Get to know Hilton Head Custom Homes

Hilton Head Island PacketMay 4, 2014 

Hilton Head Custom Homes prides itself on crafting Southern residences of distinction throughout Bluffton and Hilton Head Island.  Through a dedicated hands-on approach and an unrivaled demand for quality, the company’s experienced team helps each client realize their dream. 

Leading  these local experts is president Tim Franks, whose 40 years of experience and deep-rooted love for the job form the company’s strong core. 

“I started as an architect but found that I was my happiest when I was on-site seeing plans come to life,” Tim said. “I design and build homes because this is what I love to do.” 

Tim and custom homes specialist Laura Lyons Karrh spoke recently about the company’s personal approach to building.

Walk me through your design process. Where do I start when I’m not really sure the kind of home I want?

Laura: Not everyone can visualize what they want in a house. We have a group of one- and two-story floor plans to help serve as a launching point for customers. Every plan is entirely customizable, both interior and exterior, and we work extensively with clients  to shape their vision. We also have a wonderful design center where clients can see first-hand different styles of flooring, fixtures and finishes to help them get a feel of how everything will work together. And if a customer wants something specific that we don’t have, we will find a way to get it. 

Tim:  Bringing someone’s vision to life goes beyond floor plans. It’s about hearing what the clients say and knowing what they mean. Then it’s about bringing to life those little things a customer never dreamed they needed. That’s the fun part.

Does fun play a big role in the process?

Tim: Absolutely. We have an internal philosophy about fun. If someone who works for us doesn’t enjoy meeting clients or doesn’t have a zest for the building process, he or she won’t work here long. It’s important that everyone on our team enjoys what they do because when people are miserable, their clients tend to be miserable. We love what we do and clients benefit from that. 

Bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in is popular in Lowcountry homes. How do your designs reflect this trend?

Laura: People want a sense of openness when they walk in their front door and Tim works closely with clients to design homes that maximize the view and the feeling of having the outdoors within reach. This could mean rotating the house or adding large doors and windows to bring in ambient light. Tim pioneered the trend to include huge sliding glass doors that open to expansive screened-in porches. Clients will often add TVs, a fireplace or a kitchen to the porch so the space becomes another living area. 

Wait, you can tell if a house needs rotating? 

Tim: I can also tell if we need to take down walls, move columns back, increase the ceiling height or angle the rooms differently to get the best view possible. That’s one of the benefits of being in the business for so long — I can visualize the end result and will do whatever is needed to get there. I visit the site, with plans in hand, and examine the lot from every angle. I want to give the homeowner a view that blows them away every time they walk in the front door.

That’s a lot of one-on-one attention. Is this common?

Laura: That’s one of the things we’re all about. There are some companies where the client never meets the builder. Our customers meet everyone. Tim is involved very early on in the process to get at the heart of what a client wants in a home.  

Tim: We use the term “raving fans.” We want all of our clients to be raving fans of our work and of the entire experience when it’s all said and done.


Hilton Head Custom Homes is located at 1110 Fording Island Road, Bluffton, SC 29910. 843-815-2213.

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