Our Design Process for Houses + Architecture

Imbue Design's philosophy about architecture and process for designing custom moderns homes and commercial spaces.

We are a beyond-full-service firm. We’re not just here to give you a fabulously designed project [though that’s certainly part of it]. We’re here to guide you through the design and construction process [step by step, beginning to end] taking the mystery out of it and tackling the toughest tasks, so you can enjoy to journey.

hand sketched concept diagram drawn as part of an architectural exploration for a modern home in Park City, Utah


Everything we design begins with the same essential (and exciting!) process: discovering a project’s unique design parameters. These are the regulating criteria that inform every decision we make throughout a project. They can be client needs, site opportunities, government regulation, climate, furry friends, culture, budget, time, sustainability, unreasonable phobias, secret obsessions. 

For Imbue, the most critical design parameters are gathered from two sources: you (the client) and place (your project's context). All other design parameters, though vital, are subservient to these. We weave together how you want to live and how a place can influence your experience of living to create the meaning that makes your building a work of architecture and your house a home. We understand that every client and every building site is unique resulting in a combination of singular possibilities that demand responsive design.

hand sketched and rendered elevation of a modern piece of architecture used for design development


There is an infinite number of great solutions for any given set of design parameters. But at the end of the day only one design is realized. In order to discover the solution that best suits you, each of the three partners at Imbue [using information gathered from you and the site] produces a distinct, initial design proposal for your consideration. The three proposals are presented in the form of 3D digital models, renders, and virtual reality tours, along with scale-able floor plans and detailed descriptions. By intentionally varying the concepts, layouts, aesthetics, and sizes of each proposal you’re able to explore a wide spectrum of possibilities and examine each solution’s compatibility with your own lifestyle and preferences. Then, with your feedback, we can pinpoint your position along the spectrum to produce a schematic that is expressly your own. This client-tailored schematic design becomes the beginning point of the project’s development.

rendered 3D digital, computer model of a modern cabin design located in the Southern Utah’s high desert


Throughout the entirety of each project, all three principals are actively engaged. We are the design team (no lackeys here). However, as amazing as we’d like to believe we are, we know that real genius is the result of multiple experts in a variety of disciplines combining their experience and knowledge to create something of substance.

Early in the design’s development we begin an interdisciplinary collaboration with the construction team, engineers, consultants, and permitting authorities to map out the most effective strategies that will maintain design integrity, financial goals, timeliness, and ultimately success. Establishing preliminary structural options, cost estimates, code requirements, and sustainability goals at this stage help to mitigate unwelcome surprises later on.


Often referred to as plans or blueprints, construction documents contain all the information required by permitting authorities (to issue a building permit), lenders (to establish appraisal value), and contractors (to bid out and build the project).  

Working closely with the construction team and consultants we produce the project’s technical plans, drawings, details, and specifications. We submit them to the permitting bodies and negotiate the necessary permits. Finally, we assist the general contractor in pulling building permits, procuring bids, and fielding questions. Permit in hand and final budget established, the general contractor sinks a shovel into the ground and construction begins.

structural steel beams of a contemporary style home viewed during a site visit in a project’s construction observation phase


By contract we're on site at several key milestones of construction. By nature, we're there much more often. After all, we grew up chasing brooms and swinging hammers.

During construction we continue our collaboration with the contractor and the trades to answer questions, ensure that construction is going according to plan, finalize details, resolve issues, and verify fabricator shop drawings. Through it all we keep you informed on your project's progress.

At this stage we also like to indulge in a little grade school nostalgia by taking clients on various field trips to ogle fixtures, appliances, lighting, cabinetry, and finishes that may have not already been specified. When commissioned to do so, we'll even help make the finer decisions like furniture, dinnerware, and art selections.

We're with the project from design conception to the housewarming party (as prestigious guests of honor, of course).  We'll bring the baked brie.

walnut silverware drawer organizer selected during the interior design detailing of a newly constructed modern home