Finally on the 18th May the email came with the design. I opened as soon as I saw it was there, I couldn’t wait until Teresa and I got together. Wow! That’s different, yes you guessed it, it was nothing like we imagined. We both liked the design, although it was very different to what we thought, the more we reviewed it the more we liked it. They had included everything that we had asked for and some. It did take a few days though before we were totally convinced. I think the final acceptance was, what don’t we like, and apart from the actual position, which we could work on, there, was nothing, it did what we had asked for.
There were a couple of things we were unsure of and during the next month or so, the plan was refined a few times. The main issue as I said was the position of the house on the land. We knew we could only build on one part of the land, building restrictions etc., but the architect seemed to want to cram the house into one corner of the land. It took a few emails and some cutting and pasting of paper plans to get the architect to see our point, but finally we agreed and the position was fixed. If you do anything like this, remember the architect is working for you, your views are important; after all you are going to be using the house not the architect.
Please don’t think we argued or disagreed, because we didn’t, the architect had some really brilliant ideas and was very passionate about his design and is in the know when it comes to what is allowed and not allowed and will advise on getting the best for your budget, but again its your house, so make sure your views are heard.
As we approached our next trip in August, we had agreed the final plans, the architect worked with the builder we meet in April, Marco, to check that what they were designing could be built for our budget. The house was “L” shaped and fitted around the current building, well hut that was on the plot. Their design was to form a courtyard feel using the hut to for the 3rd side of the courtyard, the forth side of the square would be the views off to the southeast.
We arranged to meet with architect during our visit in August; this was as much for us to gain some further reassurance. Up to this point we had only met the architect in Remax’s office and a hotel bar, we hadn’t seen their offices. As their office was in Covilhã and that’s where our hotel was this next visit, we felt it would be good to pay them a visit. Did we plan the hotel for this reason? Not on purpose, but something must have convinced us to do it, maybe psychic forces at work.
We also asked if it was possible for us to visit some of the properties that Marco the builder had done, so we could see the quality of his work. We weren’t sure whether we would use Marco for the build or not, but we needed to start somewhere and we knew that that would be the next big stage in the project.