What is Design/Build: Working with a Custom Home Builder

Next month, a panel discussion led by Furniture, Lighting & Decor Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey brings together four experts to talk about leveraging expertise among architects, builders, and designers when building custom homes.

During the panel, “Common Ground: Finding Synergy Among Architects, Builders and Designers,” Phil Travars and Andrew Travars of Travars Built Homes will be talking about the ins and outs of working with a design/build custom home builder in North Carolina.

“Having a clear understanding of the thought process around building a custom home can help everything go smoothly, from design through construction,” said Phil Travars, Owner and Builder at Travars Built Homes. “It’s a great opportunity to talk directly with experts from across the industry.”

About 75,000 people from across the country and internationally are expected to attend the bi-annual Furniture Mart event represented by more than 100 countries, for architects, designers, furnishings buyers and others looking for the latest information and products for homes.

The Travars brothers were asked to participate in the event to share their thought leadership about home building and designing together with CIRCLE Design Studio, LLC Principal Architect John Dorlini and Principal/Owner Theresa A.C. Dorlini.

Topics about the custom home build process are expected to include:

  • How designers and builders work together compose a custom home.
  • How creativity can create excitement through different points of view.
  • What to look out for when choosing a custom home on a budget.
  • What to think about as you integrate designs for furniture, lighting, fixtures and finishes into your new home.

“This is a great opportunity to bounce around ideas for your new home, if you’re considering a custom build,” said Andrew Travars, Builder and Designer at Travars Built Homes. “We put a lot into making each home unique – this panel will help explain what it takes to create through design/build.”

Travars Built Homes builds new custom homes in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham and the surrounding region. Get information about building a custom home:

Top 4 Ways to Boost Curb Appeal of Your New Home

Love the layout, hate the exterior of the custom floor plan you want to build? Change it! Here are 4 ways to increase curb appeal in
the Chapel Hill area by considering different exterior materials for the build of your new home, with pros and cons.

Custom Home Exterior Material Example #1: Vinyl Siding

If you want to save money, vinyl is an exterior material worth considering. Be sure to take your time with your color selection, and take a look at all the options.

Pros: Want a more custom look? You can dress things up with shutters, gable vents, corbels or column wraps. Vinyl can be cleaned with power washing and typically would not be repainted at a later date.

Cons: Some communities do not allow vinyl exteriors. Vinyl siding may fade – with darker colors absorbing more sunlight than lighter colors. It can also expand and shrink with temperatures.

Custom Home Exterior Material Example #2: Vinyl Siding and Veneer

All the pro and cons listed above are true here too, but you can see how a small amount of stone veneer and picture frame details around the window ups the anti. The stone water table provides another texture for this home, and won’t break the bank if the amount of stone is kept to just enough for a water table and column base. If you are doing exterior selections, I recommend picking the stone first – the siding color decision becomes easier knowing what you want it to go with. Then choose roofing with a similar color scheme, such as Drift Wood or Weathered Wood shingles will pull everything together for this one!

Custom Home Exterior Material Example #3: Fiber Cement Siding With Stone Accents


The curb appeal of this fiber cement and stone home does a very nice job of blending multiple texture types and materials. The medium blue shakes seen on the face of the garage wall break the patterned straight lines. They also pull the color right out of the stone veneer below. The light blue lap siding on the sides and rear of home and complementing white picture frames around the windows, gable vents and gutters combine to make a well balanced exterior. The Mackenzie seen just below follows this formula and also looks great!

Pros: The mix of materials and colors make this home feel custom and comfortable. Adding stone to the front but keeping the other 3 sides of the home in fiber cement saves on cost.

Cons: Fiber cement costs more than vinyl. Stone veneer costs more than fiber cement.

Custom Home Exterior Material Example #4: Full Brick

The classic look of full brick veneer creates curb appeal so compelling that some entire communities require it. This full brick home is even more interesting due to the brick color choice and the stone wrap accent you can see on the foundation below the front windows.

Pros: Bricks are sturdy and durable, typically requiring almost no maintenance other than occasional power washing.

Cons: That low maintenance and solid look comes with a higher price tag than most exterior materials.

Get information about building a custom home with Travars Built Homes – including more ways to create a cost effective new home in North Carolina.