Linwood Custom Homes - Custom home packages including house plans

Award winning Custom Home Packages including house plans with site specific design.

Energy Star

Save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products

James Hardie

World leader in fiber cement siding and backerboard

Jeldwen Windows & Doors (US)

Reliable wood, vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors

Milgard Windows & Doors

All our vinyl windows are backed by a lifetime warranty.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

The premier resource for industry information, education, research, and technical expertise.

Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO)

OFHEO's mission is to promote housing and a strong national housing finance system.

builder picture

Home Design

Choosing the right home plan

is an important first step. There are thousands of stock designs available but most will not be suitable for your project for a variety of reasons. Once you understand what is involved in developing a home design, you can make the right choices so can get the best outcome.

A true custom home incorporates site specific design features. This means it fully considers the characteristics of the property as well as meeting building code and permitting requirements. Your designer will be able to help you create an appropriate site specific design.

  • Why Site Specific Design is Important
  • The Design Process
  • Input for Budget Preparation
  • Advantages of Working with Professional Designers

When you are searching for the perfect home design, you may find that it is difficult to find exactly what you want. Because every homeowner has unique lifestyle, taste and budget needs, careful consideration should be given to all the factors involved in your project.

You will need professionals with various skills to work with you to ensure your home is designed to meet your expectations and can be built on your specific property. You also need to select the right combination of building materials to get the best value from your design.

We can work with your architect or designer to help produce a site specific design. Pierce County Home Builders can also help you assemble design expertise, if required. We have developed strong working relationships with an award winning design team. They can help you take your concept design to construction blueprints.


Why Site Specific Design is Important

A true custom home incorporates site specific design features. Site specific design considers the actual design of the house and its placement on the property. This means it fully considers the characteristics of the property as well as meeting building code and permitting requirements. The following key issues need to be considered when creating a site specific design:

  • Elevations / exterior look / floor plan
  • View / orientation / natural light
  • Exposure / weather conditions
  • Setback / access / zoning
  • Slope / natural land features
  • Geo-technical / engineering / well / septic

The first step in designing your home is to take your ideas and develop a preliminary plan, which can be used to make any changes necessary. Once the design concept is finalized, it can be used to create blueprints and a working budget.

Blueprints are also used to obtain building permits and for actual construction purposes. Getting planning approval can be a lengthy process. This means you should apply for permits as soon as you have finalized blueprints available.


The Design Process

The design process usually takes longer that people think. This is because there are a number of steps involved and some key decisions to be made to get a good finalized design. The decisions you make at the design stage will affect every aspect of your project.

Designing your home starts with deciding on an exterior look or an interior layout that is appealing. With modern construction methods, most floor plans can be designed to match the desired exterior look.

The next step in developing your concept is to take your ideas to preliminary plans, which show floor plans and exterior elevations. In developing preliminary plans, you need to consider how the home will be placed on the property. This requires looking at the characteristics of the property from both a features and technical perspective. Setbacks, zoning, placement of wells and septic fields also need to be taken into account.

These preliminary plans can then be used to generate blueprints. Accurate blueprints are the best basis for creating a realistic budget. Blueprints are also used to obtain building permits and for construction purposes.

Getting planning approval can be a lengthy process. It can take from 3 to 6 weeks just to get building permits. This is why you should apply for permits as soon as you have finalized blueprints available.


Input for Budget Preparation

The design chosen and resultant blueprints are the first critical step in budget preparation. An accurate final budget can only be produced when the information contained in the blueprints is available. Not only does this cover the size of the home and construction method, but also the type and quality of materials to be used.

Because of the nature of custom home projects, it is generally not realistic to use average per square foot prices to take the project to completion. The cost of decks, covered porches, garages, finished basements and main living areas need to be taken into consideration. The quality of materials used and the level of finishing will also make a significant difference. Therefore, any simplistic quotation of finished cost per square foot is totally unrealistic.

This is why you need to prepare a budget based on project specific information. Any other method of calculation can result in problems for the homeowner.


Advantages of Working with Professional Designers

Most custom homes need the involvement of a professional designer to help make sure the floor plan and external elevations meet the needs of the homeowner and building code requirements. This means you will need to rely on external design expertise to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the complexity of the project.

The initial concept design needs to incorporate site specific details to make sure that home can actually be built on your property. The blueprints need to accurately reflect the concept and have structural integrity. They should also show enough detail to allow accurate estimation of materials and for use in construction of the home. In addition, they need to minimize any local engineering required to obtain approval for local building permits.

Pierce County Home Builders has a team of professionals available to meet the needs of most custom home projects in the Pierce County area. Getting professional help that is available when needed and familiar with your type of project will save you time and money.



Pierce County Home Builders - Member of Washington Builder Network - 1.866.582.8453