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The Best Custom Home Builders and Design-Build Firms in Texas

17 Min Read

Perhaps the two most important decisions you will make when starting a custom home project in Texas are: Who will design my home and who will build it? An increasingly popular option for both of these questions is to hire a design/build firm. These companies, sometimes called Master Builders, offer both services under one roof — they are residential architects and general contractors. Rather than the traditional method of design, bid, and build, which separates the designer and builders — working with a TX design/build firm means that the same people who are designing your new custom home will be the ones in there building it from the ground up. This option frequently reduces costs, shortens the overall timeline of your construction project, and makes for a more stress-free, collaborative, and comprehensive home building experience. We researched hundreds of custom home companies across the state to find the 10 best Texas custom home design/build companies.

The award-winning TX design/build companies on this list have earned reputations across the state, American south, and even nationwide for their unique, innovative, and beautiful new homes, as well as excellent customer service, and high-quality craftsmanship. Many of these companies also have in-house interior designers who collaborate closely with the architects and home builders to not only ensure the floor plan suits your lifestyle, but that all the finishings, furnishings, and materials that go into your home come together perfectly to give you a dream home from top to bottom. They are experts at green building and sustainable design and use the latest technologies in the field. These companies are located across the state, from San Antonio to Austin and Dallas to Houston, so whether you are looking to build a rural ranch estate, a beach home on the Gulf Coast, or a contemporary city mansion, the ten full-service custom home builders below can do the job.

About our methodology: We considered hundreds of professionals while making this list of the 10 best design/build companies in Texas. In addition to professional associations, we heavily weighed recognition the firm has received in the form of awards and press, any prestigious clientele they have worked with, whether or not they collaborate with other top industry professionals, such as interior designers, and what areas they work in, the more exclusive and high-end neighborhoods having greater influence. We also took into account the value of the projects they undertake, years in the business, customer reviews for quality and service, and range of services offered. Finally, we considered geographic location in order to give you a good sampling of the best companies across the state.

If you are thinking about building a custom home, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.

10) Mike Hollaway Custom Homes

2511 North Loop 1604 West, San Antonio, Texas 78258

Where they work: San Antonio area

Since 1992, Mike Hollaway Custom Homes has earned a reputation for design distinction, quality construction, and integrity. Their extraordinary custom homes have earned many industry accolades, including from the Texas Association of Builders and the Greater San Antonio Builders Association. These awards include the 2017 – Custom Builder ‐ Best Architectural Design ‐ $2M and Over and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Custom homebuilding is an art, a creative process. It’s a collaboration between you and me — you tell me about your goals for your new home and I use my experience and expertise to turn your dream into reality. I believe that my company’s success is a direct result of our ability to really listen to you and design and build the home that perfectly suits your lifestyle. The home we build for you will be as unique as you are, because I am personally involved in making your “American Dream” come true, from location selection through superlative design, innovative architecture, and top-quality construction.” – Mike Hollaway, President

Mike Hollaway established his company after a lifelong passion for building custom homes. The design/build firm has a reputation for beautiful and unique luxury homes that reflect the needs and desires of discerning homeowners. Their individualized service tailored to meet the specific needs of each client extends from initial home design to budgeting, financing, and interior design. The Mike Hollaway Custom Homes’ team prides itself on staying up-to-date with current industry trends and technological evolutions. This enables them to find the best design and construction solutions for each project and use the best products in their homes to ensure they last and stay relevant for years to come.

9) Sterling Custom Homes

1310 R.R. 620 South, Suite B-200, Austin, TX 78734

Where they work: Austin area

Three-time Texas Association of Builders ‘Builder of the Year’ Sterling Custom Homes is one of the most sought-after custom home design/build firms in the state. Focused on luxury homes in the Austin area, the company has garnered 131 other prestigious awards, including being named the Custom Builder of the Year by Austin Business Journal. Other awards include, in 2017 alone, the Best Architectural Design for a Home over $1Million, Best Overall Interior Design for a Home over $1Million, and Best New Home over $1Million from the Texas Association of Builders’ annual STAR Awards.

“At Sterling Custom Homes, we are committed to turning our customers’ dreams into realities. What this means to you is the highest quality home at the most competitive price. Through architectural efficiency, volume purchasing and long-term subcontractor relationships, we are striving to build the finest quality homes and service department that can be found anywhere in the industry.” — Duke McDowell, President

Over 27 years of building, Sterling Custom Homes is responsible for more than 230 beautiful homes. The company is run by President Duke McDowell, who has devoted his entire career to building homes. He is a past Chairman and a past member of the Industrial Engineering Advisory Board for Texas Tech and has been recognized for his contributions and service to the home construction industry as an inductee into the Engineering Technology Academy at Texas Tech University. And he has served as a consultant for 14 of the top 200 builders in the nation. His team has well over a century of combined experience designing and building homes and includes three Certified Green Professionals on staff. They focus on the creation of spaces where their clients can enjoy good times, good company, and the ‘Austin-style’ good life. Importantly, the firm strives to work collaboratively with their clients in a manner that makes the custom home building experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Their streamlined method includes unique tools and processes they have developed to assist their clients’ involvement.

