Building a House Is A Lot Like Running A Marathon

Thinking back to 2019 when Gary and I headed out to the Copper Ridge project, and just like every site visit, we walked around the house, taking a look at the completed work and evaluating what still had to be done. I consider myself a pretty detail-oriented person (okay, it’s a bit of a problem, but this is neither the time nor the place). To be honest, I’m extremely detailed and it’s one of those things that can drive a person crazy at times, but at other times, can be highly beneficial. Immediately, I recognized the problem in the kitchen. The problem wasn’t huge, it wasn’t detrimental, but it was going to change the way we moved forward in this space. And though we were staring into the face of adversity, we celebrated the opportunity failure would bring.

You see, building a home is a lot like running a marathon. Whether you are the builder or the owner, you are likely to run up against not one, but several, challenges. You have to be prepared to take failure as an opportunity. Running takes a lot of mental strength, and building a house requires the same mental stamina. Just as a runner can’t allow his mind to accept defeat in the face of challenges, you can’t allow your mind to accept it either.

Now, we all know it’s smart to train before a marathon, and in the same way, it’s important to do your research and be prepared for challenging moments on the course to your dream home. Here are some tips to get you across the finish line!

1: Before you commit to a builder, do your research!

Believe it or not, not all builders live up to their promises. Some builders have some pretty amazing websites, and at first glance, they look real good, but don’t be fooled by appearances. Before you commit to a builder get references. Your references should include previous clients, subcontractors, and suppliers. Most people see the obvious benefit of speaking to a previous client, but you might be asking yourself, why the need to speak to a subcontractor or supplier? Talking to subcontractors and suppliers is an easy way to find out whether or not you’re working with an honest builder. Ask them whether your builder pays them on time. The last thing you want is to hire a builder who doesn’t pay his bills — which could lead to a lien being placed on your home.

2: Be clear about your expectations and beware of builders who shape expectations.

Alright, alright, alright (using my best Matthew McConaughey voice) before you even speak with a builder, have some expectations. For example, you should communicate your expected move-in date. Ask your builder whether or not your expectation is reasonable, and expect an honest answer. As you listen to your builder in the first couple of meetings you have with him/her, listen for “shaped expectations.” These are expectations that are promises like, “We will return your phone calls within 24-hours,” or “We will provide weekly updates of your project.” The more promises your builder makes, the more you should proceed with caution. That doesn’t mean you can’t select that builder. It only means you should make sure promises are put in writing.

3: Pick a builder and go for it!

At this point, you’re all in! Keep in mind that there will be a few rough patches, but chances are, if you paid attention to #1 and #2, you’ve got a great builder who will help you through each step of the process. Your builder should provide you with a long-term plan as well as frequent updates regarding your project.

4: Be flexible.

Before building and designing homes, I was a high school cross country coach — crazy, right? —I’ll never forget one of the most challenging meets we attended. The weather was not on our side. The rain had created a mud pit on the course, and it only continued to come down as a constant stream of clouds rolled in. This was not what we had trained for. Our runners were troopers though. They made it work. And although no one set a personal record that day, they made the best of what was handed to them. While you and your builder may have a long-term plan, be prepared to be flexible. Yes, flexibility might be messy at times. It might look like being flexible with your budget (within reason) and cutting somewhere you hoped you wouldn’t have to. It might mean being flexible with timing of the delivery of certain items, or it might mean being flexible with the completion date (again, within reason). Just remember to make the best of the challenges. You never know where the adversity will lead you!

5: Dig deep, finish strong, then party like it’s 1999.

I’ve been a runner, I’ve been a home owner, and of course, I’ve been a builder. I know what it’s like to have to dig deep and search for that light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me, it’s there! And once you’ve crossed that line (or signed the hundred pages of your closing docs), you can celebrate! If you’ve ever ran, you know the feeling of utter satisfaction when you cross that finish line. Remember— the joy is in the journey. As it turns out, every single minute was worth it.

runners on a cross country course

Selecting Paint for your Home

Is there anything more frustrating than finding a paint color you love, only to find that when it’s on your walls, it’s all wrong?!?!

“But it looked totally different on the paint chip!” — If I had a dime for every time I heard this, I’d be ballin’. Ya know what I mean?

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: If I had just one superpower, I wish it were the ability to select paint colors! The good news is this – I’m pretty sure I found a solution to all of our paint color headaches! Through failure, I’ve learned a lot! 😉 Here are a few tips to help you overcome the paint struggle:

#1: Always remember, less is more!

We’ve heard the saying over and over again, and when it comes to selecting paint colors, this is 100% true. My go-to rule is to keep your paint selections for your entire home at no more than four colors. Select one wall color, one trim color, and two accent colors, and use those colors in different ways around your home. As far as the finish goes, it’s an easy decision to make! Eggshell for the walls and semi-gloss for your trim work. Eggshell is matte and easy to clean, while semi-gloss reflects light in the room, creating just the pop you desire! And remember, just because you’re using only three to four colors doesn’t mean your style is boring! Your style can still be eclectic and unique by incorporating different textures and artwork in your decor!

#2: Consider undertones.

Undertones are those little hints of color that are seen in different lighting conditions. That means Bohemian Black isn’t just black! It’s purplish-black! Before you put that awesome paint color on your wall, look for undertones. Be sure to give that paint chip a second and third look under various lighting conditions to make sure there aren’t any undertones you didn’t see the first time!

3: Transition by shade.

