How Do I Get Started?

Initial Meeting:

You have decided you would like to build your dream home and have purchased a lot, you may be working with a builder and they have advised you that they need detailed drawings before they can give you a building cost estimate. You are at the stage where you need the experience and expertise of Studer Residential Designs to create structural drawings and assimilate all of your ideas into a comprehensive set of house plans.

The initial meeting is held at our office in Cold Spring, Kentucky with Mike or Paul Studer or Mike Frimming. You can plan on 2-2½ hours and be prepared to explore your needs, budget and design ideas in this first meeting. To expedite the process it is helpful to bring with you any site/plot plan information, development restrictions and collection of ideas you may have. Builder and interior designer participation is always welcome. After meeting with you and considering your needs we will offer a pricing bid for our design labor.

Using the information obtained from our meeting the Designer creates a hand-drawn Preliminary Design Concept. The Preliminary is intended to illustrate your ideas in graphic form, to be sure we have a clear understanding of your goals and provide a visual image of your mental picture. You can use the Preliminary for further discussion on pricing and decorating and explore any unresolved options. The Design Process is exactly that, a process, and it may take some changes to this preliminary to achieve your ultimate goal.

Once you are comfortable with the Preliminary Design and are ready to proceed, we move the project into the Working Drawing (Construction Drawing) Department. This is the time when the draftsman "builds" the home in an AutoCad program.

The Design process may take several weeks to complete depending on the size and complexity of the home. Studer Residential Designs works to provide clear and concise drawings from which your builder can obtain accurate bids, follow the design directives and build your dream home.

There are various building codes that we at Studer Designs need to be concerned about when creating your construction drawings. There are National Codes that are standard throughout the country and there are local codes that various cities, counties and municipalities adopt. We work to include all national and local codes on our custom designs. The construction drawings will be reviewed by the local building department before a permit is issued. They may come back to the builder or us with questions on specific items on the drawings. This is part of the process and nothing to be concerned about. We work closely with the building departments to amend the drawings and conform to all their requests. At times the building department may require some detailed engineering on a construction detail. We work with a structural engineer to provide all requested engineering.

Preliminary Design:

The preliminary design showcases the front elevation with exterior coatings and detail, as well as first and second floor plan layouts with room sizes, closet locations and utilities shown. Although it may lack detail many of the construction elements, basic structural components and code requirements are worked out at this stage of the design. Any questions, modifications or unresolved options should be addressed and clarified during the preliminary design process.

Working (Construction) Drawings:

The working drawings contain graphic as well as written information. The specifications contain important information on, but not limited to, soils, concrete, foundation, structural steel, carpentry, glazing, dryvit, flashing and code compliance. Read the specs and discuss with your contractor. A home is constructed using many products and systems manufactured by different companies. It is important that you and your contractor discuss and comply with the manufacturers' specs to insure the performance on your home that they were designed to deliver. 


There is a certain amount of engineering included in our design programs and is a standard part of the drawing package; however, there are occasions when lot specifics and extraordinary design elements may result in the building department requesting additional engineering. In this case we consult with a structural engineer outside our office to provide all requested engineering. The engineer will bill us for his services and we in turn will bill the customer/builder at the same rate.  There is no upcharge on our part for this.


Our design labor will be discussed at the initial meeting.  Once we know the scope of the work we can then prepare a bid based on the anticipated time expected to complete the project.

Follow Up:

Members of our design team are available to the customer and/or the builder to answer questions or concerns that may arise during the construction process.