Top 5 Tips That Will Help You Simplify Selecting Finishes For Your New Home

October 2019


The beauty of building a new home is that you get to pick everything the way you like it. This is a fun and exciting time, and most homeowners start the journey all smiles.

However, given the sheer number of finishes, fittings, appliances, and fixture selections that need to be made, this can become a tedious and daunting process.

For some homeowners it is like being a kid in a candy store. They are paralyzed at the thought that they cannot pick everything. For others, the possibility of making an expensive mistake can be very stressful.

In the interest of keeping those smiles, here are five vital tips that will simplify the process and reduce the chances of making expensive mistakes.

1. Start With A Vision


Without a vision of where you want to go, you might end up in a place you didn’t want.

As the future owner of a new home, you have likely been looking at magazines and online pictures to get ideas. An inspiration folder with images of the places you like and things that appeal to you is an effective tool to pin down your personal style, and to help you build a visual plan for your home.

Your inspiration folder will be your toolbox to help you get closer to where you want to be. Refer to it often—there will be times when you need something tangible to guide your choices.

2. Follow A Process


The order in which you select finishes is very important. The good news is that there is a logical sequence to the process, and once you’ve selected a few key elements, every next selection becomes a little easier. As you continue, it becomes less about finding unique items, and more about what works with what you’ve already selected.

Start with your floors—it sets the tone of the room, and visually takes up a lot of space. The most timeless options for wooden floors are naturally light or medium brown. The rule for tiles is to always keep it simple.

Next is to choose is the hard finishes that have limited color options—counter tops, stone, and tiles. All of these—even whites—have subtle undertones, and some undertones simply don’t agree with others. Always place your selections alongside one another to see if they work well together.

The very last finishes to select are paint colors. Here you have endless options to pick from, and with your hard finishes already selected, it will be easy to find the colors that pull everything together.

3. Set Your Budget


To make the selections process more manageable, set a budget for each part of the project. This will direct your attention to products and styles in your price range and will reduce your options, making the whole process less overwhelming.

There might also be a specific item or finish that you’ve always wanted in your dream home, even though it might be a bit of a splurge. That is fine. You can plan for this by being more conservative on other items that are less important to you, and so balance things out.

Decide what your must-haves and non-negotiables are and plan around that.

4. Make Decisions Early On


Although your builder does not need to know everything upfront, it is highly recommended that you settle design choices early on.

When you select and place all your finishes together, you have a better chance of achieving continuity throughout your home. Your builder will also be able to give you more accurate estimates, and most importantly, when orders are placed well in advance, it will reduce costly delays later on.

Stretching out the process might also wear you down, and can end up in hasty decisions you later regret.

5. Remember Not All Finishes Are Equally Important

This means that you don’t have to fall in love with each and every finish you choose. As in the movies, some finishes will be main actors, while others will merely play a supporting role.

If all the finishes were superstars, they would compete for your attention and none will stand out.

It is a relief to know that you can relax a little about some selections, and save your energy for the ones that are really important to you.


For those that would like to learn more about working with Stillwater Dwellings Interior Design for their Stillwater home, or for another home, contact for more information.

Stillwater Dwellings’ Commitment To The Environment

September 2019

At Stillwater Dwellings, we are committed to sustainable practices. Green building is a time-tested and intuitive approach to creating environmentally sound buildings. It combines age-old wisdom with modern building systems and technology.

Here are some of the ways in which our designs and panelized building systems conserve resources, are energy efficient, and can create healthier indoor environments.


  • Our LEED-Certified architects are committed to structural integrity, energy performance and minimizing environmental impact.
  • Mindful positioning of the home on the site to achieve optimal ventilation in summer as well as passive solar heating in cooler months.
  • Home site placement and engineering carried out with consideration to conservation and natural assets preservation.


  • High-quality, engineered wood is used providing years of trouble-free, dependable use. Engineered wood also helps with the reduction of waste and decreased disposal costs. Wood is a highly renewable resource – 27% more timber is grown than harvested each year.
  • Our standing seam metal roof lasts 40-60 years reducing, replacement, repair and waste.
  • FSC certified hardwood floors are available.
  • Kitchen and bathroom countertops made from recycled glass and porcelain are available.


