Every Home Building Process is Different
Every stick-built home building process includes the pouring of a foundation, plumbing and electrical rough-ins, putting up walls, and an entire laundry list of other required processes. Yet, alike as the construction of any two homes will be, you’ll also find marked differences.
These differences include, but are not limited to, style and location of the home, materials used, and you. Whether you’re building a home for the second or fifth time, you’ll find that each experience comes with its own set of circumstances. (Or, in Laura speak, learnable moments.)
We can complain that “this isn’t the way the building process went down last time”, or we can roll with the punches and learn from the experience. In my 10 years of working in residential construction I committed my fair share of mistakes. This article is my gift to you and is meant to help keep you from making the same mistakes I did. It’s also my way of atoning for those “building sins”.
Home Building Process Mistake #1
I begin with this particular mistake because it was a doozie. It taught me three very costly, yet invaluable, color lessons that I’ve not made since. Now you won’t either.
Back in the early 2000’s, homes with beige exteriors were all the rage in southern Indiana. Certainly there were subtle differences, the likes of red beige, green beige, or yellow beige…but the homes we were building, and that clients wanted, were BEIGE.
Eventually, I became bored working with beige exteriors and decided that we should branch out to build a cream-colored home. After receiving a small fan deck of available siding colors from our vendor, I set about to find the perfect cream.
With the fandeck in hand, I proceeded to make three back to back mistakes that seriously cut into the profitability of that home. The mistakes were:
- I made a color decision based on a small color chip.
- I compared the color I was contemplating with others in the fandeck.
- I was swayed by the name of the color sample.
Making a color decision with a small color chip sample is a huge mistake. Even color professionals prefer utilizing a sample that’s at least the size of letterhead. Why? The bigger the sample, the better you can see any undertone surprises you weren’t bargaining for. Had I ordered a larger sample through the siding vendor, I would have had a far better chance at realizing it wasn’t the color I was looking for.
When making a color decision, one should only compare the color with others that it will have to “play nice” with. What does that mean? The chip I chose appeared to be a cream color compared to the others in the fandeck. Only the home we were building wasn’t utilizing any of the other colors in the deck. All that matters is that the color you’re thinking about using works with everything else in the space. In this instance, I should have been comparing the color to the shingles, window color, and masonry I planned on utilizing.
What I know for sure is that someone making a great deal of money sits in a room all day making up color names. Think about that. Someone is conjuring up names to entice you into purchasing something. That person may have very little color sense and have no business choosing a name, but is tasked with ensuring you’ll purchase what they’re selling. I’ve seen it time and time again in the paint world and know it happens in any industry designed to sell goods. The only time I pay attention to a name is if “cream” is all or part of the name. Why? Because I’ve realized that all creams I’ve come in contact with over the last 25 years have had a great deal of yellow in them. And THAT was my mistake…
Yes, friends. The perfect cream-colored home turned out to be the hardest YELLOW home to sell in my tenure with the construction company. Had I waited for a large sample, compared it to the colors that would actually surround it, and paid attention to the name “Heritage Cream”, I could have saved myself a lot of grief.
Try This Instead
If you wish to build a home that appears cream-colored, try this trick. Pair an off-white siding with a true, or bright, white window and trim. The brighter white windows and trim will balance beautifully with the off-white siding creating the perfect creamy look you’re after; without being yellow.
Home Building Process Mistake #2
Number two on my list of home building process mistakes was another costly venture (but not as costly as the yellow house). At one time, open floor plans topped the list of must haves for many homeowners.
The eternal trouble with open floor plans is the lack of good starting and stopping points for new paint colors and different flooring types. Hardwood flooring was, and still is, very popular and I’d planned on having it laid in this home’s living room and dining room. (For an EPIC guide to selecting hardwood floors check this out.)
Herein lies my problem. The kitchen resided in between the living and dining rooms leaving me no good place to end the hardwood without creating a “chopped up” space. So what did this design and color consultant do? She decided to run the hardwood flooring through all three rooms.
Once complete the home was gorgeous! The hardwood floors encompassed the entire main level of the home and set off the white kitchen cabinetry beautifully. That is until we encountered a leak.
Lo and behold the plumbers hooked up the dishwasher and ran it through one cycle to ensure it was working properly. It took a single weekend to realize the dishwasher had leaked water that pooled between the hardwood and foundation slab ruining the kitchen floor.
Try This Instead
Between the dishwasher and kitchen sink, there will always be water in a kitchen. Meaning there will always be a chance of water spilling or leaking on your stunning kitchen hardwood floor. Do yourself a favor and check out the beautiful porcelain flooring options that look like wood. Or, choose a large-scale ceramic tile. Whatever you do, select something that stands up to water better than wood for your kitchen floor.
