Custom Home Design + Build Management

Studio 818’s designer-led framework for designing and building custom homes stands in stark contrast to conventional approaches. Our process minimizes change orders, reduces construction timelines and boosts overall project efficiency. 

As developers of more than 40 of our own designer spec homes we understand the challenges you face when it comes to designing and building a custom home from the ground up. We know from experience that if you take the conventional approach to building a custom home you’re likely to end up with:

An Architect and Interior Designer who do not understand the related construction costs of what they are designing and cannot guide you in making design decisions related to building costs

⊗ Contractors who lock you into contract based on “allowances” which are really just open doors to massive and uncontrollable increases to your budget as the project progresses

⊗ An unstructured process with a serious leadership gap that causes the project to consume every aspect of your life for two years or longer

But you don’t have to fall prey to the typical problems. When you work with Studio 818 we’ll help you avoid the design flaws, change orders and time suck that typically comes with custom homes.

Watch the video below for a brief introduction to our process and the benefits our clients enjoy.

Our designer-led Design + Build Management framework turns the typical plan development process on its’ head. First-off, Studio 818 starts with aligning client goals with a realistic budget. Then instead of starting with the architecture and envelope of the structure like is typical, we begin designing from the inside out.

In our framework the first step in designing your master-plan is to create the ideal space plan for you and your family. Using our in-house lifestyle analysis, we determine the optimal flow and function that best compliments the way you live, entertain and relax. Once we have developed the conceptual space plan then we wrap that design with the structure and building envelope that will complete the design aesthetic you desire. 

During the design development phase of our framework we begin working in parallel with our architects and engineers to create a cohesive integrated plan. We involve the General Contractor early in the process as well which is key to maximizing efficiency and cost savings.

By working this way we uncover up-front , the conflicts and impractical engineering that normally arise during construction. With our process these issues can be handled ‘on paper’ much more economically rather than during actual construction with costly change orders.


 ‘Full-service’ means we oversee the hundreds of moving parts required to create your dream design, develop it and bring it into reality with turn-key convenience. With our Design + Build Management framework for custom homes we simplify your life as your single point of contact for the project. We handle all the headaches for you from concept to completion.


With Studio 818’s designer-led framework our team takes the lead from conceptual planning, into design development, through construction — all the way to completion. With this top-level design-focused oversight we’re able to keep your project on-target with a relentless focus on efficiency.

Before the first hammer swings every detail is pre-planned to control project costs and timelines. When construction begins we stand in the gap handling all the challenges that arise while protecting you, your design and your budget.

Six phases to cover all the bases

Our designer-led Design + Build Management framework includes six phases of work. Each is critical to the success of your custom home project. We’ll cover these in much greater detail as we meet and move forward with your project, but for now here’s a quick summary:

Phase 1: Discovery and programming — We begin by understanding your vision and documenting your goals and requirements. We then analyze and guide you to ensure your budget expectations are commensurate with the desired scope of work.

Phase 2: Conceptual design — This is ‘big picture’ work where we develop the master-plan for your project, design the floor plan with related space plan, and further refine budget projections. This phase provides the critical guideposts for the design and development of your project moving forward.

Phase 3: Design development — Here is where all our pre-budgeting, planning and conceptual work comes together into a detailed cohesive design that will meet your specific needs and design aesthetic. At the end of this phase you will see exactly what your home will look like, know exactly what finishes, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) will be used, and exactly what the specified FF&E will cost.

Phase 4: Technical and construction documentation — This is where all the critical details, measurements and specifications of your home are documented. This is the ‘project bible’ that tells the dozen or more subcontractors required to build your home precisely how they will transform the design into reality. This includes the architecture and engineering plan-set required for permitting.

Phase 5: Procurement — We handle sourcing and order-management of all FF&E to eliminate material related delays and help ensure a smooth workflow once your project begins. Order management includes tracking, receiving & inspection, handling damage claims and making sure the materials are on-site only when the contractor is ready for them.

Phase 6: Construction administration — Studio 818 is not a general contractor and that is by design. We eliminate conflicts of interest by not acting as both the master designer and general contractor as with some design-build companies. This addresses the concern many owners have about the construction budget increasing to benefit the contractor.

Studio 818 handles all the headaches of selecting and managing contractors. From contractor bidding to the final punchlist we put our 20+ years of real estate investment and development experience to work for you. Through our professional unbiased guidance and construction administration we keep your project on track, mitigate change-orders, and monitor quality and design integrity to ensure your dream design becomes reality.

The Studio 818 team also reviews progress invoices to verify requested contractor payments are justified relative to completed work. And we help protect you from unwarranted contractor liens.

As you can see, every aspect of your project is covered in these six phases. Under our watchful eye you can have confidence that you’re getting the best quality work, executed the most efficient way, and budgeted at the best possible value.

