“You are right that you can build a very nice house for $150/sq. ft., but when you are in this stratospheric range, $150 is your starting point and you jump off from there. . . .
Your roof will be slate and not composition. Goodness knows how much that costs, and how it impacts your structural engineering.
Your floors will be stone and/or wide plank salvaged wood and not 2 1/2″ plain sawn oak.
Your facade will be brick, not hardi plank, and bricks will cost $2-$3 each and not 50 cents. And on an 8,000 sq. ft. structure you may get 50,000, 100,000 bricks. Then you pay the mason.
Your trim and doors will be custom manufactured and not stock.
Your window package will be custom manufactured and not stock. Saw one house where custom fabricated metal windows cost $250,000. For the windows.
Your light cans will cost 10x the cost of the cans you get in a builder spec house. You will have paid a lighting designer a fortune to tell you how to position those lights.
Your HVAC, security, A/V systems will be state of the art, each of which will run tens and tens of thousands, if not more. You will insulate your house to an extreme level.
And so on and so on. It all adds up . . . But yes, you can build a nice house for $150/sq. ft., but if you are building on a 50,000 sq. ft. lot on the corner of Kirby and Inwood, you just won’t.” [KG, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Out of the Closet]