Home Building Process Mistake #3
This particular mistake I didn’t personally make, but I’ve seen plenty of times in photos and at open houses. Wood cabinets are beautiful, as are hardwood floors. Yet, I believe it’s difficult to pull off the two together in a way that truly works. It’s certainly not impossible but takes a trained eye to pull off successfully.
What do I mean by this? Surely you’ve seen kitchens with wood cabinetry and a hardwood floor that the homeowner painstakingly chose to match. If by chance the homeowner found an exact match of cabinetry to hardwood flooring, the room looks like a sea of the same color. More often, you’ll see what I believe the homeowner thought would match only to find that it’s close…but not close enough.
Try This Instead
Investigate polished concrete, luxury vinyl, or porcelain tile for a look that coordinates and enhances the cabinets without matching them.
Home Building Process Mistake #4
While painted white trim is favored here in Bloomington Indiana, there are several Amish communities that supply us with beautifully crafted wood cabinetry (several clients LOVE this company!), flooring, trim, and doors.
Amish crafted cabinetry is a real draw and I remember one home in particular where we installed oak hardwood floors and oak Amish cabinetry. To complete the look, it was decided we’d use stained trim and interior doors throughout the home as well.
Our lumber vendor suggested what seemed, at the time, to be excellent advice. Rather than invest in oak trim and doors, we could stain poplar doors and trim to save a couple of dollars. Only, we never saved a dime. In the long run, combining the two woods was a huge fiasco.
The money “we saved” was spent staining, and re-staining, the poplar in an attempt to get it to match the coloration of our installed oak floors and cabinetry. While mixing metals is a big and very cool trend, mixing woods that you want to “exactly match” is not.
Try This Instead
Think long and hard before attempting to save a few bucks during the home building process. When it comes to wood, KNOW its natural coloration and staining tendencies. In my example, red oak is very different from poplar wood. Their grain is different, yes, but poplar is much greener wood in color than red oak. We found it next to impossible to get far enough away from the inherent green of the poplar to match the red oak floors and cabinetry. Use the same species of wood if at all possible and if it isn’t, make sure the natural coloration of the woods are compatible.
Home Building Process Mistake #5
Another fairly common practice in the home building process is to leave textured ceilings the color of the drywall mud rather than paint them. This will save you the cost of product and labor, yes, but you’ll realize what a mistake it is after encountering your first ceiling leak.
Ceiling discoloration calls attention to itself and can be easily remedied IF the ceilings were painted. Touching up with a known painted ceiling color is fairly simple, the same cannot be said for unpainted ceilings. There isn’t a universal drywall mud color which makes touch ups darn near impossible.
If you attempt to paint over a leak discoloration stain on an unpainted ceiling you’ll most likely not be happy with the results. You will have rid yourself of the leak discoloration but left white paint mismatched over drywall mud in its place. (Imagine how much of a pain it would be to have to paint this entire ceiling because of one small and minor ceiling leak.)
Try This Instead
Pick a paint color, any paint color, and have all of your ceilings painted with it. If you prefer white ceilings and don’t know where to start, try one of my three favorite whites; Simply White, White Dove, and Chantilly Lace.
Home Building Process Mistake #6
As I mentioned earlier, painted white trim is very popular in southern Indiana. While I’m more than happy to help clients select the perfect white trim and door color during their home building process, I cannot and will not select multiple colors. Not when I know the consequences.
Over the years I’ve had plenty of homeowners request trim and door colors for EACH different wall paint color they’ve chosen. Their reasoning is that each paint color necessitates a new trim and door color due to the difference in color undertones. While I am a true believer in taking undertones into consideration, I find that in most cases I can find one white that will work with each of your paint colors.
Why is this of any importance to you? If you’ve ever tried to touch up a door or base board and picked up the wrong can of paint, you’ll know what I mean. The more trim colors you use, the greater chance you’ll have of touching up with the wrong one causing yourself more work.
Try This Instead
Choose one trim and door paint and use it throughout the house. (Notice how the photo features three different wall colors but only one white trim.) While you’re at it, make sure to write “Trim & Door Paint” on the lid so there will be no questions a year (or more) from now. If you’re struggling to figure out the perfect white to pair with your wall colors I’m happy to consult with you. Just send a message to laura@yourlifeinfullcolor. I’ll be glad to help!
What I Hope You’ve Learned From These Home Building Process Mistakes
The home building process can be rough regardless of the number of times you’ve been through it before. Take these mistakes (and their fixes) to heart and be aware that while the process may not end up being perfect, your home WILL get built and it will be YOUR creation.
Should you need any consulting as you proceed through the home building process, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can easily reach me here.