How Gorgeous Homes Happen: Building Your Design Team
While I am singularly proud of the beautiful projects we complete, the process of creating a gorgeous home starts well before the Laura U studio gets involved. The home itself must be dreamed up, built, and sold, a process that can take years in the making. Building your custom home also requires a great team.
For 2019, I’ve decided to highlight all the important people involved in making gorgeous homes happen. To start out, I want to detail some of the people I’ve worked with personally in my own home experiences.
The majority of our clients are either breaking ground with a new construction home or completely renovating a space (see: complete gut job). In either case, an architect will assist you in making your dream home a reality.
I speak from personal experience. My current home was not in the best condition when Michael and I purchased it. Let’s be honest, it was barely livable. Houston’s humidity and wet weather had severely taken its toll, and since the home was historically preserved, renovation would require accurate restoration of the home’s original facade.
I contacted Gina Newberry of Newberry Architecture to help me navigate the waters of a historic home reno. I’ve detailed that journey prolifically, but to get a sense of how invaluable an architect really is, I recommend reading my Access Design recap. I highly regard Gina’s professional opinion when it comes to renovation. Not just for historically preserved homes, but for homes taken down to the studs by Harvey and for spec homes in need of custom touches.
Let’s say that you are ready to build that dream home once and for all. Your tastes are bold, eclectic, and one-of-a-kind. You cringe at anything too conventional, beige-washed, or mass produced. For truly custom homes, I recommend working directly with an experienced and licensed architect. I’ve worked with several in the Houston area and would be more than happy to refer you to the best of the best!
Remodeling and Houston really go hand-in-hand. But that’s coming from someone who loves to remodel! I’ve remodeled two of my homes featured in the Journal: Dryden and North BLVD. For my current home, I worked with Blue River Custom Builders. They took Newberry Architecture’s plans and managed the entire reconstruction.
So many of my clients have been in the same place: with older homes of gorgeous potential, suffering from structural issues and weathered wear. In this case, a full-scale reno is needed to achieve your dream home goals.
What exactly is a full-scale renovation? Believe me, it’s more than you think! There are the basics: making sure the walls and floors are structurally sound, upgrading all electrical (depending on the age of the home), upgrading the HVAC systems, and checking for rot, termites, or other construction issues. Then there are the not-so-basics: building structures for smart home technology and handling unexpected (and out-of-budget) surprises.
Because we worked hand-in-hand with an architect, our builder was supported by our expectations in documented form. This is important because all of us in this industry have to effectively manage expectations from time to time, but builders (and contractors) also have to manage the stigma of never-ending projects or out-of-this-world budget add-ons. A great builder deserves immense respect.
Whether you’re looking for new construction or a fixer upper, you will need a Realtor. If you read our Journal often, then you already know about my Realtor, Carol Rowley. Be sure to check out my Access Design recap for more on Carol. She’s helped me find those diamonds in the rough that we’ve polished into beautiful homes.
Bottom line: you’re not buying a home without a talented Realtor by your side. I recommend someone who not only knows Houston, but has an amazingly wide network. Sometimes, your dream home is the one that isn’t publicly advertised. They call these “pocket listings,” and if you’re seeking the perfect home, you want your Realtor to know what’s really available in your desired area.
It goes without saying that you want your Realtor to be an advocate for your best interests. It sounds cheesy, but find someone that understands you, communicates similarly, and can articulate what you want, even when you cannot. I have this in Carol and I will tell you it makes the home buying process a lot of fun! Well, at least the home finding part.
Last, but certainly least, an interior designer will add the final touches to your home. I always recommend choosing a style that complements not only your home’s architecture, but its natural surroundings.
In some projects, we are brought on very early. “Right when the builders hammer in the last nail” early. This is a great time for us to get involved because we can assess the bones of the home and accentuate all the positives of the build: the natural light, the custom millwork, and all the other little details you picked out when you decided this home was the one!
No matter where you are in the home buying/renovating process, my recommendation is to always work with well-respected builders, architects, Realtors, and of course, designers who understand your cadence when it comes to managing projects. Trust is paramount!
This year, I plan on highlighting the other behind-the-scenes experts that make gorgeous homes possible. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, if you have a project? Let’s chat.