How Our Custom Home Design Process Works
You have already decided on WHY you wanted to build a custom home, but now comes the HOW. Good thing for you, this isn’t our first time! With over 60 years of experience, we have built the perfect home for more than 200,000 satisfied families. We have simplified and systematized the custom design process so the vision you have in your head will come to life. We’re pulling back the curtain to show you how our custom design process works in just three rounds for your knockout dream home.
Let’s Talk Homework
We wish we could call it something different, but it is what it is. Essentially, this is work you need to do from your CURRENT home for your FUTURE home. But don’t worry! This homework is not like High School geometry. We take care of all the geometry! And this homework is not like writing an essay about the molecular structure of the human genome. Neither of us will have to do that! (Thank goodness!) This homework will be fun.
For your first “assignment,” we ask you to collect your ideas of what your dream home looks like in pictures. Grab a magazine or go online and start gathering! Are you looking for a craftsman-style house, a bungalow, or more of a cottage? You might not even know what the style is called, but when you see it, you know it! How do you want your kitchen or master bath to feel? Colors, exteriors, fireplaces, and decks. We are looking for pictures, not words. Bring those pictures with you to “Round One,” where we will get a first look at what is in your head and heart.
Round One: Agree On The Overall Design
In this first round, we are in the dreaming phase of designing your custom home. Together we will help decide which floor plan and model best fits the pictures you have brought in. Suppose you are an aspiring home chef, and many of the images you’ve collected include a professional kitchen complete with large-scale ranges and an oversized refrigerator. In that case, we’ll be able to start with a floor plan giving you plenty of space in the kitchen to fit who you are. If this is a home with a view of the lake and you want large windows giving you a grand view off your deck, we will consider that.
The goal of round one is to help make the big decisions. If you’ve ever seen the illustration on time where you have a jar, and you have to fit larger rocks, smaller rocks, pebbles, and sand into the jar, you know you have to put the large rocks in first if everything is going to fit. Where do you place walls, doors, and windows? The size of the bedrooms versus the gathering spaces. These are the decisions that need to be made early on in the planning. Think macro, not micro.
In this first session, we will spend a half-day together, and you will walk out having a good idea of your floor plan with exterior elevation, windows, and siding. We will get a good idea of cabinet style, doors, trim, and ceiling height on the interior. We will have discussed your must-have options alongside your hope-to-have options. These questions and decisions help us know if your dreams match your budget, so we don’t have surprises later on in the process.
Round One Homework (Don’t worry! It’s not bad!)
Remember we told you there would be homework? Here’s your round one assignment: research fixtures, features, and finishes. Find those faucets and backsplashes on your favorite Pinterest board or vendor websites. See, that’s not too bad for homework. We even think you’ll have fun!
Round Two: Fine-Tuning The Interior Selections
While you were doing your homework, we were doing ours. Based on everything we went through in round one, we worked with our professional designers to modify your floor plan. We will spend some time upfront to review and confirm the changes we have made since our last conversation. We find this process necessary to double-check we are on the same page. We want this process to be fun and reduce the amount of stress implicit in the home building process. We want to know we heard you correctly, and we are moving forward in unity.
The primary task in round two is taking you through our Homebuyer Selection Guide (HSG). The Homebuyer Selection Guide helps us narrow precisely what your preferences are. What do you want in your ideal bathroom? Did you want bathtubs for the kids or a full jacuzzi tub for yourself? Do your showers need to have a low threshold, and did you want six high-powered shower heads on par with your outdoor power washer? Two sinks or just one? And that’s only the bathroom! Every step gets us closer to your dream home!
Our design studios have some of the most popular samples so that you can see your options. When examples are not available, we look on vendor websites. It’s a very visual process, and it helps us early on to keep within your budget range.
And guess what! By the end of round two, about 90% of your choices in building your dream custom home are complete! What’s the remaining 10%? We’ll tell you in round three. But first, just a bit of homework for round two.
Round Two Homework (So fun you could do it for your date night!)
If you choose to accept it (and we think you will), your homework is to refine your picks, getting you ready for round three. You will get to find pictures and examples of carpet and flooring options, countertops and tile selections, and masonry and stone for the interior and exterior. And don’t forget - wait for it - appliances! Who doesn’t love researching appliances? The more details you give us, the better we can match and create what you want in the custom home of your dreams. And don’t worry, we’ll get our homework done too!
Round Three: The Final Stretch
While working on your homework, we made revisions and modifications with our design team and updated your floor plan. We will review and confirm the direction of these changes to reduce stress and affirm we were listening well.
Once changes from round two are confirmed, we take round three on the road! That’s right! We are going on a field trip. These elements in round three are the finishing touches that pull the entire design of the home together.
With our connections to local vendors, we venture out to tangibly touch and see what is going in your home. We will introduce you to carpet and tile flooring experts. You might not know this, but you could talk tile showers for hours, so we will help you navigate those options with ease. We’ll swing by another vendor and choose your favorite countertop. Granite or quartz? They’ve got it all!
Masonry, stone, and bricks. What applications do you want where? And how big do you want your fireplace to be? If you have a smaller-sized living room and put in a gigantic fireplace, you may have just built a sauna. But don’t worry! That’s where our expertise comes in.
And don’t forget appliances. We can help you choose the right sizes, colors, and the most up-to-date, energy-efficient models to save you money down the road. Like our other rounds, round three takes some work and decision-making, but we will be with you every step of the way.
Round Three Homework (like a final exam without the all-nighter!)
They say the good teachers won’t smile with the class until December, so the kids don’t think they’re too easy. We promise we’ve been smiling the whole time, and this last part should bring a smile to your face. It’s easy, AND it’s the last one!
What furnishings are going to go into the rooms of your house? Is there a yoga room needing mirrors and open space? Is room number two for your 4-year-old who wants a blue room with trains? You may be an excellent marksman, but that 6-point buck is going to have to hang in the garage, not over the fireplace. We want to know. And are you bringing in the furniture from your current house, or are you going on a Pottery Barn shopping spree? Developing this plan will help us to know where everything will be in your new home.
Bringing It All Together
You’ve done all the work, and now it’s time to bring all the elements together. The beauty of working with Wausau Homes is the technology we have to create a 3D movie walking you through every inch of your new home. We’ve included all the details in this movie. Remember the boy’s blue room with a train set? Or the deer mount in the garage? You will see it all.
We’ll admit, many times there are tears watching this movie. And we think there should be! We believe you deserve the custom home of your dreams, and when you see it all put together, it can be a beautiful moment.
We not only love designing homes for our valued home buyers, but we also love building those homes. That’s why we’ve done it more than 200,000 times. Finally, your dream home is here. Talk to a builder today!