The Blog

“We Help Make it Clear”

A Conversation with Phase One Designers

We talk a lot about the design experience at Phase One. It’s something we care deeply about. And we’ve created a process that we believe is unique in the industry. 

And while we can describe it in many different ways, we thought it might be good for you to hear from the folks doing the work: our designers. 

So, we sat down with two Phase One design team members, Ellianna McManis and Claire Guza, to get their perspectives. 

We want to walk through the different phases of the design process and understand what it’s like through their eyes. 

So, first, we asked about the initial meetings with a client. 

Why Site Visits are So Important

Both Claire and Ellianna agreed that a site visit (coming to your home) is a really important first step. 

Ellianna said she looks and thinks about a client’s lifestyle when she tours the home. 

“A site visit is really important for me. Do they have a lot of books, are the dogs the center of the household, [do they have kids], do they need storage,” McManis said when describing her thought process. 

Claire agreed and said that the home visit experience is crucial. Often, homeowners don’t know what they want, but Phase One designers can visualize what a home can be instead of what it is now. 

“[We’re] going into a home with a totally new perspective. We’re able to visualize the home in its end form instead of what it currently is,” Guza said. 

Learning about clients and getting to know them is what leads to design ideas.

“Those initial meetings inspire creativity not only in us but for the client,” McManis said. 

After getting to know the clients, designers head back to the Phase One office to start working on designs. Designers often work together, bouncing ideas around and sharing thoughts to develop a solution. 

“Usually, once we figure out the problem, there are so many different answers, Guza said. 

Phase One designers like to create several concepts aligned with what the client wants and then throw in one out-of-the-box idea.

“We’re there to say, ‘have you thought about this crazy idea?’” McManis said. 

Each design takes a different amount of time, depending on what’s needed. For example, a simple renovation can take a few weeks, while a new build may take several months. 

Once the design is finished and a client signs off on it, Phase One designers works on pairing them with the right builder. 

Personality fit is critical. Claire and Ellianna both agree clients should get along with their builders. 

Ellianna said the design process gives clients clarity. 

“We help make it clear because it’s not always black and white,” McManis said.

Out of the Box Designs

Ellianna and Claire said they love being able to think outside the box at Phase One. When asked where they get inspiration from, Claire and Ellianna said they’re always seeing things they can incorporate into designs. 

“As a designer, you have to think anywhere you go could give you inspiration,” McManis said. 

“You have to be very observant,” Guza said. 

Claire and Ellianna both noted the collaborative environment at Phase One. They pull other designers in to help or lean on others for building expertise. 

They said one thing that sets Phase One apart is communication. 

“You won’t ever wonder, ‘where is Claire or where is Ellianna’,” McManis said. 

Claire and Ellianna both mentioned the freedom to explore creative ideas and manage projects independently as factors that distinguish Phase One’s design team from peers in the industry. 

“I think the autonomy of each person getting to manage their own projects means there can be so many awesome, cool, creative ideas going on,” McManis explained. 

From start to finish, the design experience at Phase One is unlike any other. Our designers get to know you and your home. They care about the projects. As a result, everything they do has your goals in mind. 

You can meet the rest of our team right here. Want to work with Claire, Ellianna, or one of our other awesome designers? Send us a message, and let’s get to work.

April 6, 2022