2x4 designs Mission:

"Do good work."


Cory Thompson, Owner, Designer

Cory, 33, has been interested in building and design since he was a kid growing up on a 500 acre cattle farm. After graduating college for architecture he continued following his growing interest in design and architecture and was hired at a local architecture firm where he gained valuable experience in art, architecture, and design. Today, with 11 years experience behind him, he puts all his talents and experience to good use for his clients and enjoys the rewards of helping clients create meaningful homes and spaces that by design enhance daily life.  

bamboo hut frame 13 yr old

bamboo hut frame 13 yr old


Thompson: Going Solo, By Design

Article from the Wilmington Business Journal, April 2015


"Among Wilmington’s community of residential designers, Cory Thompson might be called a high-tech chip off the old block.

Thompson, 30, who in January opened 2x4 DESIGNS at The Cotton Exchange, brings a blend of millennial verve and down-home sensibility to his work as he creates both trendy and traditional homes. 

Raised on a cattle farm in the Montgomery County hamlet of Mount Gilead, Thompson helped his father build sheds and fix the tractor. After high school, he worked construction jobs.

“After six months of construction labor I realized I was on the wrong side of the industry,” the boyish-looking Thompson recalled, flanked by a 3-D display screen and technical manuals in his new downtown office. “I was more interested in the professional, creative side of construction and design..." read the full article here.

design is a process of refinement



After scheduling a meeting, we ask that you bring in a few images or sketches that are inspirational to your design goals. For example images of style preferences, floor plan sketches, and lot surveys. We use this information along with our unique Client Questionnaire to establish initial goals and objectives for your project.



This phase is where we begin to get the ideas on paper and into our 3D modeling software. Our 3D models allow the client to view both the interior and exterior of the house at all stages of the design process.  The ability to change colors and materials helps with making sound decisions when it comes to your homes material selections. Schematic design is an exciting phase and when the house begins to take shape. Once client and designer are happy with the the schematic design we refine the design and move toward construction documents.



A "behind the scenes" phase. Once the client is satisfied with the design we go to work on the construction documents or CON DOCS as we call them. This is where we begin to carefully analyze your custom design and add necessary details and drawings to our documents for construction purposes.  The investment of a quality set of construction documents allows for most accurate bidding as well as saves time and money throughout the project and makes the construction process smoother for everyone.



The construction administration service or "CA"  consist of periodical site visits on the clients behalf documenting construction methods and verifying that all specs and details are being built according to the plans.  Having the designer involved during construction can ensure a smoother construction process and the contractor has direct access and office support if questions arise during the construction process.


CLIENT: How do you approach the design process?

A:  First of all, design is exciting! The possibilities in the beginning are endless which is why we like to start from scratch creating a design that uniquely fits the clients needs and building site considerations.  We analyze the solar path in all four seasons to find the best location for each element of the design.  It's really quite simple, in the beginning all we ask is for your ideas. If you have ideas about the floor plan thats great, if not we can come up with a design based on your style preference and initial thoughts.

CLIENT: how much does it cost?

A:  If not asked first it's usually second. This is a good question. Each project varies in complexity and level of detail needed. Understanding this, we typically use a lump sum fee which includes our entire service from our initial meeting to the construction documents your builder will use to build and pull permits. (For an official quote please contact.)  We've designed our process to be efficient and effective and track all hours spent on our projects so we know how much resource it takes to get to the finish line, our fee is a reflection of this. In short, the fee is based on the amount of time, effort, and level of experience needed to successfully deliver for our clients.

CLIENT: Do you provide everything needed for construction and permitting?

A:  Yes, we provide construction documents your builder will use to build your home. Our documents are used to obtain building permits in your local municipality. Typically, our document set will include, site plan, foundation plan, floor plans, elevations, building sections and details, roof plan, electrical plans (optional), plus any documents from the structural engineer.  

CLIENT: can you design "green"?

