7 Benefits of Design-Build Remodeling

Home remodeling is a complex and exciting process, filled with the promise of transforming your living spaces into something new and beautiful. The choices you make during this endeavor can significantly impact the outcome and your overall experience.

One approach that has been making waves in the world of home renovation is design-build remodeling. This method offers a streamlined and holistic way to realize your vision for your home. In this article, experts from a design+build studio explore the unique advantages of design-build remodeling, delving into why it’s gaining popularity among homeowners looking for a more efficient and effective way to revamp their living spaces.

advantages of design-buildWhat are the advantages of design-build?

Design-build remodeling, an integrated approach that combines the design and construction phases under one roof, offers a host of advantages for homeowners. Here are seven key benefits:

1. Single point of responsibility

One of the primary advantages of this method is the consolidation of responsibility. With a single design-build team overseeing the entire project, you have one point of contact for all aspects of your renovation. This simplifies communication, minimizes the potential for misunderstandings, and ensures a smoother project progression from concept to completion. This single point of responsibility also leads to a more efficient project management.

2. Enhanced collaboration

Design-build encourages a high level of collaboration among the team members. Architects, designers, and builders work in unison from the project’s inception, allowing for seamless information exchange. This collaboration results in design concepts that are more aligned with practical construction, improving project feasibility and reducing costly design changes. This collaborative approach not only ensures a smoother process but often leads to more innovative and well-thought-out solutions.

3. Streamlined project timeline

Design-build firms are experts at project management. By integrating all phases of the process, they can create realistic schedules that keep your home improvement project on track. This efficient timeline management not only saves time but also minimizes disruptions to your daily life during the renovation process. With a clear timeline, you can better plan your life around the renovation.

4. Cost predictability

Design-build remodelers emphasize cost control. From the beginning, they work to ensure that the design aligns with your budget. With a clear understanding of the project’s cost implications, you are less likely to encounter unexpected expenses or financial surprises as the project progresses. This cost predictability gives you peace of mind throughout the renovation process.

5. Quality assurance

The design-build approach prioritizes quality throughout the project. With a unified team responsible for both design and construction, there’s a higher level of accountability. They have a vested interest in delivering a high-quality final product that aligns with your initial vision. This commitment to quality ensures that your renovation not only looks good but also stands the test of time.

6. Efficient problem solving

In any remodeling endeavor, challenges can arise. Design-build firms are well-equipped to address these issues promptly. Their close collaboration and expertise allow for efficient problem-solving, reducing the potential for delays and added costs. This proactive approach means that even if unexpected issues arise, they are quickly and effectively resolved.

7. Improved communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful renovation. Design-build firms excel in this aspect by fostering open lines of communication among the various team members. They ensure that everyone involved in the project is on the same page, which leads to fewer misunderstandings and a more harmonious experience for the homeowner. This open communication also means that your input and concerns are consistently heard and addressed throughout the process.

What are the advantages of design-buildWhat design+build studio can I trust with my remodeling project?

Ember & Brune is a custom-build and interior design company dedicated to bringing your project to life in Glen Ellyn and beyond. Our focus is on design-build remodeling, a comprehensive approach that distinguishes itself from spec-build by actively involving you in every step of the process.

We utilize 3-D software to transform your vision into reality, assist you in making material selections, and provide expert project management in all aspects of your project. Your dream home is not just a concept – it’s our commitment.

Design-Build Remodeling Explained

Ember&Brune-8_16_22-15Home remodeling is a transformative journey that allows homeowners to breathe new life into their living spaces. Yet, this exciting process can also be fraught with challenges and complexities, often leading to decision fatigue. In the quest for the perfect renovation, the choice of remodeling approach is paramount.

Design-build is a process that allows interior designers, architects and trades to work together as a team start to finish on your home remodeling project. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of design-build remodeling. Read on!

What is design-build remodeling?

Design-build remodeling is a comprehensive approach to home renovation that diverges from the traditional method. Unlike the standard approach, where homeowners independently hire architects, designers, and contractors, design-build encompasses all phases of the process under a single, collaborative umbrella. This integration results in a streamlined and efficient process that provides homeowners with numerous advantages.

The journey of a design-build remodeling project often begins with an initial consultation. During this meeting, homeowners, architects, designers, and builders come together to discuss the project’s vision, goals, and budget. This open dialogue ensures that the design concepts are realistic and aligned with the budget from the outset, minimizing the risk of costly changes or unexpected surprises during the construction phase.

One of the most significant benefits of the design-build approach is its singular point of responsibility. In this model, the design-build firm takes accountability for the entire project, from conceptualization to the final hammer swing. This means fewer communication challenges, enhanced project management, and ultimately, a more efficient and cost-effective renovation experience.

What does design-build include?