  • Hybrid insulation system that give the house a minimum R-50 value for the roof, R-28 for the walls, and R-30 for the floors.
  • Photovoltaic and car charger ready.
  • Full solar energy management solutions.
  • Energy star appliances and lighting available.
  • Designed to take advantage of passive heating/cooling solutions.
  • Panelized production allows for an overall higher quality home built with greater precision, potentially reducing overall energy consumption 15-20% over stick-built homes.

Embodied energy is the total energy used to produce, transport and construct a home. According to the organization Architecture 2030, embodied energy often accounts for 15-20% of a building’s total energy use during a 50 year period. Using low embodied energy materials and processes reduce a home’s overall life cycle carbon footprint.

  • Reduced material waste of up to 50% over stick-built homes.
  • Reduction in deliveries to the site of up to 90%.
  • Safer working conditions in a factory-controlled environment.
  • Smaller construction footprint. Less truck traffic. Onsite construction process is shorter with less disruption to the environment and community in the form of noise and air pollution.
  • Reduced operational energy.
  • Prefabricated homes can be up to 25% faster to construct.


  • Homes are tightly insulated and assembled with optimal ventilation and air flow.
  • Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint.


Register today to attend our free seminar in Malibu, CA where you’ll learn about our modern homes, customization and the prefabricated process. Find out why our designs and process are becoming the popular option over traditional methods. Meet Stillwater team members and have your questions answered.

Register Today – Space Limited!

WHEN: October 26th, 11:30am – 2:00pm
WHERE: Villa Graziadio, Malibu CA

Details & Registration


Welcome, Mia!
We are happy to announce that Mia Hannom has joined the Stillwater team as Interior Designer.

Incorporating Solar Energy Into Home Design

August 2019

Starting January 2020, California’s solar mandate will go into effect requiring all newly built homes to be solar-powered. The rule marks a new phase in California’s environmental policies, which have often set trends and established standards nationwide.

Whether you are building in California or across the United States, Stillwater Dwellings offers a unique approach to Green Energy Management Systems (GEMS) that benefits all new homeowners who are looking to build a sustainable home.

We’ve taken a unique, design-focused approach to the integration of solar energy. Our architects, along with our solar partners at Exponent Solar Energy, sit down with you at the very beginning of a project to design a cohesive and streamlined solar solution that does not compromise the integrity of your home’s design, yet meets your energy needs.

While California is the first state to institute a formal solar mandate, others will likely follow and we are here to help all homeowners who wish to get a jump start on Green Energy Management.

What does the new mandate mean for California residents who are building a new home? Here is the breakdown.

  • New homes built in CA after Jan 1, 2020 must be equipped with a solar electric system
  • Solar systems must be sized to offset 100% of the home’s electricity usage – but homes can still use energy from other sources, like gas
  • The size of the solar array can be reduced if other energy efficiency improvements are made elsewhere, like the inclusion of energy storage or green building materials
  • The new standard includes an exemption for houses that are often shaded from the sun. It also includes incentives for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home’s electrical system, to store the sun’s energy.

While the up-front cost of solar is expected to add roughly $10,000 to the price of a new home, the resident is expected to save around $19,000 on energy costs over the life of ownership.

In addition, solar systems improve property value by an average of 3.74%, according to a paper published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Library. Homes with solar energy systems are more desirable to buyers.

For more information about California’s solar mandate, visit the California Energy Commissions webpage about Building Energy Efficient Standards – Title 24

Most Popular Post This Month
We’re guessing these Stillwater homeowners will be enjoying their pool this weekend. Stay cool everyone!
To see more of this Stillwater Home in Windsor, CA click here.

How Solar Energy Is Stored

Welcome, Alyse!
Alyse Hayes has joined our growing team as our new Office Manager. Welcome, Alyse!

Building On A Slope

May 2019

The challenges and rewards of a sloped site.

Choosing a sloped site for your new home can be both challenging and rewarding. A sloped lot can offer amazing views of distant landscapes or forest canopies, extra light and the possibility of a walk-out lower level. However, there can be extra costs and challenges depending on the steepness of the slope, the approach to the site and the consistency of the ground. Luckily, we have plenty of experience successfully designing Stillwater homes for some of the most beautiful and challenging sloped sites. Our signature glass wall of windows and doors is ideal for making that indoor/outdoor connection with the amazing views a sloped site allows.

