Written by Neil Ginty, Architect

The global pandemic has shifted how we interact with our homes. Dreaming about your ideal home is a powerful way to explore the realities of what’s possible, and the first step in realizing your dream home is building your dream team.

To speak to this, workspace Canopy put together a three-part series titled How to Build Your Dream Team to Build Your Dream Home. In the first session, our Residential Practice Leader, Jim Westover, joined Greg Cook of Cook Construction, George Giannos of BrodieCM, and Kathleen Navarra of Navarra Design in conversation. Here are some key takeaways:



“At the beginning of a project, our job is to take a client’s goals and begin to design,” said Jim Westover. “But without some of the key team members onboard, we lose the benefit of their input and may be designing, somewhat, in a vacuum.”

“Getting us in earlier and establishing the team so everyone comes to the table with the same intent can make a big difference” added Greg Cook.

Kathleen Navarro echoed that sentiment, adding, “we love coming in early too. It’s good to have a floorplan and electrical up front, so we can choose finishes. This mitigates re-doing things.”


Dream Home



Ideally, your team will have worked together before or at least have heard enough about each other to know they can get the job done. The relationships between the individuals and how they communicate with each other is crucial to avoid duplicating work and ensuring nothing slips between the cracks.

“As with any team, the big thing is communication and collaboration,” said Jim Westover. “It’s all the stuff that really makes a team work well together. If there is a challenge for one team member, the other team members jump in to help them out.”



For the client, many of the key decisions are made during the design process – once construction starts however, decision-making does continue.

“It’s best to bring in a construction manager like George into a project at the beginning so they understand how the client thinks and can help them make some of those continuing decisions,” said Greg.

“If I am being brought in near the end, it’s almost always because there is an issue,” said George Giannos of BrodieCM. “The best way to project success is to build the train tracks early and let the train run. You just don’t want to be doing that in the middle of a project.”

“Transparency is so important when issues do come up,” added Jim Westover. “You bring things up right away and you have to come with options for how to solve the problem. And if you have the right team, it is infinitely easier to resolve issues.”


Dream Home



Ready to build your dream home? We’d love to help! Contact us to start the conversation.



Jim Westover, AIA, LEED AP; Wendy Osaki

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