What people are saying...
I am not quite sure where to start, because there are so many fantastic things to say about David. Many of those things have been said. Repeatedly. And I will say them all over again…….David is an amazing resource, sounding board, draftsperson, and designer. And, he is actually a really great guy to boot! In the late summer of 2014… we purchased a new home and knew that we would be doing an extensive renovation. We met with 2 other designer/drafting companies prior to meeting with David, both recommended by our contractor. One was very technical and seemed primarily focused upon doing the basics – getting our project drafted out – but did not seem very interested or capable in providing design advice. The other was very design oriented, but without much substance and very expensive! Because we were not happy with the people we had met, we took to our own research and in that process, we came across the many amazing reviews of David and his work. Given the reviews, I called him out of the blue and we never looked back. In the first conversation, his passion for and knowledge of home renovations came across loud and clear…..for instance, he raised a number of practical issues that he wanted us to be aware of with a project of our size (a 3000sq foot total gut job) – and he had no obligation to do so. This was a cold call, where I simply asked a number of questions – some pedestrian, some detailed, and he took the time to answer those questions without reservation. I knew right then and there, we would have a great working relationship. We were not disappointed. David was charged with drafting plans for our existing house structure and for forecasting our renovation plans – it is a 3 floor house plus a basement – this was not a small project. At all times David encouraged a very open relationship where he invited us to provide him with as many pictures, ideas, and comments about our wish list as possible so that he could understand our design aesthetic in order to create a house that reflected our needs and wants. While he was very positive and encouraging in that way, he was also never shy to politely advise us when something in our wish list was impractical in terms of space or expense. I could honestly go on and on. Bottom line, the reviews are true. If I could highlight anything, I would say that he really is as good as everyone says he is. But even more, his attitude, his initiative (especially in dealing with the City and the permit process), his openness to questions, to making revisions, and to be involved even after his formal role is complete, are attributes that made all the difference for us. In this day and age, where everyone is renovating everything – be it big or small, there are people out there who are happy to cash in on the movement – some of them may know what they are doing and some of them may not. For us, we were so happy to have found someone with David’s expertise, creativity and down to earth personality. Full Stop. But there was a bonus……his fees were more than reasonable and were less than the other quotes we received. In fact, given his attention to detail and level of service and response, I really feel as though we lucked out. He did not try to take advantage of us by including any surprise costs – at the end of the project we paid for what he quoted at the start of the project. Refreshing! We would highly recommend David for any renovation project. He is the real deal and we will certainly be recommending him to our friends and family. A heartfelt thank you David. Not only did you make this project easier to navigate and understand, you helped us achieve a really great lay-out that we are sure will work with our growing family for many years to come!!! Cheers! Read more “To The Studs Renovation (3000sq Feet)”
David was recommended to us to design and help us through the permit process with our third floor master suite (attic) renovation. Although there were not many alterations that needed to be made to David’s original design as we loved his first attempt, he was willing to make any changes necessary. David was always reachable by phone or email and… very quick to respond to any questions or concerns that we had about the design or permit process. Having David take care of the permit process was an enormous weight of our shoulders as we would not have known where to start. He was able to come up with solutions to any of the minor snags we encountered. We would definitely use David again with future projects and highly recommend his services. Read more “Home Renovation Design And Permit Process”
I would highly recommend David R. Smith to anyone and everyone. When it comes to these sorts of important decisions I am extremely particular and very detail-oriented and I’m happy to say that David exceeded my expectations. David is extremely knowledgeable and accommodating. On many occasions he has gone above and beyond what we thought we signed up for. He… truly cares and took great interest in all of our needs and wants. He spends quality time, going through ideas and processes. He is also very fairly and reasonably priced. We were very budget driven. Beginning this process, David was very clear as to the scope of work that could be done for x amount of dollars. He works closely with a variety of contractors and clearly understands cost of quality construction, from materials to labour. (Note: He does not push his contractors on you, you are free to use whoever you feel is fit.) He was very realistic about what we could and could not accomplish but was willing to break down our project in segments in order to focus on what our priorities are and what we really need vs. want. To us this was very important, because after going through months of working with David, we realize that our ideas continued to snowball which in turn snowballed the cost of construction. David would kindly remind us of where we began and what our focus was and this was much appreciated. But he had no problem exploring new ideas. From a design perspective, I think one of his greatest strengths is working in urban and small spaces; maximizing what we have and offering solutions that still allow us to work within small parameters but achieve what we want at the end of the day. Although in our case, we are not adding a huge amount of square footage, the impact should be great and allow most of my “wish list” items to be met within our budget. I think anyone can run into disagreements along the process, especially if either side is unrealistic about expectations but this did not happen. Any question or concern we had, even when thinking about making alterations to the plans, David would happily examine and offer the most professional advice listing both pros and cons. I could not be happier. I am walking away from this process feeling much more educated and confident in the decision to go ahead with the construction phase. Read more “Addition/Interior/exterior renovations”
