5 Biggest Surprises When Designing and Building a Custom Home in The Berkshires

We recently interviewed one of our project owners and asked for their top 5 surprises.  They came back with 6.  That alone says something about designing and building a home!

This owner just broke ground on a custom home that is over $1 million in construction costs.

So what were the top 5 surprises?
 1) Cost
2) The design process
3) The number of professionals needed
4) A Lack of anonymity in the community
5) Partner communication
6) Time commitment
Here are the unedited, and unvarnished responses:


1.Cost of building: We had zero experience and nothing really relatable other than planning a wedding” – even buying a house is tangible and there is a much smaller starting cost.


2. Architecture Design process: This is our dream house and we are hands on and want to be involved – It took many meetings and lots of houzz and Pinterest to eventually finalize our plans.  It’s a blank canvas and a piece of art, one could never put the pencil down.


3. Other professionals needed: with  architects, general contractors, engineers, landscape designers, interior designers,
Home automation, etc etc etc – you become your own mini GC coordinating all of these individual teams (like getting 5 or more different companies to all work together


4.Lack of anonymity:  There is a difference between the big city vs.  small town living. In the city I don’t care if my neighbor has $10,000 or $10 million remodel.  If they are good people and fun then we hang out with them.  In the small town you feel the judging much more. That makes it more challenging but it is also easier to navigate to who you ideally want to spend time with.


5. Partner: You need to have similar design ideas as your partner.  This is more important for us because we are both hands on and interested.   If my wife was into modern and I was into a rustic cabin then every decision would have been a challenge, debate, compromise.  It would have not worked well.


6. Personal time commitment: We didn’t realize how many hours of personal investment this would take.  From hiring architects until we walk in the door and then even after as we settle in and navigate to the best way to live in the space.  It is never ending so we need discipline. This is hard to manage with work, family and other commitments


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