Design-build remodeling is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a versatile method that can cater to a wide array of home improvement projects, from kitchen makeovers to full-scale home renovations. Here’s what you can expect to be included in a design-build renovation:

  • Design services: Design-build firms offer a comprehensive range of design services, starting from initial sketches and conceptual drawings to detailed construction drawings. Their in-house team works closely with you to ensure that your design reflects your vision and meets your functional needs.
  • Permitting and approvals: Design-build professionals are well-versed in local building codes and regulations. They take care of the permitting process, ensuring that your construction complies with all legal requirements.
  • Construction: The construction phase is executed by the same team that designed your project. This seamless transition from design to construction minimizes miscommunication and potential delays.
  • Project management: Design-build firms excel in the art of project management. They take on the responsibility of overseeing all aspects of your renovation, including scheduling, budgeting, and quality control.
  • Cost control: With a single entity responsible for both design and construction, design-build projects often have better cost control. The team continually evaluates costs, helping to keep all aspects within budget.
  • Quality assurance: The design-build approach emphasizes quality. The team is committed to delivering a high-quality result that aligns with your initial vision and meets industry standards.

Ember&Brune-2_16_22-76 (1)Who are the go-to interior designers for my remodeling project?

At Ember & Brune, we’ve redefined the art of remodeling with our innovative approach. Our team leverages cutting-edge 3-D software to turn your dreams into tangible designs, assisting you with material selections, and providing expert project management every step of the way.

Unlike a spec-build method, we specialize in a holistic process that ensures your vision is at the forefront from start to finish. Whether you’re located near Lake Ellyn Park or another area, we’re here to kickstart your project from the ground up!

#ForestEstate Reveal Part II

Welcome to part II of the #ForestEstate project. We have a few more rooms to show you!


In addition to the interior remodel we consulted on some exterior upgrades. We added a new wood front door, eliminated the painted wood pediment and columns in favor of new brick work, replaced the light fixtures, and removed the fake shutters by each window (which is what everyone should do in my opinion).



Back inside, we styled the foyer and added new paint to freshen up the space.

From part I of the reveal, you saw the back half of the house really opened up into one open floor plan. Open floor plans are great for entertaining and utilizing every inch of living space. However, they can be tricky with placement of furniture. Adjacent to the kitchen (also seen in reveal part I), is the family room followed by an all purpose sitting room.


We designed a built-in bench in walnut, same finish as the kitchen island, to span the family room. The piece has a stone top under the fireplace for fire safety, and opens up to storage under the TV. This bench grounds this space, defining it, where walls used to.


We re-faced the existing brick fireplace with a sculptural tile inset around the firebox and a larger format field tile everywhere else. We added a small mantel with minimalist styling. We placed original art by a local artists and a hand blown glass vase. We support local artists and makers whenever possible!

The furniture was selected in neutral tones with pops of color in the accessories and art. An oversized sectional by Wesley Hall with a beautiful art piece by Wool + Timber balance out the fireplace details on the wall opposite.


Next door to this comfy furniture arrangement is a bar/ game center. Custom iron and glass shelves float above a one-of-a-kind natural wood console. The windows, with new textured drapery, and this console help give this sitting room definition from the adjoining space.


What I love about this room is its versatility. After dinner cocktail? Family game night? Conversation with friends? Have a seat! We chose two different chair options, both with bold texture. These dining stools from Verellen might be the most comfortable backless chair I’ve ever sat on! And the blackened oak table adds the element of natural material without taking away from the wood details in the console. This console looks like a piece of art, we did not want to distract from that.


We conclude our tour with my favorite shot of the day (above). So many good elements in one moody, inviting, beautiful photo. This project was such a joy to work on. But truly, hearing from our clients how much they love using and living in their new space is the best feeling of all. We are lucky to have such a rewarding job.

#ForestEstate Reveal Part I

We had the privilege of transforming this client’s first floor over a year ago… and now I get to share the results with you. I am so excited to share every amazing detail of this project as it is definitely one of my faves!

Can we start with the layout? We did a major overhaul to the way this home flowed and improved use of every space for this family. Here is a simplified before and after floor plan:

Many changes were made, including opening the back of the house up completely. These rooms are no longer defined by walls, but focal points, furnishings and other design elements. Let’s get into the details of each room!

I love this kitchen.

We moved the door to the laundry room, re-routing the traffic pattern and allowing space for an island. Larger windows were installed to bring in more natural light and widen views of their scenic backyard. This family enjoyed a Scandinavian aesthetic of simply utility as well as the warm touches of a vintage inspired home. An AGA range brought old-world charm to the cooking area, with juxtaposition of the clean modern plaster hood.

A clear finish was applied to the walnut island so the grain matched veneer could be an organic focal point. We repeated the walnut finish on a textural/ architectural panel on top of the open shelving creating balance between Earth tones and crisp white throughout. Seating around two sides of the island allows this family to gather in conversation during meal prep, with room to invite friends and neighbors to enjoy in this inviting space with them.

