Luxury Home Building and Architectural Design in Houston

09:39 Apr 2023
Luxury Home Building and Architectural Design in Houston

The luxury home building experience for most people is the Mt Everest of personal dreams. The architectural design of a luxury home is a majestic and life affirming quest to fulfill.

To keep this once in a lifetime dream from possibly turning into a nightmare, owners should prepare their home design ideas for luxury home building and take steps to hire a luxury home builder early in the process.

Although there are production builders with their standard models that allow you to select your own colors and there are semi-custom home building contractors that will allow you to modify their stock plans, there remains an exclusive select group of general home contractors known as luxury home builders.

These special and exclusive luxury houses personally define the owner’s signature lifestyle, unlike any other product that can be purchased or produced anywhere in the world.

These are the following essential elements as defined by a master builder with more than 40 years of experience and care.

Luxury Home Building Requires Preparing and Planning for the Architectural Design Plans

These are the required architectural home design steps for the luxury house building process;

  • Research and Planning Home Design
  • Develop your Design Team
  • Find your Future Home Site
  • Develop Architectural Home Design
  • Prepare Construction Cost Proposal Contracts
  • Home Construction and Warranty

Research and Planning Home Design

If you only do 1 thing, doing your due diligence and proper planning is critical to a successful luxury home building process.

Even if you have previously designed and built a custom house, this step should not be ignored.

As they say, the devil is in the details, and ignoring the details can send your project to hell.

The research and planning can take many shapes and forms, from intensive reading and preparing detailed questionnaires to endless hours of viewing and piecing together design idea books with design and product ideas to share with your design team.

The point is that you should always do some reading, product selection, and design planning.

This alone will assist you in attracting and communicating with your professional design team tasked with the duty to assist you with the creative and construction process.

Take into consideration your lifestyle and how you and your family intend to use your luxury home.

Plan your wish list around a full spectrum of wants and wishes, from your family growing up in this house to your bucket list achievements.

Make it as comprehensive as possible, you can rule them out as non-feasible later in the house design process when you are limiting yourself for financial reasons.

The point here is to allow yourself the ideas before you eliminate them so as not to regret having considered them at a later date.

Luxury Home Building and Architectural Design in Houston

 Develop Your Design Team

Your principal design team consists of your builder, architect/luxury house designer, and engineer.

Depending on your needs you may also want the services of an interior designer and/or a landscape architect to supplement the design process with more detail.

During the first stage of this process, your research included gathering a short list of professionals to interview during this stage of the luxury home building process.

Armed with your design idea book, your questions, and some alternative building site locations, you dive in head first to explore the best personal fit for this collaborative effort.

It is helpful in having clearly defined expectations going into a luxury house building project.

The most effective method to conduct these interviews is in a friendly setting for the owners.

I subscribe to placing your professionals in a somewhat uncomfortable situation during their interview to determine how they react to adversity.

This can give you a real time idea of what it will be like when challenges take place during the project.

I have seen a couple start naturally arguing just to see how their consultants would react.

The primary idea is to find a method to make your assessment in determining if your professional service providers will work as a team and that you will enjoy working with them throughout the entire process.

Review the architect’s / designer’s portfolio and have some open discussions about their creative process and design philosophy.

Probe them with questions concerning their tolerance of accepting constructive criticism of their work. No one enjoys working with a touchy artist.

Ask your prospective general home contractors about the different methods available to clients for contracting their services.

Ask them difficult questions about how they handle change orders and how they resolve conflicts and disagreements with their clients.

When you have your list narrowed down to a few select names, meet with both the architect/designer and the luxury builder to decide how well they will collaborate.

Find Your Future Home Site

Many people will purchase the home building lot before they hire their design team.

This is understandable due to the rare opportunities available in selecting a premium lot.

By having your team selected beforehand they can be extremely helpful in assisting the owner with the right building site for your new house plan.

The design (shape and form) can only truly be defined when the lot has been purchased.

