This is the time where you will work with our in-house designer or choose an outside architect.

  • In-house designer route, with this option all of the architectural and engineering fees are included in the Castlewood turnkey price. We can design something completely from scratch or revise a previous Castlewood design to your unique specifications. This process can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete.
  • Outside Architect, Castlewood can recommend an architect based on the style of house desired or work with the Owners pre-designed or yet to be designed plans. This process can take anywhere from 60 days to 6 months.
  • During this phase we will initiate the civil engineering field work needed for permitting.
Next Step: Permits

Many builders claim that they can build “whatever you want,” and that all you have to do is simply tell them what that is. And for the most part, that is true. After all, that is the essence of “custom” building, right? But if most builders are “able” to build whatever you ask them to build, then how do you differentiate between them in deciding which one to engage?

We think that you can tell a great deal about a custom builder by looking at its NON-CUSTOM projects — that is, take a look at the builder’s speculative (or “spec” as called in the trade) house projects. This should give you a good idea of the builder’s baseline product, specifically, what designs, features, amenities and workmanship the builder considers to be “standard” for its projects. This will provide keen insight as to whether the builder’s standards of design, quality and workmanship match your own. Chances are, that if a particular builder’s established standards meet or exceed your own ideas in that regard, at the price points that you have in mind, then you have found the right builder for you.

Castlewood routinely develops its own “spec” projects, concentrating on in-fill lots in highly desirable neighborhoods located in areas such as Bethesda/Chevy Chase/Potomac (MD), Northwest DC and Tyson’s Corner (VA). As with most of our custom projects, these spec projects usually involve demolishing a pre-existing obsolescent home and re-developing the site.

One of Castlewood’s trademark features in these spec homes is the fully finished “Attic Suite,” which comprises what is normally the unfinished 3rd floor (i.e., the “rafter” area) of the home. The Attic Suite always includes a large open sitting (or “bonus”) room, along with a fully complimented guest bedroom suite (i.e., a separate bedroom, with its own walk-in closet and full bathroom), and is accessible by a full-size oak staircase. This standard amenity is incorporated into all of our custom-home designs, and provides our customers with the tremendous convenience of an additional 25% of above-grade living space (adds between 750 to 1250 sq. ft. per design), without increasing the footprint of the house.

Most other builders consider Castlewood’s standard “Attic Suite” to be an expensive added “option,” which is also the case with many of Castlewood’s other high-end standard features. Below is a comprehensive list of these features, 95% or more of which you will find in every Castlewood home, but you would never know it from our reasonable pricing, which is unrivaled in the marketplace given the caliber of home we produce.

But don’t take our word for it! Do your own investigation and analysis. We’re fine with that, because we know that ultimately you will determine that no one else provides a more impressive combination of design, features, amenities, craftsmanship and value than we do.

Interior Features:

