Made possible by our in-house service offerings, this in-depth review provides insight in to the major components of your project from a high level view, and provides clear steps forward to determining the feasibility of your requirements, and achieving them.

Our team will assess and review the following project components with you:

  • The Role of Sketching, Sun Studies, and 3D Design
  • Zoning By-Laws
  • Lot Grading and Natural Features
  • Custom Home Design Process and Proposal Review
  • Interior Design Process and Proposal Review
  • Permit Timelines

You will receive the following:

  • Zoning Study
  • Custom Home Design Proposal and process
  • Interior Design Proposal and Process Breakdown
  • Detailed Construction Cost and Scope of Work
    Breakdown (If Applicable)




Throughout our project releases on social media and our portfolio, you may notice that our firm consistently echoes the importance of starting our home design process with sketching. Jesse’s ability to sketch both the exterior of the homes he commits to designing, as well as the interior perspective views of his interior design plans, has proven to be a discerning difference in Jesse’s ability to create timeless home designs. He applies this approach to custom home design, interior design, and landscape design.

While much, much more goes into these projects than sketches, including a long and iterative process where every detail is questioned several times over, we wanted to provide some insight into the reasons we believe sketching is an integral part of the process for any timeless custom home.

The definition of timeless design at Sensus Design Studio is that you can’t tell when the home was built when you drive by it. When you approach a home’s design from this perspective, your thoughts about each detail, and their weight in the scheme of the total design, shift significantly. Hand sketching each design allows Jesse to quickly and organically define the proportions of a design, test different exterior materials and textures, and balance decorative features, leading to the creation of a timeless design. The result is a cohesively luxurious environment no matter where you stand throughout the grounds.

Of course, it also results in an enjoyable experience for both the client and the home designer as a result of collaboration and keen focus on the intention and logic behind the design of each feature. We also believe that because sketching allows designers to explore their ideas and concepts flexibly and iteratively, the “right” design will inevitably be achieved along with unique and effective solutions to challenges found through the working process. Sketches also allow us to quickly experiment with different shapes, forms, and details, without being constrained by the technical limitations of a specific software.


This freedom of design expression encourages Jesse to explore a range of home design styles while pushing boundaries of the proportions he understands. Some of his favorite styles include renditions of French Chateau and French Manor design, Modern design, Farmhouse design along with its many contemporary renditions, and, of course, the Georgian, Contemporary, Tudor, English Cottage, and Nordic home design categories.

Sketches also allow us to quickly experiment with different shapes, forms, and details, without being constrained by the technical limitations of a specific software. This freedom of design expression encourages Jesse to explore a range of home design styles while pushing boundaries of the proportions he understands. Some of his favourite styles include renditions of French Chateau and French Manor design, Modern design, Farmhouse design along with its many contemporary renditions, and of course the Georgian, Contemporary, Tudor, English Cottage, and Nordic home design categories.


Furthermore, sketches often capture the intention and thought process behind a home’s design in a way that is not possible with more polished presentations. This raw and honest expression can be very powerful, as it communicates the designer’s vision in a way that is both personal and authentic. Hand-drawn quality also adds a human touch and personality to the design, which can also contribute to the timelessness of the design.


This approach is carried through the full range of our design services including interior design, landscape design, furnishing, and decorating. This holistic approach allows us to perfectly curate the intended environment that you want to experience over and over again, as this is the truest form of luxury design by Jesse’s definition.




Sketching is an important tool when it comes to designing a custom home, and offers a variety of benefits to help make the process easier, more effective, and more enjoyable. Some of the key benefits of sketching in our experience includes the following:

1. Proportions: Sketching benefits home design as a result of the designer having a heightened sense for the right proportions. Being in tune with the design you are trying to achieve when sketching offers the designer a level of control that is nearly impossible to achieve with computer-generated design. Everything from window sizes, window heights, roof heights, and even the most minor exterior details all have the “right location” on a home. More importantly, the perfect massing becomes evident. Sketching is what significantly aids in the formulation of the ideal design.

2. Visualization: Sketching allows you to quickly bring your custom home design ideas to life, helping you to see exactly how your ideas will look and function in the real world without having to mentally commit to them for too long. This makes it much easier to identify any issues or make any necessary changes to your custom home design before a more formal step in the design process begins. And, most importantly, if the sketch doesn’t look ideal, then it probably won’t look much better when you computer model it.


3. Creative Process Improvement: Sketching provides a low-stakes environment for you to experiment with different design ideas as you build upon your initial concept. This approach to custom home design can aid you in developing innovative solutions to design challenges. It also aids in the creative process by allowing you to delve into a range of stylistic details, massings, and new proportions for different features of the home without consequence. This creative process is important when trying to create a unique exterior elevation that stands the test of time.


4. Communication and Collaboration: Sketching makes it easier to communicate your custom home design ideas to others, such as clients, contractors, or even family members. By having a visual representation of your design, it becomes much easier to explain your ideas and to receive feedback. Utilizing sketching in design meetings with clients as a way to explain your ideas as the discussion progresses creates a uniquely collaborative environment for everyone involved. Not only does this make everyone feel like a hands-on contributor, but it also creates efficiencies in the process because everyone is so heavily and attentively involved.



