Making Selections for a Custom Home

Whether you are planning to build a custom home one day or you’re in the middle of building one, it can be a daunting task just making the choices like stucco color or lighting fixtures. I’ve been guiding the team who makes the selections for our Show Homes and Spec Homes for over 8 years, and I’d like to offer some advice for those of you departing on this journey. Although not a comprehensive list, it is designed to tell you, as I would a friend or family member, the important things to keep in mind.

First, I would advise you to use a Decorator or Interior Designer. It seems like a simple task to go out and pick tile and plumbing, but it really isn’t. Find someone who listens to you and someone you trust. You don’t necessarily need them to help you with every single decision, but get together with them a couple of times throughout the project at a minimum. Ask them to help you ensure that your look is consistent and flows from room to room properly. If my budget were really tight, I’d use the Decorator to help me with paint and tile and schedule a 2-hour session at the beginning of the process and a 2-hour session toward the middle of the selection process. That should be enough to ensure you create a consistent look and feel.

Next, I like to find artwork or a photo or something in nature to inspire the project. Then, I leave it up to the talented professionals on our team to achieve the inspiration look in the home. They always amaze me! Sometimes it challenges them to move outside their comfort zone, but great things always result. For example, several years ago I told our team that the inspiration for the Show Home we were working on was an all-organic Spanish home. So we used a lot of wrought iron and vines with very organic colors. The result was a host of very subtle details from the front door to the cut stone fireplace that tied the spaces together and gave the home a sense of purpose. Those who saw the home didn’t know what they loved about it, but they used phrases like “warm and welcoming” and “a truly well-appointed home” to describe it.

Finally, stay true to what you know you love. Don’t let the plethora of choices get you off track. After looking at so many things, it can be overwhelming. You have to be deliberate in selecting what you love. Having said that, however, you must trust the professionals! Help them guide you toward a better choice. Instead of saying, “I just don’t like it,” try saying, “It gets away from my original inspiration for the home.” A great team will guide you toward an even better compromise that achieves the look you want without sacrificing what you love. I’ll never forget when I told our team that I wanted to use a marble surround for a fireplace in the Master Bedroom. They said, “Oh, no, I think we really need some cut stone or something to dress it up more.” I said, “Okay, well my thought was that we could introduce that fabulous marble we’re using in the Master Bathroom.” “Then, let’s compromise and use both,” they said. The result was one of the most beautiful fireplaces I have ever seen.

It is a really exhilarating feeling when you get to the end of a project and see the looks of delight on those coming to see the home. Feeling comfortable with your team and selecting what you really love will ensure you will always be happy with the end result. Good luck with your project!

-Bethany Jenkins, Vice President
Jenkins Custom Homes

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