Custom Homes

Design With The Charleston Team

Design With Charleston

Charleston Building and Development is a design / build firm. That means Charleston has the capabilities to manage all of the details of your custom home project from start to finish. There are 2 main types of design / build projects. There is the builder led - design / build project and there is the architect led - design / build project. Both types have their strengths and Charleston is very familiar at working in both scenarios.

A builder led - design / build project is when our clients select Charleston as the builder and want us to manage all of the aspects of their project. Charleston hires and oversees the architect, civil engineer and mechanical design. Charleston brings a team of project managers and design managers to these architecture meetings to seamlessly bring our clients visions, budget and personal touches to every project. There are 2 main advantages of a builder led - design / build project. The largest advantage is the client’s budget is always discussed and kept in mind during all of the design stages. This helps avoid the sticker shock scenario that can occur in custom home design. The second advantage is the overall ease of use for our clients. Our clients only need to make one hire, Charleston, the rest is in our hands as we only bring the best industry professionals to the table.

An architect led - design /build project is when a client hires an architect first. The client and architect work on the designs and layout of the home and then hires a builder to construct the home. Charleston has collaborated with nearly all of the area’s best architects and knows how to work in a team environment to achieve the architectural details clients are looking for. In this scenario, Charleston will give input on energy efficiency, value engineering and other construction details as requested. The big advantage of the architect led – design / build project is the client can get competitive bids from various builders once the design is complete. Unfortunately, budget can be overlooked in this situation and further redesign work is often necessary to get back down to budget.

Build With Charleston

Regardless of which design path brought you to Charleston building your home, you made the right decision. Charleston has specialized in building custom luxury homes for our clients for the past 18 years. The Charleston build process is one that keeps the client engaged and excited from start to finish. Our talented design team works within your style on all your project selections. Your project manager stays in constant communication with you on scheduling and budget. Charleston’s full transparency pricing and draw process allows both parties to focus on the most important thing, your home.

Design With Charleston

Our initial meeting will take place at the Charleston office and we will discuss the overall vision of the project and talk about if we need to help procure a lot to build on or do a site visit if the client already owns their build site. A preliminary budget will be discussed at this time.

The design stage starts with a Plan Development Agreement between the client and Charleston. This agreement hires Charleston to develop and complete the architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and interior design of a custom home. Your Charleston project manager and/or design manager will be with you at every meeting, every step of way during the design stage of your project. A budget will be discussed in detail prior to starting any architecture work.

Once there is a realistic budget in place, the architecture process will begin. Inspirational photos, Houzz Ideabooks, Pintrest and any other images you have, help explain your direction and style. The architect will start developing floor plans and elevations based on your inspiration photos and some Q&A. Your project manager will be a constant in the architecture process keeping budget in mind the entire time and will periodically bring in the Charleston Design Manager when needed.

This architecture and design process can vary from 4 months to 7 months depending on the project and client.

Bid/Pre-Construction Stage

Bid Process:

Once the architecture and design stage is complete your project manager will begin the bidding and pre-constrution phase of the project. The project manager will have a bid prep meeting with the client. In this meeting the project manager will discuss the different options and materials that will be requested in the bid specifications. These bid specification will be prepared by the project manager and sent to all of the sub-contractors along with the architectural drawings, civil engineering drawings and design schematics.

Selection Process:

During the bid process the Charleston Design Manager will hold a few selection meetings. In these meetings clients will begin to select their plumbing fixtures, appliances, cabinetry etc. At this time we do not need everything selected and finalized. The Design Manager just needs a good understanding of the style and type of finishes so we can properly place realistic allowances in the contract pricing of your home.


After all of the sub-contractors proposals come back from the bid process, Charleston can prepare a ost estimate for your new home. The cost estimate will include the proposals from the sub-contractors, any final selections that were made during the selection process as well as any allowances that were based off the selection meetings. These numbers put together gives our clients a very realistic proposal of their project. Once numbers are reviewed and agreed upon then the construction contract documentation can be prepared.

Title / Escrow Accounts:

All of Charleston projects, bank funded or owner funded, run through a title company. Charleston does this for protection for both the client and Charleston. At this stage an escrow account will be set up to manage the construction draws of the project.


Running in unison with the construction contracts will be the permitting documentation. Charleston’s project manager will prepare all municipal or county permit documentation. This timeline varies from county to county. Typically it is 3-5 weeks for a permit.

Pre-Con Meeting:

Once Charleston receives the approved permit, your project manager will set up a Pre Construction meeting to go over the timeline of the early stages of your project as well as review some of the exterior selections that have been made. This way Charleston can order exterior materials in a timely fashion.

Construction Process

Building luxury custom homes can take time. Charleston quotes 10-15 months of construction depending on the size and complexity of the project. Your project manager will remain in touch throughout the entire construction process. There will be several meetings with you held at the build site with both the project manager and design manager to coordinate various details and selections.

Take a Look Inside Some of Our Completed Custom Homes

Jefferson Estates

Jefferson Estates

Wellner House

Wellner House

Jefferson Estates

Jefferson Estates

Wright House

Wright House