Custom Homes and the Design process

Our plan or a custom plan?  DSC_7361


About 25% of our customers select one of our existing home plans for the building of their new home.   Another 30% decide to use a plan we have but ask for changes to fit their needs.  The rest ask us to create a custom design for them.


When we create a custom plan, we can start with an idea or a concept from a magazine or the internet.  There are two parts of this process.

We begin with an ideal budget range and then determine the size of a home that would fit within this range for the type of home you are interested in.   We then set up a meeting with our design team which consists of you, our Harrington Homes team and the architect.

architect meeting

Architect meeting at outdoor site


How does it work if I want a custom plan?

Our architect has agreed to make an initial time investment of approx. 1 hour and 2o minutes at no charge to you.  During this time he may prepare sketches to show the general layout you have discussed for your consideration.   As part of this process we will provide input and identify anything that may cause the home to exceed your budget comfort range.  At the end of the meeting you may make a commitment to having him prepare a preliminary plan for you or just thank him for his time.  DSC_7364



What size does my house need to be in order to make a custom plan worthwhile?


It’s not the size, it’s the design.  Over the past 10 years we have regularly created custom plans from 1475SF to 5000SF.  Everybody has an idea or a dream about what they would like to have in their new home.  From an efficient, attractive smaller single level home to a much larger complicated custom residence, the purpose of a custom design is to create what YOU want and need in your life for the place you will call home.


How much does it cost for a custom plan?

If you decide to move forward with a custom plan, you would provide a check for $1100 to Harrington Homes for the preparation of the preliminary plan?  This plan is generally prepared in an 1/8″ scale format and would have a front elevation and floor plans.  The primary rooms would have interior dimensions shown.   Sometimes it may take several small adjustments so that the plan is just the way you would like to see it.  This is normal and part of the standard preliminary design fee. ( In the event you wanted very significant changes made or you had decided you wanted a completely different plan, these fees would be quoted on an individual basis. )


From these preliminary plans we can prepare a complete pricing package for you.

Note: The total cost of a complete permit ready set of custom plans with the energy audit for most homes range between $1.20 and $1.35 per square foot of  actual living space depending on the complexity of the home.   The square footage calculation does not include garages and basements.  The preliminary fee is PART of this fee.

Example: 2000 SF of living space X 1.2= $2,400 less the $1100 already paid would leave a $1300 balance upon completion of final plans.


What if I have you quote the preliminary plans and then decide not to build?

Other than the preliminary fee you paid you have no further obligation to Harrington Homes or the architect and the preliminary plans are yours to keep.


What if I want to move forward with the building of my home?

We would finalize the list of items that you would like to have included in your new home and we would prepare a contract.  You could either pay the final architectural fee directly or ask us to include it in your contract pricing.  We would have already either visited your lot or determined what site costs should be included.  The preliminary plans would be attached to and become part of the contract.  This contract is what you would sign and provide a copy of for your lender in most situations.  We would order final plans to be completed, order a survey plot plan and schedule a pre-construction meeting.  We would set a start date with you and begin construction.


rod and wife at parade

Architect Rod VanDerWater and his wife visiting the house he designed for the Parade of Homes

Architect Rod VanDerWater has been in the residential design field for more than 25 years.   One of things we like best about Rod is his ability to listen and understand what the client is looking for.  Watching him translate their words into an actual design for a new home is always exciting for us.


We have a wonderful design team!  It starts with you and your ideas and then you have Harrington Homes and Rod VanDerWater to help you implement them.





Custom ideas.  They don’t have to end!

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