Design-build team profile
This Florida firm features a retail furniture showroom and full service architecture, construction, interior design and landscape architecture services.
By tony, franco and amedeo D’Ascanio
For nearly 60 years, D’Asign Source has been the leader in design-build excellence in the Florida Keys. Providing a full service, in-house design-forward approach – architecture, construction, interior design, landscape architecture; and featuring a retail furniture showroom – with a history of one-of-a-kind custom homes and dream outdoor entertainment spaces.
While D’Asign is primarily focused in the Florida Keys, our specialty building style is the perfect complement to any coastal location. Our business was started by our parents, Palerino (Rino) and Margret D’Ascanio, in 1958 as Ornamental Cement Products on Grassy Key. In 1968 the company moved to Marathon (the current location of the D’Asign Plaza) and continued to grow, becoming Ornamental Cement and Ceramic Tile in 1977. We shifted from tile to construction in 1980. Tony branched out to form D’Ascanio Development. Franco started Sound Source, the custom audio/video division. And Amedeo expanded Ornamental Tile’s service to include cabinetry, lighting, wall and window coverings, and other finishes – thus becoming Ornamental Design Collection.
In 1990, the three firms merged to create D’Asign Source. In 1999, we decided to purchase Scotty’s Lumber Company next door to our childhood home, thus fulfilling our dad’s dream of owning the rest of the 100-foot lot he couldn’t afford in 1968. The purchase also included another 200 feet so we could expand and build the current 25,000 square foot D’Asign Source Showroom.
“The foundation of a great project is a great design.”Tony D'Ascanio
sustainable and resilient design
Before we dive into our unique design-build process, we’d like to cover an important topic that permeates every aspect of what we do as a company. Sustainable and resilient design.
While we enjoy the beauty and lifestyle of island living, we are regularly battling corrosion and the deterioration of the built environment. We are also dodging tropical storms and hurricanes on what seems to be a much too regular basis. What do we do when our work in the design-build industry is located in warm tropical waters? Instead of complaining, we take Mother Nature head on!
With layers of insulation, and well thought out building assemblies, our homes have very tight building envelopes allowing us to control the indoor air environment for a healthier lifestyle. Lots of exterior, impact rated, low-e tinted glazing systems allow for lots of natural Florida Keys sunshine and ocean views to enter the home. We also offer dense tropical landscapes and water features amongst the grounds of the home to cut down on the heat-island effect on the property and of the community. Much of the landscape has a mix of local plant species, that can be taken off of irrigation completely once they’re established.
Coastal Source Products are made from solid brass and outdoor-rated plastics that are designed to last generations. This is far superior and more sustainable than most other outdoor “sacrificial” products that are available to homeowners. You won’t have to constantly replace the products on the outside of the home. In general, we try to design and build our homes with sustainable, long-lasting components and finishes. Also designing with more “timeless” design styles with high-quality materials will allow for more sustainability by not having to remodel with every design fad.
Decades ago, we set about observing and documenting the deterioration of building materials, hardware, fixtures and finishes. Armed with this information, we began testing with custom-built salt-water and UV test chambers, along with thermal analysis of all building components.
We also gained first-hand experience and real-world trials of these components due to the numerous tropical storms and hurricanes that have battered the Keys.
Over the years, we found – surprisingly – that manufacturers had very little interest in producing superior build materials for harsh coastal environments. So we took matters into our own hands by only selling the finest products, which led to us starting Coastal Source – an international company focused on producing high performance outdoor lighting and audio systems that defy the elements.
We also started D’Asign Coastal Botanicals, which specializes in a wide variety of salt, wind and drought tolerant palms, trees and tropical plants. Our products are grown with select seeds, soil and nutrients, along with proprietary salt-eating microbes that continue to grow with the plant.
All of these factors contribute to sustainable and resilient indoor and outdoor environments that can be enjoyed for decades.
concrete block construction (CBS)
A fundamental aspect of our design approach is the utilization of concrete block construction.
CBS homes are built to last. They don’t harbor insects or rot that can cause frame houses to deteriorate. And concrete block construction puts at least eight inches of concrete between you and Mother Nature, withstanding winds up to 200 miles per hour. This secures the residence against wind-borne debris. Concrete is a naturally non-combustible building material, so it won’t burn, soften or bend during a fire. This reduces the chances of storm damage, and lowers insurance premiums to boot.
Concrete block homes also minimize water penetration, which protect against mold and mildew. And concrete homes excel at keeping conditioned air in and extreme temperatures out, thanks to tight seals at the joints and the thermal mass of the walls.
One final advantage of concrete here in the Keys – termites don’t eat concrete! With damages reaching $500 million, Florida is one of the most termite-infested states in the country. So for all of these reasons, we design with concrete block construction and utilize the very finest in resilient building materials and finishes.
the design-build process
D’Asign Source is your single point of contact for architecture, construction, interior design, landscape architecture and furnishings. You only make one phone call to get the results you’re looking for.
