Charleston, South Carolina is a charming and peaceful port city that is known for its historic sites, museums, and outdoor recreation spaces. Its numerous beach towns, classic architecture, and remarkable year-round weather draws in many residents and tourists from around the region and beyond. Unlike other major cities around the country where typical homes are apartments and condos, residences in Charleston are remarkably large, expensive, and distinctive. These homes are characterized by classic architectural styles and are personalized to match the personalities and lifestyles of its homeowners.

If you are looking to build a home in Charleston or anywhere in the Lowcountry area, take a look at this list of the best custom home builders in Charleston, South Carolina. These firms have years of experience building custom homes in the region and can help turn your vision of your dream home into reality. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Charleston, check out our cost guide article.

JacksonBuilt Custom Homes

130 River Landing Drive Ste. 12-B, Daniel Island, SC 29492

JacksonBuilt Custom Homes is a leading, award-winning custom home builder in the Charleston area. The firm specializes in luxury homes that are designed to fit homeowners’ unique styles and lifestyles while blending in with the serene charm of the lowcountry. Grounded on the values of craftsmanship, communication, and client satisfaction, the firm delivers excellent homes through an efficient process and enjoyable experience. The firm’s experts have immense experience in a wide range of home sizes and styles that allows them to create unique designs that match each homeowner’s individual personality and lifestyle. Its trusted network of suppliers and subcontractors allows the firm to offer a wide array of materials and finishes that may be customized to fit the home’s design.

JacksonBuilt assists clients throughout the entire custom home design and construction process – from site inspection and architect recommendations to appliance selection and document approval. In addition to guaranteeing structural stability, beauty, and efficiency, the firm ensures clients that their home investment is something they can truly love and enjoy. 

In the Daniel Island home featured above, JacksonBuilt collaborated closely with the architect and subcontractors to ensure that every detail is as desired by the homeowner. The contemporary home features an open floor plan, steel barn doors and large windows that opens the space to natural lighting and great outdoor views. The mainly white interior with wood and steel accents create a classy yet relaxing ambiance that is characteristic of Charleston architecture. Designed according to the needs and preferences of the homeowners, JacksonBuilt also included a separate finished space over the garage, which could serve as a creative studio for the homeowners or a private space for their guests. The home is as cozy and inspiring as it is elegant and beautiful. The firm’s excellent work on this project was featured in the Spring 2021 issue of Charleston Home+Design.

Sea Island Builders

2113 Middle St. #100, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482

Sea Island Builders is a full-service design-build firm that serves Charleston, Isle of Palms, and the rest of the Lowcountry. As a family-owned and managed firm, Sea Island Builders take a personal approach in each custom home project. It acknowledges the financial and emotional investments homeowners make in their new home by ensuring clients excellent architecture and a remarkable homebuilding experience. Founded in 2004, the firm has completed dozens of new builds, renovations, additions, and historic restorations. It has received multiple awards and has been featured in numerous publications for its exceptional craftsmanship and personalized service to each client. The firm has four licensed residential builders and a licensed architect in its team who ensure that each project receives the highest level of attention and dedication.

In each custom home project – whether a new build, renovation, or addition – Sea Island Builders pays careful attention to the needs and preferences of the homeowners as well as the existing natural and architectural environment at the site. In the design-build collaboration featured above, Sea Island built a custom home that met the owner’s needs and preferences, fit the tight site, and adhered to Old Village Historic Commission guidelines. The 3,540-square foot residence includes a four-bedroom main home with a wine cellar, an outdoor pool, a detached garage, and a storage shed. As the homeowner splits his time between two cities, Sea Island chose low-maintenance materials for both the exterior and interior. The open-plan design offers flexibility and better airflow and the clerestory windows maximize natural lighting that further emphasizes the historic feel of the old village. The custom home exemplifies Sea Island’s creativity and dedication to meeting different criteria while offering a remarkable homebuilding experience to clients. This project, completed in 2019, was featured in Mount Pleasant magazine’s March 2021 issue.

