The following represents our goals during the process of designing your high performance home

Initial Input Session

Bring or send us any of your preliminary dreams, thoughts, ideas, sketches and photos. We’ve had clients share everything from sketches on napkins to pages torn from magazines. Together, we will work through your vision and wish list to establish a “program” for your design. Throughout this process we exchange ideas and ask questions of one another until we have mutually agreed upon general direction of floor plans and elevations.

Price Quote & Scheduling

Once we establish a very clear direction and understanding of your wants and needs, we can then provide a firm price quote and schedule your project. Although pricing can vary depending on several factors, a typical custom design will cost between $3.00 and $6.00 per square foot. To facilitate the process, we will need information from you pertinent to your unique project such as plat map, topography, building budget and landscape elements, etc. Any survey or soils engineering should be delivered to us at this time.

Agreement, Deposit & Deliverables

After providing you with an acceptable quote and proposed schedule, we ask that you sign a design agreement and pay a deposit of one-third of the quoted fee. We then begin the design of your custom home.

Initial Design Concept

At the initial design phase we may produce various sketches, renderings and preliminary construction drawings of the floor plans and elevations in anticipation of decisions pertaining to reflected ceiling plan, energy efficiency considerations, material selections, etc. This usually takes approximately three weeks. We then meet with you in person (or remotely by phone, or online if it’s more convenient) to present the initial design and review it with you. Quite often at this meeting minor design development modifications are addressed as the process moves forward and evolves into working drawings. Sometimes further design reviews and modifications are needed.

Preliminary Design Approval

When a preliminary design is finalized, approved, and agreed upon, we move into production of working drawings. At this time we receive the second third of the design fee. Our staff and consultants take tremendous pride in our work and will insist on timely, accurate, and cost effective design and drafting.

Final Review

We offer you another review session after your floor plans, elevations, and site plan are fully developed and drafted including dimension plans, door/window schedules, notes, etc. Any minor revisions can be made at this point without incurring further expense. At this point, we can also provide your financial institution a package for loan processing and appraisal. Once confirmed, we collect the final payment and move ahead to finish your construction drawings and meet with consultants for final review. Our consultants are Architects, Engineers and General Contractors.      

Working Drawings

Working drawings include the following detailed plans:


  • Site plan
  • Elevations
  • Floor plans
  • Foundation plan
  • Roof framing plan(s)
  • Floor framing plan
  • Cross sections
  • Mechanical schematic


During and sometimes after working drawings are complete, we order any necessary engineering for your project. Required engineering is provided with the final construction documents package prior to building permit application. Often final engineering details follow working drawing completion by two or three weeks.

Construction documents typically include several final copies of your construction plan sets, permit package including REScheck and PDF files as needed. If any changes are made after completion of working drawings, additional fees may be billed, based on time needed to make necessary changes. We will also deliver a completed photo realistic rendering of your design within three to four weeks of working drawing completion.


After delivery of your project we remain available to answer questions that may come up during the permit process. We will also make ourselves available for any routine questions or clarifications needed during construction of your home. It is our sincere goal and desire to provide you with a familial experience and the most outstanding and creative design work available anywhere. Ethos Design has provided plans for hundreds of custom homes since 2002.