I reached out to David after reading the reviews about him on HomeStars, and am happy to have the opportunity to provide one of those reviews to help guide others to him! Working with David was totally stress-free. He listened, offered meaningful suggestions, and I felt that he really wanted to take the time needed to get it right. Not… that it took a lot of time on his end… to be honest, I created huge delays and David was incredibly patient with me. Though I was not always able to be as responsive as I might normally be (my excuse would totally excuse me :), he never once made me feel that he was frustrated or put out in any way. Truly a genuine, lovely guy & I found him to be quite brilliant at what he does! Read more “Main Flr Extension Design, Committee Of Adjustment & Permit”
Before we hired David we received quotes from 6 architects. The service provided by David was comparable to, if not superior to the quotes we received–and at 1/3 of the cost. After we retained David for our project, he exceeded our expectations by encouraging us to ask questions, change design details we were not sure about and constantly making helpful… suggestions. The finished designs were meticulous in detail and entirely captured our vision for the project. We highly recommend David for home renovation design projects of any size and taste. Read more “House Addition”
I’m an ICI tradesman and work with some great draftsmen & project managers on a daily basis. I know a good set of drawings, and I know good management. David is the single best trade professional I have ever worked with. The drawings are exceptional. Details and notes are comprehensive. Correspondence was always clear and timely. David has excellent knowledge… of city permits, C of A procedure, and all other pertinent building depts. He managed my expectations of these processes at every step. David sets an incredibly high standard. I look forward to working with him again on future projects. Read more “Detached Garage Drawings And Permits”
Thank you David!!! My wife and I found David on HomeStars, and based on his previous reviews on we can honestly say that the positive reviews are all true. David was amazing throughout the whole process. He was always patient, professional, and was also available for any questions we may have had. David right from our initial meeting took pride… in our home renovation + design – first design proposal, changes, permit applications, CofA, structural engineer, permits, etc. David handled it all. We will forever be thankful to David, for designing our soon to be family home. Thanks David Read more “Home Revonvation Design”
David is a completely professional and highly proficient designer. From initial contact through to the approval and delivery of our building permit, we have been continually impressed with his attention to detail and ability to stay on top of our project. He listened carefully to our requirements and designed a garage that reflected everything we asked for while keeping within… our budget. We will gladly hire him again! Read more “Garage Design And Building Permit”
This was the second and largest project David has completed for us in as many years. (previously: Detached garage drawings & permits). This project has been more of the same excellent design and collaboration. From our first meeting, to the presentation of his design, through to the permits being issued – David kept us updated and informed of progress. Questions… were answered quickly. David is an encyclopedia of solutions. If you’re looking for the best design service in the GTA, you’ve found him. Thank you David for all your extra effort coordinating mechanical + truss design, and that last push getting the permits approved. We look forward to working with you again on future projects. Read more “Second floor addition & whole home design”
David is one of the most professional, friendly individuals I have ever worked with. Extremely knowledgeable, always willing to go the extra mile, he helped turn around what had been a bad experience due to the prior architect on the file, into a great experience. My fiancée and I are now back to being excited about our new home! I… can’t recommend him highly enough. Read more “New House Building”
David was recommended to us by a mutual acquaintance. When I contacted him he had the patience to explain to me the difference in qualifications between architects and designers. That patience has been one of David’s most valuable qualities that we have depended on all through our design and permitting process. At times he literally acted as a referee for… my husband, John, and me when we couldn’t come to agreement about design details. Our project is to add a 2nd storey to our bungalow and also enlarge the main floor area as much as possible without delaying acceptance of the plans by the City. David is extremely good at the design element of the work and also at understanding what is likely to pass the City’s zoning provisions. David reworked our plans until he delivered what we think is the best that could be done with our existing home and lot. Everyone who sees the drawing of the “proposed elevation” is impressed. David treated us and our project as if we were the only clients he was working for, always responding quickly to our questions and comments. Although David provides design only services (not design/build) he is well versed with the construction aspect of the renovation process, which was very important for John who is a shipwright and craftsman. We have relied heavily on David’s knowledge and expertise in this area. And, in fact, it is David who introduced us to a contractor who was likely to be able to deal with clients as challenging to work with as we know we are. As part of our vetting process before hiring David he referred us to his reviews on HomeStars, a resource I had never referenced until then. Now we can honestly say that the near perfect ratings and excellent reviews he continues to receive are not exaggerations but are well-deserved. Read more “Second Storey Addition, Enlarging & New Design for Main Floor”
I wholeheartedly recommend David. We spoke with other design/permit specialists about our renovation, but had no hesitation in engaging David. He is very patient and knowledgeable. We had a lot of questions about the process and he was always happy to explains things to us. The whole process went very smoothly. David is fantastic!