Our in-house design-build construction process combines the efforts and capabilities of an architect and contractor into one—offering a single contact and authority for an entire project. When these two disciplines work together, they can accelerate and closely coordinate the process of designing, permitting and constructing—while quickly being able to adjust items in the field if necessary.
As your architect and builder, our concepts hit the ground quickly, while maintaining overall goals. There’s no need for excessive drawings, specifications or micro-management. Our designers and installers are on the same team. They all report back to management and the homeowner directly.
With less contractors to coordinate, more integration across all disciplines, efficient coordination of professionals, builders and regulatory agencies, and access to direct manufacturer dealerships; we’re able to pass the savings directly to our clients.
Heralded in the industry for innovative architecture, D’Asign Source creates thoughtful living spaces that enhance the environment in which they are built. We work in residential and commercial properties, MDUs and hospitality projects, as well as mixed use and complete remodels. We are adept at bringing low maintenance and high style together—providing a one-of–a-kind solution to architectural design, the foundation of a great home.
Building a new home or remodeling an existing home should be enjoyable, simple and stress-free. It all starts with our team listening to and understanding the client’s vision. Before we set pencil to paper, we interact with our clients to fully comprehend how they want to live in their new home.
Most of the homes we build also have indoor air quality options installed. This includes MERV filters and UV lights in the air handlers, and outdoor air mixing devices to bring in fresh air on demand or automatically. The systems are also minimum 17 SEER efficient, and some condensers now offer a “coastal coating” so they last longer in coastal environments.
We also design for high performance hurricane resistant windows and doors with high performance sun insulated glass. There are also Cisterns integrated into the design to capture rainwater for irrigation, as well as utilizing reverse osmosis systems for water purification.
D’Asign Source is a second-generation business that has been building in the Florida Keys since 1968. Growing up in the Keys has given us unrivaled knowledge of building techniques and environmental concerns that exist in this unique, tropical locale. Together, we take pride in our abilities with our in-house team of professionals.
As a licensed general contractor, D’Asign Source eliminates the burden of dealing with multiple contractors and sub-contractors because the design, material selection, management, permitting, construction and finish work are already included in the design and build contract. This helps to further ensure your new home or remodel projects stay on track, on time and on budget.
Interior design is an intimate reflection of the way we live. What we choose to surround ourselves with and how we utilize spaces can become invaluable when it serves our needs functionally, aesthetically and emotionally.
Often space is limited in the Florida Keys, so it is imperative that it be well utilized. The talented interior design team at D’Asign Source is well versed in creating stunning interiors that are comfortable and inviting. We’ve transformed hundreds of spaces, achieving high-end looks on real-world budgets. Exclusive relationships with numerous furniture, flooring and accessory vendors, assures the quality you want at a price you will be comfortable with. In the D’Asign Source showroom you can select furnishings, window treatments, wall coverings, and accessories aided by our team of professionals. From selection to installation, the team at D’Asign Source will thoughtfully orchestrate your new interior.
From lush, tropical waterscapes to open-air kitchens, D’Asign Source specializes in outdoor living spaces that celebrate the tropical flavors of South Florida and the stunning beauty of the Florida Keys. We view landscape design as an integral part of our architecture practice, allowing the building and site to complement and interact with one another. Outdoor spaces, poolscapes, and patio designs extend into surrounding landscapes to create the perfect atmosphere for lounging, entertaining and dining alfresco.
The Coastal Home Experts
D’Asign Source Botanicals is your source for plants designed to handle salt air, salt spray, hurricanes, droughts and nature’s everyday challenges. We specialize in growing quality palms and cycads in large containers and currently offer more than 300 species of palms and 100 species of cycads—amongst other ornamental, flowering and native trees.
With more than 50 years of experience and enthusiasm for the wonderful world of coastal plants and landscapes, our team has tracked and recorded the growth and health of thousands of species. This experience is evident in everything we do as well as in the species we grow.
Smart Home Technology
From immersive speakers, to mind-blowing home theater systems, element defying outdoor entertainment systems, ultra-high definition TVs, powerful portable wireless speakers, to home automation, D’Asign Source has been offering our clients expert design, installation, and service of the finest home technologies for over three decades.
Home automation is now an integral part of most home systems from the manufacturer. For instance, the HVAC systems have their own app, camera systems have their own, alongside using your phone for music, etc. Our job is to cull through them all and select the systems, apps, software, and technology that is the most reliable and easy-to-use, and offer them to our clients. Typically, we do a hybrid approach where primary and common rooms of the house have a universal, programmed remote with apps. While guest rooms and secondary spaces will use a TV or service provider control device with some additional control. We haven’t seen a full voice control system for all devices that works seamlessly, but this would be a simple add-on to our systems once the technology is more reliable.
D’Asign Source has an in-house technical team for automation, IT and audio-visual systems. Although in the past the company has installed elaborate six and seven figure automation and control systems, the trend lately has been simplicity with an emphasis on high performance systems, especially in indoor and outdoor audio systems. Simple control has been focused on lighting, shading and audio distribution.
11500 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050