Custom Home

Full Service Design + Build Management

Are you excited at the prospect of building a new custom home but at the same time a little concerned by the stories you’ve heard of construction projects gone bad? Never-ending change orders, unscrupulous contractors, designs that fall short of what the homeowner originally envisioned — these are just some of a host of very real concerns. 

For many people Designing and building a custom home is the greatest investment they’ll ever make especially because of the emotions involved. That reason alone is why choosing the right team to lead your project is critical. 

You should be excited about designing and building a new custom home. I mean come on — you’re creating your ideal home 100% from scratch! How great is that!! You have the incredible opportunity of converting a completely blank canvas into your perfect dream home, a house that’s been perfectly designed to compliment your family’s lifestyle.

And allow me to let you in on a secret; it’s not just the end result that has to hold all the excitement. The design and build process itself can be fun and fulfilling too!

There ‘s a lot involved in successfully designing and building your custom home, but nothing is more critical than deciding who should lead your project from beginning to end. Sadly this is where the conventional route taken by most owners ends up being the source of the suffering they were trying to avoid.

(You can read more on conventional approaches to custom home building and the related pitfalls here.)

The real-world is not conventional

Studio 818’s designer-led process for designing and building custom homes stands in stark contrast to the conventional approach. Our designer-led Design + Build Management process has evolved over the last seven years primarily through the development over 40 of our own designer spec homes.

Each of our designer spec home projects provides a unique proving ground for our systems. We manage every aspect of these projects from acquisition, design and construction to valuation, marketing and sales. This unfettered freedom allowed us to accelerate the stress-testing of our processes across the entire design-build project scope. And through our interaction with dozens of architects, engineers and contractors each year we continue to refine our systems to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

We initially tried the conventional routes to designing and constructing our development projects. But with millions of dollars in investor funds at risk we quickly realized that we had to find a more efficient and profitable way to get these projects completed. It was this added pressure of every spec home project needing to produce a substantial return on investment that steered us to our designer-led design + build management process.


When an owner needs to build a new structure or complete major renovation they need a designer and contractor to handle its’ construction.

Typically the owner starts interviews and then hires an architect and a contractor. It’s at this point the owner has set themselves up for disappointment. 

Without realizing it the owner has unwittingly placed his or her project on an inevitable track to costly change orders, delays and ultimately a subpar product at completion.

The reason: the designer and contractor both have an array of consultants and subcontractors. With no clear single point of leadership and responsibility for the project a wall grows between the two sides each charged with fulfilling their own role.

This wall over the last half-century has grown impenetrable. It is legal, cultural and adversarial.

There is real need for communication and strategic decision making across the wall. But the need for communication has devolved into a cumbersome legalistic attempt to avoid liability.

When inevitable conflict evolves between the two sides the owner becomes the arbiter in an arena where he or she has little or no knowledge.

The solution to this dilemma is to put in place a project leader that can merge the interests, knowledge and talents for both design and construction into one singularly-focused cohesive team.

The most effective and efficient way for you to end up with a stunning custom home as designed and planned is for us to take the lead on the design & build process from the start. That means the Studio 818 team begins working with you from your first serious intention to build a custom home. This first step helps you avoid avoid many of the pitfalls common in a conventional custom home building process.

Our full-service Design + Build Management for custom homes handles all the headaches from concept to completion with a relentless focus on function, form and efficiency. ‘Full-service’ means we handle the hundreds of moving parts required to create your dream design, document it and bring it into reality with turn-key convenience. 

With Studio 818’s designer-led process the design team takes the lead from conceptual planning, into design development, through construction — all the way to completion. Before the first hammer swings every detail is pre-planned to control project costs and increase timeline efficiency. When construction begins we stand in the gap for you handling all the challenges that arise while protecting you, your design and your budget.

Our Six-Phase Full-Service
Design + Build Management Process

Through our Six-Phase Full-Service Design + Build Management Process and partnership with select architects Studio 818 provides all you need to make your design dreams a reality; from concept to completed construction.


    The Discovery Phase begins with a systemized analysis of your goals. We then use this baseline to complete a feasibility study of your property and project to ensure your goals and budget align. Next we move on to an in-depth information gathering where we dig deep into the specifics of your lifestyle and design aesthetic to create conceptual guideposts for your project. This step is key in order for your completed home to enhance your daily life embracing you in the perfect blend of form and function.

  • Phase 2: CONCEPTUAL

    Next in the Conceptual Phase we create the skeletal structure and design aesthetic that will drive your entire project. The best way to produce a truly jaw-dropping design that is also functional is to first develop the floor plan based on your goals, lifestyle and planned use of spaces. The floor plan impacts how you live your daily life. The design aesthetic determines how you feel living in that space. Combine the two and you have a roadmap for making your project a success.


