top of page
  • Writer's pictureTiffany

Navigating the Realities of "Custom Design" and "Architect Designed" Homes

Updated: Feb 1

Currently, in the housing market, people have been left with mainly two choices: either work with an architect, take the design to a builder and face an overpriced quote, or go to a house & land package builder, which gives them only a few choices from their existing copy-paste plans.

We have noticed how the words "architect design" and "custom design" have been manipulated by the industry. If you want to change the house & land copy-paste plans, even a little bit, this gets called "custom design" and charged massively extra. Some project builders claim they have an in-house architect, however, our experience shows they largely fail to deliver a true "architect design" home. A true architect design home must result in uniqueness, 100% custom spaces, and provide a sense of identity to the family who wants to live in their very own home.


The "Custom Design" Dilemma

In the realm of custom design, the term itself has become something of a paradox. A custom home is a one-of-a-kind home that is built to the specific specifications and desires of the homeowner. A custom home is built to the specific desires and specifications of the homeowner, while a production home is built in a factory and then transported to the building site. What should signify unique and personalized creations often translates into minor alterations to existing templates, entailing hefty price hikes. True "custom design" should empower homeowners with the freedom to shape every aspect of their home, from layout to aesthetics, without the burden of excessive costs.

San Souci plan, customized based on owner needs. Designed and built by Archbuild architect builders
San Souci plan, customized based on homeowner desires. Designed and built by Archbuild

The Illusion of "Architect Designed"

An architect designed home is a custom-designed home, created by a licensed architect, that is tailored to the specific needs and desires of the homeowner. architect designed. While project builders may boast an in-house architect, the result often lacks the ingenuity and individuality one associates with true "architect design." Authentic architectural innovation should culminate in spaces that resonate with the client's lifestyle and aspirations, forging a distinct identity that sets the home apart.


Marketing Mirage: High-End Specifications vs. Reality

The practice of showcasing top-tier specifications while delivering lower-end finishes with numerous "exclusions" is not only misleading but can lead to disillusionment and disputes. Transparency in marketing materials is crucial for clients to make informed decisions about their investments.

The concept of "variations" in project builder contracts often leaves clients with limited choices, forcing them to pay extra for even minor modifications. This constraint stifles the potential for a truly customized home.

Striving for True Uniqueness

In the end, the quest for an authentic "architect design" or "custom design" home necessitates a careful selection of professionals and builders who prioritize client vision and transparency. The industry needs to reevaluate its practices to ensure that these terms regain their true essence. As clients, it's essential to seek builders and architects who understand the importance of individuality, where every home is a reflection of the unique desires and aspirations of its residents.


The manipulation of terms like "architect design" and "custom design" within the housing industry underscores the need for a paradigm shift. Clients deserve homes that are not just spaces to inhabit but extensions of their dreams and personalities. By demanding transparency, true customization, and unwavering commitment to delivering architectural excellence, we can collectively redefine these terms. Only then can we ensure that "architect design" and "custom design" represent what they should – homes that transcend the ordinary, embodying the extraordinary aspirations and lifestyles of those who inhabit them.


Mike Movaffaghi, the founding director of Archbuild, noticed this gap in the market and decided to take action. He noticed if he wants to close this gap he needs not only to be an architect but also a builder. He went through a challenging endeavour of moving between industries for years to acquire firsthand experience in both fields and obtained a full builder license on top of his architect registration.

Archbuild is committed to delivering not only marvelous 100% architect design homes, but also to ensure they are delivered within clients' budgets.


1 Comment


M M
M M
Jan 24

Thank you for the post. It is informative and thorough.

Like
bottom of page