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Florida Custom Home Build

From Concept to Reality: The Collaborative Process of Building a Custom Home in Southwest Florida

Most Naples-area residents believe that Southwest Florida is the greatest place to live. With year-round sunshine, stunning beaches, a strong economy, a low crime rate, fine dining, great shopping, and every amenity imaginable, it’s little wonder that the area is flush with luxurious custom housing. With such a wide variety of custom home styles, you might wonder how someone builds their dream luxury home here.

Well, with decades of experience in the area, the residential contractors of Carlson Harris know all about the process of building a custom luxury home in Southwest Florida. We follow a six-step plan to ensure the smooth flow of high-quality custom home builds completed on time and within budget. However, this plan doesn’t encapsulate all the steps that go into home construction; rather, it represents a template for how we conduct our contracting work for each project. So, let’s examine the process from the context of how we collaborate with our clients to make their conceptualized luxury dream home a reality.


The first collaborative step in successful custom luxury homebuilding is fully understanding the client’s vision. Most contractors begin working on new projects after the design work is initiated or finished. However, Carlson Harris has long held that early collaboration on the design works enhances the project’s success and helps cut costs. Thus, our work typically begins with a consultation with the client and their architect to review all elements the client wants to incorporate in their new luxury home.

This early meeting helps put everyone on the same page from the get-go. It also helps uncover potential impediments to achieving the client’s vision, whether due to zoning, siting, lot size, or budget. By gaining an early understanding of the basic elements—rough square footage, number and type of rooms, materials, amenities, etc.—we can also start preparing a preliminary budget and schedule.


During the design phase, we collaborate by offering value engineering and alternative design ideas when the client’s vision may collide with engineering reality or some other limiting factor. While the client is “always right,” some homebuilding ideas can prove problematic for any number of reasons. Close collaboration between us, the client, and the architect ensures that the design can be successfully constructed within budget and according to the client’s desires.


Once the design work is finished, permits issued, subcontractors hired, and materials ordered, we commence construction by breaking ground and laying the foundation. Groundbreaking starts with clearing the house site of vegetation, rocks, and debris; leveling the ground; and then plotting out the foundation borders, utilities, and septic system with stakes. Construction crews dig out the foundation and supporting infrastructure points as guided by the staking, then install the footings and footing drainage. We lay the foundation with poured concrete, whether full basement, crawlspace, or slab understructure.

This results in a construction lull as the concrete must cure for at least a week before we can begin working with it. Once sufficiently cured and waterproofed, we can turn our attention to installing the home’s underlying plumbing and initial electrical pathways.


Once the foundation has cleared a building inspection to ensure that it adheres to code and is physically sound, we can begin work framing. At this juncture, things get exciting for our clients as they quickly see their new homes take shape as we install lumber to support flooring, walls, ceilings, and roof trusses. Once framed, we can apply sheathing to the roof and exterior walls and then install windows and doors.

Meanwhile, we’re also gearing up the installation of numerous other house features, including:

  • Roofing
  • Exterior siding
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical wiring
  • HVAC system
  • Insulation

As these near completion, we turn our attention to hanging drywall for the interior walls and ceilings, and to floor installation.


With flooring, ceilings, and walls in place, our clients begin to feel at home with every visit to the job site. And they tend to visit much more often during this stage as we work on detailing the painting, trim work, interior finishes, and customization that will help bring the desired luxury of the home to life.


By this time, our landscaping and outdoor specialist subcontractors have usually begun to lay sod, plant trees, create garden beds, install walkways, build decks or patios, install a swimming pool, or develop whatever outdoor amenity was included in the plans.


As we tend to the last finish details, the home undergoes a final detailed inspection by the county building inspector to ensure that everything conforms to code and that all work and materials are physically sound. Once we pass that significant milestone and we believe that we have tended to every detail, no matter how small, it’s time for the final walkthrough inspection with our client.

Given our close collaboration with the client and designer throughout the process, we rarely uncover any significant issues during this walkthrough. However, we sometimes must address minor issues, flaws, or late-stage damage that got overlooked as the construction neared the finish line. Once our client is 100% satisfied with our work, our job is done, and the new homeowner can start moving in.


While the custom luxury homebuilding process seems straightforward, nothing in construction ever flows exactly as planned, and some construction steps may not occur in the manner described above. That said, our custom luxury homebuilding’s high quality and success are powered by the close collaboration and detailed communications we maintain with clients and their designers.

To learn more about our luxury homebuilding work in the Naples, Florida, area, contact us at 239-352-2460.