Custom Design

We act as consultants to the process of design with the chosen designer or architect. Acting as an integral member of the design team endears us to the client, familiarizes us with the lot and plan, and provides insight to your needs & desires so that we can better advise and direct. We trust that our investment causes the plans and specifications to be superior to what they would be without our intervention, and we expect our creative hand and collective wisdom to be displayed – to accentuate, but not drive or overpower.


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Different Builders have differing methods of operation. Ultimately the success and joy experienced in building a new home depends on how well your needs and expectations blend with the routine of your chosen Builder. You’ll find below a list of Frequently Asked Questions with answers that will provide insight to our recipe for success. We encourage you to ask these questions of other Builders and their former Clients in determining who you believe will make the best fit for you and your unique project.


To what degree do I truly drive the plan development process, and how many meetings does it require?

Our routine puts you in the driver seat, with our team acting as consultants throughout the process. Thorough plan development typically requires 4-8 months, with 4-6 face-to-face design sessions. Our involvement allows us to advise regarding architectural review guidelines, suitability of space, mix of materials, appropriate allowances, and budgetary guidance.


Do you have an archive of plans from which you draw?

It is our belief that the land, topography, views and prevailing breeze should drive design rather than accepting an admired plan and simply placing it on a lot. We assist in establishing a charrette – a collaborative session in which a group of individuals addresses a solution(s) to a design challenge. Charrettes serve as a way of generating a design solution while integrating the interests of a diverse group of people, preferences and qualities, and overlaying them on the prevailing features and limitations of a specific site. A successful charrette promotes joint ownership of solutions and produces a cohesive fabric woven among the owner, architect/designer, builder, budget and site.


Do you have a particular style or expertise?

We have no inherent “style”, but rather expect to draw out and enhance the style of our clients, then execute with excellence. As an integral member of the design team we’re afforded insight into the needs, priorities and desires of our clients. Our ability to be of good counsel is achieved by understanding the client and knowing product availability in the marketplace – and by having a reasoned opinion regarding the product suitability for each unique client.


What’s the key to a worry-free building process?

The key to successful custom homebuilding begins with trust. Trust results from relationships, and with trust accountability increases. With increased accountability, standards are elevated.


Do you cover a wide geographic range?

No! We have a heightened awareness that custom home building requires much on-site and personalized attention, so we’re very careful to limit the commute between concurrent projects so that our construction supervisory team and subcontractors spend more time on the job, and less time behind the windshield.


How does your pricing and GC fee compare to that of other Builders?

Purchasing power may cause minor variation, but in general all Builders pay the same for a yard of concrete, a stick of lumber, or an hour of skilled labor. We know our margins to be very competitive, if not on the low side of market norm, so any competitive difference in a projected or actual price is due to realistic and healthy selection allowances, quality of materials and expertise of trade. What we won’t do is deceive or lure you in with unrealistic expectations only to disappoint or frustrate in hindsight.


How do you establish materials and selection allowances in advance, considering we don’t truly know our needs and wants yet?

Our participation in the design process allows insight into what are good and appropriate materials and allowances for your desired level of finish or the product performance you’re seeking. We specifically seek to establish allowances, materials and finishes that match your described desires, thereby avoiding future change orders and severe allowance overages.


Who would be my Job Superintendent? What is his or her experience, and how many different jobs and subdivisions would he/she be covering at once?

Our routine allows our entire team to play a significant role in each and every project, and we desire that our collective gifts and talents be reflected in every job. With this in mind we’re very cautious with our workload, typically limiting ourselves to 4-6 projects at a time. Every Great Homes project has the same team: Executive, Interior Design Consultant, Project Management and Finish Superintendents – which all combined represent 150+ years of construction experience.


How much personal attention do we receive from the Executive Team vs the Construction Team?

Any member of our team is available throughout the building process on an as need basis. Full team Quality Control & Project Overview meetings are conducted on-site, and each job has a spot on the agenda at our weekly Team Meeting.


How do you select your subcontractors and vendors? Is it by low bid, or a consistent group?

We place great value in our longstanding relationships with quality subcontractors, vendors and artisans. Our team of subcontractors knows our standards, expectations and they value the work we provide. We ensure pricing accuracy and fairness by soliciting written proposals and competitive bids. For accountability and community spirit we prefer local subcontractors when possible, always seeking to integrate their professional expertise, and enjoy considering them an integral part of the family.


How does the interior design and selection process work? Is the design consultant in-house or hired? Does he or she accompany me to showrooms and visit the jobsite frequently and/or as needs arise?

We provide in-house interior design consultation with every project. Our professional design consultant plays an integral role in all aspects of selection and design from start-to-finish, attends Quality Control & Project Overview field trips, and accompanies each client to all showroom appointments. Many hours in additional on-site and behind the scene discovery and analysis is a regular routine.


How long do you take to build a home?

Our actual construction period typically ranges from 11-14 months. We recognize that Client driven plans with unique selections requires time, that requesting selections prior to construction is unrealistic (if not inappropriate), and we accommodate accordingly.


How about window coverings, art and custom furnishings?

We are equipped and prepared to take your project as far as you’d like by way of artisans, furniture manufacturers and suppliers, and welcome the opportunity to be of assistance.