Structures Building Company

899 Island Park Drive Suite 101, Daniel Island, SC 29492

Structure Building Company is a Daniel Island custom home builder that serves the entire Lowcountry region. Founded in 1999, the firm believes in the importance of quality craftsmanship, integrity, and excellent customer service. It exhibits its commitment to clients by taking a high-touch approach in each project. This involves regular coordination and collaboration throughout the construction process and ensuring that clients’ needs are prioritized and addressed. Its portfolio includes homes overlooking beaches, harbors, and golf courses as well as classic homes in historic neighborhoods and exclusive subdivisions. Such diversity in design and construction exhibits the firm’s ability to create unique, personalized, and contextualized designs that guarantee client satisfaction.

Devoted to creative and unique craftsmanship, the firm builds homes that match a homeowner’s character and lifestyle using a distinct blend of styles, colors, and materials. The luxurious Isle of Palms home pictured below is a recent masterpiece that highlights the firm’s dedication and capability to create truly personalized homes. Set in a large over-five-thousand-square-foot beachfront lot, the home is a balance of elegance, functionality, and simplicity. The white wooden plank walls and ceiling create a relaxed look and feel that matches the calm oceanside ambiance while steel accents and furnishings radiate class and sophistication. 

Beyond the aesthetics of the large home, Structures Builders put careful attention to every detail in each room and area to match the distinct needs of the homeowners. This includes the hidden step stools that aid access and food prep, the concealed scullery that adds space to the kitchen without adding visual clutter, and the 800-bottle temperature-controlled wine room. The home offers ample functionality and comfort as a two-person residence while providing enough space for get-togethers, especially with its heated pool and outdoor living room. It is the perfect balance of beauty, opulence, and functionality all combined in a wonderful ocean view property. This remarkable project was featured in the 2021 Winter issue of Charleston Style & Design magazine.

SHELTER Custom-Built Living

895 Island Park Drive Suite 203, Daniel Island, SC 29492

SHELTER Custom Built-Living is a widely-sought award-winning custom home builder in the Lowcountry. As a locally-owned company, SHELTER has a vested interest in the region’s architecture and how new homes and structures affect the built environment. Its mission is to construct homes that meet the needs and wants of clients through an honest and thorough approach while adding to the aesthetics of the existing architectural landscape.  Established in 2013, the firm retains an in-house team of expert builders, designers, and managers who work together in ensuring on-time and within-budget delivery of homes. Its strong network of subcontractors and suppliers further allows the firm to offer a good range of design and material options to each client. 

Because of its creative craftsmanship and honest customer service, the firm has earned the highest possible rating from GuildQuality, continues to receive five-star ratings from clients, and is the first South Carolina builder to be featured on the Today’s Builder television show. The Captain’s Island 1 project featured above captures SHELTER’s exceptional capability and artistry in its craft. Blending in with the laid-back Southern feel of Charleston living, the home’s facade features solid-white horizontal wood siding and glass-and-steel windows with awnings. The brick fence combined with palm trees and shrubs creates a peaceful and inviting atmosphere for homeowners and guests alike. The interior poses a similar ambiance with its white-washed walls, open floor plan, and minimalist design. Accent pieces and furnishings, as well as an outdoor living area next to the swimming pool, exhibit elegance and sophistication. The backyard view of the creek further adds to the serene ambiance of the home. The home is an excellent work of architecture that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Cook Bonner Ebeling Construction

1859 Summerville Ave. Suite 700, Charleston, SC 29405

Cook Bonner Ebeling is an established luxury home builder in Charleston and the Lowcountry. Since its founding in 1976, the firm has built more than 500 custom homes in different areas of the region – along rivers, beaches, and near golf courses. Grounded on the mission of building strong relationships through honest and reliable practices and exceptional craftsmanship, the firm delivers excellent luxury homes while offering clients an effortless and personal experience. The firm pays careful attention to each detail to ensure adherence to clients’ requirements, structural safety, and architectural aesthetic. Each delivered project is guaranteed to be safe, durable, and reflective of the homeowners’ personality and routine.

