705-457-5085 info@highlanddesign.ca


An architectural design firm located in the heart of cottage country in Haliburton, Ontario.  

Full Design Services & Ongoing support

Our ongoing support ensures your project gets completed on time and on budget.

Highland Design provides full design services for homes, cottages, garages, additions and bunkies as well as commercial buildings and sewage systems. In addition to our design capabilities, we also offer consulting and project management services in order to provide ongoing support and ensure your project gets completed on time and on budget.

Architectural Design

Full design services for homes, cottages, garages, additions and Bunkie’s as well as commercial buildings.

BUilding permit applications

Prepare and submit building permits and minor variance applications.

12 years experience

A proven history of satisfied clients and relationships with local building departments as well as builders, tradespeople and suppliers.

project management & consulting

Being directly involved in the project from concept to completion ensures the project is completed on time and on budget and that your expectations are exceeded.

Fully licensed & insured

A fully licensed and insured, BCIN registered firm. Proud members of the Home Builders association, Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce.

from start to finish

Our commitment to ongoing support allows us to be directly involved in the project from start to finish to make sure your expectations are exceeded. Working directly with the builder on a continuous basis guarantees all questions are dealt with quickly and eliminates the potential for unnecessary stress for the client.


No two additions are ever alike. We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside of the box and come up with designs that are both functional and provide a seamless blend from the existing structure to the new.
Highland Design Architectural Design - Addition Before Highland Design Architectural Design - Addition After

New Builds

We take initial ideas from clients and provide options, ideas and ways to improve upon the layout and aesthetic of the building. Site topography, orientation, energy efficiency and building style are all taken into account to create a design that not only meets ones needs but integrates into the building site.

experience and knowledge to Help design your dream home!

Ben DeCarlo, the principal of Highland Design, has been designing and managing builds for over ten years. In this time he has worked on hundreds, if not thousands, of projects of all types, not just in the Haliburton area, but all over Ontario. As a native of Haliburton, after completing his post-secondary education he decided the city was not the place for him and returned back to his roots where he has been in the construction industry his entire life. This has provided him with an invaluable wealth of experience and knowledge to help design your dream home. It has also allowed him to build a large network of connections with local contractors and tradespeople and also with local suppliers so no matter what the requirements of the project, we can provide you with the right people for the job.

Frequently asked questions

What do you offer to visualize my floor plan?

We provide scaled furniture layouts for each room in 2D plans so you can get a sense of the space and what can be done with it. We can also provide 3D drawings for exterior aesthetics.

Do you offer energy efficient building techniques?

Building efficiency is a large part of our design process. With the cost of fuels and electricity steadily increasing it should be, and normally is, a concern for our clients too. A major focus of the building code in the past few years has been energy efficiency, with further improvements to be mandated in upcoming years. Even without it being implemented by the government, we strive to create buildings that exceed the requirements. This is also impacted by question 4. We visit every lot to ensure we are maximizing efficiency with regards to orientation and solar loss/gain while design the building to blend in with it’s surroundings.

How long does it take to build a custom home?

Length of time to construct is greatly impacted by a number of variables. Such as time of year (having to remove snow), size of building & location and site restrictions (water access or steep site). That being said, a typical new home normally takes 6-8 months to complete.

Lot first or plan first?

We get this one often. Lot first unless you are prepared to search out a lot to fit a specific plan. There are so many variables with a building lot it is difficult, if not impossible, to make a certain plan work on every lot. Variables like topography, orientation, service locations & views are very important when designing a building to fit a lot and, obviously, are not known until a lot is selected.

Can you apply for a building permit or minor variance for us?

Yes, we can. We can apply for a minor variance, if required, as well as a building permit on your behalf. We work closely and continuously with the local municipalities and have a great relationship with each one of them.

How does our location effect our zoning and bylaws and what we can do?

Within Haliburton are 4 municipalities who each have their own building & planning departments with their own set of by-laws for each zoning type. Some boundaries meet over lakes meaning what someone can do on one side of the lake, like building a boathouse, is not allowed on the other side of the lake. Part of our due diligence on any project is to research the zoning and by-laws and ensure our designs are in accordance with those by-laws. In some instances, the current by-laws cannot be met, referred to as a legal non-conforming building, and in order to do any work we need to apply for a minor variance through the committee of adjustment.

Can you help select colours/finishes?

Given our extensive work in the area we have a large database of projects that we can pull for you to view different combinations of colours & finishes. We also work with a local interior designer that can help with material selections.

Ready to get started?