It’s safe to say that Jeff Haberman, architect and president of
The Home Design Group, knows a thing or two about custom homes.
He’s designed at least 5000 of them, including one in every
county of California, as well as in Alaska, Washington, Oregon,
Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Japan, and Samoa.
Forty years ago,
Haberman started out with sketches—until AutoCAD came along.
After adopting it in 1991, it’s been an integral part of his
business and designs ever since. Now, he’s also exploring how
to incorporate Revit as well. In this interview, Haberman
shares insights on his business, the industry as a whole, and
some indispensable advice for custom home design and AutoCAD.
How do you approach the design of a home with your
Some clients come in and know exactly what they want, while
others need much more hand holding and a custom design job. I
use many tools to create the home my clients are looking for.
First I will look at whatever my client comes to me with. This
may include pictures, magazine clippings, newspaper articles,
plans the client has seen or sketched up and I have even had
clients walk in with models they have made. I ask for a
complete list of the rooms they are looking for and if there is
a size they prefer. I will also ask a client if they have any
religious requirements or if they are followers of Feng Shui or
Vastu, which can have numerous implications to the design.
Once we have a full idea of what they’re looking for in the
house, I will ask for a plot map so we know overall how big the
building envelope is and the size the home can be. If I get
information from the client that the property is severely
sloped or sloped in multiple directions, I will want to do a
site visit and get a surveyor to begin work on a topographic
map to see if there are situations with the slopes that may
require a special design.
All images courtesy of Jeff Haberman
Next I will design a rough draft that I feel will work best
with the lot, including the views and more. I call this first
draft my sounding board plan. The idea is that it’s something I
can get to my client, and they can sound off on the things that
they like or want to see changed in the plan. Once a client is
able to get that information back, I can work to finalize…