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.