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Our integrated Design-Build Approach is built on real construction knowledge and a passion for exceptional design. Our team of professional architects and builders collaborate daily on each project to optimize methods and materials for sustainability, function, aesthetics, and cost efficiency.

Our unique approach is founded on the principle that every project will be a one-of-a-kind piece of hand-crafted art, site built by human hands, and will serve as a tailor made expression of the specific project goals set out by each of our clients.

Our Architectural Services are administered through a Design Contract separately from the Construction Contract. This is because construction costs are not yet known at the time design work commences and will not be finalized until the design is completed.

Contact us at [email protected] to discuss getting started and we can share copies of our Design Contract and Construction Contract for your review.

Our Approach

Palo Santo Designs begin with a customer questionnaire that is designed to organize your hopes and desires, thoughts and needs into an organized framework. As part of this, we will develop a pre-design budget for you that reflects this. With this preliminary costing forecast, we can work with you to value optimize the goals and design to suit you.

A modern Santa Fe home with a concrete patio and steps designed by a home designer.
A Santa Fe-style home builder's rendering of a building with a blue exterior.


A complete customer questionaire enables us to move into Schematic Design. In this early phase of design we will conduct a thorough zoning review and code compliance analysis. We will review and internalize all related restrictions and architectural guidelines required by the local jurisdictions, Home Owners’ Association, and any other requirements. We will enlist the work of professional engineers and geotechnical engineers to assess your building site for topography, view corridors, soil conditions and proximity to utilities.

From these findings we will develop, with your collaboration, a preliminary floor plan, site plan and elevations. Iterations of which will be massaged and developed to best suit your preferences.


With your approval we will move into Design Development. In this phase we will begin to develop sections and details that reflect the aesthetic goals you have set out, and begin the process of building the project in our minds. Working through the unique connection, profiles and solving issues related to site topography as necessary to optimize views, adhere to zoning restrictions and manage budget expectations. We will begin work with our engineer consultants to address soils, and other structural and civil engineering issues relevant to the project. As the design is developed through this process, you will remain a key collaborator as your input is critical to the success. When sufficiently developed, we will prepare a Preliminary Construction Cost Forecast, with clearly itemized costs based on input from our trade partners, vendors and sub-contractors. From here additional value optimization can be revealed, discussed and addressed in the design. At this stage we will gain all necessary preliminary approvals from your HOA or other local jurisdictions as may be needed.


Upon your approval of the Design Development set and the Preliminary Construction Cost Forecast, we will go full speed into producing the Construction Documents. The final “Blueprints”. This will involve careful coordination with NM Licensed Civil and Structural Engineers, HERS Raters, and other consultants as may be required. For our commercial development projects this will also involve coordination with Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and utilities or government authorities as necessary. The final set of construction documents will provide you with all the necessary documentation to submit for permit, which we will do on your behalf. We will also produce a Final Construction Cost Proposal, the “bid”, upon which a Construction Contract Amount can be agreed upon serving as the basis to commence with a Construction Contract.

Get Started

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