Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is design/build?

Design/Build is a process where one company handles every aspect of the entire remodeling project. When the design team and building professionals work together, you save time and money. This integrated approach also ensures the final project matches your vision.

Q: What are the benefits of design/build?

Professional Design Help

Our in-house professional design staff is always available Monday thru Friday by phone, by email, or appointment. Our design staff designs your space and details and helps you make selections, gather samples and escorts you to other design resources, as necessary. Most clients find this part of the process fun and exciting.


Guaranteed Fixed Price

Long before construction begins, you will know the total budget for your project, including design services, materials, permits, fees, and all building trades. This "fixed price" is final. You will not be surprised by any hidden costs or change orders.


How can you be guaranteed a fixed price? Because we are design/build. With your design team and general contractor in the same location, there's more convenient communication, better planning, and more accurate cost analysis.

For example, imagine you are working with our designer on the details of your project. You both develop a brilliant idea but are not sure of the cost. Instead of sending plans across town and waiting days for an answer, you will turn to one of our project managers for a solution that lets you fulfill your dreams and remain within budget.


Faster Project Completion

Every day, our designers and building professionals work together to efficiently craft and manage your project. Products and materials are delivered to our showroom warehouse and checked by both the design staff and project managers. The various trades and craftsmen have a central location to meet with the key professionals involved in your project. Everyone has access to schedules and critical timetables.


This results in your project being completed on time and much quicker than the usual or traditional "across town" project planning and construction routine. Design/build projects simply get done faster, every time.

Definite Peace of Mind

We take care of all the details in-house. Our design staff prepares all architectural drawings needed for construction and the permit process. The in-house project managers review the drawings with our design staff, obtain the necessary building permits, and manage all inspection appointments.


All the craftsmen, project managers, and design staff work together to make your project successful. This makes the project much less stressful for you and allows you to continue your life!


Q: How do I start my design/build project with S.E.A.?

1. In-Home Consultation

Schedule a visit. We'll come to your home to look at the project. You can prepare for the consultation by compiling any photos from magazines or social media sites like Pinterest or Houzz and considering your list of wants and needs. We will discuss the scope and budget and give you ballpark figures.


2. Feasibility Study

If you would like to proceed with us, we will sign a feasibility study agreement. This begins the process of design, architectural consultation, and estimating for an hourly fee. The agreement includes photography, measuring the existing site, designing sketches, and architectural working drawings (floor plans, elevations, details and electrical/mechanical) based on our consultation.

A design meeting is then arranged to discuss these ideas, estimates, relevant photos, and possible material choices. You will then get a more precise cost estimate, with possible cost options and alternatives.


We would work together toward a contract, including detailed scope of work and selection of all materials. Upon signing a work contract, the cost of the feasibility study will be refunded back to you. However, if you need more time to consider your project, we would be compensated for our time up to that point, and you would receive any copies of our original sketches or drawings.


3. Design Build Contract

If you decide to proceed with the project and we sign a design/build contract, we'll begin obtaining permits while you finalize your designs with our designer. We'll all work together to make this process as seamless as possible to save you time and money. 

Q: How long does the design process take?

That depends upon the size of the project and your ability to meet with our staff. Once the scope of the project has been defined, we will quickly provide you with a time frame. For most projects, the design process takes less than two months.

Q: How do you charge for design services?

We will need to visit your home to determine the scope of the project. This initial in-home consultation is free. After we discuss the scope, you will be provided with a feasibility study at an hourly (refundable on contract) fee.

Q: What does it cost to remodel a designer kitchen or bath in the San Francisco Bay Area?


Research shows that in upscale neighborhoods, the average complete designer kitchen remodel is 12% of the home value.

A bath remodel is 7% - 10% of the home's value, depending on the size of the bathroom, with master bath suites being more expensive.

At our first meeting, we will provide you with a current Cost vs. Value report for various home remodeling projects in your area. Using the market's latest resources, we will arrive at a budget for your project.

Q: How long will it take to complete my project?

This can vary on the size of the project and whether there is a room addition involved. But once the design process is complete, we can give you an accurate time frame. 

Q: Will I need a building permit?

Yes. Except for minor alterations and cabinet refacing, most kitchen, bath and other major remodels require building permits.

However, we handle getting the permits for you. We'll ensure that the permit and inspection process is stress-free.

Q: Can you provide references?

Yes, it is our pleasure to provide you with references from our many happy clients. Please be sure to read our reviews on Google as well.