In the midst of the madness that often makes up your daily life, there’s one place that should serve as a refuge from the storm: your home. Building a home to create a sense of calm and relaxation can be a challenge filled with both excitement and anxiety, especially if you’re beginning from scratch. With the right guides, though, the process becomes much easier. Here’s a look at what it takes to design and build a house from the ground up.
We’ll start with one of the most basic but important concepts (and one of the biggest trouble spots): budget. It’s important to set clear expectations ahead of time so your builder and designer know just what they have to work with. “Setting a realistic budget is important,” said Mike Martin of Martin Custom Building in Owensboro. “We try to get value for your money.”
Budget determines three basic aspects of a home: the lot where it’s built, the size (number of bedrooms, size of rooms) and finishes such as trim packages, flooring, countertops, etc. Many people want a unique home, but quickly find out that specialized features increase the price. Still, some opt for features such as custom cabinets, double bars, built-in bunk beds, craft rooms and more.
Be sure your budget makes room for interior design, from furniture to window treatments, to accessories and more. Even if you can’t afford everything you want right away, you can make a plan for how to attack the project a little at a time, said Shannon Gough, an interior designer with Benjamin Moore Paints in Owensboro. “Make a list of the things you need and want,” she said. “Figure out what you need now and put the rest on the list for later.”
With 40 years of building experience in Owensboro, Martin knows a thing or two about shepherding people through the home-building process. As a true design/build company, Martin Custom Building brings design and construction together – the same team oversees both sides of the process to minimize mistakes and prioritize efficiency.
Employees guide clients through the myriad decisions they must make, including custom floor plans, exterior design and more. In their design center, Martin brings together many options for finishes such as brick, roofing, tile, carpeting, lighting and cabinets. This saves clients legwork and helps decisions move more quickly.
Gough said many design considerations stem from factors that influence your everyday life – if you have kids (and how many), what part of the house you live in the most and how you entertain, for example. Many of the choices simply boil down to what you like and don’t like. By asking questions and observing, professional designers can often pull information and desires from clients they weren’t even aware of. These references then give the designer clues to put together the perfect design.
“It helps to have an idea of the style or features you like. You can find ideas in magazines, online and on Pinterest. Decorating shows on television can also provide good ideas and have encouraged people to decorate more,” Gough said. “Don’t be fooled, though – some of the projects you see on these shows are not quite as easy, quick or cheap as advertised.
“A design trend with new homes that doesn’t appear to be slowing down is technology,” Martin said. “One example is a wireless home – not just wireless access to the Internet, but to nearly everything in the house, including televisions and security systems. Some apps for your phone will let you lock and unlock your doors even if you’re out of town. “The technology is never going to stop,” Martin said.
Technology also makes long-distance designing a possibility. If clients are moving to Owensboro when their house is complete, the back-and-forth design process works much more smoothly with electronic communications.
Once a design is complete, actual construction of the home begins, overseen by your builder. “It takes a lot of effort, knowledge and very good subcontractors,” Martin said. “You’re only as good as the people around you.” He uses up to 16 different subcontractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) to complete a house.
Clients get to check on progress at various points until their home is complete. Be aware, though, that too many interruptions and changes to the original plan will add time and expense to the project. Other factors affecting length of time for construction include the permit process and the availability of subcontractors. Weather can play a major role, and the more specialized features your house has, the longer it will take.
A punch-list walkthrough a couple of weeks before closing lets both the builder and client make a list of last-minute items to finish up or fix.
“While some folks may be intimidated to hire a professional interior decorator to finish out the house, doing so often rescues you from many mistakes,” Gough said. Professionals know exactly what they’re doing and how to do it, which saves you time and money in the long run.
“I want their home to look like them,” she said. “It’s a very special place where you can rest and relax.”
As for decorating style, Gough recommends staying away from trends that are just the hot new thing. “I want people to do what they love,” she said. “They will like it for the long haul. Be true to yourself and what you love.”
[tw-divider]Making it Work in Owensboro[/tw-divider]
And of course, Owensboro is a great place to build your own home. “I’ve been very fortunate to be in Owensboro all my life,” Martin said. His sons now work with him – the third generation of Martins to carry on the tradition. He has helped develop neighborhoods such as Lake Forest and Hunters Ridge and is working on a new development off Settles Road called Bridgewood, as well as an exclusive gated community near the new hospital. “The greatest experience is building for quality people and making their dream home possible,” he said.
Gough’s work is also proof that you don’t have to live in a big city to get attractive, professional design at a reasonable cost. As a veteran of more than 20 years in the industry, she can handle anything from drawing blueprints to picking furniture to placing accessories. “We (interior designers) visualize and help you understand what we want to achieve,” she said. “We want to make it look and function the best we can.”
While the entire process can be challenging, “Anything worth having is going to take effort,” Martin said. “If you put forth the effort, the finished product is worth the effort. The only place you can really relax and find peace of mind is in your home.”