When looking for custom design work to make your dream home or renovation come to fruition, there is a process in which we follow to ensure your project is a successful one from start to finish.

Our custom design process looks like this:

Phase 1 – Design Services

Phase 2 – Construction Documentation

Phase 3 – Site Overview

By following our own process, we work closely with our clients on their custom design ideas to ensure that from the very beginning of the project until putting the final touches in place, all steps are executed as smoothly as possible.


As a Home Design Company, we start with the design/budgeting phase. The following outlines the step-by-step process that we take with our clients and the key to this phase is developing a detailed Wish List at the very beginning, which we can then use to establish a realistic goal for the budget.
The steps to our process include the following:

  1. Create a Wish List

    It is important to understand what the goals of the project are and what you are trying to accomplish within this project, whether that be a small addition to create more useable space for your family, a large-scope renovation, or a brand new custom home. There are many Web sites that can be used as great resources to find pictures of different home styles, interior spaces, colours and materials you may like, but we have found that by utilizing the site you can create an idea book that we can explore together. Remember, you are not reviewing the site to find that one perfect design; you are going through and finding items that catch your eye which can be used to describe your project goals and, ultimately, create a Wish List. The more information that you can provide, such as room-by-room requirements and how you live and entertain, the more accurate our design will be upon presentation. Our detailed and interactive PDF Wish List that we provide will help guide you through all the questions and items to think about during your project.

  2. Establish a Budget

    Once you have created your Wish List, we can then work together to establish a realistic budget. Through initial discussions prior to starting any design work, it is important for us to understand what you can afford to spend, what you want to spend and even what the neighbourhood can warrant you spending. There are many points and directions that this conversation can take, but it is extremely important for us to be able to marry a realistic budget with a realistic Wish List prior to starting any project.

  3. Preliminary Design Investigation

    Every property has its own unique characteristics, qualities and zoning requirements. If this is a new custom home, it is important to walk the site and understand the topography, orientation and surrounding landscape. If this is a renovation and addition to an existing home, a detailed site measure must be completed so that all of the existing conditions of the house (such as mechanical and structural) can be properly documented. A key item for this portion of work is a survey or site plan. Most homes will have some sort of document that shows the existing home in relation to the property lines or boundary, however, a survey will be required in any event to satisfy city requirements such as zoning, building permit applications, site grading or other requirements as indicated.

  4. Design Concept

    Now that we have all of the information from yourself, as the client, as well as the local planning departments and other jurisdictions, we can now prepare a detailed design. These will include colour-rendered exterior and interior elevations and detailed floor plans illustrating room layouts, lighting, furniture, kitchen designs, floor finishing layouts as well as landscape elements, should the project scope include it. We are able to create a very detailed package to present to you as our client, now that we have received all of your ideas and thoughts!

  5. Budget Confirmation

    Once the detailed design package is presented to you, we now have the necessary information to sit down and prepare a preliminary budget. Although the design package was created with the initial budget in mind discussed at the very beginning of the project, this step confirms where the design falls in line with that and provides a more accurate assessment of the true scope of work necessary.

  6. Design Sign-Off

    Now that the design has been presented and a budget has been prepared and submitted, we now work with you as our client to incorporate all of the changes and revisions you wish to see. These revisions include modifying the design to work within the budget discussed, in conjunction with changes you may wish to see and review. Once these have been incorporated, they are presented to you for final review. Often, a few meetings will be required in order to get the design 100% perfect as this is, after all, a large investment and every detail has to be worked through and considered.


Now that we have received the approval of the final design plans and elevations from our client, we are now able to move forward with the preparation and completion of the construction documents. All projects will require a building permit application with its local jurisdiction, however, some projects may require further applications to deal with city requirements from planning, zoning and building departments. These applications vary from city to city and are site and project specific and can include:

  1. Site Plan Application
    Approval from the city for grading, tree protection, tree hoarding, etc.
  2. Zoning Approval / Pre-Planning Review
    These are applications that review the scope of work to ensure that we are fully compliant with the site-specific zoning by-laws.
  3. Committee of Adjustment
    If the initial design does not, or cannot, comply with the specific zoning for the identified property, a minor variance application is required to receive relief of this particular zoning by-law.
  4. Conservation Approval
    Various properties may be located within ESAs (Environmentally Sensitive Areas) and would therefore require approval from the local Conservation Area. This would include properties that back onto rivers, streams, lakes or Conservation wildlife areas.
  5. Niagara Escarpment or Other
    Outside of a Conservation Approval, these areas would be site specific to other authorities which may require approval.

Construction documents are the set of drawings that make up the “instruction manual” that is submitted to the city for their approval as well as to the contractor to build from. The level of detail that is laid out in these drawings provides a smooth and easy building permit approval process. Additional information such as lighting and electrical layouts, exterior details, interior finish schedules, etc. allows for a very detailed set of drawings that can be submitted to the contractor for construction. The more detailed the package of drawings, the more accurate and concise the tender process becomes which, ultimately, reflects in a smooth and timely construction process.

This set of drawings may include any part of the following drawings depending on the size and scope of the project:

  1. Site Plan Application
  2. Demolition Plans
  3. Proposed Plans
  1. Exterior Elevations
  2. Construction Sections
  3. Exterior Details
  1. Interior Details
  2. Lighting/Electrical
  3. Mechanical/HVAC


Now that we have completed both Phases 1 and 2 of our process, we are ready to move forward into Phase 3 with the contractor of your choice as the final member of our team! We have worked closely together to create a beautiful design, prepare all of the necessary documentation to implement it into reality and now have all of our permits in place to progress.

As a result of detailed construction documents derived from Phase 2, the contractor now has a clear building manual that he/she can successfully use to start the work but that does not mean our team breaks apart. There are still other important stages throughout the construction process where it is important to have everyone on-site together: yourself as the client, us as the designer and also the contractor to walk the job and ensure that the client understands what is going on and is happy with things. This may include: 

  1. Completion of framing to ensure that everything has been completed per the plan. This is also a key time for us to meet with you so that you have a clear understanding of the space now that it is being built. At this meeting, we would walk through with the contractor and yourself to discuss all of the back framing, that is to say, all of the bulkheads, walls and other framing details that complete the space.
  2. Lighting and electrical walk through. Although a very detailed lighting and electrical plan has been completed, it is always helpful to walk through the site with yourself and the contractor to ensure that where we have located pot lights, switches or electrical outlets actually works with the framing that has now been completed and make any necessary changes to the layout. It’s a great time to ensure that we have accommodated for all electrical locations based on furniture layout, etc.
  3. Exterior colours and samples of materials can now be ordered by the contractor. This could involve having stone or brick samples done up on-site to approve the blend of stone and mortar joints or having samples of siding, stucco or other finishes prepared to put the entire colour palette together. It is always important to visualize this while we are outside to obtain the best lighting conditions.
  4. Final walk through. This is a very important step in completing the project, as every project will have some items of deficiency that need to be cleared-up and completed by the designer, contractor and/or yourself, as the client. We always suggest that an on-site meeting be held by the entire team to walk through the project together and complete a final list of the items of concern, have it agreed to by all those involved, and then the work is subsequently completed so that we can receive final sign off.

It is important to note that communication throughout the entire process is key to a successful project. That includes right from the very beginning of the project in expressing your detailed Wish List and budget, to the completion and last steps with the final walk through. This emphasis on clear and consistent communication, in conjunction with the right team, will make for a smooth process that is done in a timely manner.

Let Structured Creations arrange a free initial consultation with you to discuss your project scope and budget for your new home, renovation, addition or interior remodeling.

416.204.0351 /