About Me

Dave Salois, Designer

Dave Salois, Designer




Since 1975


I started designing custom homes the year I graduated from college in 1975, but to make a living, I started off by working in construction as a house carpenter. My first design project was a custom home for a logger located south of Kalispell, MT, and it included a custom matching outhouse for his garden area which was to be located down the hill from his new home.  In those days, just starting out, me and my brother actually dug the hole for the outhouse and built it to show him a sample of our work. It had a shed roof, a round portal window, a nice cedar bench with an oak toilet seat, cedar ship-lap siding on the interior, and a leaded glass half-moon window in the door.  On the opposite side, I designed a tool shed for his lawn-mower and garden tools. I used cedar shingles as siding and metal roofing.   It was cute.  He liked it and allowed me to design his dream house after that.  So my first building was an outhouse in Montana as luck would have it;  a very humble beginning for sure. I guess you could say my career literally started out in the crapper, but thanks to this great country we live in, and the abundance of opportunities it provides  for those with ambition, I’ve succeeded at helping a lot of people turn their dreams into reality.  I later started my apprenticeship under a local architect which took me into the realm of commercial projects.  It has been a very rewarding experience ever since and I’ve never looked back. I’ve done what I’ve loved and loved what I’ve done and I couldn’t ask for more than that.  True story.

I named my business The Plan Shoppe (old English spelling) in keeping with other personal service businesses such as a barber shoppe, and I formally registered it as a business in 1986 in Idaho.  I am a sole proprietor and my name is David Salois, an anglicized French name, (pronounced Sal-o-way); although I go by Dave. The Plan Shoppe is a one-man office that offers over 43 years of residential design and drafting experience and project development. The business actually originated as a personal service business operated from a home studio in Kalispell, MT in 1976, where I designed several custom log homes for a company called Glacier Log Homes, Inc.  I went to work for a local architect and participated in projects such as a school addition, a restaurant, and a veterinarian clinic.   I later moved to Whitefish, MT in 1977 and designed Suncrest Condominiums near the Big Mountain Ski Resort. In 1978 I relocated to north Idaho and settled in Coeur d’Alene, ID where I met my wife, and we married in 1979.  The Plan Shoppe office was originally established in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, following a few years employment with the City of Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County as a building inspector and plans examiner.  I later moved to Spokane, Washington briefly, and then back to my home in Post Falls, Idaho several years later. The business presently is located back in Coeur d’Alene as of 2011, and primarily serves the local market in north Idaho and eastern Washington.  Through this website,  the market has become world wide and I’ve designed projects in Canada, Hawaii, Japan, and throughout the United States.


The Plan Shoppe mainly provides professional design services to builders, local home owners and people who intend to relocate into the area from out of state.  Design services are delivered in personal meetings for our local clients and by telephone conferences, Skype,  and correspondence through the U.S. mail, and Internet e-mail for out-of-state and international clients.  I provide a wide range of services that involve residential planning, needs analysis, site selection, construction administration, project management, funding options, estimates, energy compliance audits, and custom construction documents.

The majority of The Plan Shoppe’s business consists of assisting local owner’s in designing for their new, custom home, as well as servicing local building contractors and land developers with production projects.  The Plan Shoppe also provides project management services from time-to-time, but the backbone of the business is mainly based upon custom home design work and drafting working drawings.   Because of my commitment to excellence, experience, quality, and expertise; The Plan Shoppe has established a solid business relationship with its customers and a firm reputation for quality service within the community.


  • I graduated from the School of Architecture, Oklahoma University, Norman, Oklahoma, 1975.
  • Residential Designer- over 43 years of experience and over 1,200 custom  plans ranging from custom lake homes, tract houses, garages, shops, barns, and even outhouses.
  • Land Use Planner
  • Home Builder
  • Journeyman Carpenter and Finish Carpenter
  • Certified Building Inspector
  • Certified Fire Inspector
  • Commercial Project Manager
  • Commercial Estimator
  • Land Development


Color Certificate 1

Color Certificate 2



Monday – Friday      9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Saturday                 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Sunday                                     Closed