Cook Bonner Ebeling understands that building a custom home is more than a construction project – it involves personal emotions. Thus, each project is handled with passion, excellence, and integrity to assure clients that their new home matches both their financial and emotional investment. The firm’s work on the Edisto River Retreat home is a spectacular example of its unparalleled craftsmanship. Designed to mimic traditional Balinese architecture while blending into the Lowcountry environment, the home uses natural materials and Earth colors. The home’s exterior, using a combination of unfinished wood and brick and lined with perennial trees and shrubs, create a tropical image that matches the retreat theme. Inside, the home offers adequate space for the homeowners as well as for entertaining guests for parties and get-togethers. The home strikes the perfect balance between nature and technology and between local and foreign. This palatial project, which took three years to finish, was featured in the Spring 2021 issue of Charleston Style & Design.

Delpino Custom Homes

1023 E Montague Ave., North Charleston, SC 29405

Delpino Custom Homes, LLC offers custom home building, restorations, remodels, and home additions to homeowners in Charleston and the rest of the Lowcountry. Committed to delivering quality construction projects, Delpino collaborates closely with clients and expert-partners towards achieving the best possible outcome given the client’s unique taste and available resources. This is achieved through regular open communication, teamwork, and undivided focus on the single goal of creating the best build that matches the client’s preferences. Founded in 2010, the firm has completed traditional, modern, and coastal design homes across the region for clients of different needs, preferences, and lifestyles. Each home is beautiful and unique as well as personalized and functional. 

In ensuring the best build for each client, the firm keeps up-to-date with the latest technologies and innovations in construction. New techniques, as well as time-tested methodologies, are combined to optimize design and construction and guarantee structural stability and durability. In the Daniel Island custom home featured above, the firm utilized chestnut floors throughout the home since chestnut is a hardwood that is durable and has good rot resistance. This made it a good cost-effective choice for a marsh-front home with high moisture exposure. The home’s facade shows a classic farmhouse design with wood siding and humble shades while the interior offers large areas for personal use as well as for entertaining guests. The use of farm doors, accent pieces, and exposed beams follows the farmhouse style and creates a relaxed homey ambiance. The firm’s careful attention to detail and meticulous planning resulted in a home that is functional, beautiful, safe, and durable.

CopeGrand Homes

PO Box 1251, Charleston, SC 29457

CopeGrand Homes is a custom home builder and a fine home remodeler that serves clients in Charleston and nearby areas. It offers drafting and architectural design, new construction, site planning and entitlement, and home renovation services. Founded on the mission of creating strong relationships with clients, the firm provides excellent customer service through coordinated collaboration with clients throughout the entire project process – from site selection and inspection to construction and project closeout. Beyond the guarantee of structural safety, functionality, and beauty, the firm offers clients comfort and happiness so that they remember the experience of building their home as a positive one. This core principle has led the firm to earn multiple awards and recognitions by local publications and institutions.

Established in 2016, CopeGrand has completed numerous custom homes across the Lowcountry and retains several plots of land for potential clients. In each project, the firm stays true to its name in delivering grand homes and providing a grand construction experience. In the Carriage House project in Ravenel Town, CopeGrand merged old-fashioned English cottage elements with the craftsman style in creating a 3,002-square-foot coastal home. Keeping in line with the rustic and woodsy ambiance of the creekside location, the firm used a combination of wood and brick on the home’s exterior. The metal roofs, mirrored fireplace, and mix of gable and dormer windows add to the traditional craftsman architecture look and feel. Aside from the home’s incredible aesthetics, the firm used low-maintenance materials, impact-rated doors and windows, and sound insulation to offer added functionality, ease-of-living, and safety to the homeowners. The home’s plain yet durable walls and open space plan offer the homeowners versatility and flexibility in furniture selection and seasonal decor. The entire project shows CopeGrand’s capability in delivering luxurious and functional homes through a remarkable experience that homeowners will remember fondly.

