If you’re building a new home you will be thinking about design. Should you build a custom-designed home or choose a project home?

What are the differences?

The blank canvas

A project home is basically a pre-designed home. House designs are drawn up to suit various budgets and can be quite cost-effective because the design is generally simple and is repeated across many clients. While you can make small changes to the plan, the design is generic and isn’t tailored to suit your individual needs and tastes.

Custom designed homes start with a blank canvas – which is filled in according to your dreams and style. An architect or building designer will create a plan tailored to your personal requirements and taste. The design stage will take longer and will often cost more, but it will be unique to you and your lifestyle.

renovations Sunshine Coast

A personal process

Whereas a project build is pretty much a one size fits all experience, designing and building a custom-designed home is a highly personal and bespoke process. Custom builders build much smaller volumes of homes and so naturally get to know their clients very well through spending a lot of time with them, particularly in the early design stages.

A custom built designed for the beach.


A project home will have set specifications. While there may be room for some upgrades, generally you will need to choose from an agreed range of materials, finishes, floor plans, and exterior styles.

With a custom-designed home the choice is yours when it comes to materials and design. Your builder can work with your architect or designer to make your dreams happen. You get to inject your personality into every aspect of the custom home from door knobs to roof lines.

What about budget?

Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Custom-designed homes are generally more expensive. The most important consideration is to partner with a builder that you trust, someone who will quote accurately and offer you cost-effective alternatives that stay true to your intention if budget begins to blow out.

custom home

Find an architect whose work you love.

For over 20 years, Shadforth Lythgo has been building bespoke homes; luxury dwellings designed to purpose. If you’d like to chat about your custom home ideas, we’d love to hear from you.