Hey there, guys! This post has been A LONG time coming! Below I’m answering all your most asked questions about building and/or remodeling a home. I’ve learned a lot throughout my life with my Grandfather being a custom home builder, my Dad a real estate developer and broker and my Mom working for two interior designers. AND now, Luke and I have been doing it! What an adventure it’s been. I always love a new project! Speaking of that… we looked at some property this past weekend to maybe built our next home or develop it… I’ll keep you guys posted as to what we decide to do!
If I didn’t answer your questions below, please leave a comment and I will get back to you. If you’re looking for your DESIGN questions answered, check out this post! Below I’ve also shared a few pics from when we build our first home (the modern farmhouse). Enjoy!
Building and Remodeling Q&A
What’s important to look for when looking at property to build?
Grade on a property is one of the most important items to look at when considering building. Site work can be very expensive. Other things to look at/into are: current neighbors/homes, landscaping (are there trees on the property), HOA, building envelope, set backs and view corridors.
Where do you start once you have a property to build on?
It’s a bit of a combination. If you are custom building, I’d select an architect at the same time you are figuring out your builder (general contractor). In my experience these two work closely together so you want to make sure everyone meshes well. At this time you want to also be putting together all of your ideas/visions for the home. I use Pinterest for this. It will help give your team the overall look and feel you are wanting to achieve with the home. Once the design and bidding phases starts, they will both guide you on finishes and costs associated with the house. Putting a budget together at the BEGINNING is key!
How to find a good contractor?
These are the things I look for: referrals from previous clients, look at past homes they’ve built (tour if you can), make sure they have the bandwidth for your project (time/people), financially sound business, talk with subs they frequently use, put an overall budget in place prior to breaking ground and decide on their fee ahead of time. Other things to consider: do they communicate well, do you trust them/get a good feeling? These are also important!
How do you find a good architect?
These are the two main things I look for: referrals from previous clients and looking at what they’ve designed. Make sure you have a fee structure setup beforehand and that the architect understands what YOU are looking for in a home. I prefer working with architects that are more collaborative with their clients.
What is the best way to create and build a mood board for a remodel?
As mentioned above, I use Pinterest when I start a project. I first start pinning everything I like. Then I begin to see repetitive design/themes, which give me a better understanding of what I’m going after. From there I will do a deeper dive into each room/space and create a second board. After this I start to pick out options for the actual finishes. These will go on the “selects” page/board, which I make in Canva. If you have a designer, they will most likely do this for you. This is a great way to visually see everything you are selecting together. Does it work, does it not?
How do you stay on budget?
This is difficult in many home projects. Making sure you know what you want BEFORE you start building. The builder should have the bids in and budget prior to breaking ground. You don’t want any surprises as you move forward, however there will inevitably be a few. To eliminate this, make sure you are on top of all decisions being made. COMMUNICATION!!!
What are the top 3 most difficult things when remodeling and how do you avoid them?
 Vision – finding the best design for your space. Give yourself TIME to “massage” the design. I suggest living in a space before you remodel. This will allow you to understand what you really want.  “finding” things once you get into it – spending more time and money. This is a hard one to avoid, however if you are taking on structural changes to a home, make sure you have the correct people looking at these before making the decision to move forward. The work up front will ALWAYS help save you money in the end. Don’t rush!  It costs more than you think. I sound a bit repetitive BUT knowing what you are getting into up front, what you want to achieve and bids for everything is SO important.
What are the biggest ways to save money during a remodel?
If you can do some of the work yourself and/or be your own “general contractor”, getting all the bids and managing the process, this will help greatly to decrease costs.
What would you do differently in the next home?
I learned a lot building a home and remodeling/designing numerous spaces. Now that I have Ford and another one the way, I would add elements to my modern farmhouse that worked well for kiddos. I think this question warrants an entire blog post – maybe I’ll do one! 🙂 Here is a quick list of things I’d do different: add a bonus room, bigger closet in the master, move office away from main living area, add another fridge, add two washers and two dryers, not an all white mudroom/laundry room (this room gets dirty quickly), utilize the space above the garage (it’s cheap square footage), create a more cozy dining room, add a breakfast nook, bigger garage, no cement matte tile in main bathroom floors (looks dirty & hard to clean), figure out landscaping ahead of time (this can drag out the “construction” when living in the home).
What is the ideal timeline for renovating or building?
This all depends on the size of the project. If it’s a home start to finish, a year to a year and a half is standard. For a remodel, it is all dictated by the size/scope of the project. In our current fixer upper, it took about 3 months of work. The main bulk of that was paint.
What are the benefits of a back kitchen?
The kitchen in our modern farmhouse, including the back area, was my favorite design element of the home. Since I entertain and cook A LOT, this was key! I love that I had an area to prep food and clean up separately with an extra sink and dishwasher. The home was an open floor plan so having the back area was really nice.
Thoughts on building vs remodeling?
