Hiring a Custom Home Designer in Bend:

Table of Contents:

Hiring a Custom Home Designer – Frequently Asked Questions:

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For all intents and purposes, when it comes to designing a new custom home or a remodel for a single family residence in Central Oregon, there is very little difference, if any, between hiring a designer or an architect. The designers listed below all have 20+ years of experience designing custom homes and most have degrees in architecture. They simply don’t pay the State of Oregon the $200-$300 every year to register for the license, because they don’t have to (and I don’t blame them). If you were considering hiring John Q. Public to design your dream home, we’d have a problem, but otherwise comparing a prominent designer vs a licensed architect for your custom home project is typically a wash. Everyone we listed above is top notch regardless of their official title.

The most common questions designers hear:

  • Do you have experience designing a home in the style we want? (Hint: check their website and Houzz profile)
  • Can you provide references?
  • How long will it take to design our home?
  • Do you have time for us or are you too busy?
  • What is your fee structure and when do we make payments?
  • Can you recommend a builder? (They sure can)
  • Do you have experience with sustainable design? Do you incorporate “green design” elements? (The answer is yes.)

We’ve compiled a specific guide for just this topic. Click here to read it.

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First of all, there’s no need to stress. The firms listed below have conducted “the first meeting” hundreds of times and they know very well how to navigate the conversation and make you feel at ease. But it’s still good to be prepared. It’s a good idea to bring a handful of standard questions that are important to you, like experience, references, timeline and costs. For further reading on this topic, we’ve compiled an guide to help you prepare for the first meeting. Click here to read it.

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  1. Word of mouth referrals, like our list below
  2. Online searches
  3. Local design magazines
  4. Referrals from other architects

The Custom Home Design Process:

  • Step 1: Pre-Design

This first meeting with your designer/architect is often called the “Programming” meeting. Your design firm will ask thought provoking questions and collect information about your wants and dreams. The goal is to establish foundational logistics and the vision for your new home. To help you prepare for this first meeting, read our detailed guide here.

  • Step 2: Preliminary Design

Equipped with the “Program” and goals established in the first meeting, your design firm will begin to produce rough drawings of site plan, floor plan and exterior elevations to illustrate the basic concepts of the design. Drawings will typically include spatial relationships between rooms and desired architectural elements. At this stage, initial cost estimates can be established based on project size, materials and complexity.

  • Step 3: Design

Based on additional meetings and feedback from you, the homeowner, preliminary drawings can be transferred to the computer where realistic 3D model “renderings” are created. The vision comes to life. You get to visualize exterior and interior details alongside samples of building materials. Final decisions are made and preparations are made to submit plans to design review committees.

  • Step 4: Design Submission

By now, you’ve likely interviewed and selected your builder. We collaborate with your designer to coordinate the submission of final plans to design review committee and also city and county permitting offices. We review the final plans with your designer that now include notes, schedules, and engineering schematics. Our team is ready to begin site excavation the day we get final approval and we’re off to the races. This phase is where a veteran builder with over 25 years of experience dealing with design committees and city inspectors will save you precious time and get your project off on the right foot.

“Who do you recommend?”…

Below is a list of Home Designers and Architects who we have worked with over the past 25 years:

Custom Home Designers:

Firm Name

Contact Name

Phone Number

1. Wright Design Studio

Rick Wright


2. Tebbs Design Group

Jim Tebbs


3. Rozewski and Co. Designers

Jim Rozewski


4. Stemach Design & Architecture

Rachel Stemach


5. Al Tozer Designs

Al Tozer


Residential Architects:

Firm Name

Contact Name

Phone Number

1. Neal Huston & Associates

Neal Huston


2. Scott Gilbride Architects

Scott Gilbride


3. Mt. Bachelor Design Studio

Howard Spector


4. DKA Architecture & Design

John Kvapil


Home Design Questionnaire Template