Arnett Custom Homes

One Cool Blow, Suite 322, Charleston, SC 29403

Arnett Custom Homes offers custom home building and large scale home remodeling services to clients in Charleston and the Lowcountry. Dedicated to improving the lives of clients, the firm sees its work as more than constructing a house – its work involves creating spaces where people make memories and experiences with friends and family. Established in 2008, Arnett Custom Homes has extensive experience in design and construction management. It has seen and embraced a shift in design themes and elements throughout the years as well as the increased focus on regional design and local material usage. This has allowed the firm to create increasingly individualized homes that reflect each homeowner’s unique needs, lifestyles, and preferences. By working with local and nationally recognized architects and designers, Arnett Custom Homes can offer a dedicated and knowledgeable team. It understands that each client wants to make their home special and unique. Arnett excels at interesting “one of a kind projects.” Some may see this as a challenge, but Arnett embraces the challenge each and every time.

Photo by Keen Eye Marketing

A key element in the homes built by Arnett is the way each one fuses with the natural and built environment of the site. Locations such as Johns Island, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan’s Island are characteristically relaxed and abundant in trees and shrubs. Arnett’s homes in these areas further enhance this nature-filled ambiance with the use of wood, brick, and metal. In the River View project in Rushland Plantation on Johns Island featured below, Arnett maximized the great outdoor views with large floor-to-ceiling windows on two adjacent sides of the home. The use of  bricks and white wood planks with exposed beams and minimalist furniture creates a rustic look that matches the scenery and the atmosphere. Carefully planned spaces, built-in storage, and appliances offer ample functionality for daily living and occasional gatherings. The home has a quaint yet classy style that complements the surrounding view.

Priester’s Custom Contracting, LLC

PO Box 60040, North Charleston, SC 29419

Priester’s Custom Contracting, LLC is a family-owned award-winning custom home builder in Charleston. Founded on the principles of quality service and customer satisfaction, the firm offers clients a relaxed and worry-free experience throughout the entire home building process – from site selection and planning to construction, furniture selection, and project closeout. The firm’s team of experts collaborate closely with clients, partners, and subcontractors to ensure that the best possible home that addresses all the client’s needs is designed and constructed. This careful attention to detail and its commitment to customer service has made the firm one of the most praised and highly sought contractors in the region. 

As a family-owned local firm, Priester’s Custom Contracting takes a professional approach grounded on personal interaction in each construction and remodel project. The firm acknowledges the emotional aspect of a home building project so it aims to provide homes that elicit only positive feelings and memories in its clients. In the Awendaw Town project pictured above, Priester’s chose design styles and elements that echo the serene and picturesque atmosphere of the old fishing village. The raised home design, horizontal wood siding, and numerous dormer windows create an old-fashioned and majestic look that blends in well with the surrounding woods. The same classic elegance can be observed in the home’s interiors with its carefully planned space utilization, stylish finishes, and premium furniture and appliances. The home balances the traditional exterior look with a modern interior layout and design, which earned it a Prism Award in 2016.

New Leaf Builders

3421 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

New Leaf Builders is an award-winning local custom home builder that offers new construction and remodeling to clients in North and South Carolina. As a locally rooted firm, New Leaf has a unique passion for the Carolinian coastal lifestyle, which is incorporated in each home construction and remodel project. Its locality also enhances its drive to preserve the natural environment through responsible architecture and sustainability measures. Grounded on the values of innovation, collaboration, and integrity, New Leaf offers quality and creative craftsmanship while celebrating and preserving the region’s unique architectural style and atmosphere. The firm’s innovative techniques and commitment to the environment and the community earned New Leaf the honor of the Robert B. McLeod Partners in Placemaking Award in 2021. 