For those interested in building on a sloped site, here are some additional points to consider.

Slope Characteristics

The biggest hurdles boil down to two main factors: the gradient of the slope and whether the lot is upslope or downslope.

Less than a 10% incline is considered slight and is the easiest to build on, while 11-20% is considered moderate. Anything above 20% is steep.

Additional Foundation Work – Time & Cost

Even moderately sloped sites typically require more foundation work.

Drainage & Sewage

Proper water drainage from rainfall, as well as relative placement to sewage lines need to be carefully planned and designed.

Removal or Fill Soil

Depending on your specific site, you may need to haul soil away, or deliver soil to the site for filling. Either way, transportation of the soil to and from the site will need to take place and this can add to the cost.

Access to the House

Access to the property — for both you and your contractors — is an important factor to consider in your calculations as well. Using our panelized building method allows us to vary the shipment sizes and methods to accommodate your lot.

Soil Type

The type of soil your home will sit on must be taken into consideration. Granular soils drain well and can bear high loads compared to clay soils. Some clay soils can damage foundations due to expansion and contraction during seasons.

Rock ledges near the surface can also present difficulties with drainage and septic systems and solutions will need to be discussed. Having a geotechnical report for us to analyze is helpful in determining foundation/retaining wall costs for a new home.


You’ll want to put down plants that can take root on an incline and can help reduce erosion and prevent weeds. Retaining walls, rock gardens, and terracing are also good options on sloped sites.


What’s all the buzz about luxury prefab homes? Come find out!

Register today to attend our free seminar in Seattle where you’ll learn about our modern homes, customization and the prefabricated process. Find out why our designs and process and becoming the popular option over traditional methods. Meet Stillwater team members and local builders and get your questions answered.

Register Today – Space Limited!

WHEN: June 22nd, 2-4pm
WHERE: Seattle Public Library, Central Branch

Details & Registration

We’re all work… and some play!
Not only can we design homes, we can curl! We had a great day spending time together and developing a deeper appreciation for the sport of curling. #teambuilding

Finding Land

April 2019

Finding A Home For Your Home

Useful tips to help you find the perfect piece of land to build your new home.

Before you build your dream home, you must find the dream location. For most, finding residential land can be a daunting and difficult process. Here are a few basic tips to help you get started.

Finding Land

Whether you already know where you want to buy land, or you’re still in the early stages of planning, finding that perfect plot can prove to be the most difficult task of all. Here are a few options to explore:

  1. Search Online Land Listings
    • Traditional real estate sites like Zillow and Redfin display MLS listed land sites available. These sites provide search filters that allow you to locate land within a specific area and within a set price range.
    • Visit land-specific sites like, and While these sites provide listings for all types of land, including residential, commercial and farm lands, they are easy to filter and sort. For more information about a specific listing, you can reach out to the individual land sellers or agents.
  2. Reach Out To Local Real Estate Agents
    • Your local real estate agent will have access to all MLS listings for land and maybe even know of some that have not yet been listed.
  3. Scout Established Neighborhoods
    • Driving through areas in which you’d like to live, and even talking to the neighbors, can provide valuable information about the area and possible available land.
  4. Use Google Maps
    • Use Google Maps to view locations in 3D before heading out to see the site. You will be able to get a sense of the shape and size of the site, the distance from street and views from the site, etc.
  5. Visit The Site
    • Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, be sure to visit the sites in person to get a better sense of the location, topography, views and surroundings. Ask if there is a survey/topo map available to gain an understanding of potential site prep/foundation costs.

Things To Keep In Mind

Finding the land is half the battle. Here are some additional items to consider before purchasing your dream site.