    This is where the magic of great design happens. The Studio 818 team translates all of the information gathered up to this point into a single cohesive design custom tailored to your specific needs and design aesthetic. We begin working in parallel with the architect as we flesh-out the concept with elevation drawings, 3D renderings, material & finish specifications and tighten-up budget projections. In our final presentation we review these in detail with you. This step is critical in avoiding costly changes and time delays as your project moves forward.

  • Phase 4: TECHNICAL

    During this phase we work behind the scenes in parallel with the architect and engineer. Studio 818 creates the construction documentation detailing every specification required to successfully execute the design. At the same time the architect and engineer are working to create the plan-sets required for permitting. This is a critical collaborative time where we leverage our development experience to work with the architect ensuring the structure is engineered to the highest standards with the greatest cost-efficiency possible.


    With all finishes and fixtures specified we now manage one of the biggest headaches in a home renovation or new-build project — the purchasing of the finish products key to the design. We use primarily trade-only sources which means your newly designed home will be truly one-of-a-kind with top quality fixtures. In the Purchasing phase we handle all the hassles of ordering and delivery management including tracking, receiving, inspecting, damage claims, storing and delivery to the project at the correct time.


    This phase begins with the complex process of screening and selecting contractors whose skill-sets align with the scope of your project. We manage the contractor bidding procedures including meeting contractors on-site to review plans and walk the project as applicable. After bids are submitted we review all proposals and rank them on seven key factors to make contractor selection simple and straight forward.

    Once the construction work begins we are on-site weekly acting as your liaison. Our site visits protect the design integrity and save you money as the project progresses. As a Designer/Project Manager Studio 818 is on-site to catch any shoddy work or work not done to specifications before things go too far off-course. It’s the nature of the beast and it happens on every project to varying degrees no matter how good the contractor is. The key to minimizing added costs or extended timelines is catching the issues while they are small.

Studio 818 is not a general contractor and that is by design. By not being the general contractor and the master designer we eliminate conflicts of interest. Through our extensive real estate investment and development experience we are able to provide you unbiased guidance and professional construction administration. 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.

Are we the perfect fit for you?

Finding the right team to entrust with the leadership of your custom home construction project in South Florida is critical. Designing and building a custom home will generally take anywhere between 12 to 24+ months so making the wrong choice can mean your custom home project feels more like a VERY long bad date than what’s supposed to be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life. 

Our process is different and it’s not right for everyone. We may be the perfect fit for you IF:

  • The fit, finishes & details in your home are important to you.
  • It’s crucial that the flow & function of your floor plan perfectly compliment your lifestyle.
  • You’re willing to make the upfront investment in time and money to minimize change orders & accelerate timelines by designing in detail before the first hammer swings.
  • You’d like the security of 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 okay letting professionals handle all the moving parts for you.
  • You want to get the maximum benefit from every dollar you invest in building or improving your home.
  • You’d like to ensure your home valuation after completion is greater than what you invested.

Although not exclusive, an optimal return on investment can be expected from Studio 818’s Design + Build Management processes with a home valuation of $1-million+. Our systems work most efficiently with new construction budgets of at least $500k for finished building only; exclusive of building lot, landscaping, furniture, and soft costs (design, plans and permits.) Benefits and return on investment increase with property valuation and budget size.

If you’re unsure what your construction budget is or should be check out this introduction to construction costs in South Florida for some valuable guidance.

What’s the investment for our services?

The investment for Studio 818’s full-service Design + Build Management on a whole-house renovation or new construction of a custom home generally ranges from 12% to 20% of the construction budget. This includes everything you need outside construction and material costs, including:

  • Conceptual design
  • Final design with renderings
  • Finish material specifications
  • Architectural & engineering plans (for permitting)
  • Detailed construction documentation (for contractors)
  • Management of the contractor bidding process
  • Procurement & order management for critical finish materials
  • Designer-led project management throughout construction to completion

Similar to construction costs, investment for our full-service Design + Build Management services is determined by the project scope, size of the home and level of finishes desired. Our services are provided primarily by fixed-fee making it easier to determine your total budget up-front.

Take the First Step

Finding the right team to lead your project can be overwhelming. We believe the best way to make sure we’re the right match and your project ends up a top-notch success is to learn about each other right out of the gate.

It’s simple to get started. Click the button below to schedule an appointment for your Discovery Call and tell us a little about you and your project. We’ll start out with a phone meeting to review your project in more detail.