8) Jenkins Custom Homes

3813 Juniper Trace #100, Austin, TX 78738

Where they work: Central Texas

Having an in-house architecture team alongside their construction and engineering teams has proven to be the winning combination at Austin-based Jenkins Custom Homes. They have been recognized three times as the Custom Builder of the Year in Texas, including this year, and were recently featured in Texas Builder and Austin Business Journal as one of the area’s premier custom builders. And since 2004, Jenkins has won dozens of other international, national, statewide, and local awards for their designs, craftsmanship, architecture, outdoor living, overall business success, and more. One of their recent homes, with over 7,000 square feet of luxury overlooking Lake Travis., won Best Custom Home in the state of Texas and was featured in Dolce Vita magazine. They have also received awards the National Association of Home Builders, including for Best Custom Home – $1 million in 2016.

Jenkins Custom Homes was founded as a construction company by Paul G. Jenkins after retiring as Chief Master Sergeant from 26 years in the Air Force. The design/build concept came to be after Paul G. Jenkins passed the torch to his son Shan, who had his own well-established career in commercial construction. Along with his wife Bethany, the pair were dismayed to see so many homes in the luxury home market were cookie-cutter, not built to last, and were not offered at a reasonable price. They committed the firm to the creation of well-built, individually-designed homes. Their creative energy and technical expertise helped them succeed in this goal and become highly respected within the field. Today, their designs center around each family’s lifestyle and persona, while remaining timeless.

7) studioMET

(Austin) | 200 Edwards St, Studio #309, Houston, TX 77007

Where they work: Texas

The award-winning design-build firm StudioMET Architects take a holistic approach to their work through a talented team of architects, artists, designers, and craftsmen. With a varied mix of experience, backgrounds, and areas of expertise, studioMET take a collaborative approach to their projects which results in truly unique homes tailored to the specifics of the client need, site, budget, and schedule. This firm was named AIA Houston’s 2016 Firm of the Year and has been invited to participate in AIA Houston Home Tours since 2007. They have also taken part in Houston Modern Home Tours. Their work has been featured in numerous publications, including the Houston Chronicle, Modern Luxury Texas Interiors, CultureMap, Houston Business Journal, Houston House & Home, Texas Architect, Design Milk, Contemporist, 6sqft New York, and The Architect’s Newspaper.

“Our work is not about a specific style. We strive to redefine what it means to be modern and strongly believe in an architecture of authenticity. Our philosophy relies heavily on an individualistic approach to each design and the success of the firm is built upon listening to the needs of our clients.” studioMET

All three of studioMET’s partners, Yoonchul You, AIA, Stephen Andrews, AIA, and Shawn Gottschalk, AIA, are licensed architects and together have over 45 years of experience with planning, architecture, design, and construction. Through their multidisciplinary approach that bridges the gap between architect and builder, they offer their clients a more integrated and cohesive solution to custom home building. And although studioMET approaches every project with a unique perspective, underlying each is a commitment to environmentally conscious architecture that is appropriate to time and place and honestly expressed structure and materials.

6) Zbranek & Holt Custom Homes

2220 Lakeway Blvd #100, Austin, TX 78734

Where they work: Central Texas

Zbranek & Holt Custom Homes has over 38 years of building experience in Central Texas. They specialize in working with relocating families throughout the greater Austin and Texas Hill Country area. The design/build company excels at understanding a client’s vision and need and implementing it into a gorgeous and functional home. It is not shocking, therefore, that Principal Steve Zbranek has been inducted into the Austin Builder Hall of Fame, while the firm has been named the National Master Builder of the Year twice, is a six-time Custom Home Builder of the Year, and three-time Austin Business Journal Custom Builder of the Year. They are a Best in American Living Award Winner, Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year, and has won the Austin Chamber Customer Service & Loyalty Award. They have also received awards from HOUZZ for the past 5 years for both Product and Customer Service.

