Archive for January, 2011

January 25, 2011

Interior Design: From your minds-eye to reality Pt.3, 3 critical steps to Building a Home

by rebecca elisabeth design
Ocean View Boulevard Monterey

Image via Wikipedia

You’ve made your decision, you are going to build your dream home. You’ve compiled design ideas and inspiration and you’re ready to take the next step toward building your custom home. This will be one of the biggest investments you will make in yourself and your future and you don’t want to start at the wrong end or make mistakes that you can’t undo, right?! Consider the following 3 critical steps to Building a Home whether you are starting from scratch, remodeling or adding on:

  1. Create Your Budget
  2. Pick Your Team
  3. Choose Your Location

Choosing your spot can be a difficult proposition because you want it to be perfect and we all know there is no such thing. You should make a list of what you are looking for in a site and pick the top 3-5 things that are deal breakers.  Doing this will help you convey your needs to your Realtor, who in turn won’t show you properties that don’t meet this minimum criteria, whereby making the search that much easier.  Be sure to consult your Designer or Architect about the property before you purchase so that they can give you advice on something you might not pick up on about the property. Once you have everyone on board about the property make your move and get the design process started.

January 18, 2011

Interior Design: From your minds-eye to reality Pt.2, 3 critical steps to Building a Home

by rebecca elisabeth design
What is it that makes a good Real Estate Agent...


You’ve been thinking about building a custom home for a while now but you’ve finally decided to make your dream a reality. You have been gathering design ideas and inspiration and you have them tucked away ready for when you need them. Building your custom home will be one of the biggest investments you make in yourself and your future. Avoid making basic mistakes and start with these 3 critical steps to building a home:

  1. Create a Budget
  2. Pick Your Team
  3. Choose Your Location (see next weeks blog)

Building is not for the faint of heart.  It is costly, time consuming, emotional and can have its frustrating moments. BUT when you can see the vision you created with your team, being erected from wood, stone, and metal, there is no greater high.  It is for this reason that you need to assemble a great team consisting of an architect, builder and interior designer. While it might sound cliche, your team of professionals are your support system, without a good team, building your home will be more difficult.

I will briefly outline what each team member brings to the table and when each should be brought into the process.

ARCHITECT:  Architecture is a complex and detailed profession that clearly can’t be completely described in just a few words however, I will try for this article. Architects are responsible for working with structural engineers to provide detailed construction drawings of a building that is structurally to code; one that meets the needs and style of the intended user. Some architects like to be involved in the selection of interior finishes while others leave this to the home owner and the interior designer.  While some architects prefer to be involved up and until construction is complete and your house has received the certificate of occupancy from the local building department,  others are complete once the plans are handed to the general contractor to start construction.

BUILDER: You will need to hire a general contractor to build your home, unless you choose to be your own, which is not advisable. They are responsible for the coordination of subcontractors and the day-to-day oversight of construction.  Their job typically starts at the permit submission phase and is complete once the house has received the certificate of occupancy from the local building department.

INTERIOR DESIGNER:  Also a complex and detailed profession sometimes mistaken for being the decoration portion of a home, which is just a small portion of what a professional interior designer handles during home construction. Professional designers can be responsible for working with builders and architect to provide detailed drawings for bath and kitchen tile layouts, cabinet design and other detailing of a home such as ceiling treatments. Some professional designers like to be intimately involved with interior architectural detailing to ensure the end result will work with the intended home furnishing style. While other professional interior designer prefer to perform architectural plan reviews and site walk-throughs for input that is implemented into drawings by the architectural team. Designers can start as early as working with the architect, before they start the drawing process, to discuss design ideas. Designers continue beyond the certificate of occupancy phase and move into space planning and furnishing the home; their job is complete when the last furnishings are placed.

January 11, 2011

Interior Design: From your minds-eye to reality Pt.1, 3 critical steps to Building a Home

by rebecca elisabeth design
Calculating Financial Figures Video


Have you always dreamed of building a custom home, seeing your dreams come to fruition? Do you have a binder of design ideas you’ve collected over the years that you want to see in your new home? Chances are, that building your home will be the biggest investment you’ll make in yourself and your future, and you don’t want to make mistakes, right?!  Whether you are building from scratch, remodeling or adding on, you will need to start from the same place.  Over the next 3 weeks, I will be explaining the 3 critical steps to Building a Home.


I lean conservative when it comes to budgeting.  I recommend that you figure out the absolute max that you will spend and I mean you won’t spend a penny more, even if you find the perfect xyz.  Take your max and reduce it by 15% for change orders and upgrades that your builder won’t figure into the bid.  15% is also a conservative number, you won’t go wrong if you take off 20-25% because it will allow you splurge along the way rather than always settling for what’s “in the budget”.  Just as a side note, I have had my platinum clients go 50% over the builder’s bid because of all the customization and upgrades they wanted to do along the way.

Homes come in all different shapes, sizes and level of detail. Appliances and Kitchens are the best way to judge which category you best fit into, they are like cars and can be Lamborghini-esque or Chrysler-esque.  Estimating square foot price for building in southern California (not include the home or property that you will be building on) varies based on your tastes.  Let’s compare categories in terms we are all accustomed to: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Do-It-Your-selfers. See which brands you are attracted to in the descriptions below to know what category might best suit you and your budget.

Platinum –  These are fully customized homes, typically over 5,000 sq.ft., with nothing held back. This home would include top of the line appliances, tiles, counters, windows, flooring, ceiling treatments, etc.   A kitchen in a home like this would cost upwards of $120,000. Brands this home owner would consider include brand-names like La Cornue, Viking, Gaggenau, Miele, and for budgeting purposes they should figure $150.00 and up per square foot for labor and material.

Gold – These too are spectacular homes with wonderful amenities. Brands this home owner would consider include brand-names like Viking, Dacor, Bosch, Thermador, etc. A kitchen in this home will cost around $100,000. For budgeting figure $90-125 per square foot for labor and materials.

Silver – This home would include a blend of brand names some in the Gold category and some in the Bronze depending on the homeowners preference to splurge in specific areas.  A kitchen in a silver home will cost around $75,000.  A square foot price of $70-85 could be expected depending on your Bronze to Gold ratio.

Bronze – These are more modest new homes,  where brands like Kenmore, KitchenAid, GE,  JennAire, Kohler, etc.  You could expect a bronze kitchen to cost around $40,000.  Budgeting for this home should be figured between $55-65 a square foot.  An example of this will be your typical tract community home.

Do-It-Yourself – These are the budget conscious, hard-working, “I can do this” re-modelers, shopping for price rather than brand.  Brands geared toward this segment of the population include Amana, Moen, Price Pfisterer, etc. Products in this category will come from places like Home Depot, Lowes or other local vendors that can supply low-cost finishes. A kitchen here could cost as little as $4,000 with self installed Ikea cabinets and counters.  Just remember you get what you pay for.

Next week look for: Step 2: Picking Your Team; followed by Step 3: Choosing Your Location.

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