Divco Custom Homes (Divco) has been building Southwest Florida’s most recognizable luxury custom homes for over 40 years. With an impressive portfolio of over 1200 custom homes in prestigious gated communities and waterfront neighborhoods in Naples, Marco Island, Estero, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island this number is testament to the company’s collective skills. Divco is committed to the complete satisfaction of each one of its homeowners and its legions of satisfied clients speak to its reputation as one of the premier custom home builders in the nation. In a recent catch-up with Dave Chernin, Executive Director of Design and Business Development, we learn what has been taking place over the last 12 months.
“It’s been a productive and successful year. We’ve implemented a new 3D, virtual experience for our clients. This new capability of modeling in 3D allows clients to walk through the home we’ve laid out for them. Alongside this, we’ve also added interior design to our services,” he begins.
Dave’s role incorporates the design of new models in several of Divco’s single-family neighborhoods. He received his BA in Architecture from Pratt Institute in New York and has been working in the architectural engineering and construction industry for over 30 years with related experience in real estate and construction development. “My family was involved in real estate development, and I began designing site plans for our company right out of high school. After completing my degree, I worked for various companies honing my skills in several building types for many industries including hospitality and retail,” he explains.
“I learned how to draw residential construction documents aged 19 working
for a local architect in Boca Raton, Florida. It has always been a passion of mine due to the intimate nature of the work with the client and being able to express myself and my design philosophy.” Dave went on to open his own design studio in 2000 and was onboarded by Divco in 2022.
“Being the new guy on the block is always challenging. It’s important that I can integrate my business and design philosophy into a 40-year-old company that has been extremely successful. You can only achieve this by the company supporting your direction, which the owner has done. I’m hoping the new direction will take this company into the next 40 years with a design and construction language that’s unique, innovative and lasting. This new direction will create a turn-key solution for our clients. We complete the full conceptual design of the home, including architecture, interior design, hardscape and landscape design, and pool and site design, thereby creating a one-stop shop. We finalize construction documents for permitting and lastly and most importantly, build the vision and turn the keys over to the owners,” he says, adding that very few design and build firms can say this.
Dave shares that client satisfaction is the most rewarding aspect of his role. “It’s incredibly rewarding to witness a client’s enthusiasm and excitement when they see their dream become reality and know that they played an integral part in developing and finalizing that dream. Their appreciation is one of the most important gifts you can receive. It’s important to share that appreciation with your team.” Indeed, the entire team, from administration to construction to financing, has this common dedication to customer service. Building a custom home is one of life’s milestones, and Divco is dedicated to making it an enjoyable and exciting experience for everyone.
“Our owner, Stephen Kauffman,” Dave continues, “has been building homes for
40 years in Southwest Florida. He has created a unique atmosphere; one in which people enjoy working, which, in turn, means we rarely need to switch our subcontractors. Most of them have been working with the company for several decades. It’s always a challenge dealing with so many moving parts, but Divco does it very well.
“Alongside Stephen’s dedication to creating the best working environment, I believe Florida’s political environment contributes to home building success. Many people are moving to Florida to find a new place to call home and that’s a positive thing for Divco.
The nation is in a transformative state and I feel it will affect home builders in a positive way. New innovative designs, coupled with clients’ increased knowledge and awareness of the process has allowed the industry to advance in ways it never has before. 3D printing comes to mind among other innovations in our industry.
“2024 is going to be an exciting time to be in this sector. I believe a change is coming that will affect everyone who’s involved with home building. I think over the next four years, Florida will see an influx of home buyers looking to take advantage of this coastal oasis and the life it gives us. It’s resort style living that feels like home,” he concludes.