Bringing Cohesion, Comfort, and Functionality to a Single-Family Residence

Establishing Order in a Home That Has Undergone Several Add-Ons

Bringing Cohesion, Comfort, and Functionality to a Single-Family Residence

Establishing Order in a Home That Has Undergone Several Add-Ons

Embarking on the quest to transform houses into homes that burst with uniqueness, TriVistaUSA Design + Build, based in Arlington, Virginia, lives by the slogan “building cool projects for cool people”. In an interview with Kieran Fannan, Project Architect at TriVista, we explore a captivating remodeling journey that not only aligns with the company’s ethos but also showcases the pivotal role of precise As-Built plans in their creative process.

TriVista architects revel in projects in which their clients’ special interests and unique features shape the blueprint of their homes into something new. For this project, TriVista immediately resonated with the client’s vision and teamed up with her to make it happen.

Where There’s a Vision There’s a Way

Partnering with PPM for their As-Built plans is now part of TriVista’s process, and our collaborative journey spans 58 remodel projects since 2021. This particular project was located in Vienna, Virginia and totaled approximately 4,000 square feet.

Kieran enjoyed how the homeowner compiled her ideas by creating collages in PowerPoint. Kieran would take her collages, put them against some of photos included in the As-Built drawings we delivered, and imagine the space as his client desired it to be. It was an unorthodox yet effective way for the homeowner to communicate her vision, a creative example of picking whatever tool works for you, as long as you get the message across.

Every Home Has a Story

The homeowner owned this house for a few years prior to initiating the remodel and had been renting it out while she waited to retire. At the beginning of her retirement, it became the starting point for her “forever home”. This house was interesting because it resembled a LEGO house that had a patchwork of additions built over several decades. By the time it reached TriVista, there were no cohesive plans or documentation for the house to begin remodeling. Kieran explained that the house appeared small from the street, but when someone would walk inside, it felt easy to get lost.

Plans for the Home

The homeowner wanted to utilize the space well by creating a primary suite upstairs in what was then a loft and bathroom that a previous owners had redone themselves. Kieran’s goal was to design the space to be more livable for the homeowner and to fix the lack of cohesion in the house. When redesigning a home, comfort and functionality are top of mind for him. Below you’ll find the scope of work for As-Built plans that was needed for Kieran to accomplish his goal.

As-Built Scope of Work

  • Floor Plan
  • Roof Plan
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Still Photos

Discoveries Through As-Built Plans

Kieran requested full plans and elevations for the house. At the time, the architects at TriVista were using AutoCAD, and PPM’s drawings were easy to transfer into their AutoCAD templates. What was most important for Kieran was being able to see accurate wall thicknesses. There were several areas of the house where it was difficult to see what was going on. Viewing the plans stacked on top of each other enabled Kieran to see where specific plumbing chases and HVAC lines were, which prevented potential issues and delays in the construction phase.


Unpredictable Roof Lines

Because of the numerous additions, the home had differing roof lines that were easily visible in our As-Built roof plan. PPM’s As-Built surveyor mentioned the property had a complex roof that appeared to have been added onto several times and had vegetation all around it.

Expanding Underutilized Space

There was a portion of the second floor that had been underutilized. One part of TriVista’s plans was to add a dormer to the front of the house. Originally, the space seemed small looking at the plan view compared to walking through the attic. Once the space was opened up, they managed to gain a bedroom's worth of space, which became a reading nook when construction was done.

“Working with Justin at PPM is wonderful. At times, he'll give us a call and advise adjustments to our deliverable requests to best fit our scope. He helps us save money in the end. If we save money and the client saves money, everybody is happy.”

– Kieran Fannan, Architect at TriVistaUSA Design + Build

Interview With the As-Built Surveying and Modeling Experts

To get a deeper understanding of what went into creating the As-Built Plans for this house, we interviewed the surveyor and modeler for this project. Read more about their experiences from their perspectives.

As-Built Surveyor Interview

Which equipment did you use and why?
We chose the GeoSLAM ZEB Revo for this property because it’s the best scanner for working with small spaces.

Which specific strategies/techniques did you employ to make sure you captured all the data properly?
This was a fun, but challenging property to survey. It was early in the pandemic, so the owner was working from home. I had to time my scanning between the homeowner’s online meetings and school classes. It was important that I worked around the people in the home, so I ended up scanning one of the bedrooms separately.

What was most unique about surveying this property?
The original cottage design, plus the many additions over the years, created unique spaces throughout the home. The layout challenged me as a surveyor in almost every facet of the surveying process.

What challenges, if any, did you face while surveying this property?
The scanners don’t produce accurate data if they scan people moving, so I had be very careful to avoid running into anyone while moving through the spaces. I also had to use the upper deck to capture a large amount of roof data. So essentially, I had to plan a good path, be diligent to capture all the small and unique spaces, work around moving objects, and utilize some techniques for capturing data at angles, all while trying to not have a scan that was too large. Because I did have a few partial scans, I had to create some overlap, so that I could successfully merge in the spaces later.

As-Built Modeler Interview

Did you work on drafting or modeling this property, or both?
I modeled this project in Revit and exported it to AutoCAD.

Which specific strategies/techniques did you use to make sure you modeled all data properly?
As all projects do, it required me to thoroughly check the linework to ensure it matched the point cloud and the photos. I usually run through each room’s photos, both the 360 and still images, to make sure I catch everything. I usually end up going through photos two to three times with houses like this one.

What was most unique about modeling this property?
The most interesting exterior element was the circular entryway.

What did you most enjoy about modeling this property?
In the end, the details were a lot of fun to see come together. These kinds of details make a project feel more complete and finished, making it more satisfying.

The Final Result of the Remodel


Transforming Homes through As-Built Plans

This remodel project is a testament to the transformative power of precision and collaboration. PPM’s As-Built plans unraveled the layers of the property’s history and empowered Kieran to create a home that brings tranquility to the owner. The journey encapsulated not just the physical evolution of the house but also the emotional importance to its owner.