Quotations For Services Are Free

Work Is Scheduled By Appointment Only

Call The Plan Shoppe at (208) 666-0489


Let me tell you a little about myself and my services.  In my practice, I offer alternative architectural designs, not the run-of-the-mill crap you see in every subdivision across the county.  I strive to create unique, high quality, natural homes that fit within their surroundings.  I believe every home should also fit its owner’s individual needs, and therefore, I do not offer pre-designed plans.  There are plenty of plan books and web sites that offer “off-the-shelf” plans if that is what you want, but this is not one of them. You may find that pre-designed plans may cost less, but you will get what you pay for most of the time.  Most stock plans will not fit your site or budget.  Some are designed with only 2×4 walls and will not meet current energy regulations.  Some designs will not meet your seismic zone, wall bracing, or snow load requirements either.  Many building jurisdictions will not even accept them without having a local designer alter them to meet local conditions, so you may as well hire a home designer in the first place and get a set of plans that meet all your personal and technical requirements.  Regret is the price you pay for not paying the price.

There are three main parameters that shape the design of a custom home:  the site, the budget, and the owner’s individual preferences.  Because of this, every house is unique and all my work is done on strictly a custom basis. In my career, I have never drawn the same house twice for two different owners.  Even my builder customers, who build multiple units, tend to alter their plans in order to maintain variety and interest.  My practice focuses mainly  on helping custom home owners and builders, so I specialize in providing personal design and drafting services exclusively for custom residential projects.  Most of my projects are located in the Pacific Northwest region; primarily in north Idaho and eastern Washington.   However, don’t let this stop you.  I have designed custom homes all over the western United States and have projects in Oklahoma, Hawaii, Alaska, California, Arkansas, Kentucky, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana.  I even have some projects located in Japan and Canada.  If your project is a single family, detached house, then I can design your new home, no matter where you are located.

Most of a person’s life is spent in their home, in the midst of their family and neighbors.  The house is a very important part of the American lifestyle, in general, and in a sense, a building block of our nation.  For the average American, our homes and neighborhoods summarize the status, values, attitudes, and circumstances of our lives.  In urban areas, all of the different houses are grouped into neighborhoods that combine into suburbs, then into communities, then into towns and cities, then into counties and states.  Our country is indeed, comprised of, and influenced by, at the most fundamental level, the house that we live in….. It is with this degree of importance and respect, that I approach each new residential design.  Every new home is essentially a component of our growing nation and the base of operation for an emerging generation of new Americans.

In my practice, I always try to maintain that personal element that makes a house into a home.  Each custom home is so unique and reflects the individual taste and personality of its owners, their children, their pets, the furniture, decorations, colors, and all their “stuff”, and it is the combination of all these things that tend to shape the memories and quality of life of a family.  Indeed, most homes form the nucleus, around which, a lot of cherished memories are made for most American families.  A house becomes alive when people move into it, and it, in turn, shapes their lives and activities. Our homes are the sacred places where the kids sleep out in the back yard, where they learn to ride bicycles, grow up with the kids down the block, and for most of us, where we come to rest after a hard days work. For most Americans, their home represents the “American Dream”….a piece of the rock, a piece of our country.  For the majority of Americans, it is the single major investment they will make during their entire lives. That is why I take residential design so seriously.

In a custom home, all the materials can only be assembled in one, unique way to come together to create a desired result, and yet satisfy the funding institutions, the owner’s budget, the site constraints, the jurisdictional agencies and all their rules and regulations, meet the construction schedule, and still satisfy the bank and meet the owner’s artistic preferences.  A good set of construction plans has to define, in detail, all the technical parts and pieces, the materials, how they are to be assembled, and direct all the trades in the project so the costs and scheduling can be determined and implemented. This is not an easy task.

In order to achieve a successful project, the construction plans have to define all the basic technical aspects, but more than that, a really good design also defines all the custom features that reflect the inhabitant’s lifestyle. Some may include features such as arches, window seats, coffer ceilings, snack bars, water fountains, wood columns, brick wainscoting, or a turned spindle stair railing.  The average house has well over 100,000 parts that all need to be defined and specified.  Most of the time there are over a dozen, or more subcontractors and trades participating in the construction, and each trade and supplier requires specific information in order to properly perform their particular responsibilities. That’s why every job is so different and interesting and challenging.  

