CHARM ON A BUDGET
Have you ever been discouraged looking at some of the gorgeous custom homes you see online, and knowing that going custom isn’t an option for you, at least not right now? Well, don’t be discouraged! Come on in and see how much charm and personality you can get even when building a standard tract home when you have a plan and a vision (and maybe a little help from a design friend)!
Last year I showed you this cute home that I did some design consulting on. The owners are a couple with two young kids who were excited to build a brand new home, but who wanted to improve on the builder’s tract home plans as much as possible to make the home their own. You can see more about the changes we made to the exterior in this post. It’s a pretty dramatic and charming change, don’t you think?
Just a little reminder/explanation of what a tract home is – “A dwelling that has a similar style and Floor Plan to those of all other houses in a development.” (From the Real Estate Dictionary). The difference between a Custom Home and a Tract Home is that a custom home is designed and constructed to the specific needs and wishes of the buyers, while a tract home is built from predesigned plans purchased by the builder.
Tract housing is usually priced at a much lower cost per square foot than a custom home. Volume building makes it possible for the builder to purchase materials and contract for labor at a much lower rate than conventional home building methods. The reason is simple; the floor plans are one of a few popular plans the builder offers for sale. They might be reversed or include different option packages, but they are essentially the same houses built over and over, sometimes hundreds of times.
The finishes are also restricted to a limited variety (because the builder is getting discounts for purchasing them in bulk), so a tract home buyer has a much more restricted pool of finishes to choose from than a person building a custom home.
Okay – now that we’ve reviewed the restrictions of buying/building a tract home, I want to share with you some the interior of this particular tract home. The couple contracted with the builder to buy this home, and were involved right from the beginning of the building process.
The home owners contacted me right at the beginning of the process as well, and asked me to work with them to help them select finishes that would result in a home that was a personalized to them as much as possible in a tract-home buying situation.
And let me say up front – I didn’t really make all that many of these decisions. The homeowner knew the look she wanted, and I just guided her in making some of the decisions and acted as a sounding board for her questions and concerns.
With all that said – let’s take a look at the interior of this charming happy home. Today we’ll be looking at the kitchen and dining area in particular.
The homeowner worked with the builder to allow for a little more customization than many tract home builders would probably allow. For instance, she got the builder to give her a discount for not purchasing any of the lighting from them (because there were no choices that she liked), and then together she and I choose lighting that she preferred. She still stuck within a very strict budget, and found lighting that was much more to her taste.
Most of the other finishes we chose were from the builder’s allowed choices. For example, the granite in the kitchen, the tile in the bathrooms, the millwork, and the hardwood floors.
The homeowner originally wanted either a white marble look for countertops or a solid black granite, but there was nothing remotely similar available from the builder’s granite options. In this case, the homeowner went with the granite from the builder’s options that was the least offensive to her. It wasn’t what she really wanted, but given the constraints of her building situation and budget, it was the best solution available to her.
The pretty coffered ceiling was an option offered by the builder that the homeowner happily went with. It was a smart move, and money well spent because it adds such a pretty detail and really upgrades the look of the kitchen finishes.
Here’s another fun change that the homeowner was able to work out with the builder – the open shelving in the dining area. In the plans there was a closet there. The homeowner didn’t really need the extra storage, so she asked the builder to leave the closet out, and we opted for installing some open shelving to show off her pretty collection of dishware.
The builder also allowed for a few other minor changes/additions – like the shiplap on the fireplace, which really added some personality to the living room.
This picture shows a peek of another fun little personalized touch – we had all the doors in the home painted a soft black. It really adds a punch of interest to every room and makes the home feel more custom.
We went with white subway tile for the backsplash – it was one of the builder’s options that we felt really went with the homeowner’s design aesthetic of pretty, bright, and classic.
One of the things that I love best about this charming home is that it showcases the homeowners personalities and interests. The wife is a culinary school graduate who loves to cook and bake, and her kitchen and dining room really highlights those interests.
I hope to show you more of this pretty home in the future. In the meantime, I hope this post gives you confidence that you don’t have to have millions of dollars to build a charming and personalized home. You just need to make choices that reflect your loves and your personality, and pull it all together with a cohesive and planned look.
I’ve already gotten a lot of questions on Instagram about these lighting used in the kitchen and dining area, so here are some affiliate links in case you’d like to copy the lighting used in this charming kitchen.
Thanks for stopping by today, friends – have a great day!