top of page

MY PROCESS: the S.A.P.P.H.R. Strategy

sapphr strip v2 trans.png

Below is a high-level summary of my SAPPHR System™ - Special Armour Performance Platform for Healthy Resilience.  By using a pragmatic approach to ideate and to evaluate a project from a variety of perspective, that yields a luxury home that protects and comforts for generations.  Click on any heading to see a breakdown for that phase.

Alternatively, you can click HERE for a one-page summary of the SAPPHR Strategy (no sign-up required).

sapphr GO.png
WE assess if we work well together

Diagnostic Session  |  Synergy

I owe it to my clients to deliver exceptional service, and I can do that only if we're able to work well together.  The free, 30-minute Diagnostic Session gives us the opportunity to find out if we do.

  1. You fill out your Project Spark Synopsis [click here] and email it back to me.

  2. You pick one of my available times, and we meet preferably on video.

  3. We briefly discuss your values, priorities, and needs.

  4. If we're both comfortable, you sign up for a Pre-Design Diagnostic Scan™, and I will send an invoice.

Are you eager to get into the sketching phase?  Chances are that you want to start seeing some ideas on paper, but read my article "Your Architect Needs To Do These FOUR Things Before Drawing ANYTHING" to learn why this is NOT yet the time to start sketching.

Pre-design Diagnostic

Pre-design Diagnostic Scan™  |  Scope and Performance

WE review the eight main aspects of a project; we need to know what we know - and what we don’t know.  This is a preliminary investigation into your targets for:

  1. Cost: Do you have a budget or preliminary pricing?  What is the order-of-magnitude cost?

  2. Size: How big are you permitted to build?  How big can you afford to build?

  3. Style: What aesthetic do you want?  How important is it?  Are there requirements in the zoning bylaw?

  4. Timeline: When do you expect, need, or want to start and finish?

  5. Experience: How do you want to feel in and around the house?  What impression do you want to make on other people?

  6. Performance: A building's performance can be measured in over a dozen very different ways.  You will establish targets in each of these metrics that will guide the design.

  7. Site characteristics: How big can you build?  How does the site impact performance and experience?

  8. Basic regulatory requirements: Does a quick check of bylaws and codes turn up any dealbreakers?

This scan provides an initial viability assessment and begins to outline a rough scope of work, which equate to construction cost and consultant fees.

R.A.D. Study™  |  Vision and Feasibility


The best way to ensure that I understand your requirements that you understand both the limitations and opportunities available is a R.A.D. Study™  (Research, Analysis, Diagnosis)

  1. We meet to discuss your project in detail.

  2. You share with me your frustrations, objectives, values, and priorities.

  3. I research the regulations and site characteristics in great detail.

  4. I study your needs and wants.

  5. I present pre-design development / construction options and recommendations

Some architects may do some of this analysis to get a basic direction for the project. but I have not yet met an architect who provides this very focused, standalone service as a complete package unto itself that confidently captures and summarizes all requirements and provides a clear assessment of them.

Tuning Workshop

Tuning Workshop  |  Strategy


After the R.A.D. Study™, you will select from available options, make other decisions, and I will begin to form a conceptual design over the course of three 90-minute Calibration Sessions which I call the Tuning Workshop™

  1. First meeting: we make decisions on style and on your connection to the house

  2. Second meeting: we make decisions on how each space and feature of the house will function

  3. Third meeting: we decide where your house will sit on the high performance spectrum

I don't try to cover everything in one meeting not just because there's so much material to review but because you need time to let the ideas simmer.  Things will come to you between sessions that you may like to revisit.  You need to be comfortable with and confident in the decisions being made.

After the Calibration Sessions, I will prepare a Tuning Report™ that will provide clear direction - a strategy set of guidelines and rules to which everyone can look back throughout the project to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved or priorities maintained if adjustments become necessary.

Research and Analysis is complete.  To see where this point is in the whole project, download my Project Roadmap

Alternatively, you can download my one-page summary of the project roadmap by clicking HERE.


Deep Blue Design™  |  Solution


Once we've, we begin to develop the design solution.  This stage is the first point at which sketches, drawings, and (if applicable) renderings will be prepared.  I take a more more methodical approach to the early stage of design, so you will need to hire one or more engineers or other consultants and a builder as a consultant early in the design.  To optimize the design, save money, and avoid expensive changes and surprises later, my Deep Blue Design™ process analyzes and accommodates the following aspects:

  • Outside forces (heat, cold, deluge, drought, flood, wind, quake, fire, power outage, air pollution)

  • Interior conditions (fresh air, daylight, humidity, temperature)

  • Ecological concerns (durability, embodied carbon, green footprint, waste stream, resource consumption)

  • Psychological impacts (biophilic finishes, spatial interest, lighting variety, pattern language)

  • Cost-effective design (optimized room layout, simple structure, optimized ventilation and plumbing schemes, maximum usage of space, simple construction details)

All buildings I design use key building materials and systems to maximize fire resistance and indoor air quality and comfort.  I use 3D modeling software to allow the client and builder to visualize clearly the finished product, to coordinate the construction, and to develop the daylighting design strategy (click here to read my article about daylighting).  In addition, I use the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software to tweak the design to maximize climate resilience and minimize operating costs.




Every builder needs clear directions, and every owner needs confidence that what has been designed is what will be built.  My technical documents 'harden' the design into a comprehensive package to avoid guesswork or misinterpretation and to help ensure that the completed building performs optimally.  Drawings are developed from highly-detailed virtual model of the building, and I include scannable links in the drawings for the builders understand the design more quickly and quote the construction cost more accurately. 

If you want to start planning your project, use the button below to download my Project Planning Pack.

Alternatively, you can download the Abridged Project Planning Pack by clicking HERE (no sign-up).



Once you have hired a builder, I remain involved in the project to review the construction progress until it is complete and you have moved in.  With my system, builders can access a virtual walkthrough of the building during construction; this minimizes confusion and delays and improves coordination to give you a better finished product.

Ready to start?  Use the Diagnostic Session button below to contact me
CLICK HERE to download My Process Guide!
bottom of page