During the course of my career, I have produced well over 1,200 custom home designs, most of which have been built successfully, and therefore I offer my customers a wide range of experience, knowledge, and administrative consultation and project management services. Essentially, I am the first stop in the construction process and I help translate an owner’s intangible ideas into the actual “paperwork” that is necessary to define the materials, processes, dimensions, and all the trades involved; which, in turn, enable cost estimates, building permits, financing, the collection of competitive bids from suppliers and subcontractors, and the selection of a general contractor to build the house.  

I consider myself to be in the dream business…because I endeavor to help my customers achieve their dreams.  I also like to think that I help people build homes, rather than just design houses. I believe a house is more than just shelter; more than an impersonal structure made of wood, concrete, and glass put together to protect us from the elements.  When people think of their home they tend to remember things like the smell of the freshly mowed front lawn on a summer day;  warm fireplaces on a cold winter night; the smell of fresh baked oatmeal cookies in the kitchen; the views from the front window; barbeques on the back deck; the porch swing on a summer evening; presents under the Christmas tree and all the bright lights; the kitchen where the family gathers every day at supper; play grounds; tree houses; dog houses; flower beds; box forts in the basement, and so many other memorable impressions like this. This is why a house is not just a building, it is a collection of experiences where people’s lives unfold;  it is a very personal statement about the people who live in it. A house is “alive” with meaning….a mystical blend of dreams, relationships, events, memories, and emotions rooted to physical objects that resist change…symbols that often endure through, and beyond, our lives.  I have found it is this quality of “permanence” that so many people incorporate into planning their homes, and which I strive to honor when performing my design consulting and drafting services.

My job is a curious combination of many disciplines…some art, some science.  In the beginning, I am a translator who interprets ideas and wispy impressions, who transforms these intangible thoughts and feelings into descriptions of physical space and formal expressions of reality.  In a way, I am required to “read” people’s minds through the course of several conversations, and assist them in putting into words and sketches what they visualize in their mind.  I force people to make decisions and believe me, this is not always an easy, or a pleasant task.  Once thoughts are interpreted, I then become an educator and sometimes an arbitrator….I try to blend all the different ideas into one basic plan, which is usually a compromise of all the different opinions from all the people who will occupy or participate in the construction of the house.  I attempt to design the spaces that accommodate the owner’s needs within the restrictions allowed by the local ordinances and building codes…usually under tight budget constraints and hurried time schedules.  Finally, I perform the services of a scribe and translate the relevant pieces of conversations into the graphic language of symbols, numbers, and pictures that define the materials and building systems necessary to build the structure; which illustrate the quality desired, the precise location of all the components, and that delineate the guidelines for the assembly process.

My plans speak to many audiences: first to the owners, then to the builders, to government regulators, to financial people, to material suppliers, and to all the various tradesmen who will participate in the construction of the building. My job is to orchestrate all these various players and activities that comprise this complicated process in order to achieve the owners objectives without a flaw…..

I take a great deal of pride in my work and enjoy helping people fulfill their dreams of having a new custom home.  My favorite charities are Habitat For Humanity and Homes For Veterans and I support these organizations on a continuing basis.  To each project I bring years of experience, a sense of responsibility and dedication to correct building principles and best practices; and above all, a determination to achieve the quality and desired interests of you….the customer.  If you are thinking about planning a new home, please browse through my web site and download some of the free reports that will help you organize and administer your project.

Designing successful projects is a challenging endeavor and it requires a great deal of commitment, concentration, and skill to pull all the parts and players together into a successful and cohesive project.  I’ve been doing this for decades. I’ve had lots of practice, and that is why I’m qualified to help you on your project.  That’s what I do.  So, if I can help you develop your project…..just let me know.

You can request a free quotation for services and access my rate sheet password by leaving your name and email address in the form below.  Your information will be held strictly confidential and will never be given to any third party or used to send you spam.  I respect your privacy as much as I cherish my own.  Period.  Thank you for visiting.

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