Phil Leibovitz, Mimi Brodsky Kress & Brian Abramson | Bethesda Magazine

Home Experts Profiles


Phil Leibovitz, Mimi Brodsky Kress & Brian Abramson


4705 West Virginia Ave.





Best Builder, Best of Bethesda Readers Poll, Bethesda Magazine, 11 years; Gold Awards from Maryland Builders: Custom Contemporary Home, Custom Home, 3,500-5,000 sf, Custom Home 5,000-7,500 sf, 2019

What are the most important factors to consider when selecting a lot for my new custom home?

Arguably, first is location. Many of our clients want convenience and walkability. Next is price—the lot must be at a number where your budget will work. Since we’re custom builders, once we have found the property, light and view are very important. Building restriction lines, too, as they show you the width and depth of the house you can build, plus the size of the footprint allowed. Topography matters because it will show how much light you can get into the lower level, plus how usable a yard you will have.

We’re about to build our first custom home. Where should we splurge and where should we save?

Spend on architecture, because great design makes or breaks a house. Using a builder like us,with years of experience in livability of the house, is really important, too. The most important rooms in the house to spend money are the kitchen, family room, master bath and formal powder room. We also believe in spending money on high-efficiency windows and doors. This makes the house a much happier, exciting place to live in.

Other elements include an overbuilt floor system, quality insulation package, exterior sheathing and lifetime-warrantied architectural-grade asphalt roof products and ice and water guards. Aesthetically, you may look at a stucco foundation instead of stone and brick. Inside, get a high-efficiency mechanical system with proper zoning, quality cabinetry, millwork and hardware, and recessed lighting no larger than 4″.

Your house does not need to be overly large, just very livable. You can still do a beautiful clapboard house without having to spend the money on brick and stone. Basements, too, don’t have to be fancy, just right for you.

<< Back to the list

Leading Professionals »

Sponsored Content


    Get top stories in your inbox
    Exclusive deals from area businesses
    Including a sneak peek of the next issue

Dining Guide