A:  Of course! There are many ways to approach sustainable home design from cost effective advanced framing techniques to capturing geo thermal and solar energy sources.  Solar orientation can play a role in placement of windows and especially when designing for passive solar.  For our clients who want to save on the energy bill and are not interested in the upfront investment of solar, geo or passive design we suggest investing in 2x6 exterior walls and quality insulation such as closed cell foam insulation.  Highly insulated windows and doors will save lots of energy also. 

CLIENT: Do my plans need to be structurally engineered?

A: In most cases yes.  We suggest that most our clients have their design reviewed and stamped by a professional structural engineer.  The necessity of this is dependent on the complexity of the design. A standard 1 story home most likely will not need structural engineering and can be structurally designed using tables found in local building codes. If your lot is in a coastal flood zone and your foundation is pilings you will need a structural engineer to locate pilings to properly transfer the weight loads of the house to the soil.

CLIENT: How long does it take?

A:   As a reference, a typical house design might take anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months to complete the design. There are many factors that come into play such as the time of year, complexity of design, and flow of communication between designer and client. We suggest planning ahead to allow appropriate time to complete well thought out design and plans for your home. 

CLIENT: How do we find a builder?

A:  As an integral part of building a home, making sure our designs are executed with a reputable builder is the final key to a successful project.  We have relationships with several quality local builders we can recommend. 


Cory helped us with the design of our dream home and he made our dream now a reality! We had a lot of high expectations and a very clear vision of what we wanted and he was able to easily transfer that vision to a blueprint. I would highly recommend his services!
— Kelly Brantley, Brantley Residence
Cory brought his enthusiasm for architecture to our project. We were looking to design a home for a property we bought two years ago waiting until we could afford building our dream home. We looked at both architects and designers and decided to give Cory a shot. We are very glad we did. He brought unique ideas and worked hard to make sure he balanced design aesthetics with the functionality of our living spaces. Cory is a hard worker and would not hesitate to recommend him.
— Martin Pollack - Lucky Fish House
My husband & I hired Cory to design our dream home. After giving him our wish list & showing him a few floor plans we liked, Cory went to work. After only a week we had a design to look at. From there, we were able to keep making changes until we were satisfied with everything. And even after we thought we had made all of the changes we wanted, we would find something else. Cory was always open to our changes & made them quickly. He answered our questions & did a great job. We can’t wait to see it come to life in the next few months as we start construction!
— Mindy Perry - Perry Residence
We couldn’t be happier with how our house project turned out! We bought a fixer upper and asked Cory to completely redesign the interior layout, add an addition to the house and redesign the exterior architecture. He was an excellent listener, asked to see photo examples, was very responsive with phone calls and emails and was a joy to work with.
We experienced a unforeseen construction hiccup which required a redesign of practically everything and Cory happily made all the changes we needed in a very short period of time. He was a great communicator with our GC as well as the structural engineer. Very impressive. We would highly recommend him and hope to work with him again! Thank you Cory!
— Paige Kon, Kon Residence Rehab + Addition
I must say the level of accuracy and overall quality was amazing. I appreciated that Cory would send me work in progress images
— Tony Garcia, Home Owner
Cory designed a room for us with mid century modern detailing. He did an excellent job of listening to what we wanted, coming up with creative proposals, and collaborating with us during design iterations. The final result was outstanding.
— Bruce Reding - Wilmington, NC
Initially Cory was hired to assist our in house design team with general drafting in relation to construction documents - Quickly it became apparent, that we were able to lean on him for other ongoing needs and support in areas of drafting, design & technical problem solving pertaining to precise residential code requirements.

We continue to utilize Cory ongoing - Without hesitation I recommend Cory for the full gamut of creative to technical architectural skills one may need - His work is calculated, he communicates clearly and is passionate and professional about all that he offers!
— Daniel Whitaker Heartridge Builders, Durham-NC

helpful links:

New Hanover County Planning Department:

City Of Wilmington Zoning Department (Permitting Process Info):

Wrightsville Beach Planning and Inspections Department:

Historic Wilmington Foundation:


Please feel free to  contact us if you have more questions.