The Shepherdstown weekend home of a DC couple, burned down one weekend two winters ago. Fortunately nobody was hurt. The owners decided to rebuild a modern home on a different portion of the lot, which would provide a nicer view. A family friend came up with a basic floor plan but had little knowledge of building codes or construction techniques. I was given her conceptual drawings by the builder, Steve Harris, and had to figure out how to actually design the building to get the interior spaces, and the outdoor aesthetic, that the homeowners wanted.
Many of the design decisions here (such as the multiple columns inside, the window and door sizes and locations, the kitchen layout, and the window in the chimney), were made by the family friend. Sometimes my role in the project process is more practical, less creative -- in this job I was the person who came up with solutions to design problems that didn't meet building codes. Ultimately if the homeowners are happy then I did my job correctly. And these homeowners are very happy with the final product. They spend lots of time on the upper deck which overlooks the slope toward the tennis courts and the Potomac River beyond.