Custom Design Services

Architectural drawings constitute only one step of our involvement in the typical project. As a full-service architectural design firm with offices in Telluride and Durango, Colorado, we see the project through from concept to completion, maintaining exacting attention to detail through every phase. Our process generally adheres to the following steps:


Step 1. PRE-DESIGN - Kick-Off Meeting

Every design we produce is uniquely suited to the client's tastes and wishes. The first step in our design process is to bring the design team together with the client and determine the breadth and scope of the design. Is your goal new construction or a remodel? Do you have an existing building site or still deciding on a location? Some clients are already very clear on their style preferences, while others choose to browse our library of architectural resources, trying on various styles to determine which ones fit their personality and aspirations for the project. After the rough idea for the project has been developed, we begin on the artistic and technical journey.

Bercovitz Design Concept to Site


Step 2. SITE ANALYSIS - Site Visit

Context is important in architecture. The design does not stand alone, but rather sits in juxtaposition to its surroundings, both complementing them and contrasting with them. Therefore, a site visit by our principal architect is vital to start the design process. As the architect looks on the potential building site, ideas begin to form about potential site plans and textures and materials that could be appropriate in that location. The potential environmental impacts are also considered, so that the design can be sensitive to the site, with the lightest footprint possible.


Step 3. SCHEMATIC DESIGN - Exploration with Conceptual Sketches

Even though the later stages of drafting have been revolutionized by computer-driven design, there is really nothing to compare with pen on vellum sheets for developing design concepts. The medium's flexibility and ability to capture the object of the mind's eye is unparalleled. We typically develop a half-dozen or more rough concepts in this method to define the general layout and character of your home or addition. We then digitize the sketches using a large-format scanner and make them available to our clients for feedback, and save them to our digital library for future reference. When the general outline of the design solidifies, these almost-perfectly-to-scale sketches form the basis of the digital reference plan.


Step 4. DESIGN DEVELOPMENT - Permit Documents

During this phase our sketches evolve into architecture as they are developed into digital drawings and eventually permit documents for the local jurisdiction of the home. We refine the concepts with our client, providing more detail, including materials and how everything fits together. We obtain input from structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as the landscape designer, to ensure that current standards will be met. We also typically employ an energy consultant to ensure thermal and energy-efficiency of the building. Our architectural drawings usually include a site plan (how the house sits in the landscape),  floor plans (showing how spaces will be used), elevations (exterior and interior side views), building sections (cutaways to show the insides of the building), schedules (lists of fixtures, doors, windows, appliances, etc.) and materials pallets, assembly details, and notes that describe some aspects of building in more detail. This set of drawings becomes the basis for applying for building or development permits from the city or county that will allow us to build a home. If applicable, we will shepherd the house design through neighborhood covenants, design review committees or historic reviews.


Step 5. CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS – Bid Set and General Contractor

After our client has approved the design, a set of construction drawings is produced to provide a high level of detail for the contractors. This set typically includes the site plan, foundation plan, floor plans, exterior elevations, building sections, details, framing and roof plans, interior elevations – and all are “stamped” by the architect or engineer as required by the jurisdiction. A general contractor (gc) will oversee development of the home.



We can assist with the selection of the GC or our client can independently interview and select a builder who is a good fit for them based on reputation, price, and availability. Some owners select their contractor before designing the house, and sometimes a client will solicit bids to build the project. Often, the GC will participate in our design process, providing preliminary cost estimates and conferring with our firm on details and specifications. This enables us and the contractor to provide a detailed final cost to the clients at this phase.


We typically assist our clients by observing construction to ensure compliance with the design and protecting the interests of our client. We review invoices, costs and scheduling, and provide clarifications or revisions as needed. While the contractor is responsible for construction, we ensure the integrity of the design is maintained and we keep the owner informed about progress.

Muddy Creek Retreat by Bercovitz Design Architects


The completed home is ready for move-in!