Everything you need to know about
The Custom Home Design Process

When working on a custom home project, the idea is to control the chaos. It’s easy to dream of your perfect custom home but the experience of realizing your dream home can be a nightmare if you work with the wrong people.

Before engaging an architect, it’s important that you understand how our design process works and if that process feels like a good fit for your personality. Our goal here is to provide clarity on what you can expect from each phase. Let’s explore what happens when you hire THE UP STUDIO to design your custom home.

Phase 01:

Concept & Programming

What sets us apart from other firms is the experience of our initial phase: Concept + Programming.

This first phase of our custom home design process is incredibly important because it’s during this time that we are exploring your needs and desires, the city codes, the needs of your chosen site, the necessary timeline and the construction budget. It is an intricate balance between the client constraints, the environmental consideration and the concepts.

Concepts are the wild ideas and unconstrained sketches. This is when we dream big, where an accident can become a solution, and where we question the norms.

Phase 02:

Schematic Design

Phase Two is called Schematic Design. This is when you can expect to see a refined version of the design concept created in Phase One. You’ll see the initial floor plans with defined room sizes, black and white vignettes (showing various highlights of the design) and a photorealistic rendering of the exterior of your home.

Phase 03:

Design Development

Phase Three is Design Development. This is a really exciting part of the process for our clients because this is when they get to see their custom home design rendered in a detailed 3D model and experience a virtual reality tour of their new home.

The design concepts presented in Phase Two are developed and refined into what ultimately will be the final design. During this interactive phase, we will lay out not only what you will see and feel in your future spaces, but we also begin to lay out the hidden systems that live within walls and floors.

Phase 04:

Construction Documents

This phase is where we take all of the designs we have created and now turn them into construction documents that the project is literally built from. We know that making your custom dream home a reality is an important investment of your time, energy and money.

To make sure that everything proceeds as smoothly as possible, we take time to review and refine every inch of your custom home design with meticulous attention to detail before handing off the drawings to contractors and the city building departments. That’s why this phase of the design process can often be time-consuming, yet it’s always worth your patience in the end.

Phase 05:


In this phase, the construction documents created in the previous phase will be sent out for bidding and permits. We will collect and organize the bids from multiple contractors but will ultimately need your input to guide us to the final decisions.

Based on the quotes from contractors and conversations with other trades, we will work with you to revise some specific items that may be over budget and/or allocate additional funds to items that could be further enhanced. At the end of this phase, you will have selected a general contractor and will have received a building permit for the building department.

Phase 06:

Construction Admin

During this phase, THE UP STUDIO works as a liaison between you and the contractors you’ve selected to build your new home. We oversee the construction making sure the original design intent is executed properly. It’s inevitable that issues will arise during construction, however, we know from experience that a proactive approach to addressing these issues will see them resolved quickly.

Learn More

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