At Stearns Design-Build, we have developed our own design theory that brings the focus of design where we feel that it needs to be – on you.

We call this approach Transitions.


We know, from psychological studies, that people who know what time the sun rises and sets or what phase the moon is in consistently report being happier than those who do not. Creating connection to the natural world builds happiness. This is why our tag line is that “we build happiness.” It’s not just hype; through mindful design we can create happiness.

This challenges certain precepts of green building. Most green design focuses primarily on a building’s relationship to the natural environment. The goal, from this perspective, is simply to minimize the home’s energy consumption. But reducing energy consumption in the home is only part of the overall picture of sustainability. By affecting the perspective of people in their relationship to the world, we can affect the world.

The architecture of happiness also extends to community space. It is the feeling of connection that helps create a sense of wholeness, and the synapses of connection are not limited to our natural world. We are social beings and seek community connection.

Our homes have becoming increasingly isolating. From air conditioning to automatic garage door openers, privacy fences and multi media entertainment, we have sought shelter from our neighbors at a cost. Gone from our homes are large front porches and the time to sit on them and greet our neighbors. Mindful design can help reintroduce us to community.

But we do not want to live without a roof to shelter us from the storm, nor a door to give us privacy and protection from the commotion of a busy world. We often seek the coziness of close companionship and solitude. Good design is about finding a unique balance for each family that connects them to the outside world while giving sanctuary in the home.


Rod was great as the onsite project manager! He was thorough and responsive. Hugh was great with his ideas in helping with planning. Overall, I love the results of the job. There’s not a thing I would change with the results.
— Guild Quality Review