Home > Process

Our design process is a collaborative experience. As luxury custom home builders in California, we guide our clients to efficiently identify issues, constraints, and opportunities.  We ask questions.  We develop ideas, exploring project possibilities and purpose. Communication is essential. We listen. We have found that the interaction of ideas will always lead to better design.

Through comprehensive project analysis, we explore existing site opportunities and constraints. We identify code relevant issues, client program and budget. As a full service architecture and interior design firm, our scope of services range from site analysis, schematic design, design development,  material and finish selections and specifications,  planning, zoning and permit navigation, and administration of the construction process thru completion.


Site Analysis
Our site studies analyze solar orientation, topography, drainage, views, soils, site access, and adjacent development. This information allows us to respond successfully to site challenges and opportunities, client program, and budget.

Site Planning
We develop scaled site plans to study potential building sites, access and vehicular areas, utilities, septic and water well areas, existing features and landmarks.

Schematic Design
Conceptual plans and sketches are drawn to propose floor plan solutions, elevations, sections, and relevant details. This phase will clarify potential building designs and site layouts for client feedback and approval so we can build the luxury custom home of your California dreams.

Design Development
Once schematic designs have been approved by the client, our drawings will be further developed, dimensioned, and detailed. This phase incorporates structural, energy, and other consultants as appropriate. Often, near the completion of this phase, we are able to submit for Planning and Zoning Department review and approval.

From layout to lighting, finish materials and color, we are able to assist our clients with all aspects of interior design and specifications.


Planning and Zoning Issues
It is important to understand and communicate with local Planning and Zoning agencies early in the design process. This keeps the design process efficient and on track. Often, projects will require special planning approvals, design reviews, or variances. We are well versed in these aspects of the approval process.

Construction Drawings
Once design development is complete, construction drawings are assembled and coordinated for permit submittals and ultimately for construction. This includes incorporating all consultant work into the submittal and construction plan sets.

Permit Processing
After drawings are developed and coordinated with appropriate engineering, energy, and other consultants, we are able to facilitate permit submittals and oversee the approval process.


Engineering Coordination
Most building projects require structural engineering and energy consulting. Often civil and soils engineering are also employed to determine foundation requirements, site drainage and other site-related issues. We encourage the creative interaction between these integral members of the project team. We are able to assist our clients with selection of a project team from out list of experienced consultants. We are also able to work with client referred professionals.

Construction Administration
Construction administration provides a level of assurance for our clients that the design intent and the construction drawings are being correctly followed during the construction phase. This usually requires regular communication with the build team in the field, and site visits at appropriate construction intervals.

Project Management
Some clients prefer a greater degree of project supervision. We are able to provide full service construction management to see a project through completion.


  • Custom Residential Design
  • Interior Design
  • New Construction
  • Remodels & Additions
  • Kitchens & Bathrooms
  • Historic Restoration
  • Vineyard & Rural Property Development
  • Passive Solar & Sustainable Design
  • Storefronts & Retail Space
  • Schematic Design
  • Resort Development and Land Planning
  • Luxury Retreat Design
  • Housing Village Design and Development

Are you ready to build your luxury resort or vineyard retreat?

2215 Tenth Street #1
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 845-3130
Skeels Design Architecture

We believe in architecture that gracefully withstands the test of time. We promote sustainability and will continue to employ efficiency, natural materials and systems wherever possible.