Follow us to Great Design! The Master Design Plan

The Master Design Plan! It’s also known as the magical playbook we create to turn vision into reality here in CFD-land. If you’ve been reading along for a bit, you’ve seen our series called ‘Follow Us to Great Design!, where we’re sharing a bit about what we do (see part I here!). We’ve gotten so many requests for this post, and our whole team is excited to dive in with tons of insight into what the Master Design Plan is and why it matters- and most importantly, how it can help you turn your new build or addition into a true custom space.

The results of a master design plan.

It’s never too early

First things first- one of the biggest questions we get when clients contact us, “is it too early to get started?” and the answer is almost always the same: it’s never too early! There are so many benefits to having a full-service design firm review your plan sets before you start construction on a new home or even an addition. Getting our eyeballs on every inch of those drawings gives us the opportunity to evaluate and make adjustments that will tailor it just to you. Jamie, our Design Tech says, “Most architectural plans are designed for general use. We will listen to you and understand your specific needs and recommend adjustments to your plan set to accommodate your specific furniture, lifestyle, and needs.”

The team building out a Design Plan

Getting it right from the Get-Go

There’s no doubt about it- we love getting to know our clients. One thing we always ask when we are in the initial stages of a new-build design with a client is, “what’s on your must-have list?”. Everyone has those certain features they’ve always wanted in their dream home or special pieces they have taken with them to every place they’ve lived in. But, if you’re going to spring for that gorgeous 6ft soaker tub or a beautiful zero entry shower, a standard bathroom is not going to accommodate them without major modifications to the building plan- all of which need to happen well before construction starts. Once plumbing and walls are in the stages of completion, modifications after the fact will hit the budget hard. These are key items to consider when we are reviewing building plans with a client, and one of the main reasons it’s worth the time and effort to have an experienced full-service design firm as part of your team.

Cat measuring equipment in a cafe to develop the master design plan.

Digging into the details

When it comes to custom builds, we’ve had every special request under the sun. Completely redesigning the plans for a client’s attic space to accommodate the storage of their 12 ft artificial Christmas tree? We made it happen. There’s no detail too small if it makes your home the perfect fit for you. But when we dig into with a set of building plans, we are also looking very closely at issues such as scale and symmetry, and always, always reviewing each space for function. We’re taking into account where each and every piece of furniture will go and how to create a flow that works. How do you enter and exit a room, and which way will the door swing? It might seem like an inconsequential thing, but it can make a huge difference. We were looking at a set of plans recently for a client who wanted a fireplace in the master bedroom. On the original building plans, it was centered on the wall opposite the bed, which looked beautiful on paper. But, because of where the door was, this amazing custom fireplace would have been OFF- center from where the bed actually would be, making the room feel unbalanced every time you were in it. We were able to make this adjustment to the plans on the front end (because there’s no moving that chimney later on!). Coming from an interiors perspective, we know that there are many critical details that matter when you use the space every single day.

Building Blocks

Even if you have a good idea of what you’re looking for when you go into a new build, the sheer volume of decisions to be made can be overwhelming (there are a LOT, y’all). Making it all come together in a cohesive, streamlined design? It can get tricky, even for the most prepared and savvy homeowner. This is one area in particular where we bring a lot to the table. Working with clients to select key building components that will be used throughout the house, such as hardwoods or other flooring, stone, tile, surface materials such as granite or quartz, and cabinetry are at the foundation of every new build and will set the aesthetic for the entire home. Working one-on-one, we go through each space to determine what’s needed, source materials, and narrow down selections, and make it all work together seamlessly. From setting that initial vision to driving out and meeting clients at the stone yard, we’re working with you to lay the foundation for a beautiful finish.

Cat and Sarah reviewing the design plan in a client's home.

The Dream-building Team

One thing that is unique about CFD is how often we work with contractors. New builds (whether it’s a full home or addition) is something that we love and have become well-versed in over the years. Working with contractors is something we do on a daily basis, and our philosophy is that teamwork is the key to creating the best possible outcome for our clients. Our design team is also fully in-house at CFD, and in addition to skilled designers, we are fortunate to have a robust group with a diverse background and a shared passion for creating and modifying building plans. Whatever your vision is- whether it’s a grand entryway, a steam shower, or unique custom built-ins around your fireplace- our skillset and experience working side-by-side with building professionals comes into play as we are hand-rendering plans to match your vision. We’re ALSO ensuring that the plans are buildable, balanced, and to scale for your contractor- the Master Design Plan does it all. We serve as a skilled resource and a client advocate, as well as an avenue of communication for all parties to be able to create that incredible home.

We’ve got more to show you! Be on the lookout for more from the Follow Us to Great Design Series here on the blog. Join in on all the happenings and goings-on of Cat and the CFD team via Instagram @CatFrenchDesign!

Looking for a bit more help to make your Master design plan? You can always reach us at! Or, view our brief new client questionnaire here. Want to keep checking things out? See even more images from past CFD projects on our Portfolio Page!