The firm’s expertise in the region’s unique architecture, merged with its knowledge of new technologies and innovative techniques, allows it to offer beautiful, functional, and environment-friendly custom homes to each client. Focusing on their desired functionality and aesthetics, the firm guarantees clients a home that would make their lives happier, easier, and memorable. The John’s Island custom home pictured above is one of the firm’s larger home projects. Set on a plot overlooking the marsh, the home is built using low-maintenance rot-resistant wood and steel that ensures safety and durability while retaining the classic coastal architectural style. Large windows on all sides of the home offer great views of both the marsh and the wooded area in front of the house. On the inside, an open floor plan allows versatility for the family on regular days and during gatherings while offering ample privacy in the rooms upstairs. The home’s design matches the family’s lifestyle, is safe and durable, and adds to the beauty of the scenery and the surrounding neighborhood.

Galloway Family Homes, LLC

10100 Broad River Rd. Unit 4, Irmo, SC 29063

Galloway Family Homes is a family-owned construction firm that offers semi-custom and custom homes in Charleston and Columbia. Set on the goal of providing customers a personalized and rewarding experience, the firm works on homes in a wide range of sizes, styles, and neighborhoods to allow clients to find the perfect fit for their lifestyles and resources. Its team of experts in construction management and design helps clients build their dream homes on time and within budget through a streamlined process that they can enjoy and appreciate. Galloway cares for its clients’ happiness and satisfaction as it is passionate about architecture and construction. Driven by this passion and commitment to its craft, the firm creates unique homes that are beautiful, functional, and long-lasting.

As a Certified Master Builder, Galloway has constantly shown integrity, stability, and exceptional service in its work. This added level of certification from the Home Builders Association of South Carolina gives clients peace of mind and guarantees the safety and quality of their homes. In the Bayley Road residence pictured above, the firm used a blend of Cape Cod and Colonial styles to create a unique and classic exterior befitting the creekside neighborhood. The use of white and blue hues further exemplified a simple and classic look that blended well with the picturesque nature-filled background. Inside the home, an open floor plan offers versatility in space utilization, furniture choice, and seasonal decoration. The overall white interior is clean and refreshing, and gives homeowners and their guests a sense of peace and relaxation. The home is a model project that shows Galloway’s excellence in its craft and its commitment to serving clients’ needs and ensuring satisfaction with their new homes.

Phillip Smith General Contractor, LLC

465 W. Coleman Blvd. #301, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Phillip Smith General Contractor is an award-winning home builder that specializes in custom home construction and renovation. Founded in 1990, Phillip Smith strives to provide clients a positive homebuilding experience by understanding and working around their needs and preferences to create a home that is personalized, beautiful, and functional. The firm accomplishes this by exhibiting integrity and fairness to all individuals involved in the homebuilding process – from architects and designers to subcontractors and document controllers. Following its mantra, “built to last,” Phillip Smith utilizes both time-tested methodologies as well as new technologies and techniques as appropriate to the needs and specifications of each project. This guarantees clients the best possible outcome utilizing the minimum amount of financial and human resources.

In defining and achieving goals in each project, Phillip Smith follows a simple yet reliable process. This involves understanding the client’s vision and using the firm’s expertise and knowledge to develop a project plan and charter towards constructing and delivering a superior quality home. The firm also offers a range of maintenance services that ensure the home’s safety and stability in the long run. The Dunes West riverfront home pictured above shows the firm’s commitment to matching design, construction, and maintenance with clients’ specific needs and lifestyles. As a foreseen retirement home for the homeowners, Phillip Smith opted for generous sizing of each room and hallway to facilitate movement and improve ease of access. The combined use of tile, brick and hardwood offers durability over the years without requiring much maintenance despite harsh weather conditions. Both exterior and interior designs match the couple’s objective of creating a relaxing and peaceful space that is perfect for retirement. The firm’s management of the project ensured the clients that the home is safe, stable, beautiful, and functional for the needs of future retirees who plan to stay active and continue entertaining friends on occasion.