  1. Consider Utilities: The cost to run power to your home could be a large percentage of your budget and should be estimated on the front end. If a lot you are considering does not already have utility connections on the site, you will need to get estimates from local providers to understand the costs.
  2. Consider Site Restrictions: Most building sites have restrictions that dictate where, and even what you can build. For more detailed information about this, read our site restrictions article:
  3. Permitting: Get information about wind ratings, snow loads, easements, protected areas, and whether the land is in a flood plain or wildfire hazard zone. Understanding the associated permitting requirements will help you learn about any additional costs and potential delays.
  4. Architectural Consultation: Obtaining the advice of the home designers is immensely valuable in these beginning stages. If you’ve identified a site you are seriously considering, we will be happy to offer advice about building your Stillwater home on that specific location. Once you’ve purchased the land and selected your Stillwater design, we will guide you through all permitting and other processes involved to make sure your home is designed to sit perfectly within your site and meets all requirements.
  5. Prepare Your Financing: Unlike purchasing a home, many banks and lenders will not issue mortgages or other financing for empty land. Although some banks do offer land loans to finance the purchase of an empty parcel, these loans may have higher interest rates than a traditional mortgage and can require as much as 50 percent down according to Bankrate. Instead, if you can come up with the cash to buy the land outright, many lenders will issue construction loans using the land as collateral. These loans are easier to secure and generally have more favorable terms.

Welcome to the team, Jerry Wang!
We are excited to welcome Jerry to the Stillwater family as our newest Senior Architect. We can’t wait to see the amazing designs Jerry creates for our clients!

Welcome to the team, Nathan Bonk!
We are so happy to have Nathan join our team as our newest Architectural Drafter. We are grateful to have someone so talented who is already hard at work on our newest projects!

Stillwater employees have some of the cutest furry friends – and many accompany us to the office! Check them out on our site under the Barkitects & Purrduction section.

Front Entry Design

March 2019

Making An Entrance

The Importance Of Front Entry Design

The importance of the front entry is often overlooked by those who are building a new home, but it’s an essential feature that should be designed with great care. The front entrance not only provides exterior appeal, but it is the main welcoming point for visitors and serves as the first impression. It’s also considered a very important feng shui feature. According to this design philosophy, the house absorbs energy and nourishment through the front door. When the home has good energy, the people who live there experience higher levels of well-being.

Front Pivot Door on a Stillwater Home on Bainbridge Island, WA

The Stillwater entry of a home is a transitional feature that provides a greater indoor/outdoor connection than traditional entries. Our high-end pivot glass door is impressively larger than a typical front door and is hinged approximately 12” from one edge. It allows light and air to enter the home through a spacious opening.

The high-performance hardware allows for smooth operation and can be adjusted in both traveling speed and closure speed allowing customization for each household.

Front Pivot Door Interior View from a Stillwater Home in Windsor, CA

This style of door also harmonizes perfectly with the universal design of a Stillwater home, with its extra wide entry providing an uncrowded, easy pass-through.

To top it off, the Stillwater signature, solid steel canopy graces every entry. It weighs in at an impressive 800+ lbs. yet seems to float effortlessly overhead providing a sleek, modern flare and shelter from the elements.

Stillwater Dwellings’ Signature Steel Canopy

What is Organic Architecture?

February 2019

An Environmentally Integrated Approach To Design

The term “organic architecture” was first coined by American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) when describing his specific approach to architecture. It was a natural evolution from the previously standing “form follows function” design notion of the time. Wright believed that form and function should be integrated. Organic architecture is a philosophical design approach that strives to achieve a harmonious environment by blending interiors and exteriors. The buildings should have a connection to the sites within which they sit while providing the occupants with a connection to the environment. This concept is achieved through a well-integrated approach with the site, building, furnishings and surroundings as they all become part of a unified composition.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater exemplifies his revolutionary approach. Designed in 1935, Wright referenced the surrounding natural forms, materials and colors that would later become part of the home. He took inspiration from a rock that jutted out over the streaming waterfall, and designed the house to hover over it and appear part of the setting while the water flowed beneath.

Stillwater Dwellings Boring, OR

At Stillwater, our architects skillfully refine each home design based on the unique characteristics of the site and the homeowner’s lifestyle thereby unifying form and function. With each design, we make an effort to not only capture the views of nature, but to evaluate the surrounding elements. Some of these include light, wind, and color, which are blended into one harmonious environment – all while maintaining the unique Stillwater persona our homeowners cherish.

