Design-Build VS. General Contractors

For Custom Homes

When it comes to building a custom home, one of the first decisions that has to be made is whether to go with a traditional builder or a design-build firm. At this early stage, home owners are often unaware of many details that factor into their home’s budget. Consequently, many people make major financial commitments before they really understand their priorities. For some homeowners, hiring a traditional builder ends up being the right choice. However, design-build firms offer some very real benefits that are worth taking into consideration.

Living Stone Design+Build The Modern Farmhouse Front Walkway

Sean Sullivan, owner of Living Stone Design + Build, realized these benefits when he first started out in the construction business.   

“Clients would come to him with architectural plans that were overdesigned,” explains Living Stone’s sales manager, Molly Sullivan. “Essentially, the design gave the homeowners everything they wanted without considering what they needed. They had too much square footage, too much unusable space, and didn’t take the slope of the lot into account.” 

Overdesigning affected the homeowners’ bottom line, as well. “When it came time to start the building process, they had spent so much of their budget on the lot and the architect that they didn’t have what they needed to build the house,” Molly notes. 

Sean’s solution? Collaboration. “He realized the best way to keep the budget under control and ensure that the house had the right design was to collaborate with a team of professionals who all wanted to work together on the clients’ behalf.”

Living Stone Design+Build The Modern Farmhouse Pocket Door
Living Stone Design+Build Rosenberg Deck

In Molly’s experience, having a team of professionals in place with the same goals and the same vision helps to maintain quality, ensure a smooth, cohesive process and protect the homeowners’ interests.

“We partner with people who we know are experts in their field, and have our same integrity and commitment to quality,” she says. “We stay integral to the entire process. We’re present at every design meeting, and we hold the budget to make sure they can afford the home.”

One of the most significant benefits to a team approach is intentionality. “With a design-build firm, you get a house that has been thoughtfully and intentionally crafted. It has the right footprint. The budget invested in beautiful finishes rather than extra square footage that won’t get used.”

Molly has a special term for homes like these. “I call them jewel box homes,” she says. “Every room is the right size. Every room has a clear purpose. And every finish is absolutely beautiful. I really believe this kind of result is achieved more easily and more affordable with a design-build firm.” 


Living Stone Design+Build Rosenberg Deck

Molly is the Sales Manager for Living Stone Design + Build and oversees leads, presentations, and client relations. With nearly 20 years of inside sales experience, Molly is the first point-of-contact for Living Stone’s prospective clients. She guides them through the initial process and is there to answer all questions regarding custom building in the mountains.


Contact Molly for a quote on your custom home:

855.720.2435 x20