the welcome home course
We’ve all heard the horror stories about building and renovation projects gone wrong: blown budgets, delays, confrontation, and poor craftsmanship. Building and renovating a home can be a confusing and complex process and the more you research, the less you feel like you know. This overwhelm can lead you to doubt whether you’ve ever done enough due diligence. And, there’s a lot that the construction industry doesn’t want you to know because uncertainty gives them the upper hand. Without knowing the process, you risk wasting your budget, not meeting your schedule, and creating a generally stressful situation for you and your family.
There is a better way.
The Welcome Home Course is a step-by-step guide designed to help simplify the complex process of building or renovating a home and give you the knowledge and tools you need to begin your project with confidence. It decodes the planning and construction process in simple terms, accessible language and provides an organized plan for you to follow. It’s a proven process for building the home you deserve, on time and on budget.
It was created by two experienced, award-winning architects, myself, Eric Reinholdt of 30X40 Design Workshop and Amelia Lee of Undercover Architect. Knowing what to expect and how to get what you want is the best way we’ve found for alleviating the stress - both emotional and financial - that so often accompanies a building or renovation project. We’ve made it our mission to arm you with the information you need so you can avoid the most common errors homeowners (and even design professionals) make.
You’ll be seated across the table from us inside my architecture studio, 30X40 Design Workshop, here on the coast of Maine as we walk you through every step in the process from planning to constructing your project. You’ll learn from our combined 40+ years of professional expertise designing and delivering award-winning homes so you can be confident you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your time, your financial investment and to create the home you’ve always imagined.
The video course is divided into four general sections with one section released every week. Each module includes bonus resources and in week 3, you’ll have access to the ‘Your Location’ section to help you adapt your design to your local climate.
MODULE 1 : BEFORE YOU BEGIN (6 VIDEOS)
Here you’ll learn the steps that precede your design work. It’s a step people often skip only to discover later they’ve missed something crucial. We’ll tell you who to contact and in what order as well as what documentation you’ll need to gather before moving on to the next step. Learn how to hire the right pros to work with and how to audit their proposals, learn what governs what and where you can and can’t build and much more.
Research Your Local Rules
Set Your Goals
Understand the Process
Your Professional Team
Real Estate Research
MODULE 2: GETTING YOUR DESIGN RIGHT (7 VIDEOS)
For both architect and homeowner, the dreaming stage is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. While your home is still lines on a page it will never be easier or less expensive to make changes. Envisioning what could be is exciting, but there’s much to consider in this phase too. It can feel overwhelming to think about how you’re going to accommodate all you expect your home to be in your design. We outline the important considerations you’ll want to weigh as your design takes shape and how to add value to your home at no additional cost.
Strategies to Save You Money
Maximize Your Site’s (free) Assets
Getting Your Spaces Right
How to Write Your Project Brief
Set Your Budget
MODULE 3: BEFORE YOU BUILD (6 VIDEOS)
Your design is set, but there’s more to do before you dive into construction. Learn what steps you can take to ensure the construction phase proceeds smoothly and on schedule. Learn to avoid the assumptions most homeowners make that can lead to costly changes later on. This module is designed to help you avoid those and plan for a smooth build.
Electrical Light + Power
Drawings You’ll Need
DIY vs. Outsourcing
MODULE 4: GETTING YOUR PROJECT BUILT (7 VIDEOS)
This is an exciting yet often stressful phase. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as time and finances become your focus. But, you’ve prepared for this in each of the previous steps to ensure things run smoothly and efficiently. Knowing what to look for, what to ask, setting expectations, and maintaining open lines of communication are key to keeping control on a fast-paced construction site. This module provides a framework for conducting this phase as an architect would, with precision and confidence.
Your Construction Team
Choosing a Contractor
Contracts + Site Management
Sourcing Materials + Products
Spending + Saving Your Budget
Maintaining Progress + Sanity
Each module includes contextual bonus resources: links, checklists, guides, videos, podcasts, templates, + cheatsheets. On week 3, you’ll have access to an additional section entitled, “Your Location” to help you determine how your local climate will impact your design.
Module Checklists with Action Steps (PDF)
Climate Zone + Other Local Energy Conservation Information (Links)
Set Your Goals worksheet + prompts (PDF)
Diagram of traditional delivery model + preferred model (PDF + short video)
Fee Proposal Review Tips
Real Estate Resources
Brief Builder (Word + PDF)
Room Schedule + Suggested Dimensions
Electrical + Power Checklist
Contractor Interview Template
Site Meeting Minutes Template
Save Your Budget Cheatsheet
Course Checklist + Table of Contents (PDF)
have questions? here’s the FAQ
+ Who's it for?
