Become A Square Foot Super Hero with Stefani Thatcher

Episode 43: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson. So, today on the She Builds Show, we have another beautiful person named Stephani. Stefani is the owner and lead residential designer of Domani Home Design, where she connects with homeowners looking to “level up” their home environment. Each home design utilizes Stefani’s unique SMARTER FLOOR PLANS™ design method. The homeowners’ personal stories and unique lifestyle are woven into the finished product.

Ready? Let’s go…


•  I studied architecture and interior design in college, and because I graduated in interior design, I thought that that was the path for me, so I did that for a little while. And it was when I started going to these consultations and people were asking for help with things that I thought could have been solved during the build, I had my reawakening. And I was just like, You know what? Yeah, this is not for me. I definitely need to be in… Back in architecture. That is where my original love was, and that is where I am meant to be. My father in-law was actually a general contractor, and he introduced me to a CAD program that my husband and I learned a little bit together. He doesn’t know it anymore, but to design our own house and things kind of went… Took off from there. I had a neighbor up the street who was a builder, he knew I used the same program he did, so he recruited me to come work for him, I worked for him for over 10 years.   (03:05)

• It is ever changing. That’s the big picture, it’s always changing. And I feel like I’m kind of always being nudged into a certain role or capacity or offering for my services, typically for Domani Home Design. It’s usually just me, I have a couple of part-time assistants that are virtual and remote, and they help out as I need, as they’re available. And we typically… So I went, like… In my first couple of years, I did maybe six projects in a year, and then I got to a place where I was doing 15 in a year, and that felt really, really crazy and busy trying to… It got to a place where I was starting two new projects, to new home designs every month, and I was very… I was totally swamped. So, I had to scale back to the one project a month, except for December, I’d take December completely off, to kind of catch up, regroup and spend time with my family. And the projects are usually… They’re usually second-time homeowners, so typically, I’m not designing for first-time homeowners. (7:36)

• And it was such an amazing project. So I joined the profession women in building in Utah right about that time. They already had the idea and everything for this project, but they were just barely getting started, they were trying to find the land and trying to decide what to do with about the floorplan, and I thought it was going to be a custom design, so I was so excited, I was like, I’ll be able to offer my services. And they finally did get the property, they had to use the builders, and one of their set plans, production plans, and so it was like a bummer. I said, Can I just please review the floor plans? And so what happened was we took that base floorplan and we applied my standards, like I was talking about, four-foot wide stairs and open concept and different things like that, and we were able to tweak it. We had to keep the outside, so it fit in the community. But we were able to… They let us do anything we wanted with the floorplans, I was able to take it and give it this really awesome master’s suite, like this open loft at the top of the stairs, a full spa like master bathroom. (16:10)

•  Well, and just going back to, is it the right fit for each other, the abundant mindset, all that stuff. The more I’ve been blessed with, the more I feel like I need to kind of like, Oh, I can’t contain all those blessings… Right? Right, yeah. I got to have some avenue to funnel them out. I’m kind of working with my architect on a lot of projects and he’s trying to retire. And I said to him, Hey, who do you recommend? He’s like Nobody, and I thought, That’s so sad. He’s got this gift, and he knows so much and he’s got all these years of experience and wisdom behind it, and nobody to replace him. Right? And what a sad thing that is… His legacy is lost. Once you retire, there’s nobody coming behind him to kind of carry on the awesome work that he does, and I just don’t want that to happen. And honestly, there’s so many people who want to do residential architecture and design, and there’s not enough opportunities out there to learn the hands-on stuff that goes into the actual residential construction. A lot of architecture, interior design programs, they really kind of direct people towards commercial work instead of residential work, and so there’s a little bit of a void, there’s a little bit lacking as far as being able to teach people and train people in residential construction techniques and design and stuff.  (27:07)


As a young girl, Stefani watched her father design and build their family home. Intrigued by his architectural and drafting skills, she began sketching designs for “the perfect floorplan.” From there, she never questioned what career path she would pursue.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and a minor in Architecture, Stefani went on to become NCIDQ certified in 2007.

While working as an interior designer she realized two critical facts that ultimately led her back to her architecture roots:

1) She could preemptively solve more design problems by designing “good bones” (aka: floor plans).

2) Her true design passion was residential architecture vs interior design.

Over the last 25 years, Stefani has worked in a variety of design positions including staff designer and furniture sales. But it was her job as head of the drafting department for a custom and production home builder that gave Stefani an insider’s edge. There she gained first-hand knowledge and experience in designing high-quality AND value-engineered homes. The “clarion call” came in 2015.

As a busy mother of four, Stefani knew it was time to launch her dream career as an self-employed Residential Designer. She “set up shop” at home where she could greet her kids as they came home from school, have the flexibility to run the soccer carpool, take care of and be with sick babies, as well as regain control of her work destiny.

Domani Home Design is where Stefani connects with homeowners looking to “level up” their home environment. Each home design utilizes Stefani’s unique SMARTER FLOOR PLANS™ design method. The homeowners’ personal stories and unique lifestyle are woven into the finished product.

Stefani’s designs have won multiple awards including several People’s Choice Award for the Cache Valley HBA’s Parade of Homes and a “Best Floor Plan” in 2020.

Most recently, Stefani implemented her SMARTER FLOOR PLANS™ method for The House That She Built (THTSB) that was featured in the 2021 Utah Valley Parade of Homes.

Stefani is driven to educate, empower, and inspire others to join the residential construction industry. The Professional Women in Building helps provide one avenue for this. There, she participates and volunteers on a regular basis to continue the mission of THTSB.


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