Our design process

We use the following steps to create beautiful and sustainable space unique to your vision, location, and budget: 

Your Idea – The Brief

Do you want to build your dream home? Does your storefront need a facelift? Do you want to create a self-sustaining space using permaculture principals? This is your chance to share your vision with us. Use our Guide to Writing a Brief to help clearly identify your ideas. 

Studying Your Site - Pre-Design

This is our chance to learn about your site. We look at the existing features on your property and take into account wind direction, sun angles, and other natural features to see how we can best incorporate permaculture design to create a comfortable and sustainable space. 

Time to Draw - Concept & Preliminary Design

Your project starts to take shape. We use a creative design process and pencil sketches to start designing a plan for you space. We then create a basic 3D computer model and work with you to find design solutions that best match your vision. 

Moving Forward - Developed Design

We work with you to find materials, finishes, and products that will best suit your space. 

Details, Details, Details - Detailed Design

We create a full set of drawings and specifications that will be used when applying for a building consent, pricing your project, and in construction. 

Getting Approval - Building Consent, Tendering, & Negotiation

We apply for a building consent before moving forward on your project. We can help you select a quality builder best suited for your project. 

Construction Time – Contract Administration or Project Observation

It’s time to get building. You choose how much involvement on site you wish us to have. 


The best part. It’s all about yousit back and enjoy your new space!


To learn more about our process of bringing your project from a dream into a reality, download Our Process PDF

Need some help writing a brief? Use our helpful Guide to Writing a Brief

“Gabrielle, Andrew and the team at Bell Stephenson Architects had the knowledge to cover all aspects of the resource consent process and documentation which helped save me costs by preparing well executed reports without the need to engage other expensive consultants. The documentation was accepted by TDC without protest and I was able to confirm my land purchase and continue with my business plan—all within the limited timeframe.” - Nature Kids Early Childhood Education Centre


Our Projects

From new homes to a brewery, we’ve designed beautiful & low-impact spaces for clients with all types of visions & budgets. Learn more→


We design our buildings & sites using permaculture principals - working with nature to create comfortable & self-sustaining spaces. Learn more→