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"Be the change
you wish to see
in the world..."
            -M. Gandhi

t a k i n g   g r e e n   t o   t h e   e x t r e m e


Clients are asked to start with some homework to help connect with and communicate their project vision before the design process begins.  We then travel together to the intended site and kick-off the first of three design phases (outlined below).  Each phase involves collaboration between the Down to Earth Design team and the client through an informed decision-making process.  The complete design process takes between 4 and 8 months on average.  We also provide natural building workshops during construction as desired.

Schematic Design

We begin by determining your goals, functional requirements, and desires for this project.  This results in a "Vision" document that becomes the groundwork for the design process.  We generate several design options specific to your site, and work closely to come up with a design solution that works best for your needs and desires.

Schematic Design Deliverable

  • Vision document

  • preliminary site plan, locating the building footprint, septic area, etc. (based on a survey)

  • several design options (with plans and elevations)

Design Development

In this phase we take a single design option and flesh it out.  By the end of this phase, you have a fairly clear idea of the building layout, as well as general finish and aesthetics.  Drawings at this phase do not include construction details, structural calculations, or other information that is needed to obtain a building permit.

Design Development Deliverable

  • building plans

  • building sections

  • elevations

  • schematic structural plan

Permit Drawings

These are the documents that you use to communicate with your builder and to obtain a building permit.  All non-standard construction materials and methods, such as strawbale walls, are fully detailed in this set of drawings.  The greater the level of detail described in these Construction Documents, the more accurate your bid typically will be.

Permit Drawings - Deliverable

Documents include finalized site plan, building plans, building sections, wall sections, and elevations, plus:

  • construction details

  • structural plan (stamped by a licensed structural engineer)

  • electrical plan

  • written specifications

Construction Support

We provide full support to clients and their builders during construction.  This includes responding to any questions/issues as well as site visits/inspections as required during construction.

Additionally, we provide support for all natural building components by providing on-site consulting/teaching of strawbale installation, cob walls, and natural plasters and paints.  We outline pros & cons of different workshop structures to allow clients to decide which construction approach best suits their goals.

Down to Earth Design
Sigi Koko, principal
215.540.2694 PA
202.302.3055 DC

2000 Sigi Koko & Down to Earth