The Custom Design Process of Building Your Home.


~ the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be

~ a vivid, imaginative conception, or anticipation

~ an object of sight, a scene of extraordinary beauty

The dictionary has truly captured the custom home architecture process!

One of the most rewarding parts of building extraordinary homes is working with extraordinary people. Each Regency home is as unique as the person it is built for, which is why the custom home architectural process is so critical.

Throughout our home design process, we listen, allowing your ideas to take shape. Steve Wollersheim of Hom Dezign is here today to share more about his process, working in concert with homeowner, and Regency Builders to bring your vision to life! This starts with site evaluation and early design phases, then continues in later renderings and 3D Design tools.

“Great design is about the balance of ideas, components, and styles. We must analyze your needs and desires while combining these unique personal characteristics with our creativity and experience. The end result will be a transformation of these concepts into successful design solutions where function and the beauty of form coexist in harmony,” Steve shares his philosophy.

Site Analysis

After getting to know you, your family, and your wants and needs for your home, the design process begins with Site Selection & Evaluation. While there are many technical and permitting considerations, evaluating a piece of land from a design perspective is just as critical.

“We start by looking at the overall nature of the lot. Slope, perspective, daylight considerations, and more all impact the architectural choices we will make throughout the design process,” Steve explains. “What we are really looking for is opportunity to take advantage of your site’s best features – the view, the light, and more!” he continues.

Preliminary site analysis is performed, including such considerations as:

  • Location and home positioning, perspective, and approach
  • Sun and daylight exposure and effects to living space
  • Circulation of vehicles and people
  • Landscaping and hardscape needs, as well as best maximized exposure, taking into account proper drainage
  • Considerations for “negative space” – those areas created as residual by the “positive footprint” of a structure
  • Minimizing unwanted site intrusions

In the case of a tear down and in-fill, the design team also has to take into consideration the topography of the land and suitability to rebuild, road and other transit noise, and the design of the home to blend with the existing neighboring homes.


Design Phases

While we have already started to explore design ideas during the initial meetings, the formal design process begins with the Regency team working hand-in-hand with Steve to bring your new home to life, including:

Step 1: Conceptual Design
The first step in crafting your new home involves creating conceptual site diagrams that graphically demonstrate the flow and function of your new home. Called “floor plan bubble diagrams” these drawings represent the preliminary concepts for your home. From these diagrams you can begin to envision:

  • First floor plan
  • General layout and relationship between the spaces in the home
  • A conceptual front elevation, including overall tone and style of the home
  • Building perspective
  • Preliminary pricing to determine fit for your budget

“I love this phase of the project because it’s all about exploration. How does the kitchen flow into other entertaining areas? How do you bring the indoors and outdoors together in the design? How can you not just accommodate the needs and wants of the homeowner, but elevate them with new ideas and opportunities they never dreamed possible?” Steve passionately shares.

At Regency Builders, we don’t build the same home twice, which means we have the privilege and challenge of bringing new ideas and concepts to the table each day.

Step 2: Design Development
During the second step of the design phase, we bring the conceptual diagrams to a new level of detail, incorporating structural and budgetary considerations, as well as addressing design opportunities such as:

  • Entry to the home – approach perspective
  • Transition between public and private spaces
  • Window positioning and daylight into the home
  • Gateway, courtyard, and covered entryways
  • Organization, alignments, and sequence of spaces
  • Floor and ceiling height variation and variety of detail
  • Use of symmetry and asymmetry throughout the home
  • Use of Houzz and Pinterest for your exterior facade style
  • Consideration of all needed room sizes, with emphasis on reducing unnecessary square footage

“In this phase, you really see form and function come together. There are a lot of decisions to be made in this phase of custom home architecture, which is why the relationship between architect, builder, and homeowner is essential,” Steve states. “This is the point at which crucial choices must be made, impacting the overall architecture and budget,” he continues.

At Regency Builders, we know that the Design Team would not be strong without a strong architect/builder relationship. By working together in Design Development, we can help our clients to make critical budget decisions, weighing the features and options for their new home in real time. When builders and architects don’t work hand-in-hand, you may design a very beautiful, but unbuildable or unrealistic home. Together, we can guide the conversation, sharing costs in candid conversation, allowing you to make architectural decisions such as splurging on curved windows while saving on other less impactful choices. It amazes us how the personality of our clients comes out in the styling and decor of their home from the beginning design stages!

By the end of the Design Development phase, we can come to a very close budget, allowing us to proceed with drawings and competitive bidding in future phases.

Step 3: Three Dimensional Design
It can be very difficult to picture the interior and exterior of your finished home from only blueprint drawings and material samples. Three Dimensional Design and Architecture allows you to:

  • Determine the appropriate combination of exterior medium (i.e. stone, brick, siding, stucco)
  • Look at your new home in a “real life” view
  • Study roof shapes, window forms, and exterior design detail, allowing us to add or eliminate features based off budget constraints
  • Choose your exterior color palette
  • Complete a virtual walk-through of the interior of your home
  • Fully understand the ceiling, beam, kitchen, and bar detail

“Today’s 3D architecture allows you to feel confident in the big decisions you make on your new home. While homeowners can ‘see it’ in their mind, the vast majority struggles with this phase,” Steve explains. At Regency, we know that building a custom home is a big investment, and 3D Architecture helps you to “see what you will get” long before construction is underway.

Step 4: Construction Documents
The final design phase before construction begins is to finalize drawings, documents, and specifications which depict all the floor levels, exteriors, and building sections. In the documents phase you can expect:

  • Details and written information relative to sizes, shapes, construction methods, and materials
  • Details on the necessary means for obtaining accurate bids, building permits, zoning permits, sanitary permits, demolition permits, and construction drawings
  • An architectural site plan, foundation and first/second floor plans, roof plans, exterior elevations, construction details, and more
  • Final budget estimate and detailed proposal
  • Competitive value engineering and bidding
  • Coordinate donations for a demolition project

The nuts and bolts of architectural design are these construction documents. Final blueprints are designed with deep detail, allowing both bidding and construction of your new home to be on time and on budget.

About Hom Dezign & Regency Builders

Few partnerships are as symbiotic as that between Steve and the Regency Builders team. An extension of our family, Steve’s philosophy as an architect is that the personality of a home has a great impact on the way you live. He sees architecture as a large scale sculpture, bringing his vision for creating functional and aesthetically superior homes to each of Regency’s clients. Many of our design ideas start off on a cocktail napkin at dinner and eventually turn into beautiful homes.

Steve’s experience and commitment to our clients is as important as his talent as an architect. His dedication and devotion to our customers, even in the early discussion phases, is what truly makes him a valued partner. The creativity and imagination that Steve possesses may come from his parents who started Wollersheim wineries years ago. With a degree in architecture from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Steve’s experience spans many architectural styles, project sizes and applications. From custom home architecture to multi-family and light commercial design, he is truly a master of his craft.