I think you can appreciate the new kitchen so much more after seeing the before pictures.

Above you will see a glimpse of the dining room before we worked our magic. We opened up both entrances, connecting this room to the rest of the home with more ease. We went bold with our design choices here. Clay colored paint and an oversized custom painting define this room from all others. This client trusted us with all aspects of this remodel, including window treatments and furniture. You can see below how all the elements from kitchen to dining tie together, while still remaining two very unique spaces.

I think we will save the other rooms for another time. This was a lot of eye candy for one blog post! Part II of the reveal coming soon.

#RelocationRenovation Reveal

The wet room photos from this project are our most liked on Instagram. For obvious reasons! The story of this project is just as great as the photos.

This client contacted us after deciding to relocate locally from Michigan. We put them in touch with one of our favorite local Realtors, Carrie Foley. We kept in communication and immediately after closing, we got to work on renovations. Their hearts were set on an older home full of character. One thing we run into often with historical homes is the lack of a laundry room and the lack of bathrooms. People lived differently in the past. The good news is there were some under-utilized spaces that we could make better use of.

Le’t’s start with this landing/ loft at the top of the stairs. We decided to get rid of this dangerous banister and add some walls.


This laundry room could not pack any more style! Using a William Morris print on the wall paper and satin brass fixture warmed this space up and then some.

Now for the Instagram fan favorite, the primary bath. There was a small bedroom that had no closet. It shared a wall with the primary bedroom and opened into the fore-mentioned loft at the top of the stairs. A door way was created between bedrooms to allow access to what we turned into the primary bathroom, and a portion of the loft not being used as laundry was made into a walk-in closet.

A little before and after for you:


There was a structural reason for the inset space in the wall. We took advantage of it by placing a soaking tub into that space, and adding color changing, dimmable LED lighting below to add some ambiance. There was not room for a large shower and tub area, so we created a wet-room, combining both. A floating vanity can create the illusion of a larger room. We also used round mirrors, so that the low wall elevation, due to a slant in the roof, in that area was not so obvious.

This project is brought to you by Zoom. Ha! Zoom meetings made this project possible since we were hundreds of miles apart. I couldn’t be happier with the result of this long distance design process!

#CacheKitchen Reveal

cache – noun

  1. a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place.

This kitchen packs a lot of storage, which is how this project got its name. When we first saw the space there were dark wood cabinets and a half wall with columns separating kitchen from living space. Of course, both had to go. Our client wanted a more open feel and an all-white kitchen. So, we got to work!

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We wanted to utilize a little more wall space, so we framed in part of this French door opening. As you see in the rendering above, we planned to install another arched opening, creating symmetry on this wall.


Second up, getting rid of this wall. Which turned out to be no small feat. Additional support was added in the basement, and then a 14” tall steel beam was added that spans the house front to back.


Goodbye wall!


Cabinetry was made locally, so we were able to visit the shop and approve details on the spot. The historic details are beautiful in these all wood cabinets. The saw tooth cut you see inside the cabinet is the adjustable shelf support. Below you can see the cabinets come together in the home.


Now we get to the good part! Showing off the finished product and all of the fun storage features hidden in this space.


Tall cabinets from left to right; refrigerator, hidden beverage center, and pantry. We finished the interior with walnut because it gave it that touch of warmth it needed.


The range wall, hands down, has the coolest feature in the space. Hidden walnut spice racks. These fit in the cavity of a standard depth interior wall. And when I say it took a village to make this happen, I’m not exaggerating. The sliding “doors” are solid quartz material. I may have lost sleep the night before install… but it came together beautifully and was worth all the planning.




We used brass hardware from our friends at MYOH, engineered quartz on the countertops and backsplash, painted white cabinetry with walnut interiors, and white oak floating shelves to bring in the lighter tones of their maple floor. A paneled Sub Zero refrigerator and Wolf dual fuel range are the stars of the appliances here.


We also helped this client with interior design services outside of the kitchen. The runner was sourced from a vintage rug dealer, the living room furniture and bookshelf styling are all courtesy of Ember & Brune’s design team. We specified new stair colors to tie in the millwork throughout the house. When we can be a part of the complete design process, magic happens.


That’s all for #CacheKitchen. I’ll be sharing a new project reveal soon, stay tuned!

#LakeViewPointe Reveal: Part II

Talk about a cliff hanger, I almost forgot to give you part 2 of this amazing remodel. This past year has flown by in the blink of an eye. The English basement in our LakeViewPointe project should not be left a secret. So here you go… part deux!

After wrapping up the main floor remodel, we moved to the basement. This is no ordinary basement though. This basement opens onto a covered patio, just steps away from the lake. With beautiful views and a gorgeous new interior upstairs, this basement had standards to live up to.