We first met David over a year ago when we were searching for an Architect to help us with our renovation plans. From the start David was professional, laid back and his wealth of knowledge was very clear. We spent a lot of time going back and forth on various ideas over the course of a year and David was… always helpful and supportive as we worked our way through this stressful process. David was able to provide us with so many great suggestions and options for our project. The renderings he created for us were great at helping us visualize the spaces, and have been very helpful throughout the construction phase as well. We’re grateful we were able to work with him. Read more “Third Floor Addition”
My experience David R. Smith has been outstanding. His skills go beyond creative and proficient design talent. David’s ability to truly listen and accurately reflect my project goals in the design plan was impressive. His intelligent design plan will serve my family well for long into the future.
In addition to all the foregoing, he is a pleasure to… work with, respectful, attentive and responsive. Highly recommended! Read more “Design And Permitting”
David is knowledgeable, patient, very responsive, and always available. There was a time when we spoke several times a week. It was often me asking the same questions or bringing up another “what if” scenario, and David was always happy to calm my nerves during an exciting and anxious time. We went through several iterations of design. David was exceptional… at combining our needs/wants with his experience and what was possible. From the day after our C of A hearing right through to the OMB hearing, David was compassionate, helpful, encouraging, and the most trusted advisor we had through the whole process. We had to do a lot of preparation for the OMB. David dealt with the city zoning team on short time lines, made crucial design adjustments, and found some details in our planners work that had to be revised. We are anxiously awaiting our decision from OMB but are confident that with David’s help we have done everything we can. Through it all, we are grateful to have had David on our side and we can’t recommend him enough. UPDATE: We are happy to report that we were successful at OMB and now we can build our dream home. David, as expected, has already started the next steps! Thanks again! Read more “2nd Floor Addition And 2 Story Extension”
David’s approach is just like his motto: honest and relaxed. His honesty included realistic timelines and some great recommendations on how to save money. Although David was very laid back, he was also very thorough, meticulous, professional and lightning quick with follow ups. There was a perfect balance between sense of urgency and a relaxed and pleasant manner. In addition,… David was knowledgeable about zoning bi-laws, construction and home renovations. He was the perfect designer! Read more “Whole House Renovation And Addition”
We engaged David to complete the drawings for our 2nd floor addition and changes to the main floor. From the moment we met David during the interview process, we felt very comfortable with him. His knowledge on the design and permit application process is second to none. In fact, despite having met with several other companies, we hired David the… next day as we knew right away he was the right person for our project. He took the time to explain the entire process to us including all the cost associated with the entire process. During the design phase, David took into consideration our needs as well as provided some suggestions on several areas to fully utilize the space we envisioned and improve efficiency. We were able to come up with a final design very quickly, including last minute changes that were requested. We were very happy with the final design. During the permit application process with the city, David took care of everything for us and represented us with the city. The city often finds kinks in plans and David was able to respond and provide the additional details immediately. Overall the entire permit application process was relatively painless, although it did take quite some time due to the several stages involved. David was also very helpful during our contractor selection process as he helped to answer some questions contractors had. In fact, some contractors complimented us having such detailed plans available, as it made their job of quoting for the project a lot easier and accurate. After we selected our contractor further changes were required to the plans and David was very quick to respond and make the corrections and resubmit the changes to the city for approval. Overall, we were very, very happy to have David on board to complete the design of our project. His attention to our project didn’t falter when the permits were issued and he continued to be involved with our contractor to ensure that all the questions were answered and the details are followed up.