  • Gourmet Kitchen with Granite Countertops, Separate Island with Bar Seating, Spacious Breakfast Area, Custom Raised-panel   Cabinet (featuring new “soft-close” shock-absorbing drawer-glide technology), Walk-in Pantry and Chef-Grade Stainless Steel   Appliances by Sub-Zero, Wolf and Bosch.
  • Enormous Master Suite, with Coffered Ceiling, Gas Fireplace, His-and-Hers Walk-in Closets and Luxury Bath with His-and-Hers Vanities, Oversized Whirlpool Tub, 13′ x 13″ Ceramic Tile (with integrated floor and shower-wall mosaic designs), and Dual Shower Heads.
  • Designer Dining Room – Featuring Extra-high Boxed Lower Panels and Built-in Storage (flanking archway to formal living room).
  • 4 Finished Levels of Living Space (with 3 above grade).
  • Finished 3rd Floor “Attic Suite,” with Main Sitting Room and Fully Complimented Guest Bedroom Suite (including bedroom with dormer window, walk-in closet and full bathroom).
  • Fully Finished Basement Level, with Guest Bedroom, Full Bathroom, Exercise Room (with French doors flanked by extra-wide floor-to-ceiling windows) or Media (Theater) Room.
  • Designer Tile Work in all Bathrooms, with Varied Accents, Styles and Dimensions.
  • Natural Stone (Granite, Marble or Durango) for All Bathroom Vanities.
  • Fireplaces in Family Room, Basement Great Room and Master Suite, with Granite, Marble or Designer-Tile Surrounds and Crafted Mantles.
  • Three-zone High-efficiency Forced-air Central HVAC System (“Carrier” Brand Equipment)(gas furnace, electric air-conditioning)
  • Security System Fully Installed.
  • Multi-Media Throughout, Including Accommodation for HDMI and other Hookups.
  • Sound System (pre-wired -first floor).
  • Intercom System (pre-wired -entire house).
  • Digital Thermostats.
  • Upgraded Door Handles (levered or round, finished with brushed or polished nickel, bronze, brass or chrome per plan).
  • Upgraded Plumbing Fixtures (including wide-spread vanity faucet handles, finished with oil-rubbed, brushed or polished bronze, nickel, brass or chrome per plan).
  • Library/Study on Main Level.
  • Recessed Lighting Throughout – All 4 Finished Levels.
  • Extra Wide Plank (3¼-inch) Hardwood Floors on Entire Main Floor, Master Suite and Hallways.
  • Oak Staircases, Railings and Landings, with Painted Posts, Balusters and Risers.
  • Oversized (3-piece) Crown Molding on Entire Main Level, Master Suite and Second Floor Hallway.
  • Oversized (7¼-inch) Base Trim on all Levels.
  • Oversized Trim on all Doorways and Windows.
  • Custom Header Trim over All Interior Doors and Windows on Main Level.
  • Glass-paneled Transoms over All Doorways on Main Level
  • 9-foot Ceilings on Basement, Second Floor, and Main Level.
  • Convenient Second-Level Laundry Room with Oversized Sink, Cabinets, Shelves and Washer/Dryer Hook-ups.
  • 75 Gallon Quick Recovery Water Heater (Gas).
  • 400 AMP Electrical Service.
  • Walk-in Closets in Every Bedroom.
  • Energy Saver (Green) JELD-WEN Windows, with Argon-filled Thermal-pane Glass and Low-maintenance (No-Paint) Vinyl Interiors; Double-Hung (with tilt sashes) and/or Casement (per plan).
  • Premium Cement Board used as Subsurface for all Tile Installation (comprehensive coverage includes floor-to-ceiling in all shower/tub enclosures, and all whirlpool tub-platforms and surrounds)


  • Porches with Flagstone Surface and Decorative Designer Pillars (Varied Architectural Styles).
  • Natural Stone Wrapped Foundations (mortared, but with “Dry Stack” appearance) – Frontal View and Wrap-Around Porches (where applicable).
  • James Hardie “HardiePlank” (Fiber Cement) Shingles and Lap Siding, and Natural Stone Exteriors.
  • Metal Pitched Roofs (Assorted Colors) for Porches and Other Exterior Details.
  • Entire Home Wrapped with TYVEK® Weather Barrier and Energy Sealed.
  • Upgraded Architectural Roof Shingles (30 Year).
  • Solid-Core Oversized Exterior Trim (Low Maintenance Materials).
  • Oversized Gutters and Downspouts.
  • Exterior Designer Lighting.
  • Custom Exterior Header Trim on all Front Doors and Windows.
  • Finished Garages (2 and 3-car packages) (Dry-walled, Trimmed and Fully Painted) with Extra-high (12′) Ceilings.
  • Automatic Garage-door Openers and Remotes.
  • Frost-free Exterior Hose Bibs.
  • Weatherproof Exterior Electrical Outlets (Front and Rear) with Ground Fault Interrupters.
Next Step: Permitting Phase