Stillwater Dwellings Portland, OR

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
-Frank Lloyd Wright

The Butterfly Roof

January 2019

Mid-Century Elegance in Modern Day Design

There’s no doubt that one of the most distinct characteristics of a Stillwater home is the elegant butterfly roof. The origin of this design element dates back to the early 1930s and yet, it remains a prominent feature of modern architecture today.

The original design of the butterfly roof was created by Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, in 1930 as part of a commissioned vacation home to be built in Zapallar, Chile. The home was for heiress, Eugenia Errazuriz, a grand patroness of the avant-garde and good friend of Picasso.

Le Corbusier’s Design Zapallar Vacation Home

Set on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the home was to display Le Corbusier’s trademark mix of organic design and modern innovation. “The broad, off-center V-shaped roof would resemble a butterfly in mid-flight. Where the two wings met about one-third of the way along the home, a gully formed, from which the large, winged expanses swept upward. This striking design was a distinctive departure from the flat roofs that had become characteristic of the 1920s.”

Unfortunately, Le Corbusier’s design was never realized when Errazuriz’s lifestyle left her bankrupt. It would be three years later that Czech architect, Antonin Raymond, built Corbusier’s design for his own home in Japan.

Antoniin Raymond’s Home In Japan

American architect Marcel Breuer then brought the butterfly roof to America in 1945 with his design for the Geller House on Long Island. Since then, many architects have used butterfly roofs for their eye-catching angles and eco-friendly properties, which include the ability to collect rainwater and incorporate larger windows.

Marcel Breuer’s Geller House

A Stillwater home takes inspiration from these exceptional architects. Our soaring butterfly roof is an artistic representation of the mid-century modernist spirit. Its elegance provides a distinct contemporary presence with a nod to the past.

Stillwater Dwellings Home In Napa, CA

(1) Marni Epstein-Mervis, “Curbed”

(2) Elizabeth Stamp, “Architectural Digest”

A Stillwater Home – More Than Meets The Eye

The Universal Design Approach

While most people are excited about the aesthetics of a Stillwater home, there is more to their design than meets the eye. An important consideration when building a home is the planning of its accessibility, useability and convenience both for today and for the future.

To achieve this, the Stillwater team approaches architecture with the universal design concept in mind. Universal design is not a design style or trend. Rather, it’s an approach to planning a home that allows for growth and changes over time. It is our belief that the home should be not only accessible throughout these life changes, but remain a place of comfort and ease. Large doors, open concepts, wide hallways and single level floor plans are just some of the universal design elements incorporated into our architecture that help to create homes that are safe, convenient and accessible regardless of physical ability or life stage.

The seven principles of universal design are:

  • Equitable Use
  • Flexibility In Use
  • Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Perceptible Information
  • Tolerance for Error
  • Low Physical Effort
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use

Our existing floor plans have already been designed to incorporate many of these principles and, for those clients who have specific needs, we are able to modify the designs as necessary.

Simply put, universal design is good design. And that is what Stillwater Dwellings is all about.

Stillwater Dwellings – Celebrates 10 Years

It has been an exciting and rewarding 10 years creating homes for our clients. We are grateful for our Stillwater team that has grown in that time and the Stillwater families we have enjoyed working with. Read More.

Post Of The Month

The Merge of
Design and Nature

The Team
Continues To Grow

Welcome, Joseph!

Our newest Architectural Drafter, Joseph Debnar has an impressive 26 years of architectural drafting experience. We are excited to have him aboard!

7 Tips To Create An Eco-Friendly Yard

Rather skip winter? Here is a quick escape from the cooler weather as you look forward to spring gardening

More Great Inspiration

Order our planning guide for even more information about our homes and designs.

7 Tips to Easily Create an Eco-Friendly Backyard

By: James Witts

When building a new home, it’s important to customize your backyard to your own personal needs. Many homeowners quickly settle into their home but then have trouble deciding what to do with the outdoor living spaces. Additionally, many of us value the outdoors and protecting the environment, and thus should consider ways to make our yards eco-friendly. Check out these seven tips to easily create an eco-friendly backyard for your new home.

Choose Native Plants

Adding native plants to your backyard is an eco-friendly way to garden. Native plants are those that are naturally found in your area and are adapted to the particular weather conditions. They don’t require extra watering which saves on water use as well. Native plants are also widely available making the process of purchasing and delivering the plants much less taxing on the environment. Incorporating native plants into your backyard also helps provide food and shelter for local pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies in order to strengthen the surrounding plant life.