While we believe that the process of sketching is what separates the ranks between different custom home design firms, this doesn’t mean we stick our noses up at computer-generated home design. In fact, it’s a huge part of our process! Computer modeling offers efficiency through the process as a result of being able to utilize sophisticated modeling to visualize specific features, quickly outline specific construction sequence notes, and create a comprehensive design package that sketching and hand-drawn drawings can’t offer.

In our eyes, 3D modeling and other forms of computer-generated home design complement the old-world practice of sketching to a high degree for several reasons. Our approach is one that blends the practices of sketching and computer-generated 3D visualizations to harness the best of both the old-world architectural principles that have proven to be so effective throughout history and the new-world practices of 3D modeling to improve the accuracy of design, the flow of information, and the construction process itself. By utilizing both of these methods, you are able to enjoy the free-spirited whimsical exploration that sketching offers while creating an accurate and detailed home that can be easily visualized before swinging a hammer. More importantly, it sets the stage for a designer who is able to curate every detail of the home both inside and out, contributing to the creation of a cohesively luxurious environment.

Here are a few of our top reasons for incorporating high-quality 3D modeling into our process for design, interior design, and landscape design:

1. Continued Refinement: 3D visualizations create a template for you to test minor detail changes in the later phases of the home design process. This ensures that every project can continue to be an iterative body of work. By being able to visualize every step of the exterior finishing process, you are able to perfect each of the minor details in advance of starting the on-site construction process. This is an integral part of Jesse’s design process, and a standard practice at Sensus Design Studio.

2. Optimizing the Home to Harness Natural Light: The creation of 3D models allows you to create detailed sun models that enable you to track the sun’s location at different times of day. The result is that Jesse is able to harness as much natural light as possible, which is one of the key principles behind timeless design in his eyes. By understanding the locations of the sun on an hourly basis, he is able to place each room strategically within the floor plant to harness natural light based on the average time of highest use for each space. This approach inevitably shapes the floor plans of the home, and it is for this reason that we believe that no two designs can be copied.

Having this information available also helps to determine the best placement for windows and skylights within each space. By knowing the direction and intensity of sunlight, designers can place windows and skylights in the most advantageous locations to maximize the amount of natural light entering the home at different times of day. This becomes especially important during the “in between” phases of the day, where we are required to “draw” natural light into hard to reach areas. This can reduce the reliance on artificial lighting, resulting in improved energy efficiency and a more comfortable and inviting living environment.

3. Integration of Landscaping Design:The ability to integrate landscape design into our design process has been the single most important impetus behind our ability to treat exterior entertainment space as an extension of the interior entertainment space. The same creature comforts should apply to both spaces, and that means that the same level of detail and approach of creating a luxurious environments has to apply as well. Being able to assess the locations of exterior tree and shrubbery selections is a great example of this, as well as measuring the impact of garden lighting locations. 3D modelling supports this process, as the same models used for the exterior design can accommodate the integration of these features. This leads to strategic placement of pool equipment, soaker pits or french drains, general storm water management on the site, and of course an improved quality of exterior design that closely meets the end users functional and aesthetic desires.


4. Integration of Interior Design Plans: The same exterior 3D design software that we utilize to bring the exterior design sketches to life is the same software that we use to bring interior design sketches to life. By creating interior 3D models, our team is able to offer our clients a full picture of what the interior is slated to look like. In addition to this, these models allow us to determine the amount of natural light that comes into each space accurately as well. Behind the scenes, detailed 2D construction drawings with corresponding elevations are produced including reflected ceiling plans to disperse the right amount of light into each room, elevation drawings of cabinetry in order to full customize each unit with unique features such as non-conventional storage solutions, and tile and floor finish layouts. This level of detail ensures a smooth construction process in our experience.


5. The Creation of a Vision With the Ability to Reference: By creating 3D models you are able to provide your construction teams with a clear vision of what you want the finished product to look like. This goes past the technical drawings mentioned above; what we are mentioning here is having high-quality 3D renderings that aid in everyone’s understanding of the desired end product down to minor details. In our experience, providing every person involved in the project with a clear reference of what you want the home to look like allows everyone to adequately play their part in refining the details of their work to mimic Jesse’s intended design vision as closely as possible. We find that circulating these documents solves over 80% of the common logistical issues in the construction process.

We hope our explanation of our process and approach of merging the old-world practices of sketching and the new-world practices of computer-generated 3D modeling offers insight into some of the smaller details behind our creations. While the first has a free-flowing and whimsically creative charm, the latter grounds the design in the client’s mind by aiding significantly in the visualization process. While these two phases of the process benefit the client's understanding of design, this approach also aids in organizing the construction process by providing everyone involved with a vision for the final product. More importantly, we believe that these principles are instrumental in creating a timeless home design.

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