Designing and Building a Downers Grove Custom Home with a View

  • BrightLeaf Homes designed and built this custom home overlooking a neighborhood park and pond
  • Incorporating the orientation and slope of the lot was important in designing this custom home
  • Our client’s style leaned towards transitional with warm wood tones and neutral colors

Designing and Building a Downers Grove Custom Home with a View

Say hello to our latest custom built home in Downers Grove! This five bedroom, four and a half bathroom home is nestled onto a sloped lot with a massive backyard, overlooking a tree-studded neighborhood park and pond.

Through finding a lot, designing, building and finishing the home, we become involved in all aspects of our clients’ custom home journey. The floor plan, layout, finishes, and functionality are a blend of their needs and our design team’s expert advice.

This Build Story Wrap Up lays out their journey from the first meeting, to finding their perfect lot, through planning, designing, building, and moving into their BrightLeaf custom home.

Finding Our Clients the Perfect Lot To Build On

We met our clients while they were touring one of our spec homes that was for sale at the time. They liked the high performance benefits and layout of that home, but were set on another location. Working together with their realtor, our Home Consultant Jarrett Svendson was able to assist in locating the perfect lot to build their dream home on.

It was important to our clients that they had a view when looking out at the backyard and building on a sloped lot afforded them that luxury. We can confirm the view from the owners suite is truly beautiful, especially during sunrise hours.

“We like to take a holistic approach to building, so we wanted to incorporate the orientation and best features of the property and incorporate them into the design.” – Jarrett Svendson

The layout of the main floor and basement provide the perfect amount of space for gathering together, whether that be a family movie night or a big holiday celebration. The large kitchen island invites guests to gather around and is the catch all spot for entertaining.

Designing A Transitional Style Dream Home

After the property had been secured, we began the design process with a client questionnaire to fully understand our clients’ needs, design style, and lifestyle goals.
This gave us direction in how to layout the floor plan including the necessities for even the smallest day-to-day life details, like outlet and lighting placement, storage, organization, and other personal touches. We want all of our custom built homes to be as personally functional as possible!

One of our clients’ most important must-haves was maximizing the use of their lot. Being a sloped lot, we chose to incorporate a walk-out basement into the beautiful backyard. Additional must haves included a home office and enough bedrooms for their growing family plus also enough space to host visiting relatives.




The questionnaire also helped their BrightLeaf Interior Designer, Meghan, brainstorm finishes based on their design style and tastes. Using Pinterest boards to share inspiration images they found, our clients and Meghan collaborated to kick start the process.


Our clients’ style leaned towards transitional, with some traditional design characteristics mixed in. They liked warm wood tones, paneled cabinets, detailed trim, and neutral colors.


Once design was complete, their plans were approved by the village. A building permit was issued and it was time to demo the existing home on our clients’ lot.

Custom Home Building in Downers Grove

In order to begin the build process, we had to demolish an existing home, clear away the debris and start fresh.

To achieve the walk-out basement for our clients, we had to use a stepped foundation. To build this type of foundation, we started at the top of the lot’s slope framing very tall walls, that then literally stepped down the hillside to where the basement doors would open out to the backyard.

Using this type of foundation on a sloped lot like this one afforded our clients with full ceiling heights in their basement along with northern, eastern, and southern window exposures for natural light to pour in.

One of the most exciting parts of this build was the location itself. The park at the base of the backyard is often busy with playing children and runners frequently circling the pond’s trail.

During the build, our clients’ Project Manager, Brad, would often be visited by a curious turtle who’d need to be brought back to the pond’s safety.

Welcome Home to Our Clients

This lot was particularly unique in comparison to most lots we’ve built on in the past. From the view, to the neighborhood, we’re excited and happy our clients will have not only a beautiful home to live in but an area that will be great for their growing family, as well.

Interested in custom home building with BrightLeaf? Schedule a call with us today to explore your custom home options.

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About BrightLeaf

BrightLeaf is an award-winning, custom home builder specializing in sustainable, modern energy-efficient homes as well as remodeling and renovations. We are also a  full-service real estate brokerage that can help you buy and sell in the Greater Chicagoland Area.

Live or thinking of living in the Greater Chicagoland Area and need one of the following services? Click on the link to book an appointment to talk to a BrightLeaf Home Consultant.

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