Tips from the Pros
What is the most important thing for clients to keep in mind when working with a builder on a large-scale project?
Building on a larger scale is a long process in which you want someone you can trust and rely on to be there and get things done. The builder has to have a great crew behind him too—the subs are what gets the job done. You should get references and have a casual meeting before jumping on board with any builder for a big project.—Haden Long, Ellecor Design
You selected them, so trust them. Give them the time they need to do their job. Remember you hired them because of their experience and credentials, so forget all the neighbors’ and family members’ opinions.—Thom Holman, Landmarc Homes
On a large project, there are always going to be issues. Sometimes it’s the availability of materials when you need them or the availability of contractors. The thing to keep in mind is that in general, everyone is trying to achieve the same goal of building a beautiful, quality home. It’s important to stay patient and focused. It’s also important to be polite and respectful of all the subcontractors who are working hard. A compliment to a worker or group of workers for any special efforts on a project keeps the morale on the job at a high level.—Dave Duncan, Vanguard Homes
Do you have any advice on ways to make contemporary-style homes still feel warm and inviting?
A lot of times it comes down to material selection and what are the elements—especially on the interior of the home—that you're incorporating. If they are all hard surfaces [and] cool tones, then it will tend to feel almost commercial or cold.—Noah Fry, J. L. Thompson Design Group
What do you anticipate being a big trend in home design for 2023?
I think right now with the economy the way it is, there's a focus on making your space as efficient as possible…. Especially people who are retiring or moving to the lake area, they don't want a huge palatial home that they've got to keep up. They want something more cozy and manageable.—Noah Fry, J. L. Thompson Design Group
The trend in homes now seems to be focused on outdoor living spaces. I anticipate outdoor kitchens, heated outdoor seating areas, sports courts and other outdoor activity items being a big trend.—Dave Duncan, Vanguard Homes
What advice would you have for someone who was looking to build their dream home?
Take your time, interview several builders, get some references [and] talk to the subcontractors. Don’t kid yourself about what it might cost—the world of residential construction has changed drastically. Cost of construction labor and materials are way up. A few things cycle up and down but for the most part, what has gone up is likely to stay there.—Thom Holman, Landmarc Homes
We pretty much require all of our clients to hire a builder at the beginning of the design process… Everybody’s input is very valuable, and with our current market of product availability and pricing and interest rates on the rise, budget is huge. We look to the builder exclusively to develop budget because they’re doing it every day.—Jason Thompson, J. L. Thompson Design Group
I would recommend taking a lot of time on the building plan. After the plan is completed, I would suggest putting the plan down and not looking at it for a month or so. When you look at the plan again, you’ll most likely catch items you missed while you were focused on other priority items. I would also suggest employing a designer you trust. They can relieve a lot of pressure on decisions such as plumbing fixtures, cabinets, flooring, and paint colors. Most people building can easily be overwhelmed without a designer they trust.—Dave Duncan, Vanguard Homes