Consider Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is one of the newest landscaping techniques that adds a lot of beauty to a backyard. The focus of xeriscaping is to use rocks and drought tolerant plants instead of a traditional grass lawn, cutting down on the weekly water use and lawn maintenance. Xeriscaping is highly sought after in more modern homes with upscale styles. Many gardeners now specialize in xeriscaping and creating your own native oasis can be easily installed with the proper professional.

Solar Lighting

One of the easiest ways to cut down on your energy bill as well as support the environment is to invest in solar lighting for your outdoor living space. There are many solar lighting options available on the market that come in a wide range of styles. Place individual solar lights along a pathway for added safety as well as solar powered flood lights that turn on when motion is detected. Other ways to incorporate solar lighting into a backyard include featuring spotlights on certain plants within the garden that are unique or blooming. Solar lights can also be installed in the entertaining areas of the backyard with many string lights and permanent fixtures being solar powered.

Harvest Rainwater

Choosing to harvest rainwater is a great option for those homeowners who live in a dry or drought prone area. Rain barrels collect the fallen rain and provide an adequate water source when drought restrictions are in effect. The barrels are easy to install or make yourself and can go a long way in providing water right when you need it. Consider multiple spots within your backyard where harvesting rainwater can be done for easy access later on.

Choose Organic

Many homeowners enjoy the benefits of having a lush lawn within their backyard. Consider choosing organic products to help feed the lawn as well as control pests and disease. Compost is a great way to naturally strengthen your lawn’s soil making the grass roots healthier. Another option is to find organic fertilizers that are available as well as other natural weed controls that will not harm the environment as well.

Use Pest Repelling Plants

Pests can not only annoy your backyard guests, but can also cause long term damage to your soil and your plants. Fortunately, there are a number of plants that repel insects that you can install in your backyard, reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides. These insect repelling plants include beautiful flowers such as Chrysanthemum and Petunias, as well as tasty herbs like Rosemary and Basil.

Cover with Mulch

Organic or inorganic mulching options can be used to cover the ground surrounding plants within the backyard. Many homeowners choose organic mulch options, like grass clippings or bark dust, in order to provide an essential nutrient to plants. Inorganic options, like pebbles or recycled rubber, can also be used but don’t provide nutrients to the soil. Both mulching options help prevent water run off and insulate the areas around plant roots. Mulch also helps keep plants cool which can lower the amount of water intake needed as well. Weeds also have trouble growing through mulch which saves you time and energy pulling them as well as supports the environment from the use of chemical weed control applications.

Creating an environmentally friendly backyard is easy with just a few steps. Homeowners can add instant beauty to the space by choosing to xeriscape or use native plants within the garden. Covering those plants with mulch helps retain moisture levels as well as harvesting rainwater for future use. Solar lighting is a great way to use the sun’s energy at night when needed. Consider all of these # tips to easily create an eco-friendly backyard to customize your home.

James Witts is an eco-conscious home improvement writer. He is constantly trying to find new ways to live off the grid while living in a tiny home with his wife, Andie.

Stillwater–Panelized Construction

Panelized wall and floor panels are installed on your site in a matter of days

Why Panelization?

Panelization is a hybrid building method which marries the efficiency of prefab with the design flexibility and quality of a stick-built home. Our systems-based prefab construction supports a high level of design and craftsmanship while controlling costs and eliminating surprises.

  • Precision: Using advanced MiTek technology, each panel is cut to measurements within 1/16th of an inch.
  • Shipping: Unlike a traditional modular home, our panels are shipped flat to your building site resulting in significantly reduced shipping costs.
  • Accessibility: Because are panels are shipped flat, we are able to access sites that are traditionally difficult to reach (i.e. steeply sloped, rough terrain, narrow driveways).
  • Sustainability: Our modern fabrication system reduces waste by up to 50% compared to traditional building methods. All Stillwater prefab homes are highly insulated to reduce energy costs and environmental impacts.
  • Time Savings: Using our highly refined three phase process, we are able to have your home move-in ready in up to a third less time than other building methods.
  • Quality: Panels are made of the highest quality Douglas Fir. They are constructed in a climate-controlled facility and are built to meet (and typically exceed) your local building code requirements.