I LOVE both! Surprise, surprise. It depends on if you have the VISION! If you are working on a remodel, you need to be able to work with what you have and be creative when it comes to design. If you are starting from scratch, it’s much easier from a design perspective.
What are splurge-worthy items vs. budget items?
Just like my philosophy with furniture, you want to invest in the foundational and most used items. For a home I think appliances and flooring are places to not cut corners. The kitchen is the heart of the home and the most used space. It is also what brings the most VALUE to a house. Don’t go cheap here! I’d suggest nice appliances. My favorite brand is Wolf/Subzero. When it comes to floors, think about walking on them everyday – you want them to be durable!! This is why I prefer a hard, real wood. It will wear the best AND look great, elevating your overall home style. For mid-range and more budget items I’d suggest: hardware (handles, pulls, knobs, door handles), faucets, tiles (back splash & bathroom floors), wrapping beams (not solid), light fixtures and bathroom mirrors.
Where to find bathroom vanities and mirrors?
I typically have vanities made. This is something I’ve found give homes a lot of character. For mirrors I find them numerous places. Here are a few of my favorites: Rejuvenation, Wayfair and Pottery Barn.
Where is a good source for wallpaper?
My favorite place to find wallpaper is Burk Decor.
Is a metal roof the way to go or a trend?
A metal roof is not a trend. They’ve been around forever AND last longer. This is why you pay more. It’s worth it!
How do you bring warmth into a room with concrete floors?
You do this with paint, other finishes (counter tops, hardware, light fixtures, etc.), furniture and decor. Concrete floors are “cool” so bring in warmer neutral tones!
What are your biggest takeaways from building vs remodeling?
Regardless of which one you do, it’s A LOT work. Be prepared, have a budget and select a qualified team to help you!
H O M E // That morning sunshine✨✨ It always makes me SO happy!! Gave our breakfast sitting room nook a little refresh! Rearranged some items, added diff pillows, eucalyptus and more! Sharing a closer look on today’s story!🏠💁🏻♀️ Hope y’all have a great Friday! Shop this space on the LTK app - click the link in my bio!
H O M E // Nightstand styling✔️✔️ Paired fun books and a pretty lamp with new decor beads, crystals, a black candle and faux stems for a touch of greenery!!🌿 Sharing all the details of this setup and my entire master bedroom over on SBKliving.com🏠 What’s your fave bedside decor?! Sleep tight, boos!😴
H O M E // Morning!!✨ Do y’all have a laundry “day” in your house?🧺 I use to BUT now it’s an ongoing daily chore... between Ford and Luke’s winter gear it’s never ending🤣🤣 Y’all feel me?!! If you’re building and have a fam, I highly recommend putting in TWO washers and dryers!! GAME CHANGER!!💯 We did this in the fixer upper house and it’s legitttt👌🏻 I would show y’all a pic buttttt it’s just not pretty lol🤣 Instead we will look at my old modern farmhouse laundry room!😍 The tile work in the space was my fave - herringbone slate floors and mini hex backsplash👏🏻👏🏻 Time to go put Ford’s clothes in the wash... buhhhh bye!!👋🏻
B A B Y // Now that I’m in my third trimester the nesting has begun!!🤰🏻🍼 Figuring out all the things I need for bébé no 2 and luckily it’s not that much!!👏🏻 Since the boys will only be 18 mo apart I pretty much have everything and will reuse a bunch of newborn clothes. Thankfully I kept everything!!🤞🏻 NOW I just gotta organize!! Taking it back to Ford’s first mini black and white NURSERY space I designed!🖤🤍🖤🤍 Loved putting it together for baby boy! Brings back all the mems😭😭 Linking everything including our fave farmhouse CRIB on the LTK app - click the link in my bio! We have two matching cribs so the boys will be twining!!🖤🖤 Nighty night, y’all!😘
H O M E // Hello, Monday!!👋🏻 Working from my NEW office setup in my bedroom today! Loving the way it turned out😍 AND yes, that’s a mini kitchen behind it! Something I never thought I would want/need in our bedroom BUT it has been so nice with a little one... ya know bottles on bottles!🍼🍼 Now with another bébé on the way, I’m very happy we have this space! Def something I will design in our next home🏠 Sharing this room on LTK - click the link in my bio to shop!! Wishing y’all an amazing, productive week!👊🏻
B A B Y // Hello, bébé AND third trimester!!🤰🏻 Bump is coming in hot!🔥 I can’t believe I am in the home stretch!! I’m SO thankful I’ve been feeling great and able to continue to eat healthy and move my bod!💪🏻 Let’s hope it continues in the last 3 months!🤞🏻 When I was preg with Ford, he was sitting on my sciatica and I could barely walk the last 6 weeks... V painful! This baby and I already talked - he said he wouldn’t do that to me!!😝😂🤞🏻 Mamas, any advice for the last trimester?!! I’m def starting to prepare!🙋🏻♀️