From the Ground Up: 4 Lessons Learned from a New Home Build

What is it like to design and build your dream home? This is part 4 of a 4-part content series, following interior designer Jodi G. on her journey from design through the building process and completion of her new country home.

Jodi completed her modern farmhouse in early spring 2018. Looking back what are her top four pieces of advice for someone who is starting a new home build or a home remodeling project?

Be Patient and Set Clear Expectations

When you start a new project, it’s natural to be anxious to get started. Things may seem like they are not moving fast enough. It’s impossible to over prepare for a project of this scope.

“Our build took almost 4 months longer than I had hoped,” says Jodi. “Even though we had planned really well, it’s still important to be flexible and patient so that you are happy with the final outcome.”

Jodi further advises to set reasonable and mutually agreed upon timelines and budgets, as those are the areas where you are most likely to be disappointed.

“If you want mostly pot-lighting or recessed lighting, that’s a lot different than a homeowner who wants a focal light in each room,” add Jodi. “The costs add up quickly when you are looking at an entire home.”

Many factors, from finishes to fixtures, can drive up costs quickly and planning ahead of time will alleviate those pain points down the road.

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

Clear visuals are a very effective way to communicate with your contractors. Start with Pinterest and Houzz if you are looking for sources of inspiration.

“You might not speak the same language or use the same terms, but a photo that captures what you want to achieve will make sure you get what you want,” says Jodi.

This helps with setting clear expectations as well.

Don’t Buy Everything New

Just because it’s a new home, doesn’t mean you need to purchase all new things. Take inventory of what you have in your current home and don’t assume that because it’s a different style it won’t work in your new home.

“I didn’t think my dark cherry bedroom set would work in the new home,” says Jodi. “Instead of buying new, we decided to paint it a French Gray with a slight white wash finish. It now has a bespoke aesthetic and it works perfectly.”

Also look for reclaimed pieces that can be refinished and stained. Jodi filled up an entire storage space with items she picked up while bargain hunting. Keeping an eye out for special pieces that she could design a room around. “I love things that have a story,” Jodi shares. “A new house needs old things to give it character.”

Get to Know Your Team

As the designer of her own home build, Jodi was very hands on with her project in every stage, but it’s just as important if you are hiring a designer that you have the same level of involvement. Clear communication is the key to getting good results.

“I visited the site everyday and I knew the crews by name,” says Jodi. “We exchanged cell phone numbers very early on, so they could call me at a moment’s notice if they had questions.

In Jodi’s experience, a crew that knows you and has a rapport with the homeowners will deliver better results. “If someone cares deeply and is invested in your project, they will go the extra mile for you when they can,” adds Jodi.

Jodi also advises that you can’t underestimate all the good advice and insights you will get from an experienced contracting crew. When you present them with a challenge, a good crew will get creative and help you solve the problem. Jodi shared one example, where her team was able to create the look of a metal hood over her oven range using wood, a special surface finish and rivets to finish it off. The final look is exactly what she wanted at a third of the cost of a metal hood.

“It’s nice to know the people who are working on your home,” says Jodi. It makes it more personal when you can all share in the pride of the work they are doing.”

Browse Photos of the Finished Build

Let the home style tips come to you.