How Long Does it take?


It all depends on how much design services you require, the complexity of the project and size.  Most of our projects take anywhere between 4 - 9 months on custom client-driven projects plus construction time.  Our spec work can take anywhere between 4 weeks 8 weeks for design.  We also have larger projects that we have been working on for almost two years now.  There are too many variations to be able to give one answer.



Who do I hire?


There are many options as to whom to hire, see the different categories described below.


$ Draftsman - At the very basic level you have your draftsman who is not degreed or licensed and great if you are on a budget for your bottom line needs, but won't get any value out of this and most likely not high-quality finish.  This service does not provide design and value and is a more utilitarian approach.  Spec Builders use them, basic storage, warehouse and garage design where there is not much to it.  We do not perform at this level.


$$ Firms/ Studio - Then you have your established firms who crank out work fast and are experienced in a specific building type that operate on volume.  We offer ready-made plans that can be purchased by anyone at our store.  


$$$ Passionists - are your degreed professional from accredited universities, some have undergraduate degrees, others have both undergraduate and master's degrees and sometimes even Ph.D.  These guys know what they are doing, are well experienced that provides exceptional service.  At this level, the complicated process becomes more of an experience, you get maximum bang for your buck and full understanding of what your choices are, the pros and cons of each for the best possible outcome.  This is the level where 80% of our projects are.  



We function and operate between the $$ and $$$.  Sometimes Client's budgets determine the level for them.  It is important to know what level of service you want upfront to manage expectations.  Subscribe to our monthly newsletter that gives more insight on this here.


How much does it cost to build a home?

        That varies relative to what you want to build, for instance: A long skinny house costs more per square foot than a square one.  A two-story house costs less per square foot than a single story. The finish out will have a lot to say as to the final cost of a house.  I know builders that build at $180.00 per sf and builders that build at $1,000.00 per sf. The best way to get a "ballpark" idea of cost is to sit down with me and share what you are thinking.  Most of our renovations are currently running at $190/ sqft.

How Much Does Design Cost?


Our services are priced based on these Basic categories along with the subsequent price ranges of each.

  • Design + Drawings10% - 20% of the Project Cost (from spec to custom) or $6 - $12/ sqft

  • Renovations, Remodels, Additions 10% - 25% of the Project Cost or $9 - $20/ sqft

  • Interior Design 10% - 20% of the Project Cost or $9 - $18/ sqft

  • Material Selections: Exterior Materials, Interior Finishes, Appliances, Fixtures, Hardware, Furniture etc.

  • Home Decor 15% of the entire budget.

  • Construction Administration - Hourly or agreed-upon fixed monthly fee.  $150

  • Additional Services - $150

  • Extras: taxes, shipping, pay pal fees, plan changes, consultants (Survey, Civil, Geotechnical, Structural Engineer, MEP), consultant coordination, blueprints, travel etc.  

Where do I start?

  • You can start by generating a program and list out all of the spaces you want in your new home, the approximate sizes, the times of day you will use the space and how much time you spend in those spaces.  While doing this it would be helpful to know which spaces are a want or a need.

  • Describe what is currently working for you in the home you live in now and describe what you would change.  

  • Create an online album on our Houzz page showing images of your design style and adding comments as to what you like about it.

  • research design styles.  We are predominantly Mid-century modern, California modern, transitional, Modern Farmhouse, contemporary and modern.  It is critical that you select a designer that has a similar taste.  

  • Fill out our questionnaire.  It asks you specific questions the help you figure out what you want.  We can email this to you.  

  • Subscribe to our monthly newsletter with tips, trips, hacks and more.  Subscribe here 


How would you describe our work?

  • homes that fit and enhance your lifestyle

  • maximize natural sunlight

  • open floor plan 

  • symmetry

  • clean lines

  • balance

  • contrast

  • timeless design

  • tailored to client needs

  • collaborative design experience

  • smart homes

  • energy-efficient homes

  • casual living spaces 

  • Value 

  • Resell value

  • thrive

  • peaceful

  • functional


What is our Process?  Depending on which services you sign up for, it can look something like this.

Step 1. Pre- Design - Getting on the same page as to what the goals, timelines, and budget will be.

Step 2. Exterior Design - Bringing to life design ideas for approval. 

Step 3. Exterior Blue Prints - Articulating the approved design intent in a manner that can be built.

Step 4. Interior Design - Designing the interior portions for approval.

Step 5. Interior Design Blue Prints - Articulating the approved design intent in a manner that can be built.  

Step 6. Exterior and Interior Material Selections - Which materials will the contractors use for installation?  I.e. If using brick, then which specific brick?  If countertop, then which exact size and color of countertops?

Step7. Interview Contractors / Pricing - How much will what we designed cost?  When can the contractor start?  How long will it take?

Step 8. Permitting - Getting the city's approval to build.

Step 9. Start Construction. - The contractor will take over here.

Step 10. Construction Administration - Sometimes clients want to keep us on board to ensure the contractors do not deviate from the approved design, so they choose to hire us on to monitor construction.  

Step 11. Punch List / Project Closeout - This is a final list of everything the contractor needs to fix prior to finishing the project.  

Step 12. Furniture, shade and Decor Selection - Hire us to pick out all of the furnishings to match your newly designed home!. 

Step 13. Celebrate! 


Ownership of the Plans

After you’ve paid thousands of dollars to have your custom home designed, you might think the plans are yours. The standard contract from the AIA, however, designates the copyright to the plans as belonging to the Design Studio. The client is granted a one-time use of those copyrighted plans on the specific address listed on the contract.  


Design Errors

An Designer is expected to know what they’re doing in the conduct of their profession, but even very competent professionals are not perfect. Some errors and omissions are only found out after the construction has begun. A contractor is expected to build to the specified dimension, but if the dimensions are faulty, who bears the burden? Even given that a contractor is expected to “check and verify all dimensions” before beginning the work, some errors can still get through. Fortunately, these errors are often small and can be worked out among the client, contractor, and designer.  Typically, if the contractor built something different from what was specified on the drawing, then the contractor fixes/ pays for it.  If the contractor built what was drawn and it proves incorrect, then the designer is responsible.  A good contractor asks questions and vet's design prior to construction if something is unclear.  Sometimes the client forgets what was approved or surprised at a result.  


Construction Defects

A designer is not a building contractor. Though the designer may inspect the site and verify that the work is going according to plan, he or she is not expected to know the construction trade. He or she may inform the client about any apparent substandard work, but the liability for construction defects falls ultimately on the building contractor.


What toll will this project have on me?

The process of design can be complicated and confusing.  Here is how one comic describes the process.