Do you have questions regarding panelization? Please contact us at

Stillwater Plans Gallery and Planning Guide

Panels ready to go to your jobsite

The panels are built with quality materials in a controlled environment then loaded onto a truck for delivery to the jobsite

Panels going up

The walls of this home in California were put up in less than one week!

Thank you

We had an amazing turnout for both our seminar and open house in Santa Rosa last month. Thank you to everyone who attended! Keep an eye out for future event announcements.

Embracing the notion of Prospect and Refuge

Prospect & Refuge

A Stillwater Design Philosophy

At Stillwater Dwellings, we design your home to bring a balance to your lifestyle. We’ve learned that most people enjoy a mix of both excitement and escape within their homes. This concept is known as “Prospect and Refuge.”

Prospect can be defined as a feeling of anticipation or expectation. The environment is in a constant state of change; light, textures and movement offer a new perspective at any given moment. Allowing the seamless connection to the outdoors through carefully planned windows and doors, brings the opportunity for you to capture these visions of nature.

Refuge is thought of as a place of shelter, protection and safety. There are moments when you desire the comfort and relaxation of a private, safe space; a part of the home where you can curl up with a good book, or have a quiet moment of solitude. An escape to both recharge and relax is vital to healthy living. Every Stillwater home provides these places of refuge.

The balance of exposure and privacy are key to the design of a Stillwater home and bring a sense of harmony to the living space. It is this thoughtful approach that is well appreciated by our clients.

Post of the Month

View from an in-progress Stillwater Dwellings home on Orcas Island.

A Warm Welcome to Lukas Myers

This month, Lukas joined the Stillwater Dwellings team as our newest Production Drafter. Welcome, Lukas!

More Great Inspiration

Order our planning guide for even more information about our homes and designs.

Rebuilding after wildfires – where to begin?

“One of the great beauties of architecture is that, each time it is like life starting all over again.”
– Renzo Piano

A Stillwater California Rebuild Under Construction in Glen Ellen, CA

Rebuilding California

As the anniversary of the October 2017 Northern California wildfires approaches, we want to take this opportunity to thank those who turned to us to help them rebuild the place they call home. We were honored to be entrusted with such great responsibility. Understanding the desire and sense of urgency our clients faced to return to some semblance of normal, we immediately brainstormed ways in which we could get them back into a new home as soon as possible.

Tapping into our archive of designs, we found several that would work well given that they had been pre-engineered to meet California’s strict code requirements and, these plans were easily adaptable to several sites on a fast-track timeline. We worked closely with local jurisdictions and expediters to get the new plans approved as quickly as possible.

We are so happy that the first of these rebuilds is already nearing completion and we’re eagerly awaiting the moment our clients step through the door and know they are home, again.

What can we do to help you move into your new beginning?


Marin Magazine recently posted an article on the local relief efforts, highlighting the work of the Rebuild North Bay Foundation.

Most Popular Post

This photo of a recently completed sd161 home garnered the most “likes” on our Instagram page for September. See this home and more here

9/28/18 – The First Of Many Traditions To Come In A New Stillwater Home

Each Stillwater family is unique and we have the pleasure of getting to know each and every one of them. They come from all walks of life and, when we are lucky, we get a peek into their traditions. This month, we were invited to a Hindu house blessing at our clients’ new home in Kingston, WA. The ceremony was filled with vibrant colors, delicious food and many prayers for an auspicious beginning. We add our wishes to the family for a very happy life ahead in their new home.

How to handle site restrictions

This Stillwater home was modified to meet local setback requirements

Does your potential building site seem too good to be true? Take these factors into consideration:

  • Topography: while our homes can built on sloped properties, depending on the degree of the slope, there can be significant site prep, foundation, and retaining wall costs.
  • Soil condition: the type of soil your home is built on can significantly affect the cost of laying a proper foundation
  • Setback requirements: how far from the front, side and rear lots the home can be built.
  • Lot coverage restrictions: how much of the site area can be covered with the structure and with impervious (e.g. asphalt drive, tennis courts) surfaces.
  • House size limitations: some local zoning restrictions limit the size of houses or the height of houses.
  • Utility restrictions: if your site will require a septic system or a well, several regulations may apply.
  • Wetlands designations: some sites contain wetlands or are near enough to wetlands to affect the site.
  • Coastal Regulations: building near the ocean can involve special permits.

