If home is where the heart is, then custom home design is where the soul resides—a reflection of a family’s essence and identity. A custom home is designed for unique needs and preferences, including features and an overall style handpicked by the client.

The beauty of custom home design lies in its deeply bespoke nature. Unlike stock plans, pre-fabricated homes, or other types of residential design, the custom design process includes a higher degree of personalization

As demand grows in Calgary for homes that meet specific needs, wants, lifestyles, and goals, custom home design rises to the occasion. At Ellergodt Design, we take a collaborative approach to residential design, one that’s distinctive all on its own. 

Here’s a quick look at how we design $1.5-3 million luxury custom homes in Calgary from start to finish:

  • Client Discovery 
  • Site Analysis
  • Design Process
  • Development

We’ll walk you through this comprehensive process ahead to give you a clearer understanding of what’s involved.

Client Discovery

Every great design starts with a conversation. 

Our client intake process begins with a Discovery Meeting to discuss your vision, preferences, and the potential of your chosen lot. Whether you’ve already secured a lot or need guidance selecting the perfect site, our team is here to start your journey on solid ground.

Finding the Right Team

We suggest bringing in a builder and an interior designer early. If you haven’t chosen these key partners yet, we’re happy to recommend one of our trusted collaborators. Having these team members on board early will ensure a smooth design process, as they can help inform you about overall costs.

Our team includes talented interior designers, and once the residential design process is complete, we’ll get to work recommending materials, colours, furnishings, and finishes that will reflect your personal style and functional needs.

Design Questionnaire

We’re all about the details, but more specifically, the details YOU want and love. Our client questionnaire is designed to engage your imagination—there are no right or wrong answers. The more you tell us about your vision, the better we can reflect it in your custom home design.

From details about your family and lifestyle, to how you’d like to feel in your new home and where the best light comes from on your site, we’ll cover tons of ground with your answers.

Site Analysis

The site you choose for your custom home matters. Ideally, it’s the right size for your family, has all of the right features, and has an easy-to-build-on slope. 

But, even if it doesn’t, we’ll help bring out the best in your lot. We’re problem solvers, and much of what we do is overcome challenges in our design process while ensuring they fit your needs.

During this stage, we’ll provide guidance on zoning bylaws and permits so you’re well-informed about your choices. Whether your site is in downtown Calgary or on a quiet acreage just outside the city, we’ll make sure you know what’s possible.

Site Features to Consider

Haven’t locked down a site just yet? Choosing between two properties to purchase? We’ll help you see the potential of each lot by looking into factors such as:

  • Views: Get the right site in Calgary, and you’ll have a beautiful view of the landscape or even the Rockies. From river valleys to cityscapes, considering what you’ll see when staring out your bedroom window or on your lawn is important.
  • Privacy: Calgary’s varying lot sizes and community layouts present both challenges and opportunities to design private, secluded, and tranquil homes. 
  • Accessibility: This includes the location’s ease of access to city amenities and major roads, and how accommodating the site will be at all life stages and mobility levels.
  • Soil: Soil composition can affect construction, so it’s a good idea to get it tested before purchasing to avoid potential issues like soil shifting or improper water drainage.
  • Topography: Topographical features can influence design and construction costs. While sloped lots can offer great views, they may pose challenges for stability and construction.

The Design Process

Unlike the industry norm, our method isn’t about rushing through decisions and designs. It’s about taking time to know our clients, giving them confidence, and ensuring the design reflects their vision.

Collaborative Creativity

We make sure to keep open communication throughout the design process, making it a rich exchange of ideas, not a one-sided presentation. 

From Concept to Reality

When you’ve passed along all of the details you want included in your design, we’ll put them into conceptual drawings, pausing as often as needed to ensure we’re headed in the right direction.

Where Does Interior Design Come In?

The magic of a home often lies in the finishing touches of interior design. Clients who build custom homes also often seek interior design services to complete their new homes.

We recommend bringing an interior designer on once the residential design component has been well established. We want to make sure residential design and interior design is an integrated process, but one that isn’t too complicated should designs change or clash. 

Project Development & Approval

Once you have approved the conceptual drawings and the details are finalized, we’ll create detailed drawings and 3D models to help you truly visualize your new home.

Traditional park exterior design

Final Steps

We’re in the home stretch of your custom home design now, but we must solve one more important piece of the puzzle: permits and municipal approvals. This can be the longest part of residential design—especially in the inner city. Regardless of approval timelines, we’ll navigate every step to ensure no detail is missed.

Challenges in the Design Process

No design project is ever without challenges—no matter how big or small. The key is how you approach them. We view every challenge as an opportunity and meet it with collaboration and effective planning. 

Common Challenges Faced

Some of the most common challenges we encounter include:

  • Client budget: Staying within a client’s budget, but including all of their desired features can be difficult. Revisions will be needed if they don’t have a contingency fund or flexible budget. This is one of the reasons we recommend bringing on a builder from the beginning stages of design. They can help advise clients on building costs throughout the design phase.
  • Client involvement: Starting a custom home design project is fun and exciting, but it can easily get overwhelming and other responsibilities can often get in the way. We recommend setting aside time to collaborate on the design to ensure the project moves along without a hitch. 
  • Permit timelines: This is one challenge that neither the client nor the designer has control over. The permit process can range from 2 weeks to 3 months.

Case Study: Elbow Park Traditional

Elbow Park Traditional home design

Wondering what the efforts of our design process actually look like? Check out the details of one of our projects below.

Size: 3,400 square feet, 2 storeys.

Goal: To create a home for a couple that brought their two lifestyles together. It needed to include ample entertaining space, fit well within the community’s original design aesthetic, and feel open and airy. 

Design Process: Since the clients planned to self-build their home, the design process was incredibly collaborative, and included many ideas that helped bring their vision to life.

Challenges & Solutions: From working closely with the city planner to addressing concerns put forth by neighbours, we were able to provide satisfactory solutions that worked for all.

Client Comments: This is my second home build with Brent and his team, quite frankly I can’t say enough about him. He listens well and is the most collaborative designer /architect I have ever worked with. He consistently comes up with bright and innovative ways to get to where you want to be. The homes have always been architecturally correct with the community and his relationship with the city with respect to Development Permit applications is unrivalled.

Bring Your Dream Home to Life with Ellergodt Design

For our team, residential design is about creating environments that reflect and enhance the way people live. Start your journey with Ellergodt Design today to translate your vision into a place that aligns perfectly with your goals, lifestyle, needs, and wants. 

Ready to begin? Schedule a meeting today and let’s build something extraordinary together.