Designing a custom home: plain view process

Our design process looks at each project including the site, building, landscape and interiors in a careful manner. We provide services that can execute the entire project as a concise whole, while understanding and prioritizing the various elements that are attainable within the projected budget.  We work with our clients to define exactly what is required and desired to build, and ensure that they are getting the highest quality project for their construction dollar.

Moving beyond the design and construction phases, our involvement will depend upon the method of construction delivery that suits the project and client best: using a specific pre-qualified builder chosen by the client; competitive bidding to three or more general contractors; or construction delivery through construction management, which we also offer as an extension of our professional services. With our construction experience we can bring invaluable advice in working through the chosen method.

To explain the design and construction process, we break it down into five simple phases:

  1. Pre-Design / Feasibility

  2. Schematic Design

  3. Design Development

  4. Construction Documents

  5. Construction Coordination



01. pre-design/FEASIBILITY

The design typically begins with an initial  consultation with our clients to develop a full understanding of the needs and desires for the project. The goals for the project begin to take shape and a ‘wish list’ is developed. We like to take a site visit during this phase to get a full understanding of the lay of the land. Along with a site visit we will discuss feasibility of the project and the overall project budget. This meeting allows us to interview each other and determine if we a good fit for one another. We like to keep things casual and light hearted. After all, this process should be enjoyable. 

  • Give us a Call! 701.319.0755

    We are happy to help you explore the various options . Plus our first meeting is complimentary so no reason not to.

  • Office Meeting

    601 N. 5th st.

    Come by and say hi! We can discuss our process and show you past projects and samples.

  • Feasibility and Program Study

    Before we can even start design we first go through an in depth process of digging into your desired home program and material tastes. Our small feasibility study will look into average construction costs along with timelines involved.

  • Getting Started

    Once we have a good understanding of your project and it’s parameters we will draft a design proposal with a detailed design fee breakdown and preliminary timeline for each phase. Once it is signed off a a design retainer is paid, we can get the process started.



At this point we will begin to examine the potential of the project in various forms.A series of initial sketches are the first attempt to transform the program into a plan, and locate the building on the site. The intent is to deal more with environmental and spatial relationships than the “feel” of the spaces. We investigate various options to determine the general layout and direction of the project. We ask the big questions about how you want to live and ultimately how the space around you will to be resolved.

  • Gather site info and zoning requirements

    First we gather the site information and anything that may affect the design and location of the structure.

  • Remodel or Renovation

    If you are doing a remodel or renovation we will need to take a few additional steps. First we generate ‘ As Build’ drawings that explain the existing structure.

  • Inspiration, ideas, unique features

    Every project is unique from the site to the client. This is where we gather all your photos and ideas that will impact the overall design of the home. We will also send you our client survey to ask you further in depth questions about how you live.

  • Massing and Preliminary Concept:

    Our initial concept is usually a combination of sketches, 3d models, and basic floor plans. The idea here is to land on a option that your are comfortable moving forward with. We like to keep it loose at this stage but some of the big decisions will get solidified through this phase.




In this phase, once a basic layout and scope has been agreed upon, the design is further detailed to include construction methods, materials and to create the “feel” of the project. We demonstrate our design concepts through drawings, sketches, physical and/or computer models to ensure that our clients have a thorough understanding of the building and feel completely comfortable moving forward.  At this point we look at rough estimates to ensure the project is on track for the budget. 



Upon final approval of the design, the construction details are worked out, materials are explored,  and we finalize plan documents for the builder. Construction drawings are created during this process. Plans get sent out for bids to the Contractors of choice or to the builder of choice. 


05. Construction

During construction we work closely with our clients to ensure the project proceeds smoothly and in accordance with the applicable building codes. Being involved in the construction process ensures the design intent is carried out and we are available to quickly resolve unexpected issues and unforeseen conditions, so construction progress is not delayed.