I would highly recommend David to other couples looking to do large complex renovations, as we were quite pleased with his professionalism, diligence and attention to detail. Read more “2nd Floor addition design and permit application”
David did an excellent job designing our home and guiding us through the permit process. He is smart, professional and reasonably priced. If you’re in the market for a renovation or new home, you can do no better than David R. Smith Design. Really.
This is my 11th studio that I have either been part of or have had built myself but the first time that I have worked with David. My only regret is that I cannot travel back in time to have him be part of all the other ones. Designing and building a recording studio space is a huge challenge when… it comes to the structural needs of sound isolation. Room decoupling, floating floors and odd angles are not the norm. David’s immediate understanding of these needs PLUS the absolute fantastic and creative input that he put into this project was priceless. I am more than pleased with David, his work, his professionalism and his deep creative well. Read more “Recording Studio And Office Design/Build”
I worked with David to design a third floor master suite in an existing space. With only one revision, David captured everything I wanted in the space and I’m thrilled . David also handled all permits and navigating the project through the endless bureaucracy of the City of Toronto Building Dept. processes including Committee of Adjustment and the OMB. His… calm demeanour was a valuable asset in a complex project. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him again and recommend him without reservation. Read more “Third Floor Master Suite Design, Drawings, Permits”
We found David R. Smith Design Inc. on Home Stars and were immediately impressed with the consistently raving reviews. We can now say they are absolutely well deserved and want to add our story. David was always very professional, technically knowledgeable and very helpful in guiding us not only through the design of our house (after a frustrating experience with… another professional), but also during a quite complicated and stressful process with the Ontario Municipal Board after our neighbours appealed a favourable decision of the Committee of Adjustment. David was extremely resourceful and helped us keep calm during the long ordeal that ended up halting the construction of our house for months. We are finally on the verge on concluding the construction of our new house and I would certainly recommend his services for anyone that is planning a new build or a renovation. Read more “New House Construction”
David was a pleasure to work with from the beginning. After taking considerable time to listen to our vision, he came up with a plan that totally worked, including things we wouldn’t have thought of. We extended the back of our semi to maximum width and extended the upstairs rear bedroom to include an en-suite. David mercifully obtained our permits… and communicated regularly throughout the process. Thrilled with his work. Everything was efficient, transparent and professionally handled. Would totally recommend him. Well worth the money. Saved us money in the end. Read more “Rear Extension To Width Of Semi, Upstairs Master With En-Suite”
We were in need of doing some major renovations and found David from HomeStars. We had 3 quotes and David stood out from the rest in several areas. Responsiveness – We realize that David is very busy. But he somehow seems to be able to pick up our phone calls almost every time when we call him with questions. And… even when he is tied up, he would still pick up his phone and advise us that he would call us back. Even now when his services are completed, I feel like when I have questions, I can still call David and David would still try to help out. Knowledge – David knew the answers to all my questions. And in many cases, his answers where above and beyond what I expected the answer to be. David also has a wealth of construction knowledge which makes him more effective in planning out a design. Cost – David’s services were the most cost effective when compared to 2 other companies. His quotes were accurate with no additional surprises and “gotchas”. David was willing to do multiple revisions on our design plans with no additional cost while other competitors were not willing to do the same. David was also attentive to our needs. He simply did not create something that he himself personally liked. Instead, he created a design that he felt would meet our requirements after understanding what was important to us. I certainly recommend his services to others without hesitation. Read more “Home Renovation Design, Permits.”
