The Design Process: From Initial Sketches to the First Walkthrough

new homes Philadelphia pa - design home studios - lounge room - dark walls - fur chairs - granite fireplace

The DesignHOME Studio’s team sat down with Founder, Mark Weiss, to get an intricate look at the complete design process. Weiss has been crafting bespoke homes in Southeastern Pennsylvania for over 30 years, building nearly 500 homes and developing over 1,000 lots. In this exclusive interview, we explore the translation of client ideas into sketches, typical workflow, and much more.

It Starts With a Conversation

The initial client consultation “centers around the economics of the project and designing to the clients overall number; design aesthetics; timing and location of the proposed project,” Weiss shares. Here, the project takes shape as the team gathers inspiration and client preferences, laying the groundwork for a successful project.

Turning Dreams into Designs

Putting the client’s vision on paper is an art form, where every element must harmonize with the homeowner’s lifestyle as well as the environment and budget. “We understand the building site, surrounding architecture, position of the sun, and floor plan requirements,” Weiss explains. These factors, along with other fundamental considerations such as water drainage, driveways, landscape, and pools directly guide the overall project. Through a process of review and refinement, the homeowner’s ideas are translated into sketches and renderings.

Each project is divided into two phases: Design and Construction.

The Design Phase

“Design is where we sort out all the ideas and complete our Design Documentation Package,” states Weiss. This Design Documentation Package contains all the building details and associated costs. “In the Design Phase we work in incremental stages and work along a critical path to permits,” he elaborates.

The DesignHOME Studios team makes client feedback a cornerstone of their process. Weiss emphasizes that “constant feedback and revisions” allow them to achieve the best “style, quality, and cost projections.”

The First Look: Creating Renderings

Using a variety of software for land planning, architecture, interiors, and exteriors, the design team creates renderings as a vivid first look at the client’s new home. “Designs change based upon early renderings and visualizations so the end product may not be precisely represented. Our clients are made aware of any deviations,” states Weiss. He mentions that as more decisions are made, the rendering and cost  become more precise and can be adjusted.

Creating Collaboration

Every successful project relies on collaboration between architects, designers, and general contractors. “Inspiration and clarity of design is our hallmark,” Weiss states, as well as coordinating all the moving pieces “from concept to delivery.”

Designing “To Budget”

There’s a reason most builders leave cost control to the client, because it is no easy feat. But DesignHOME Studios transforms that process, assuming responsibility for producing the best possible designs, delivering on time, for a client-established maximum “all-in” cost.

“Budget constraints are more effectively dealt with if you understand all the line items at the same time and projected costs. Moving resources around without diluting the style or quality comes from years of experience. Phasing aspects of projects can also help with budget constraints.”

Mark K. Weiss

Builder, Designer, Founder, and Creative Director

The Construction Phase

As the project moves to construction, The Design Documentation Package creates a seamless transition. Throughout the construction phase, DesignHOME team makes sure each detail aligns with the initial vision. “Our Design Team stays with the project through construction,” Weiss mentions, assuring magazine-level results at every turn.

When asked about unexpected challenges or changes that might arise, Weiss states: “We are problem solvers with a ‘get it done’ attitude. There is always a solution to unexpected challenges or changes. Communication with our clients is essential.” The DesignHOME Studios team is known for its adaptability.

The journey doesn’t end at the homeowner’s first walk-through. “New homes and renovations require follow-up and adjustments,” Weiss shares. Post-construction support and regular follow-ups are completed until the home is 100% perfect.

Breaking Creative Boundaries

When discussing the balance of aesthetics and functionality and costs. Weiss says that they are “generally of equal importance.” The DesignHOME team refuses to create a project that is not supreme in both functionality, aesthetics and value.

With over 30 years of experience, Weiss has countless stories of unique solutions or techniques his team developed for a particular project. In response to the popularity of hybrid indoor/outdoor spaces, DesignHOME team “developed electronic screen control and use flush mount ceiling heaters” to combat insect and heating problems associated with these spaces.

Another example of innovation is their approach to master closets. “Typically, the thought is that all clothes must be stored in the master closet. This can create an overstuffed closet. In response we are creating seasonal storage closets so that the master closet presents more like a retail boutique,” states Weiss.

Custom Homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Beyond

At DesignHOME Studios we distill the complexities of creating incredible homes, on-budget and on-schedule for each of our valued clients. Schedule a private consultation today to bring your vision to life.

Schedule a Zoom Consultation

Or contact us for an in-person visit in the studio.