Experience Matters

trussesI am trying to embrace the benefits of being middle-aged. One great one is being surrounded by people who have flourished in their chosen fields and are now proven experts. In the last few weeks, I’ve sat in awe as friends presented in depth information about their work in science and business. This morning, as I walked a project with my husband, my reflective mood allowed me to recognize I was watching my husband’s expertise in action.

We are currently working on a home that is long on both beauty and complicated roof lines. It is at a critical stage in construction; we need to make sure the building’s bones are built correctly and to last before drywall hides the guts. Ahead of bringing our framer in to address issues big and small, we want to make sure the roof trusses are in good shape, where they are intended to be, and installed with the proper placements outlined by the engineer.

When the trusses img_0919-editedare dropped on site, each comes marked with a code and is packed in bundles according to its size. The framers disassemble the packs, sorting trusses according to the provided layout. They then follow the layout like they are assembling a huge Lego project. Given its complexity and physical challenges, it is entirely understandable that excellent framers will still occasionally miss a piece of wind bracing or the manufacturer missed a gusset. Years of evaluating trusses enables an experienced eye to find a broken chord or forgotten brace. This is where Will’s experience matters.


Let’s Get Real

Owning and running a business with your spouse should confer special credentials in marital communications. While parenting together is likely more stressful (or is that just us?), sharing our livelihood requires us to challenge, cheer lead, and negotiate in ways we didn’t anticipate as we sat next to one another in our premarital meetings with our officiant.

I bring this up because, like all big life moments, building a custom home can bring new opportunities for growing with your partner. Depending on how involved you each would like to be, you will likely navigate some new waters. Who will design what? Who is going to choose which component? Are you on the same page about budget details?

Will and I still run into these issues. In our recent inventory home, Will wanted rich walnut trim to extend from the hearth room into the kitchen space. I, seeking to keep the kitchen light and bright, wanted the white woodwork to fill the transition area.

Notice the white doors at the far end of the kitchen?

Because we had already stocked custom walnut doors, this wasn’t a seamless conversation.

We like to think that a benefit of working with a husband and wife team is that our shared experience helps us listen to and understand our customers. It also doesn’t hurt that we know when to quietly leave the room so doors can be selected.

Thinking through issues ahead of time will make the process enjoyable and effective. To that end, here is a very brief survey to help spark some good conversation.



To Trend or Not to Trend

I recently had to  got to go shopping for a new evening gown. As all women know, this is a confounding activity. Before you are able to select one of the right color and fit, you have to first decide if you are going to buy the dress that reflects up to the minute fashion awareness (and your current physical shape) or are you going to invest in something classic, something that you might actually want to wear again years down the road.  This time, I went with something super-trendy which probably won’t fit in a few years.

Designing a house mimics the same dilemma. Everything from the architectural design to the choice of bath hardware can reflect the latest design trend. While there are no right answers for every owner and situation, there are some basic concepts that can help inform these decisions. Below are a list of some of the choices and their implications for the long term.

  • Architectural design trends – This is the biggie. If you feel like your response to the screenshot2016-09-08at6-35-02amon trend style and layout is almost spiritual, go for it. You will love living in this space and visitors will enjoy experiencing the home as an extension of your personality. Do know this might narrow the folks interested in purchasing the home when you are no longer there but we firmly believe every home has a buyer.
  • Bathroom and kitchen finishes – These are the most common. For some reason, we all really pay attention to design trends for these rooms and there are so many great options for responding to them. If you think you will have the stomach for spending the time and money on renovations down the road, this is a great place to reflect today’s aesthetic. Tile, counter tops, and fixtures can be easily replaced. Cabinets, if chosen carefully, might even be refinished.  Just keep in mind the story about giving the moose a muffin. Once you start remodeling a bathroom or kitchen, you just might want to keep going.
  • Design details – These are the difficult ones. Who knows if the latest design innovations will stand screenshot2016-09-08at6-49-16amthe test of time or firmly plant your home in the year it is built? Again, the decision to follow a trend might be made by your willingness to absorb future renovation costs. LCH will be able to help you predict some of those future costs.

If you have some idea of how long you will want to live in your home before either renovating or moving, your design selections will be easier to define. Fortunately, manufacturers and suppliers offer not only wide variety of styles but there are often diverse price points. Don’t be afraid to follow trends; just know ahead of time what costs might be associated with which choices.  Your particular set of choices is what will make your home customized and unique.

So, that trendy dress? As I made sure to inform Will, it came from the clearance rack.