Anyone preparing to build or renovate a home. It’s also an excellent primer on the process and best practices for young professionals (architects, interns, interior designers) seeking to work with homeowners on their residential design projects. You’ll learn the exact process and have access to the templates and checklists we’ve used to construct hundreds of residential projects.
+ Will this teach me how to design a home?
No. This course isn't a course about Architectural Design per se, we don't discuss architectural theory or details of specific projects. Learnings are about process and higher-level principles.
+ Is this only for people who plan to work with an architect or interior designer?
No, not at all. The advice, tips and strategies provided apply broadly to all residential projects, of every budget and every location. Some of the terminology and regional advice is specific to a US (northern hemisphere) audience, so if you’re from outside of the USA you may find we use different terminology and treat our northern and southern exposures differently! The advice and best practices apply whether or not you choose to hire an architect, interior designer, or draftsperson. Equally, if you’re planning to, you'll be a more informed client, and architects like educated clients because it makes their work easier and more efficient.
+ How will I receive the course?
The course is delivered through our secure course platform. You’ll receive all of the access and login information via email after you enroll. A new section will be released each week for 4 weeks.
+ Are all the documents I receive editable?
It varies based on the content and what we thought made sense. Some PDF documents have fields for you to fill in as appropriate, others like our Brief Builder + Contractor Interview Template are offered in both an editable Word document or a printable PDF. Documents like our suggested room size checklist are not editable for obvious reasons.
+ What happens when I enroll? What's the process?
You'll receive an email immediately from us with your login details and access to the first module (6 videos) on our secure, web-based course platform. You'll then receive access to a new module each week for 4 weeks.
+ How long will I have access?
As long as you need it.
+ How much does it cost?
+ How do I pay?
All payments are handled securely using encryption via a pop-up window right on this site when you click the ‘Enroll Now’ button. Payments will show up on your billing statement as: "Big Sky Dreaming Pty Ltd T/A Undercover Architect"
+ But shouldn't I be putting this toward my building project?
Building is costly and it's easy to spend more than this amount in lost time, lost value and unfixable mistakes. When you consider that the cost of the course is less than that of the new television set you’ll put in your new home, it's easy to put the outsized impact this investment in perspective. Add in the value of your time saved, knowledge gained, and of the certainty that you’re making the right decisions as you hire the right team to help you. You'll know how to ask for exactly what you want (and deserve) in the home you’ll be living in for years to come. If you're a design professional, the cost is a tax deductible educational expense.
+ Won't my contractor guide the process for me?
There are just as many excellent contractors out there as there are bad. This course will help you distinguish between them. You'll learn that a contractor's interests aren't always aligned with yours and how to spot when they're not. Knowing the process puts you in control and safeguards your investment.
+ How long is the course?
In total the videos total about 3 1/4 hours. When you follow the steps we’ve laid out, you’ll find the format supports incremental weekly progress toward your goal. We’ve edited the video content into shorter segments which deliver the information in a way that’s easy to act on and see immediate results. By taking a series of small steps over time we’ve found the process is easier to execute. And, given the amount of time and money you’re investing, it’s well worth the time to arm yourself with knowledge.
+ What if I start taking the course and find it isn’t right for me?
We've had such amazing feedback for this step-by-step system, we don't think this will be the case ... but we want you to feel confident about making this investment in your home and your future, which is why we offer a complete money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the course, simply let us know within 7 days of your purchase. We do ask that you send through work from three of the Module 1 Action Tips and Step #2 worksheet with your email, so that we know you gave the course a shot and we will deduct a 10% admin fee. Because the course content is delivered digitally we’re not able to offer refunds once you have access to module 2. If you begin module 1 and think it’s not a good fit for you, simply reach out to us via the course website and if it's before you receive the content and access to module 2, we can refund your purchase. Once you receive access to module 2, there are no refunds available.
who we are
Amelia Lee is an award-winning Australian architect and founder of Undercover Architect. She has more than 20 years of industry experience helping homeowners with their building and renovation projects. She's worked on more than 250 individual homes including 3 of her own. Well known as the creator of the Undercover Architect podcast, her teaching style is direct and easy to understand. In this course she's sharing her proven system for helping empower homeowners to save time, money and stress while designing and constructing the home they've always wanted.
Eric is an award-winning architect and founder of 30X40 Design Workshop, a Maine-based residential architecture practice. He has more than 20 years of industry experience working on projects across the United States including his own home and studio. He works closely with homeowners, supporting them through the entire experience of designing and building their homes so they're confident and excited about the process and the outcome. A thought leader in the architectural community, author of two books and creator of the most popular architectural YouTube channel online. He teaches professionals to close the knowledge gap between homeowners and their team.