Saltwater Homes, LLC

1400 Palm Blvd. Suite G, Isle of Palms, SC 29451

Saltwater Homes is a custom home builder and remodeler that serves clients in Charleston and the rest of the Lowcountry. It helps clients build their dream home and assists them every step of the way – from selling their old home and site selection to construction, color selection, and furniture placement. Understanding that building a new home is a major financial investment for any individual or couple, Saltwater works with a large range of budgets and project sizes to help clients get the most out of their investment. The firm offers ground-up construction, remodels, and ready-made homes. 

In each custom home project, Saltwater converses with clients to understand their vision and priorities about their dream home and works within their budget and schedule to determine the best project design, plan, and charter. Each home is unique to its owner and designed to fit their specific lifestyle and preferences. In building Whispering Palms in the Isle of Palms, Saltwater kept in mind that the homeowner’s objective was to build a summer house that could double as a source of income as a rented unit to vacationers throughout the year. Thus, an open floor plan was utilized to offer guests and renters flexibility in space usage. Large floor-to-ceiling windows were used in the common areas to maximize natural lighting and to offer views of the beach while smaller windows were used in the bedrooms to give guests ample privacy. The overall design matches the relaxed beachfront atmosphere and gives guests adequate space for group activities and parties.

Rooke Custom Homes

1012 Harborview Road Suite D, Charleston, SC 29412

Rooke Custom Home Builders is a family-owned building company with deep roots in Charleston and the Lowcountry region. As a local firm, Rooke takes personal interest in how new homes and structures add to the architectural landscape of the region. Its experience in constructing homes in the area as well as living in the same neighborhoods as its clients adds to the firm’s knowledge in building and maintaining coastal homes. While Rooke offers personalized designs and styles that match the unique needs and preferences of each client, it also aims to make custom homes as affordable as possible so that clients can avoid stressing about finances.

In helping clients enjoy the home construction process, Rooke communicates openly and honestly to keep them informed and to ensure transparency in resource usage and project progress. This also allows clients to better appreciate and cherish each part of their new home. In the McKelvey custom home project, Rooke merged the Beach house architectural style with the Cape Cod style to create a unique home that matched the peaceful riverside neighborhood. In line with the homeowners’ preferences and lifestyle, Rooke used a combination of traditional styles and modern elements in the interior to make home living as comfortable and simple as possible. The firm’s trusted network of suppliers and subcontractors helped the homeowners choose materials, colors, and furnishings that matched their personalities while keeping within budget. Rooke’s commitment to its craft allowed the homeowners to design and build their new home through an enjoyable experience that cost less than seven figures.

Sheppard Construction

859 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464  

Sheppard Construction Inc. is a family-owned construction firm that offers a range of services to homeowners in the Lowcountry region. These include site inspections, pre-design coordination, design reviews, renovation and remodeling, new construction, and maintenance services. Since its founding in 1997, the firm has worked on dozens of remodels and new construction projects for clients throughout the region. Its remarkable work ethic, excellent craftsmanship, and commitment to client satisfaction have earned the firm a strong reputation among homeowners, subcontractors, suppliers, designers, and architects. This reliable network of respected experts in the industry further enables the firm to offer new clients a wider range of options in home design, style, and furnishings. 

As a builder with more than two decades of experience in planning, designing, and constructing homes in the region, Sheppard Construction has unique insight in architectural trends and styles that are appropriate for the South Carolina climate and lifestyle. Clients are assured that their homes will not only match their needs and objectives, but also integrate well with the local neighborhood’s environmental and architectural landscape. In the custom home project pictured above, Sheppard Construction emphasized the grandeur of modern architecture with large glass walls that offer a majestic view of the shore from all three levels of the home. The spacious outdoor corridor in each floor gives the homeowners lots of space to relax and gain inspiration while communing with nature in the comfort of their own home. Beyond aesthetics and functionality, Sheppard opted for sturdy, rot-resistant, and low maintenance materials that can withstand the harsh winds and salty breeze from the sea. The firm’s work on the home is one of great balance between traditional and modern, and simplicity and elegance.