The Abacus Process

Abacus Design specializes in collaborating with you as you plan, design and dream about your custom home. Let's work together and make something great.

You can come empty handed. We’ll walk you through the entire project, covering every detail, from sidewalk to chimney, and everything in between.

It’s easiest to think of the entire project as having seven major phases. They typically go as follows:

When clients come to us with a project idea, we working together by brainstorming and sorting all the possibilities down into a workable set of goals.

Things we typically cover in this phase:

  • Home style: Inspiration sources are magazines, books, photos, internet, clients' drawings and sketches.
  • Living areas: Want to know your ideas on bedrooms, living/family rooms, the kitchen, baths, the basement, utility areas, the office, garage, and outdoor living areas.
  • Aesthetic features: Things like the fireplace, stairs, ceiling heights/vaults, storage, special trims, exposed beams, and balcony.
  • Utilities: Specifiying details for electricity, natural gas/propane, water, sewage, and heating/AC.
  • Desired square feet of living area
  • Site map: We’ll determine property lines and lengths.

As early as possible, we’ll meet at the site to discuss following:

  • Best views
  • Prevailing winds & inclement weatherDriveway, parking
  • Tree preservation/removal
  • Any existing features affecting new construction

After the site meeting, we'll begin creating a first draft of main floor plan.

  • Drawings are created with CAD software using the programs 3D capabilities so you are able to visualize as easy as possible. This will provide numerous viewing options including interior and exterior renderings, walk-throughs and solar animations (sun/shade tracking)
  • The first draft of the main floor plan is presented to clients.
  • Clients will review first draft.
  • We meet with clients to discuss the first draft and go over any desired changes and answer your questions.


The second phase of plan design consists of continued floor plan refinement, adding additional floors (if applicable), adding exterior elevations to the plan, and adjusting the plan until the client is satisfied.

This phase consists of finalizing the design of floor plans and exterior elevations (architectural plans). We'll provide the client with copy of the plans. The client is then free to obtain preliminary construction estimates from builders if desired.

Once the design phase is complete, we begin structural drawings. Then we integrate engineering into the structural plans. If needed the structural engineer is hired.

After integrating the structural engineering, we print and review plans together. This review means going over the architectural plans, the structural drawings and engineering, all as important parts of a complete unit. The client receives the plan and all supporting documents, ready for permit application and construction.

Then the building begins and you are several steps closer to your dream!