by Christy Heitger-Ewing

In so many ways, building a home starts with a dream. We often talk about the future homeowners in this context, but for most custom home builders, building homes is the dream. From the challenges presented in the day-to-day process of building, to leading an elite team to bring the homeowners vision to life, these local Indianapolis custom builders live that dream every day.

Jeff Langston, owner/chairman of Old Town Design Group, recalls one particular instance that exemplifies the team spirit of custom home building. Six days prior to a scheduled closing, Langston got a call from the panicked homeowner, who was concerned that not everything was going to get done in time. Langston assured the homeowner not to worry, then rallied his troops by calling his key vendors as well as his staff.

“Our entire office team pitched in – even the accountant who’s normally inside doing AP,” says Langston. “When the homeowner walked through the night before closing, he was blown away. I always love how everyone is willing to come together to pull off the miracle. That’s what makes this industry special.”

Joe Garcia, owner of G&G Custom Homes, especially likes a challenge.

“It’s fun when a client asks, ‘Hey, can you do this?’ and I say, ‘Yeah, we can figure it out.’”

The creative element is what all custom builders adore.

“It’s great when you see the excitement of our clients grow throughout the process,” says Michael Mercho, president of Integra Builders. “When they move in, that’s a special day for us and for them.”

Langston’s favorite thing about building is making something out of nothing.

“When you’re looking at an empty lot for a house or raw ground for a subdivision, it’s fun to look a year later and think, ‘I was the one who helped create something unique,’” says Langston.

Dan Hayes, president of AR Homes, loves how in construction you end up with a tangible product that you can see, walk through, and wrap your arms around. Hayes grew up witnessing home transformations because his mom bought and flipped houses.

“When my little sister was seven years old, she told her teacher, ‘My mother likes to strip woodwork in her free time,’” says Hayes. “It was true!”

Al Hamed, Jr., president of Hamed Homes, maintains that he isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo of traditional building concepts by asking, “What if?” This means that when discussing design concepts and collaborating with clients, their team leans into possibilities when brainstorming ideas.

“I enjoy watching design goals transition from ‘what-if’ dreams to ‘real-life’ designs,” says Hamed.

As a second-generation home builder, Hamed learned from his father the importance of building solid, lasting relationships with both clients and trade partners. Today he works with many of the same crews who worked alongside his father as he grew the business.

“These are long-time, reliable relationships, and they matter,” says Hamed.

Relationships are an integral part of the day for every builder as they meet with clients, architects, and subcontractors.

“On any given day, you can touch almost every phase of a project,” says Mercho. “I don’t think anyone would call this career mundane or repetitive!”

Hayes has a plan to start each day.

“Within two hours, that plan is completely blown up,” he says with a chuckle. “Long-term planning in our world right now, as volatile as the construction industry has been in the last two years, is difficult.”

Langston says the key is embracing flexibility.

“As much as we try to forecast, you’ve got to have the flexibility to pivot and come up with a new solution each day,” he says.

Garcia has enjoyed watching the construction industry evolve through the years.

“Every year there’s something cooler, better, or nicer,” says Garcia. “There are new technologies and new ways of doing things. The constant changes keep the career fresh. I wonder what the next ten years will bring?”