, and a separate contract will be prepared for construction administration.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you know what we want?
Starting with the Initial Consultation, I listen to your needs and wishes, and we’ll discuss design ideas to accomplish these wishes. We work hard to develop a thorough and accurate description of your requirements, the project scope of work, and any special limitations (e.g. zoning variances). We include a detailed written description of the scope of our work in our Proposal and Architectural Services Agreement, and our three-phase design process is structured to make sure that we meet your needs in a process of clear communication.

Once we retain your services, with whom do we meet – you or your staff?
From the Initial Consultation through the delivery of Construction Documents, I will remain your principal point of contact for meetings and questions. I take pride in producing the design and overseeing the technical work for each and every project. In addition to my involvement, I am proud of our office staff who also remain available to you for questions, comments, and technical assistance. We have a fine team ready to guide you through the process.

What if we do not like what you show us in the Preliminary Design Phase? Do you charge extra for changes?
As long as we stay within the defined scope of work (i.e. we do not significantly change the size, configuration, or requirements) we will make adjustments to our design at no extra charge at the preliminary design phase. It is also common to have small tweaks in the design throughout the design process, which will also be included. I view architectural design as a collaborative process between our office and our client. I pride myself on good listening and clear communication as key elements to the success of your project. Big changes and design decisions should happen after the preliminary design phase meeting. You should allow about a week for your big decisions and feedback.

My project includes a Kitchen - do you design the Kitchen?
I love to cook and kitchens are my passion. Where a new Kitchen or a Kitchen renovation is involved, we always design the kitchen layout, which must be integral with the architectural layout and flow of the entire house. In today’s homes, everything revolves around the Kitchen. We show the general layout of cabinets, counters, and appliances, after which the Client’s Kitchen designer/contractor takes the kitchen design to the full level of detail (cabinets, hardware, counters, appliances, inserts, etc.). We also design the lighting as a standard part of our work. We work closely with high quality cabinet & kitchen designers as to assure the best level of design work for our clients.

Do you guide us in making decisions on finishes, materials, and fixtures?
In addition to completing the architectural design, we provide guidance and advice to the client throughout the process. Based on our years of experience, we can often recommend a variety of area sources – tile suppliers, kitchen contractors, flooring stores, light fixture showrooms, etc. – who can also provide expert advice and assistance. Many of these contacts know us well enough to provide “special treatment” and discounts to our clients.

How quickly can you produce Construction Documents?
Once the architectural process starts, the duration of our work depends on the pace of the Client’s decision-making during the design process. The production of the Construction Documents follows the design process, which can last from weeks to months depending on the nature of the project. We will provide you with a time estimate of the duration of our work at the Initial Consultation. The average time to complete a typical project is 12-15 weeks, but this estimate all depends on the decision making process, the time of year and availability of the client.

Member of the American Institute of Architects