Pre-Design & Values Worksheets

When you work with us at Sunlight Homes, the first step we take is giving your access to our online Pre-Design and Values Worksheets. Prior to the crafting of your design, we first need to understand the exact wants and needs which you have for your home. These worksheets are truly comprehensive, covering everything from the number of rooms you desire in your home, to your hobbies and future plans. Through our values worksheets, we get to know exactly what is important to you. Do you want your home to be a hub for entertainment, a safe have, or a place of relaxation? No matter your preference, your new home will be designed to match your unique lifestyle. Not only do these worksheets help us in the design process, but they can also act to provide you with a clear sense of what you want in a home. In fact, we often hear back from clients about how our worksheet helped them come up with new ideas and priorities for their home that they had not thought of previously.

The Site Visit

Following your completion of our Pre-Design and Values Worksheets, we will then meet face-to-face at your building site. This visit usually lasts two days, and will be a creative and exciting process of discovery and collaboration.

Day 1 – Visit the site and review worksheets

Having previously gone through your worksheets, we will have a general idea of what your want in your home. Having obtained this information, we will then meet up with you and walk to your build site. On site, we will then begin to identify the unique aspects of your site that influence your home design. Your views, obstructions, street access, trees, site slope, neighboring buildings and potential building sites are all taken into account. Once we become familiarized with your site, it will then be time to sit down and discuss your design (maybe over diner or a drink)! Using the worksheets as a guide to facilitate discussion, we will collaborate to develop a plan for your home’s design. Know that we will have seen your site firsthand, we can now give you suggestions about how to achieve the goals you have set forth in the worksheets. Furthermore, we will also point out any challenges or difficulties that may arise, as well as their solutions. Following this meeting, we will then have all the information we need to start to develop a design for your home.

Day 2 – Create And Present Bubble Diagrams

Now that we have a greater understanding of the vision you have for your home, as well as the intricacies of your property, it’s time to sketch out our ideas. With any home, the most important aspects are the basic relationship of the rooms to one another, the build site, as well as the position of the sun. The best way to visualize these relationships is with a bubble diagram (pictured below). These may be simple drawings, but they convey information that is crucial to the home design process.

Tran-Bubble-Diagram-1024x769With only a drawing of simple lines and circles, we can then discuss the most basic and important aspects of your new home. We then consider the home’s positioning on your lot, where rooms will be in relation to outdoor spaces, the traffic flow inside the house, the orientation to the sun, and much, much more. We choose to use these simple diagrams so your design does not get too complicated too soon, as it is important to give thorough consideration to the basic details of a home before moving on to the specific details. We can discuss how these details will play into your final home design, but it’s extremely important that we not get ahead of ourselves before considering these fundamental design decisions.

We will continue to work on tour bubble diagram after our initial meeting, and on the next day, we will return to your build site to present these diagrams. We will not only show you our designs, but also any revelations we may have had during the design of the bubble diagrams.  As we are presenting these diagrams, we will also take in any input you may have. As we take the time to discuss your goals, wants and needs from your home, we have found that clients are often thrilled with these initial sketches.

If there are any aspects of the design that you don’t agree with, or another design strategy you would like to discuss, it is a simple process to take out the tracing paper and start a new design. Upon conclusion of the site visit, our goal is for everyone to be in agreement with the direction we will take as we develop your new home design.

Time To Take The Design Digital

After our meeting, we head back to the office to set about putting the bubble diagram into a hard line drawing; a floor plan, elevations, and a 3D model. These may resemble a final product, but they are actually far from it! We generate a design in full 3D to act as a starting point, so you can see how the different design elements work together and give us your feedback. Just as with the bubble diagrams, it is important to primarily focus on the more basic elements of the design, such as the size of rooms, various proportions, and general roof design. Once the basics are narrowed down, we can then shift our attention to the specifics like kitchen layout and window placement. Eventually, we work our way down to the minor details, such as finishes. We end our design process with Design Sign-Off, your final approval of the plan, elevation, and 3D model. This will signify your approval to create the construction documents that your builder will use use to obtain a building permit and build your home.

Two Key Design Leaps

Our design process is intentionally broken up to account for your input every step of the way. We value your regular input so our designs are always in line with your wants, needs, and vision. With this in mind, there are two distinct leaps that occur in the design process.

The first leap takes place from the clean slate to the bubble design. Although it may seem to be a simple sketch, being only circles on paper, but what it communicates is profound. This process does not leave the build site, and wont be completed until you are completely satisfied with the end result.

The second of these leaps occurs when the bubble diagram is transitioned into an actual CAD design, which includes a floor plan, elevations, and 3D models. We use ArchiCAD,  a state-of-the-art computer software that generates accurate, detailed drawings and 3D renderings from the very start of the design and throughout the design process. Curious to see how different roof pitches will affect the look of your house? No problem! Want to see how an entry porch detail would look on your home? We’ll make it happen! Using such powerful, cutting-edge software makes it easy to explore different strategies and design elements and can provide you with a comprehensive, detailed design that is easy to visualize and comprehend. This allows for more accurate feedback, which also allows for us to respond with design improvements and tweaks that truly fit your needs. We believe that by staying up to date with the latest in design software, we continue to produce successful, fulfilling designs to our clients.


Maintaining good communication throughout the design and building process is of the utmost importance. Throughout the process, we will communicate through phone calls, email, screen sharing, or video chatting to refine your unique design. No matter your location, this digital communication will effectively shrink the distance between us. This system has led to success with clients throughout the country who we have worked with in the past.

Our 3D Design Software

ArchiCAD, the software we utilize in our designs, is what’s known as a “BIM”, or building information modeling. This means that when we draw a line into this software, it will create a 3D digital image instead of just a line, which is viewable on a computer screen. These renders create an plan that is far easier to understand than conventional 2D Floor Plans. As we do all our designs in 3d, the plans, elevations, and sections of our home are simply views of the 3D model.

Throughout the design process, as you give feedback and we make a change, such as bump out a wall, change the proportion of a room, or move a window, the software automatically updates the digital model, as well as the pages of the design, to reflect the change. This provides two main benefits, the first being immediate and comprehensive feedback on your design decisions. The second of these benefits is the excellent quality control, as eliminating errors requires changing them manually throughout every page of the design.

Overall Design Timeline

Below, we have a typical timeline of our home design process with us. There are several factors that can contribute to this, including the size and complexity of home, the turnaround time of our communications with you, our workload, how often changes are made and other factors. The majority of our projects, however, fall into this timeframe.

Week 0:  Sign a contract with Sunlight Homes and receive the web address of our private, client website where you have access to our Pre-Design and Values Worksheets.

Weeks 1-3: Complete and return the worksheets and obtain the necessary surveys and tests. We’ll inform you of what you need.

Week 4: We will meet at the build site and determine where your home will sit on the site. We then develop our bubble diagrams of room relations and orientations. At the end of the second day, we will have a final bubble diagram and a plan for moving forward.

Weeks 5-10: The design is developed incrementally and sent to you for feedback. We will adjust for your feedback with changes and add details on each iteration.

The time required of this step will vary depending on the pace of your decisions, as well as the groundbreaking date. If groundbreaking is months in the future, we would prefer to take longer for decisions to allow them to germinate. We will discuss this with you on an individual basis.

Week 11: The design is typically completed by this time and we will have a Design Sign-Off, where you sign off on the floor plan and elevations indicating your final approval of the design and giving us your permission to to complete the constructions documents and drawing.

Weeks 12-13: Final construction documents suitable for a building permit are drafted. (Ask us about the timeframe for your specific project. This can vary.)