Gradison Design Build

Bold Thoughts on a Better Way to Build

We’re glad you made it to the Gradison Design Manifesto. We didn’t start out to write one but at some point we realized the way we think, move, and build is a little bit unusual—in a good way—so we need to put it into words.

We’re pretty sure it’s been the reason our family construction business that started over 30 years ago has grown and evolved into what people have voted one of the best custom building and remodeling companies in the Indianapolis area.

Gradison Design-Build doesn’t see itself primarily as builders. We are people first, tradesmen and women second. That’s how we approach each customer who will eventually inhabit one of our inspired custom homes. As important as how we work is the way we think about design-architecture and why it even exists in the first place. It’s about giving space meaning. And that meaning comes from you.

Here’s more about how we think and how we work. We’re looking for like minds. Get to know our manifesto and learn more about what lights our fire.

We respect you. The process respects you.


Homes should be built on more than brick and mortar.

It’s why we’ll spend weeks getting to know you and asking a gazillion questions. Discovering what’s important to you—essential ideas that will inform the design process. Those can be your basic needs, daily routine, budget, timeline, must-haves, really-want-if-we-can-work-it-in-the-budget, creative inklings, ultimate vision, etc.

Those, combined with the physical site, are what we deem the most critical parameters. Each house a unique, personal work of architecture, to reflect who you are and the way you will experience life in it.

Get everything on the table.

We understand that building a home may not be the most important thing in your life, but it can be the most draining. There’s a lot of stress—moving, selling your home, making all those big decisions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Our approach is to underwhelm you. Right up front, we’re collaborative, relaxed, but frank and informative. Like home-building boot camp—only we’re nicer. You’ll have a realistic, clear idea of what to expect, to avoid the usual stress, panic and pitfalls. Which leads us to another fundamental belief:

Things grow—it’s natural. But your budget shouldn’t.

All the time we invest in you upfront has a purpose. When we lock in your blueprint, we lock in your budget, too, making money fears obsolete. We will have asked enough questions, worked closely with you and the designers, specified exact materials, and compiled pricing. Actual costs—a guaranteed budget before you build. No “ballpark estimates” or fears of “going over.”

Three words: Exciting. And. Easy.

The way we work together is true collaboration, but we gladly shift the balance of burdens to our side. Through weekly meetings, managed steps. Giving you lots of choices but making things simple. Providing a framework, not an intimidating blank sheet of paper—and letting you tailor to the degree you want. It’s a natural, easy flow that makes room for the joy that building your dream home should be.

You don’t have to do things the way everyone else does. We think it’s good to know the rules, but artfully break them. In all the ways you want. Everything from distinctive floorplans to architectural details and eye-catching color palettes. With your smart ideas and our ridiculously intuitive collaboration skills, we’ll build something pretty spectacular.

We scout out amazing places to build.

We can find a lot of property that is acceptable, average. That’s not where we build though, because that’s not where most people want to live. We build homes in the best places, the most charming locales—where things are happening. Where you can walk where you want to go. Better for you, and also your home’s value in the long run.

Hiring experts is a smart idea.

Not to brag, but we’re smart enough to bring in whizzes at each phase in the process. Talented specialists who know the latest and greatest about kitchen design, audio and visual systems, lighting, cabinetry, flooring—whatever it takes to make your home awesome.

Family is the core of everything that’s important.

Gradison Design-Build is deeply rooted in the construction field, going back four generations of family-owned construction businesses. We have experience in architecture, earthmoving, utility contracting and concrete. At the core of our business today are brothers Mark and Joe Gradison—you’ll meet them both. Mark’s the guy who oversees construction and field processes while Joe manages financials and customer service. Both are graduates of Indiana University with degrees in real estate and finance, both are lifetime area residents, but only one is good at chess.

We strive to perfect the ordinary. Wait—the ordinary? By that, we mean the everyday process deserves our special attention. With you in our mind at all times, we want to continually refine the way we do things. Tweaking already good things and challenging ourselves to do it better than yesterday. We know perfection is a concept but with each step we take, there’s a chance we get a little bit closer, and pleasing you is our gauge for success.