Finding the right team to design and build your custom home in South Florida is critical. Design, permitting and construction can take anywhere between 12 to 24+ months. This should be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life. But choosing the wrong team with an ‘industry-standard’ approach could mean the process ends up feeling more like a very long and very bad date you can’t escape from.

Making sure we’re the right match for you and your project is important to us. Our designer-led Design + Build Management framework is different and it’s not right for everyone. To help you decide for yourself here are some reasons clients have chosen to work with us. We may be the perfect fit for you IF . . .

♦ The fit, finishes & details in your home are important to you.

♦  It’s crucial that your floor plan perfectly compliments your lifestyle in both flow and function.

♦  You understand the time and upfront investment to design in detail before the first hammer swings will minimize problems, mitigate change orders and reduce construction timelines.

♦  You want the security that comes with having a trusted team standing in the gap representing and protecting you throughout the entire design-build process.

♦  Your time is important and you’re happy to let professionals handle all the moving parts for you.

♦  You want to get the maximum ROI from every dollar invested.

♦ You want the valuation of your home after completion to put you in a good equity position.

The budget for designing and building a custom home from the ground-up obviously can vary widely. A budget is based on many factors such as lot location, square footage of the build, architectural style, finish quality and more.

We can say regardless of all those varying factors that a starting budget of $1,000,000* is the point where working with Studio 818 and employing our Design + Build Management framework makes good financial sense for the owner. This budget number includes design & planning, construction & build costs, FF&E (fixtures, finishes & equipment) and construction management.

Land cost is separate. However our through our acquisition consulting we are able to help clients find and prequalify the right property to meet their ‘all-in’ budget goals. Furniture and furnishings likewise are not included in this budget number, but they can be added into our process for a true turn-key move-in experience.

If you’re unsure what your construction budget should be for your project scope check out this introduction to construction costs in South Florida before scheduling your Discovery Call.

For our Design + Build Management framework to deliver the results you expect there is a minimum amount of time and effort it will take to effectively deploy the system regardless the budget. Sometimes people have the misconception that a lower budget will mean a lower investment for our services, however the real-world math doesn’t work out that way.

On a larger design-build project it’s pretty obvious the broader scope and complexity will require more time, money and effort on our part. The cool thing is that as a construction budget increases the investment for our services actually decreases as a relative percentage of the construction budget. The more complex the scope of work the greater your return on investment for our services – in efficiency, cost savings and timelines.

On the flip side if a budget is too tight for a project, that lower budget doesn’t eliminate the steps required to deliver an outstanding quality in our process. It doesn’t reduce the work required to deliver a stunning finished product. It still takes hundreds of hours and 18-months or more of work on our part to successfully take a custom home project from concept to completion. In fact, it takes proportionally more time to create a stunning result with a tight budget than it does with an appropriate one.

That’s because a lower budget brings with it more limitations to work around in the design phase. And when it comes to the planning, project management and execution of the master-plan those things take the same effort with a tight budget as they would on a project with a more substantial budget. 

With this in mind we know it won’t make good financial sense for you to make the investment in our full-service Design + Build Management services below a specific budget threshold. Unlike the typical builder or contractor we will not tell you we can meet your budget just to get the job and then later disappoint you with size, design or finishes that are far short of what you expected. That is why we provide this budget guidance.

Thanks to our extensive property development experience we know construction costs. And because of that expertise we know what the budget threshold is for diminishing returns with a new ground-up custom home project. That is what is reflected in the suggested minimum construction budget above.

Our framework covers much more than interior design, finishes and other ‘pretty stuff.’ Much of the value Studio 818 provides you comes from the master-planning at the start, project management throughout and owner’s representation during the construction phase.  

Studio 818’s full-service Design + Build Management services are always a fixed-fee making it easier to determine the total investment in your project up-front. We do not price projects based on a percentage of budget or square footage like many design professionals do, but is instead based on the number of design areas a project entails. This approach ensures you receive the level of attention and detail your project scope requires, and that our compensation is commensurate with the amount of work dedicated to executing stellar design 

The investment for our services is impacted by various conditions such as total square footage, challenges with the building site, complexity of architectural design, quantity/level of custom millwork and level of finishes. This white glove service includes everything you need outside construction labor and material costs, including:

♦ Conceptual design

♦ Final design with renderings

♦ Finish material specifications

♦ Architectural & engineering plans (for permitting)

♦ Detailed technical drawings & specifications (for contractors)

♦ Management of the contractor bidding process

♦ Procurement & order management for critical finish materials

♦ Designer-led project management from concept, through construction right up to completion and your move-in

To get a better understanding of what your total project investment is likely to be schedule a free Discovery Call.

Take the First Step

It’s simple to get started. Click the button below to schedule your free Discovery Call and tell us a little about you and your project. We’ll start out with a phone or virtual meeting to review your project together.