If you’re unsure of the colors you want to use throughout the house, it’s a great idea to select one main color and then transition using the shade of color you love. In one of the projects we are currently working on, we are transitioning from SW Extra White on the trim, to SW Ice Cube on the walls, to SW Krypton on select accent areas, and then SW Naval on accent walls. Extra White is a white-white color (I’m also planning to utilize this in smaller spaces on the trim AND walls), Ice Cube has a subtle blue hue, Krypton has a more distinct blue hue, and Naval is a bold navy blue color. I can’t wait to show you guys how these colors compliment each other throughout the home!

4: And finally, go with what you love!

When you first start gathering paint chips, think about the colors you love. Before I was confident in the design world, I’d always try to seek advice from friends and family. Everyone had their own opinions and styles. Rather than trust my own intuition, I’d go with something I didn’t really love but that was recommended by a friend. I LOVE white and blue! I always have! (I think it’s a generational thing — my mama does too!) White and blue are my two favorite colors!!! Why I ever went with boring beiges or yucky browns, I’ll never understand?!?! I guess I’ll chalk it up to inexperience and self-doubt. But times have changed, and this girl knows what she wants!
Be confident! You know what you want too!!!
You know the colors you love, so don’t be afraid to use those faves in your home.

“Home is the place to do the things you want to do.”

– Zelda Fitzgerald

Remember, selecting paint colors doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple! We’ve always said the very best homes have a story to tell. Think of the colors you choose as a backdrop of your story. What story do you want your walls to tell?

Here are a few of my favorites! Blues are my favorite hues, but I also love the greens to create an airy and serene retreat.

A House or Haven

You’re driving home from a long day of work, and now you’re ready to kick your feet up and unwind. You pull into the driveway, pet the dog as he comes to greet you, and then step inside. Rather than being welcomed into a retreat, you are slammed with an energy-draining mess!

This topic has been on my mind for months now. Do you have a house or a haven?

A house is a structure – the walls, the roof, the flooring, the paint – you get it. You can throw furniture into a structure, but that doesn’t make it a home. It actually makes it a storage space! Some people are fooled to believe that because they have the structure of a house and some furniture in it, they have a home. Don’t be fooled!

A home is a haven – a place of refuge. It’s a place to retreat to at the end of a long day. As a custom builder, I hate to say we simply build houses. I want to believe that we are building homes. And yet, when it comes down to it, we are building the structure, aka “the house,” and you – the person/family living in the house, are the home/haven builders. With that said, building homes remains our passion, so we are here to help you “build” the haven you’ve always dreamed of.

Three reasons why you should take the time to create a haven:

1-It will strengthen bonds in your family, in your marriage, and even in your friendships!

Think about it. When you take a vacation, you retreat to a beautiful space with beautiful scenery. If you’re with your significant other, you both come back rejuvenated. If you retreat with your family or friends, your bonds are restored! Why can’t this be the case at home? It can be. Now I’m not saying you can’t take a vacation to achieve these things; vacations certainly have great benefits, but rejuvenation can be obtained without spending thousands of dollars on several vacations every year. Ample studies have shown that the home environment has a direct correlation to the relationships we build with our families.

2-You will be able to rest better by having control of your environment.

There is science behind this! Creating a haven in your home gives you control of your environment. With this control, anxiety is reduced, and when anxiety is reduced, you are able to rest better.

According to this Cornell study, “101 female undergraduate students participated under standard kitchen conditions or in a chaotic kitchen condition. Participants were also asked to recall and write about a time when they felt particularly in control or particularly out of control. Finally, participants were given cookies, crackers, and carrots to taste and rate.

Participants in the chaotic kitchen condition and the out-of-control mind-set condition consumed more cookies (103 kcal) than did participants who were in the in-control mind-set condition (38 kcal). The chaotic environment had no impact on consumption of crackers or carrots.”

When we create a home environment that is controlled, we are able to rest well and live well.

3-Creating a haven is an energy booster!

Sure vitamins, exercise, and a healthy diet are important to your overall health, but if you’re looking for a daily energy booster, look no further than the space you’re living in.
If you read the abstract above, you can see that by creating a haven (a structured environment of safety and refuge), you’re also creating a healthy environment. Want to live longer and healthier? Create a haven! Need more energy to get you through your day? Create a haven!

That’s great, but how do I create a haven in my house?

Here’s the single, greatest piece of advice I can offer you in getting your haven started: Get rid of clutter!

If you avoid going home because you know you have a mess, that’s the first indicator you’re in need of a serious de-clutter session. Here are a few tips to get you on track to creating your haven:

Start by doing one room at a time and divide your “stuff” into four different piles. (Boxes work great too!) Label your piles or boxes as: stuff to donate, stuff to throw away, stuff to keep, and stuff to store. Here’s my own rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn it or used it in the last 2-3 years, you probably don’t need it. * You can also use the Marie Kondo method if you prefer. If it doesn’t “spark joy,” consider getting rid of it! (I used this method and it helped me eliminate so much more than I expected.)

Once you’ve decided on what you want to keep, find a place for everything and make sure it’s a logical place!

Lastly, work one room at a time and GET IT DONE! So many people give up on de-cluttering. I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s hard work! But so is going to the gym, and so is eating healthy! Anything worth doing takes sacrifice and hard work! Don’t give up! Keep in mind the benefits of making your house a haven! Your relationships are worth it, your health is worth it, and your overall peace of mind is worth it!

Give it a shot and leave us a comment below to let us know you’ve taken the first step in building your haven. We’ll totally toast to that!