“Our team at Zbranek & Holt Custom Homes is proud of our work, and humbled by the continued recognition.  We use a word not typically associated with building a custom home in our presentation, “Fun”.  Our clients enjoy the process from concept to keys, and their reviews have earned us customer service recognition from the Chamber of Commerce, HOUZZ, The Austin Business Journal and the professional home building industry.  We are lucky to serve these Fun families.” – Steve Zbranek

The full-service firm strives to provide each client with a home designed specifically around their family’s individual lifestyle needs, desires, and architectural design preferences. Zbranek & Holt Custom Homes works on a range of home styles, from traditional estates, contemporary masterpieces or luxurious waterfront houses, golf course homes, and spectacular farm and ranch properties. They have built strong relationships with master craftsmen to deliver the best to their clients. To help make the entire process stress-free and easy, they provide their clients with the latest web-driven technology to access all of the details to their project – selections, upgrades, financial decisions, questions, documents, photos, and more. And to reduce unpredictability, they take a fixed price approach to home building that gives every buyer preliminary pricing throughout the design phase and a fixed price prior to the start of construction. Leaders in their fields, both owners are Graduate Master Builders, Certified Green Building Professionals, and national judges for Parade of Homes competitions.

5) Classic Urban Homes

10246 Midway Rd #105, Dallas, TX 75229

Where they work: Dallas-Fortworth area

Classic Urban Homes has been named ‘Best Builder’ by D Magazine for 8 years in a row. They excel at fulfilling their motto of “building for the way people really live.” They have earned multiple awards at the annual Dallas Homebuilders Association throughout the years, including Best New Home for 2010. Classic Urban Homes has been awarded numerous ARC awards. Along with Best New Home, founder Michael Turner was awarded the prestigious Custom Builder of the year award 3 years in a row. Classic Urban Homes emphasizes a team approach to design, space planning, site selection, neighborhood fit, and architectural layout. Their homes bring new traditions to established neighborhoods in a manner that is respectful to classic styles with a careful blend of modern amenities. Notably, they build with a modern flair rarely found in the heart of the city.

“We are proud and honored to be part of the list. We have been designing and building modern for 13 years now and excited to see it become so widely accepted.” – Michael Turner

A member of both the United States Green Building Council and Green Built Texas, Classic Urban Homes is led by Michael Turner. He has more than 30 years of experience in the business and sits as a board member of the Dallas Homebuilder’s Association. And he is the past president of the Dallas Division. He holds multiple professional industry designations including Certified Graduate Builder and Certified Green Professional. Turner is joined at Classic Urban Homes by Designer Jane Turner, who brings more than 20 years of design experience to the table. She helps to create spaces that are fresh, inviting, and suitable for a client’s specific lifestyle.

4) On Point Custom Homes

3939 Essex Lane, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77027

Where they work: Houston area

On Point Custom Homes, one of the leading custom home builder and remodelers in the Houston market, was recently named the 2017 Texas Custom Builder of the Year by the Texas Association of Builders. The Houston-based custom home design/build firm and remodeling company has won many other locally and nationally accolades. In 2009, the company won a National Pacesetter Award by Custom Home Magazine, noting founder John Leggett’s innovative approach, and they have previously been awarded Houston’s Best Custom Home Elevation by the GHBA. This year alone, the Texas Association of Builders also gave them with the award for Custom Builder ‐ Best New Custom Home ‐ Over $2M, along with more than ten other awards.

“With every home we design + build, we aim to provide a luxurious space that is functional in addition to beautiful. We’re quick to embrace new trends, technology and design concepts and find inspiration in a variety of places. One tile in a showroom could spark an entire room’s layout and design!” – John Leggett, Founder and CEO of On Point Custom Homes

On Point Custom Homes take an innovative, service-oriented approach to building custom homes with an in-house team that walks clients through the design and construction processes step-by-step. They are capable of providing clients with a range of stylistic choices and have curated an impressive collection of homes, each with a different feel — Modern Luxury, Upscale Blend, Urban Contemporary, Southern Elegance, Timeless Traditional, and Outdoor Oasis. They are continuously pursuing better building systems and staying up-to-date on the newest advancements in building technology. The On Point Custom Homes team has multiple Certified Green Builders on staff, ensuring their homes are cleanly built, energy-efficient, and environmentally conscious. Affiliations include the Texas Association of Builders, the National Association of Builders, and Greater Houston Builders Association.

3) McVaugh Custom Homes

11241 Richmond Ave # E104, Houston, TX 77082

Where they work: Texas

National award-winning McVaugh Custom Homes creates gorgeous, unique, luxury homes across the state of Texas. Owners Jim and Pam McVaugh are dedicated to offering a personalized experience that provides customers a home that their family can grow in and enjoy for years to come. Their building process blends old and new techniques and practices to increase a home’s value and they work with the most skilled artisans and subcontractors ensure that the highest quality workmanship and products go into each McVaugh custom home. With over 300 superbly designed and built completed residences since they were founded in 1989, it is no surprise that the team at McVaugh Custom Homes was recently named by Interior Design Magazine as the Developer of the Year. They have also earned many accolades at the Texas Association of Builders’ STAR Awards.