First, we took down a couple of walls, opening up the space to allow for better entertaining.


This opened up the space to allow for a game area. The shuffle board, game table and pool table all fit in the new space. Above the shuffle board we designed a custom display unit for the homeowner’s vintage beer can collection. It turned out better than any piece of art we could have specified.


Custom metal display unit for the client’s vintage can collection.



Custom wine room designed to mimic an ice box.

Behind the pool table we designed and built a temperature-controlled wine room. This was designed to mimic an ice box, complete with replica vintage hardware. This was a fun space to engineer with our craftsmen. Worth every detail!


We did not stop there… A bar area was built to replace the outdated one. Large open areas can be a challenge when it comes to defining spaces and adding focal points. For the bar, we created a custom ceiling application for the lighting. This detail on the ceiling helps define the space without closing it in.




This bar is PACKED with thoughtful details. To name a few; Built in keg refrigerator for easy pours of your favorite beer. Freezer drawers to keep frosty mugs. An ice bin to make bartending easy for anyone slinging drinks. My husband, Mike McCoy, is a graphic designer. He helped us come up with a logo for this clients’ bar. The client had dubbed it the ‘Walloon Saloon’ after the lake’s name. You can see it above on the beer growler.

Across from the bar is coziest sectional you will ever sit in, placed in front of a fireplace and TV. We opted to cover the floors in a custom mixed epoxy after the client saw something similar on the floor at a local brewery. This gave us the freedom to mix woods in other features, including the wood look tile on the fireplace face.


Can we also talk about architectural elements? The basement had beams and soffits like most basements do and we wanted to address these during the remodel, so that they felt seamlessly incorporated in the new style we were bringing to the space. Hand scraped and antiqued wood was applied to the structure with additional metal brackets for the look of authenticity.


There is so much to share about this project! Three more things I want to share; office, bathroom and staircase upgrade. The office was a bedroom that we transformed into a work from home space and guest room, thanks to the sleeper sofa. We added a sliding door to the patio for easy access to sunshine breaks. The desk and coffee table we commissioned from an artist who specializes in epoxy. We worked with her on a variety of options to come up with these stunning pieces.




The bathroom got a face lift too, incorporating a vintage dresser transformed into a vanity and a custom poured concrete top.


Last, but not least, a new staircase was needed to connect this fully remodeled home. Millwork, including stairs, molding, doors and windows are truly the bones of your home. These elements should tie in your style and architectural design throughout. We used metal again along the wall and the railing, with wood stairs and a stacked stone on each side to bring it all together. We accented these features with built in LED lighting.


Thanks for hanging in there, I know this was a lot to share at once. Hope you enjoyed hearing more about this home’s transformation. I’ll try not to wait a whole year before sharing our next project reveal. -Brandie

#LakeViewPointe Reveal: Part I

We wrapped up a house remodel last Summer and I’ve been dying to share it with you! The project was being held by a national publication for an editorial, however they changed their mind earlier this year, so we gave the publishing rights to a local magazine instead. All of that to say… I can finally spill the tea on this project!

This project was completed in 2 phases. First, we started with the main floor. The layout for the most part stayed the same. However, every room was updated. Ember & Brune was hired for the remodel, as well as the furnishings and styling. Here are some before and afters of the first phase:










Skittles truly was the cutest model in the photo above. What is also great in the photo is the “skylights” we created. During the remodel the clients really wanted to add skylights to the family room. This home is on a beautiful lake so adding natural light to give it a more open feel was priority. However the trusses were not going to allow for large skylights. So, we engineered dormer style windows in between each truss which lets in a lot of light and created a nice exterior feature to the lakeside elevation of the home.



During construction:



And After:


Yes, we also built a new deck and spiral staircase.

More before and afters of the staircase, hall bathroom, laundry room, and master bathroom:

















Quite the glow up! Using black can be scary for some, but I think this project proves that black can be used in light and bright spaces too. For this project we incorporated black cabinetry, black marble tile and black metal on as an accent on the stair rails, mantle and furniture.

Phase 2 of the project was the English walk-out basement. Including a bar, pool table, vintage-styled wine room and more. Stay tuned!

Until Reveal: Part II, I leave you with this view of the lake from the primary bedroom. I wouldn’t mind starting my day here every day.




In the Restoration or Renovation category we have our #EastBranch project. Here are just some of the many pictures of this colonial beauty. Photography credit Aimee Mazzenga.

VOTE HERE: https://redsubmissions.luxemagazine.com/gallery/d3da5a00-ee7d-4509-992d-b9893115408a


In the Bathroom category, we have our En Suite Remodel. These pictures are always a favorite on Instagram. Photography credit Margaret Rajic.

VOTE HERE: https://redsubmissions.luxemagazine.com/gallery/56276ad3-3c8b-4482-a637-4975ab1720f0

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Deadline is February 5th. Thank you in advance for your support!