Your best solution is going to be to use an architect to draw up plans. Then you can use those plans to get bids from several reputable builders. If you go with a builder first, your stuck with their designs and their pricing. By using an architect you separate the design cost from the build cost and neither one is tied to the other, keeps everybody honest and keeps you in control. You'll also be applying the right experts to the right parts of the process. An architect is not a builder first, and a builder is not an architect first.
Answering the question for who a good architect would be requires you to specify what it is you're looking for in a home. Some specialize in certain types of designs, others are focused on green building. Larger firms have a good mix, but also tend to charge more than an architect who works on their own or in a small firm.
If you're interested in referrals for architects, reply with that in an answer.
I highly recommend for you to interview him. All that takes is a few minutes of your time. Let me know if you are interested and I can send his contact info.
How exciting to be thinking of building in Central Austin. This is a big decision and one that requires a great deal of thought and research. You are on the right path by getting input on this and checking out the trulia boards for thoughts and ideas.
The four major components of this decision center around - lot, architect, realtor and builder. These four things must align with your vision for your new home. A realtor can help you filter and prioritze these areas and decisions.
Most builders and architects work together. If you see some things in the area that are in line with what you like, find out who desiged and who built the home. As you start talking to either the builder or architect, you can also ask who they work with on the other side. This relationship between Builder and Architect is critical to the success of home.
There are a number of really good builders and architects in Austin. I would be happy to work with you to identify a select group to help with the process.
Have you purchased your lot yet? If not, there are several things to consider about reconstruction related to community standards and requirements. Again, the help of your trusted realtor will be invaluable as you start to put your home together.
Good luck and happy home building!
Talk to at least 3 and share your vision. Ask them for references as well as a cost estimate to build what you have in mind and these parameters should help identify a builder that will work for you.