Your luxury house builder can assist you in your lot selection by researching the deed restrictions and property building setback requirements.

They can also be instrumental in the home finish floor elevations, driveway configuration, utility accessibility, and mature tree preservation.

The home site is a critical part of the luxury house building process for many reasons.

First, the house building site is the largest single purchase that is made during the process.

Secondly, the home’s orientation can be a major factor in energy efficiency depending on the sun’s southern exposure and the window openings planned.

The major defining factor should be the neighborhood and the adjoining homes and properties. In other words, how well will your intended home’s design architecturally blend with the existing houses?

 For more on Houston land values, you may visit our link.

Develop Architectural Home Design

At this point, you have a house site, a conceptual drawing approved, conceptual budget and you are well on your way to completing the home drawings for your luxury house building project.

Your luxury builder is preparing a high confident budget price for the working drawings and the engineer is modeling the load members for compliance.

You are working on product selections such as plumbing fixtures, cabinets, exterior stone, or brick.

The more selections you can actually finalize the more assurance you will have in your builder’s price.

In the absence of these selections, you will be provided a set of fair market selection allowances as a portion of the overall construction budget.

With the construction cost budget and the completed house plans, you now can finalize your financing.

This traditionally consists of funding to acquire the building lot and the allocation amount required to fund the construction of your new luxury house.

Your lender will require that the construction cost is paid in progress payments and that the builder provide proof of payment for materials and labor as the project progresses.

The final drawings will require the owner’s approval and the general contractor will submit the engineering and drawing to the local building department for permitting.

The building department will usually review the complete documents by passing them around throughout the different departments such as; electrical, mechanical, civil, and structural for each department’s approval and comments.

For a complete understanding of the architectural design process visit the link.

Construction cost proposal contracts

Prepare Construction Cost Proposal Contracts

With the architectural house design and structural engineering sealed the luxury house builder can prepare quantity take-offs in preparation for preparing construction costs.

If the luxury builder has been working with the design team, he already has some preliminary cost estimates.

The completed engineering is the last missing piece to complete the total cost for contracts.

New luxury house building requires all parties to execute a construction contract.

The contract will consist of terms and conditions, warranties, lien releases, insurance requirements, payment terms, project scope of work, and an assortment of state required disclosures. Home Construction & Warranty

The final phase of the new luxury home building process is the actual construction of your new home. Your involvement does not end with the design phase completion.

You will be required to attend progress meetings on-site, complete your product selections, and review details of shop drawings of products that are being fabricated for your specific house.

These meetings also provide the owner with the assurances that the house is being built to their quality standards and their design expectations.

There is nothing worse than building a house that does not meet the owner’s expectations.

It is important that the owner continue to be decisive and deliberate in the required task of colors, product selections, and progress meetings to avoid unwanted delays.

A word regarding owner risk management. The owner and luxury builder will be required to both carry insurance on this home under construction until complete.

The luxury home builder will need general liability and someone will be required to maintain builders’ risk insurance until the construction and final city inspections are complete.

The owner will be required to maintain property casualty insurance until the construction is complete and the homeowner’s policy goes into effect.

The State of Texas requires that luxury house builders provide a minimum insurance on new construction.

I would recommend that you make this part of your due diligence discussions when you are hiring the luxury builder. Not all home warranties are created equal.

My best advice in your luxury house building experience is to enjoy the process.

If the process gets to be too stressful, have a conversation with your professional advisers in an open conversation to reduce the unwelcome stress.

Your professional luxury builder is hired to make your luxury home building experience satisfying and a positive memorable experience.


Luxury home building can be one of the most rewarding experiences in one’s life.

Creating the architectural design of your luxury house and being an active participant in luxury home builder is a very proud time.

The architectural home design process is the time to introduce the unique home plan features that define the lifestyle you desire.

Ultimately what makes the difference is working with a professional general contractor that proactively communicates and is a trusted advisor in your luxury house building experience.

For a comprehensive article on the custom home building process visit; https://www.marwoodconstruction.com/custom-home-builders/

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