We provide initial site feasibility feedback free of charge to help you navigate these types of site considerations.

More about regulations.

Every Stillwater home comes with personalized support to help you navigate the unique requirements for your building site. Our professional architects and project managers have years of experience working with site conditions, municipalities, building departments. Contact us to learn more about the unique services we provide.

Stillwater Plans Gallery and Planning Guide

Save the Date!

Please join us in beautiful Santa Rosa, California for the Stillwater Design Seminar and Open House

Design Seminar
Satruday, June 23rd

Open House
Sunday, June 24th

Email or visit our Open House page for more information

Client Corner

“Stillwater was extremely flexible in accommodating our modifications. Having studied architecture, we were probably one of the most difficult clients Stillwater could have had; nonetheless, they were extremely collaborative and we feel we created an amazing house that met all our needs and budget. ” -Stillwater Homeowner

Happy Earth Day!

Each Stillwater home is carefully sited to take advantage of your local environment.

We hope you had a wonderful Earth Day and wanted to take this opportunity to demonstrate how Stillwater homes are designed with passive heating/cooling in mind.

How a house is oriented to the sun has a dramatic impact on heating and cooling costs — the largest energy load in most homes. In climates where home heating is a primary concern, maximize your site’s southern exposure to take advantage of passive solar gain. With today’s high-performance glass, south facing windows provide a net heat gain vs. loss through the glass area. If you are building in a more temperate climate, you should take into account the heating effects of the sun on west-facing rooms.

Not only will well-placed windows reduce your heating bills (by as much as 50%), but they will provide the benefit of making your home bright and welcoming. Add the practical consideration of not having to rely on artificial lighting during any daylight hours—and the subsequent reduction in energy costs. The power of solar gain can be maximized with heat-absorbing masonry (fireplaces or tile floors) in rooms with southerly exposures. Southerly exposures can be shaded from the summer sun with floor or roof overhangs, exterior pergolas planted with greenery, or with well-planned landscaping.

Click here for more ideas to take advantage of the sun in your home design!

Stillwater Plans Gallery and Planning Guide

Hooray for New Team Members!

We are excited to welcome our two newest team members–Ryan in the Design Studio and Greg in Sales. As our team grows, we are continuing our search for talented architects. Visit our Careers page for current opportunities.

A few words from a Stillwater client who appreciates the energy efficiency of their home:

“After the sun was up the outside temp increased to a high of 45°F during the day. Our furnace briefly came on twice during the morning and that was it! Although the outside temperature never rose above 45°, the inside temperature climbed to 75° by noon! And with nothing but the sun’s rays warming the interior. Apparently, whoever designed this thing really knew what they were doing!” -Stillwater Homeowner, Colorado

Selecting a PreEngineered Plan

Our most popular pre-engineered floor plan, sd155

Since the devastating wildfires throughout California, Stillwater has developed a series of pre-engineered floor plans to assist wildfire victims who want to rebuild quickly. Although these plans were originally designed for this purpose, Stillwater clients nationwide can take advantage of the efficiencies that these plans provide.

By choosing one of these plans, our clients can expect to shave approximately six months off the traditional lengthy homebuilding process–four months of design time, and two months of engineering. Along with the time savings, all standard architectural and engineering fees for these plans will be reduced as well.

These projects include complete structural engineering and construction sets. Once the foundation design is adjusted for individual site requirements, we can submit for a building permit. For site adaptation, the plans can be mirrored without any delays.

Contact us to discuss your upcoming project!

Visit us at Dwell on Design 2018!

We are excited to be part of the largest design showcase on the West Coast, Dwell on Design. If you plan to be in the Los Angeles area April 4-7, please come visit us at Booth #1223 of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Project Spotlight – Cedaredge, CO

These Stillwater homeowners and vintners wanted a special retreat for entertaining. Their unique take on our Original Finish Package seamlessly blended Stillwater’s aesthetic with their personal style. View photos of the result on our Instagram page