Building the Right Home For You
Realtors know that homeowners want a home that sets the stage for their story. Buyers often compromise when searching for the perfect home that tells their story. Sometimes, if they’re not willing to compromise on their ideal home, the best option is to build or renovate.
To make that leap into a custom home, the site, design, layout, materials, function, and finishes in a home tell their own story. At Home-Build Concierge, we help homeowners write that story through our concierge services for custom home builds and renovations.
The services of Home-Build Concierge help to set the stage for every chapter of the home building, living, and selling story.
So, what’s a Home-Build Concierge?
A home-build concierge is an expert in all aspects of home building, working for you as your advisor and assistant at every stage of your home building journey.
When consumers consider the notion of building a custom home after an exhaustive search for the “perfect house”, they often panic in fear from the tales of stressful home construction or renovation projects.
At Home-Build Concierge, we coordinate the work of the builder, designer, project manager, and the owner. The result is a custom home that’s uniquely yours, without the stresses and problems of managing the process yourself.
7 unique tips for building your new home
As a result of our 20+ years of creating custom homes, we’ve learned a few things along the way that you might find helpful in your custom home or renovation project:
A “Powerful” Vanity
You’ve created a stunning bathroom design – you have all the clean lines and sparkling surfaces, and then it’s time to move your stuff in. What do you do with your electric toothbrush and rechargeable shaver? Surely you don’t want to plug them in and place them on top of your vanity! It seems like common sense, but we’re always surprised that builders and homeowners don’t think to hide a GFCI power outlet inside the vanity. It’s an inexpensive measure that goes a long way to hide all the unsightly cords and cables.
Landscaping With Room To Grow
Builders often think they're being generous by providing the homeowner with an "upgraded" landscape package -- usually in response to the homeowner's request. It's no surprise in our society obsessed with instant gratification that homeowners will want their brand-new house to have a "mature" landscape. However, it’s important to remember that plants do grow, and that a landscape design plan should address the desire to have a beautiful landscape from day one to year ten. Read more about our recommended landscape considerations in our blog post, “The Jungle”.
Unless you plan to film the remake of “Gone With The Wind” in your home, you may not really want the grand two-story foyer with the curved staircases in your custom home. Drama aside, a grand open, two-story foyer (or great room for that matter) is a huge waste of space if you’re limited in square footage. The open space can rob the house of precious living space and will add expense when heating or cooling your home. There are plenty of other options for making a statement in your home’s entry through the use of the right materials, finishes, lighting, and décor.
The House or the Warehouse?
If you have a lot of “stuff” (you know who you are), please plan for a space to store it when building a custom home. Whether it’s in a basement, an attic, or a designated storage room, plan accordingly. Storage in a garage is not optimal, as garages are generally not designed to be weather, insect, or pest-proof. It always breaks my heart to see a beautiful house with a 3 or even 5 car garage, with cars parked out on the driveway because the garage is too full of things the homeowner cannot part with.
First, let’s tackle the word “façade”. In addition to the most relevant definition, “the face of a building, especially the principal front that looks onto a street or open space”, it also means “an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality”. So, I’m just saying, why be unoriginal and put on an outward appearance that is intended to conceal a less pleasant reality? We see a lot of this in the Mid-Atlantic – not so much in South Florida.
There’s nothing wrong with brick and stone on the front of a house, but wouldn’t it be nicer all around the house? What kind of message does it send to have a different façade than the rest of the house? “We ran out of money”, or “we changed our mind”? If you don’t want to do stone or brick all around, at the very minimum, why not consider the same brick or stone all around the house at the water table?
There are also some more original and equally classy, high quality, equally durable materials available now, including James Hardie fiber cement siding, stucco, etc. The point is, make it yours! Do something original that you actually like.
I can’t help but chuckle at times to hear homeowner demands for granite countertops. Don’t get me wrong – granite is a great material, but it’s not always the “best” nor is it generally the “best option”. Quartz can be a superior product with more design options, though it also can be more expensive. There’s also marble, tile, wood, concrete, stainless steel, and other materials that have been used for countertops.
Let’s focus on quartz vs. granite. It is worth noting that granite is quarried directly from the earth and, when used for countertops, it comes from a single piece that is cut and polished. Quartz countertops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. They are manufactured in a variety of colors and patterns. There are pros and cons for each option (you can read more about them here), but be sure to consider the right choice for you before demanding “granite countertops”.
Open Floor Plan
I know it seems that just about everyone now wants an “open floor plan”, and that’s just fine – as long as the homeowner considers how they really live in their home. It’s not about the fantasy of how they live – it’s the reality. If you have a choice and are considering designing a house with an open floor plan, ask yourself these questions (your architect will ask themselves more technical questions when designing an open floor plan):
Do you have a noisy household? Do you mind if the kids are screaming all around the house and grandpa has the TV volume blaring? If not, you may not have the need for separation of spaces and an open floor plan may work fine for you.
Do you have a neat and tidy family? If you don’t want to see Johnny’s toys in the Family Room from the Dining Room, or you don't want to see the dishes in the Kitchen sink from the Foyer, you may want to reconsider how open that floor plan is.
The aesthetics and drama of an open floor plan can be appealing to many, but I prefer some separation in spaces. I like the privacy, coziness, function, and classic elegance of some separation. I also like the additional walls for hanging artwork and designing the spaces in slightly different themes. You can create the illusion of openness with glass transom windows, separators, furnishings, etc. if you don’t want a truly open floor plan.
In closing, some of the popular options on homes are popular because they are functional, cost effective, or stylish. There’s nothing wrong with choosing them for your home, as long as you really want them and they fit your lifestyle. If you find yourself making decisions about your home to keep up with the Joneses, think again. After all, unless you do a lot of entertaining in your open floor plan house, you may never see the Joneses in your kitchen with granite countertops as you come down your grand double staircase. They might never know that you’ve kept up with them.
Rami Dalal is Founder and Chief Concierge at Home-Build Concierge, Inc.