Top 10 Home Building Tips | StyleBlueorint
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Top 10 Home Building Tips | StyleBlueorint

Building a home can be an intimidating process. There are big initial decisions like finding the right location, choosing a floor plan, and deciding on exterior materials. But then there are all the other little choices you have to make from day to day — where to place outlet plugs, which hardware to select for your kitchen cabinets versus your bathroom vanity, which shade of white to paint your baseboards …

Sometimes, you just want someone who’s been there and done that to tell you, “Just don’t do ____, and you’ll be fine.”

We asked four home builders across the South to share their major DON’Ts — these are the 10 major take-aways to bookmark if you’re planning a build or major remodel.

Don’t begin building without first finalizing the details.

“We never begin constructing a home without finalizing and selecting all of the details beforehand, including exterior and interior finishes,” says Geinger Hill of Castle Homes. She explains that starting without all your selections in place can lead to many issues, including delays and costs that exceed the original budget.

The best way to go into a build is to have everything — from the countertops to the bathroom tile — figured out before you start. Otherwise, you could end up in a tough spot when you fall in love with a cabinet finish that isn’t available.

Don’t use can lights in the bedroom.

Recessed lighting is great in a kitchen or a dark hallway, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every space. Frank Gusmus, Owner and Licensed General Contractor at Gusmus Construction, would never put canned lights in a bedroom. Frank explains, “Can lights in the bedrooms show well at a party, but for day to day, they serve no purpose.”

Instead, he says, “Focus on well-placed reading lights and sconces. No one lays in bed to read a book with all their can lights on, especially with a tall or vaulted ceiling in a master bedroom.”

A modern bedroom, crafted by expert home builders, features a neatly made bed with gray bedding, an off-white padded headboard, a side table with a floral arrangement in a vase, and two hanging pendant lights.A modern bedroom, crafted by expert home builders, features a neatly made bed with gray bedding, an off-white padded headboard, a side table with a floral arrangement in a vase, and two hanging pendant lights.Pin
The bedroom may not be the best spot for canned lighting. Instead, choose thoughtfully placed fixtures that make your life easier — focused reading lights by the bed, for example!

Don’t skimp on finishes.

When expenses add up, it’s tempting to start looking for areas where you can cut costs. The finishes are often the first budgeted item on the chopping block. Whether it’s the kitchen countertops or the backsplash tile, homeowners start looking for less expensive options. But Craig Huseby, Principal and Founder of Huseby Homes, points out that those finishes make the difference in the final product.

“It makes me cringe to see clients invest millions of dollars and then skimp on a dominant finish or item that is a quality ‘must.’ To see them invest large sums of money and then undermine the investment hurts,” he says.

Don’t wait to decide on outlet locations.

Even though it can be challenging to picture how you will live in a house while it’s still in the blueprint phase, it’s worth giving it some serious thought. Some decisions are easier — and less expensive — if you figure them out before the house gets too far into the framing process.

One of those decisions is where you will place lamps, appliances, and anything that needs to be plugged in. “Decide on floor outlet locations before the home is poured and built, not 10 months after the fact,” says Frank Gusmus.

A hand plugs a white electrical cord into a white power outlet on a wall.A hand plugs a white electrical cord into a white power outlet on a wall.Pin
Building a home means you can choose the most practical spots for your outlets — including the floor or a kitchen island.

Don’t neglect to consider sound.

Soundproofing isn’t just a consideration for restaurants and commercial spaces. It can also be done in your own home. And ideally, it’s something you do before the building is complete. “If you have a playroom directly over a main den or your quiet space, take necessary precautions to remediate the noise,” Frank Gusmus says. These precautions are easier to implement before you have a finished home.

Don’t forget to connect all professionals involved.

Some people may hire a single design-build firm, while others prefer to hire an independent architect, general contractor, and interior designer. There’s no wrong way to do it — unless you keep all of the professionals in their separate silos. Craig Huseby has a way to mitigate the issues that can crop up when there’s a lack of communication. “I recommend that clients pay their architects and designers to participate in weekly (or bi-monthly) meetings with the builders. Projects always go better with a full team.”

We're Accepting Father's Day Submissions! - woman's hands typing on laptopWe're Accepting Father's Day Submissions! - woman's hands typing on laptopPin
Ensuring all parties involved are able to easily communicate with each other will make the process smoother for everyone.

Don’t build without permits.

It might seem easier to build without permits, but it’s rarely the right choice. Terverius Black, a custom home builder at Maverick Builders LLC, explains, “If you are building in a rural area where no permits or inspections are required, then hire an independent private home inspector. Never build without a second set of certified eyes, whether they are required or not.”

Building without permits may not make a difference in the short term, but it could come back to haunt you when you sell in the future.

Don’t go into a build without a contract.

“Never build without a signed contract. When you think you don’t need one, you will. A project can’t end properly if it does not begin properly,” says Terverius. A reputable builder always goes in with both a process and a contract. If they don’t have one, your spidey senses should start going off.

Don’t use a builder that copies and pastes.

“Hire a builder that manages and dictates means and methods to the subcontractors versus allowing them to run with whatever they did on the last 100 houses they constructed,” says Craig Huseby. Every project is different, and every project should have a different approach. “Clients will get over the heartburn of higher costs or taking more time, but they will never get over the heartburn of a poorly constructed home.”

Don’t chase trends.

“For style, make it timeless. It is too expensive to chase a five- or 10-year fad,” says Craig. Instead, do what you love, and don’t worry about whether it’s the hottest trend. If you love it, it will always be in style.

The same goes for designing your home with a future seller in mind. That approach typically leads to chasing trends and creating a space that feels “of the moment” — for now. You can’t anticipate how tastes will change when you go into a future sale years down the line, so lean toward something classic or perfect for your tastes.


Need inspiration for your new home build or renovation project? Check out our home archives for home tours, interior design trends, and more.

About the Author

Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a Southern writer, Richmond native, and aspiring gardener. She loves small-town travel and homemade lattes.