Getting Started

If you’re like most people in Northern Virginia and surrounding areas, improving your quality of life is the main reason you’re considering remodeling your home. Engaging a talented, integrated firm that will understand your aesthetic sensibilities is likely your first hurdle.

How will you discern and choose a firm with the design and construction capabilities and processes to usher you from a preliminary thought to an exquisite conclusion?

Our proven design-build delivery process has benefited clients for over 30 years by helping them achieve extraordinary results from their remodeling projects.


Our streamlined design-build process takes you from preliminary ideas through construction completion in three simple phases and two follow-up stages.

This is, perhaps, the most deceptively important phase of the design-build process. Your design vision, whether specific or vague, is our architect’s primary concern.

  • The design team measures the applicable areas of the existing house and produces as-built drawings.
  • Existing site conditions are evaluated and recorded.
  • Zoning, easement, and environmental issues are evaluated.
  • Your Architect and kitchen and bath designer use a combination of hand sketches, renderings, and computer drawings to produce design comps.
  • Ballpark costs for construction and budgets for interior finishes are established.
  • Designs and accompanying ballparks are presented for your review and comment.
  • Revisions are made to meet your needs, budget, and aesthetic sensibilities.

After the initial design and budget have been established you’re given a slot on our construction schedule that coincides with completion of the remaining design detail work.

  • A subcontractor meeting is held at your house so that project craftsmen, with architectural plans in hand, can evaluate and troubleshoot their areas of responsibility.
  • Kitchen and bath designers work closely with you to complete the design of the interior spaces.
  • Any major structural engineering issues are addressed.
  • Any zoning or environmental site issues are resolved.
  • Options you may be considering are decided upon.
  • A final project cost is determined.
  • All project documents are reviewed with you.

The final phase of the project includes all aspects of the design-build process, including the following:

  • Construction Documents are assembled and completed.
  • Permit documents are prepared and submitted to the county reviewer.
  • Specialty items such as windows, cabinets, stone, etc. are ordered so they arrive when needed for installation.
  • Before the actual construction begins, your project manager conducts a formal review process of all project information in our office and at your home.
  • A pre-construction conference at your home puts you and your project craftsmen on the same page for all on-site particulars, which include the location of dumpster and delivered materials; where the job-log will be posted, hours of operation, whether there are pet considerations, timing of demolition, and many other items.
  • Start of construction – for many projects this means demolition, while for others it means excavation and masonry work.
  • Construction progresses per the construction schedule through completion.
  • During the last week or two of work, you will perform a Walk-through and punch list preparation and completion.

Our client relationship continues beyond completion of the Three-Phase Design-Build Process. Commonwealth will perform a free, one-year tune-up where issues such as the following are addressed: separation of seams in trim due to shrinkage are caulked and touched-up; separation of woodwork and cabinetry due to shrinkage is repaired; cabinet doors and drawers are operating properly; interior doors and hardware are balanced and close properly; etc.

At the close of your project, Commonwealth will prepare a Warranty Binder including final inspection documentation, a copy of the building permit, a warranty certificate and applicable product warranties. We stand behind our services and provide all clients of the firm a 2-year workmanship warranty.

Residential architect and Commonwealth co-owner Susan Pierce, discusses the importance of considerations like traffic flow, curb appeal, and balancing functional and aesthetic design in home remodeling and new design projects.