Architect-designed homes provide more bang for the buck

But land costs, time constraints influence final product

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

For years you've dreamed of building you own house. The way it would sit on your lot, the view from your home office, the kitchen where everyone would gather. It would all be just the way you want because you'd tell your architect exactly what to do. Then reality intruded. When you started to research land costs, custom home-building costs, and architect's design fees in your area, you realized that with your budget, the house that you could afford to build would be too small for your household with two kids, a work-at-home parent who needs a good-sized office, and grandparents who frequently visit. You were willing to settle for a simple, straightforward plan, stock materials and simple detailing, give up an attached two-car garage (which, with your climate, was giving up a lot), and jettison a formal living and dining room, but you just couldn't make the numbers work. Fortunately, you don't have to abandon your dream entirely. You can still have a house designed by an architect if ...