“We pride ourselves on setting trends of quality and design by creating innovative living spaces using cutting-edge construction techniques at McVaugh Custom Homes. When people walk in one of our homes, I want them to be wow-ed and secure in the knowledge that exceptional quality is inherent as is the value of their home for years to come.” – Jim McVaugh

In addition to their design and construction services, McVaugh Custom Homes can also help new clients find a site for their home that suits their budget, lifestyle, and architectural wishes. Their team of professionals is experienced in everything from marble, hardwoods, and slate, to granite, tile, and handmade details to create a personalized home within your budget. They can also work with your financial relationships or help you establish a new one to make sure that the custom home process is as comprehensive and stress-free as possible. Their membership in the nationwide Custom Builders/USA (and as a founding member of the Houston chapter) gives them purchasing power that is superior to most other custom home builders.

President Jim McVaugh has over 23 years of direct experience building everything from unique single-family residences to townhomes, apartment complexes, and office buildings. This diversified background gives him an excellent understanding of how all the stages of design and construction interact, resulting in better customer service and a thoroughly thought-through design and building process. Despite managing the overall business of McVaugh Custom Home and strategies of the Corporation, Jim McVaugh has a reputation for keeping a finger on each and every one of McVaugh Custom Homes to make sure clients are delivered with their custom dream home.

2) Laughlin Homes & Restoration, Inc.

616 W Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Where they work: Texas

The 2016 Texas Association of Builders’ Remodeler of the Year — Laughlin Homes & Restoration, Inc. — is one of the most respected custom home builders in Texas. Founder and third generation builder Richard Laughlin is known for his innovations in seamlessly incorporating historic Texas Hill Country elements into modern homes. Under his leadership, the company has earned numerous national awards, including Dream Home Awards, Residential DESIGN & BUILD Excellence Awards, Professional Remodeler Design Awards, and Best in American Living awards from the National Association of Home Builders, including the 2016 Best in Region and the 2015 Remodeling Project of the Year. They also have received national recognition from Remodeling Magazine, were named Custom Builder of the Year by Custom Builder Magazine, and received a National Pacesetter Award for Design from Custom Home Magazine.

“Getting the right blend of client individuality, modern features, and historic elements is an art form. Finding the best solution for each customer requires step by step involvement and an intricate understanding of every aspect of the construction process. With Laughlin you will have a builder who will go the extra mile to help you achieve the home of your dreams.” – Laughlin Homes & Restoration, Inc.

Founded in 1984, the company has become a staple of the Hill Country over the last 33 years. Laughlin, a Certified Graduate Builder, and Certified Green Professional, remains actively involved in every aspect of the building process. He has developed a national network of material providers that allows him to find the right elements for any home and has long-standing relationships with many local contractors whom he trusts to carry out his designs. Active in his home community, he has been named Fredericksburg Chamber Man of the Year in 2013, received the Rotary Club Vocational Service Award for 2011-12, and had the 123rd Gillespie County Fair dedicated in honor of his 16 years of service from 1989-2004.

1) JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction

(Houston) | 3660 Stoneridge Road, Bldg. A-102, Austin, Texas 78746 // 25317 IH-45 North, The Woodlands, Texas 77380

Where they work: Texas

With offices in Houston and Austin, JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction is one of the most respected and sought-after custom home companies in all of Texas. They recently were honored by the National Association of Home Builders’ with the prestigious title of 2016 Custom Builder of the Year. The design/build company offers comprehensive service to their clients from the initial idea conception through final move in, including architecture, building, and interior design. In addition to having a talented team of architects and builders, they work with only the most talented subcontractors and artisans to ensure that everything that goes into their homes is of the best quality. With 30 years of luxury home expertise, JAUREGUI is a wealth of vision, talent and knowledge. The company has won numerous Best in American Living Awards and dozens of awards from the Texas Association of Builders. Their homes are elegant, practical, and extraordinarily well crafted to individual lifestyles.

JAUREGUI is run by President Luis Jauregui. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Environmental Design and a Masters of Architecture. A registered Architect and registered Interior Designer, Jauregui was elevated to the rank of Fellow within the AIA in 2017. He is active within the AIA, including being a founding member of the leadership committee of the national AIA. He has served as president of the Home Builders Association of Austin and as director of local, state, and national homebuilder’s associations. He co-founded Austin’s Custom Builder Council and was elected to NAHB’s Elite Builder 20, a nationally selected group of million-dollar homebuilders.