I interviewed several architects before choosing David – and I am so glad I did! He has been amazing throughout the whole process. He was always patient, ready to answer any questions and super accommodating. If you are looking for someone kind, patient, talented and easy to work with – look no further. He is highly professional and will not… disappoint! I already recommended him to all my friends, who are super satisfied with his service. Read more “House Reno”
Amazing choice to help build your house. We had a 1950’s bungalow that needed to be renovated and after contacting a number of designers we chose David. He was the most professional of everyone I spoke with. We could not visualize what we wanted, but he was able to use our wishlist and turn our two bedroom bungalow into a… 4 bedroom house with an inlaw suite in the basement. The initial meeting, the first proposal, changes that we made a thousand times, committee of adjustments, engineering drawings, electrical drawings, HVAC permits, building permits everything was completed or arranged by David. Don’t know how he does it and keeps so calm.
David was very patient with us and was always available to answer question by phone or email. When things needed to be added or removed from the plans they were done promptly and provided to us for review. We are not using a contractor for our project and the advice that he has provided has helped so much . Getting all the plans and permits approved using David made our busy lives so much easier. I really can’t say enough about how great he was during the planning and permit stage and knowing that he is there to answer questions we might have during the build is a great weight off our shoulders. Thanks so much for everything, David. Read more “House Design”
We first contacted David almost a year ago to help us better understand our options with regard to better using our existing space. It has been an excellent experience. We reached out to him in need of a quick roof repair permit, and were thrilled to discover through our work with him that his advice and expertise are so much… broader than expected. He led us through a process of articulating our needs and exploring options, and repeatedly surprised us by presenting ideas we would never have identified or considered without his coaching. When we encountered snags – the kind that are inevitable when dealing with a 100 year-old home – during the transition from the drawing/permit stage to actual construction, David did not abandon us! Throughout, he encouraged us to ask the silly questions, and has been more than willing to make modifications as needed. We would not hesitate to recommend David Smith to our family and friends. Read more “Advice, Drawings, Permits”
Our entire experience with David was excellent and we would highly recommend David R. Smith Design! He delivered on all promises and was timely, thorough, detailed and easy to work with. We respect David and all the ideas he offered in helping us plan for our house renovation. In addition, we really appreciated his pricing which was well worth it.
We used David for a second renovation and again, we’re completely satisfied! David not only expedited the original design, changes were also handled very quickly. We had permits (original and revisions) approved in record time! David also always goes above and beyond. He is not only our designer, we also consult him on areas that extend beyond his regular scope… of work. And he’s always very helpful! We’ll continue to use David for future projects and highly recommend him to anyone looking for a designer! Read more “A Thoroughly Satisfied Repeat Customer!”
It’s been said that patience is a virtue, and David has it in spades. As new home owners and renovators, it’s easy to think that your questions are foolish or naive, but David’s prompt professional approach always helped put us at ease. He was flexible with our timeline from first consultation to adjustments during demolition. After interviewing an architect and… a reno coach, David’s background as a designer made the most sense for our project. He captured our vision of returning our 1950’s 1.5 storey bungalow into the quaint arts and crafts style home that we desired. While it was unfortunate that we couldn’t fulfill some of the design suggestions due to our budgetary constraints, David was sensitive to the fact that we had to make certain concessions and was helpful with the adjustments. One piece of advice for fellow new renovators is to engage a contractor early in the process to ensure your drawings match your budget. Keep in mind that some contractors might prefer to begin the process once the drawings are complete. With that said, we can’t say enough about David’s ability to be ever present. By email, phone or dropping things in the mail, he exceeded expectations. While we recognize that he is an extremely busy professional, it was not uncommon to feel as though our little project was always top of mind. Finally we would be remiss, if we didn’t mention David’s persistence with the permitting process. He regularly followed up with the city, and helped to keep the lines moving. Thank you David for enduring our project with a cool and calm demeanour. It was very much appreciated! Read more “Home Renovation”
