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

Jan 11, 2011

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.