Jason and Kelsey Adams just moved into their new Arbor Builders home and we wanted to explore the journey for them as homeowners moving from an old home that needed a lot of remodel work into a new home that they could really make their own. They chose to build a mid-century modern home that provided a lot of natural light and focused on making the functionality of the home fit their lifestyle.
Here’s what they have to say:
Why did you decide to build a home?
Jason: With a baby on the way and starting a new family, we wanted to have a clean, well-functioning environment and a place that we could live for 20+ years. Both of us grew up in
the same family home and value providing that for our future kids.
Kelsey: We looked at existing homes but the ones we found that fit all our criteria were generally out of our price range or needed major remodeling.
Why did you select this particular architectural style?
Jason: It is simple and clean but places value on natural light and openness to the outdoors. We value function more so than form (or fancy architecture).
Kelsey: It was a house that Arbor Builders was in the process of building on Awbrey Butte and we were both attracted to the large number of windows and the general layout of the floor plan.
What aspects of your lifestyle did you value highest when deciding on the design of your home?
Kelsey: We both like to be outside so having lots of natural light in our house was important. Being able to incorporate an outdoor living space into our home was something we both wanted as well.
Jason: Kelsey initiated the efforts for a high performing kitchen for cooking and laundry room for a busy family. I initiated efforts to have an expanded garage for sporting equipment and mechanical efficiencies.
How did you go about choosing the land to build on?
Kelsey: We drove around Bend looking for neighborhoods we liked. Our criteria was that they needed to have larger lots (older neighborhoods), not a lot of mature pine trees to block natural light, and be somewhat close to Mt. Bachelor.
Jason: The lot we chose provided a wonderful combination of unobstructed southern light, access to the mountains and a quiet street.
What were you most excited about before starting the process & how did that turn out?
Jason: Having a new home free of drafts, leaking windows and moldy carpet. It’s wonderful! I’m actually sleeping better at night!
Kelsey: I was most excited about being able to alter the existing house plans to better fit our needs and picking out the finishes. It turned out great, I really love the flow of the house and appreciate the changes that we made.
What were you most fearful about before starting & how did that turn out?
Jason: I was most fearful of all of the decisions that would need to be made and coordinated to work well. It turned out better than I thought – we used a collaborate approach which often times relied on the recommendations of our various subs.
Kelsey: In the beginning of the process, I was afraid of making a major mistake, something that couldn’t be fixed later. So far we haven’t found anything that seems like a big mistake, fingers crossed!
What was your favorite part of the building process?
Kelsey: Choosing the pretty things like tile, flooring, counters, etc.
Jason: Watching the house go through its various stages of construction. I typically visit a job site 1 -2 times, but I visited this job site about 30 times.
What did you find most challenging?
Jason: The most challenging part of building our home was evaluating and comparing costs in terms of short-term versus long-term. In other words, we were challenged with evaluating what items were cheaper to upgrade now rather than incur greater amount of costs in the future for not doing so.
Kelsey: Picking coordinating finishes located at different vendors.
What would you do differently if you were to do this again/what did you learn while building your own home?
Kelsey: I learned that Jason & I brought different strengths and interests to the process which was a benefit as we encountered different issues that arose.
Jason: I would have identified a complete list of selection items to complete up front rather than make selections as went along. An example of this was our fireplace mantel. We waited long enough that our entire project was at risk of being held up due to this one selection process. By being more organized upfront, the process could be easier and quicker.
What are the top 5 pieces of advice you’d give to someone deciding to build their own home?
Jason: In order, spend adequate time to:
Look at other homes you like
Find a good lot
Find a good house designer
Find a good builder
Find a good lender
That time should include asking for references and looking at multiple candidates.
As a teacher I was lucky and had time during the summer to visit vendors and learn about their products. I think taking the time to make well educated decisions about what you’re investing in is important.
Stand up for what you want in a house. There were times I was encouraged to make a different decision and I know I would have been ultimately disappointed.
Prioritize the things you are willing to spend more money on before you start making decisions and stick to them. There are so many cool products out there, we could have easily spent way more money on things we don’t actually need or could do later if it seems important.
Be ready to expect issues to arise. It seemed like every week there was something we needed to make a decision on that needed to be made yesterday.
Make time to visit the building site often. I really enjoyed learning about the building process by seeing what had been accomplished each week. I’ve never paid attention to all the parts of the house that are hidden once walls get closed in.
What do you love about your new home?
Kelsey: Lots of natural light, no more turning lights on in the middle of the day. More than one bathroom. No more drafty doors and windows. No more 20 degree temperature differences from one room of the house to the next.
Jason: It has lots of natural light and easy access to the outdoors. Being inside does not feel so separate from being outside, other than the temperature, airflow and moisture levels are controllable.