With absolutely no experience with home ownership and renovations, we were extremely vulnerable when seeking out services, especially with respect to our proposed addition drawings and permits. Thankfully we found David. Our first experience with David gave us the sense and confidence that we had someone in our corner. David was mindful and respectful in all his interactions with us.… This was a great way to set the tone for our technical and very real task of acquiring permits through the committee of adjustments. We were requesting a minor variance (as David had correctly guided us towards) and the journey involved many facets that included multiple drawings, repeated engagement with the city, the committee of adjustments hearing, etc. David handled ALL of this. We were satisfied with the outcome of the drawings for our addition given the budget limitations (David was always cognizant of how drawings impacted construction costs). We did receive approval from the committee of adjustments despite some neighbours’ opposition. David went above and beyond in speaking to our neighbours on multiple occasions. He handled those discussions with absolute respect and professionalism. I waited quite a long time before writing this review because I wanted to see how David’s drawings played out through the 5 month long construction period. Nearing the end of that period, I can now confidently say that the drawings were coherent, clear, and of great value to the contractors who took on my project. This was a critical piece for me because the drawings generally always look good/cool but my concern was always – the application of those drawings for builders! It has worked out great! In closing, we were lucky to find David given our context – uninformed and on a pretty tight budget. David addressed both of these elements with respect in educating us on some key aspects and always drawing with costs in mind. David is flexible, cooperative, strategic, thoughtful, and diligent in completing what we needed him to complete. He drew the house we wanted and got the permits we needed. Thank you David. If we find some money one day somewhere, we will do the front of the house! Read more “Addition Drawings And Securing Permits”
Our project is rather big and complicating: we are putting a second story over half of an existing bungalow, building a two car garage attached to it, and putting a floor over that. I’m a project manager (not construction) and very interested in the whole process of design and build so I’m a sure I am a bit of a… pain to professionals (and place high expectations on them). There are a few general things I look for in professions – quality of work, trust, listening skills/ability to work well together, responsiveness/communication, and price. David didn’t disappointment on any and even impressed me. While searching for a designer, I found many of them only heard a small percentage of what I was saying and then it became them telling me what they wanted – not what I want. David listens very well. But he also knows that he has more experience than I and does make recommendations and gives me a lot to think about. But if I don’t decide on his idea, there are no hard feelings as he knows I’m building my dream house, not his. In the end, I think we are building a beautiful house – one with both his ideas and ours. We also had to use David at the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) as we had to break some variances. We had objection from one family but David handled it VERY professionally – not backing down at all but not insulting my neighbors. An easy win at CoA thanks to David. Throughout the process, he always was well organized and communicated well to me so I knew what to expect ahead. He has always been super responsive and never left me thinking ‘has he forgotten about me’. We had many issues (not related to David) which made the whole process drag on and poor David’s had to be patient. In the end, I think David was involved for over a year and never complained and even helped out wherever he could (even though it wasn’t his area). Even though David’s portion of the process is completed, he still answers my questions promptly no matter how small or unusual. He is definitely someone I enjoyed working with and someone I would highly recommend to my family, friends or…you. Read more “Major Reno, 2nd Floor Addition, 2 Car Garage With 2nd Floor Addition”
We hired David to develop architectural drawings for our new back deck and help us steer our way through the City of Toronto’s Building Permit and Committee of Adjustment process. Throughout the entire process, David was proactive, creative, thorough and always there to answer our myriad of questions. He really knows what he’s doing, and helps take the stress out… of the process. Read more “Architectural Plans And Building Permit Process”
We purchased a home and knew that we wanted to completely renovate it, add a two-story addition and finish the basement. Not knowing where to start, we found David R. Smith design through a recommendation from our general contractor. Having read through all the reviews on Homestars for David R. Smith design, we can genuinely say that the positive reviews… are all true. David is one of those rare people in the industry that you will go back to time and time again because of his experience, high quality of work and he’s just a really nice guy that you can freely talk to. We hired David to draft our house plans and to take care of all aspects of apply for and obtaining building permits.
Starting from a few ideas from Pinterest, David created various designs taking into account all the things on our wish list. Having vast experience with the process of home design, David is able relate to the difficult decisions that need to be made balancing budget vs features. He is a great sounding board for ideas and recommendations and is extremely patient with making changes to designs. During the later stages of the design process, David worked extensively with our general contractor to finalize our house plans. While reviewing the designs, it was clear that David is extremely knowledgeable with the technical aspects of structural design, building codes and experience with resolving issues. During the permit application process, David expertly navigated the process to expedite obtaining the building permits. He constantly followed up with the City reviewers and made sure to keep our application top of mind for them. We really could not have found a better person and company to help us through the process and we greatly appreciate the work that was done. Read more “Major Home Renovation And Addition”