RHB: Jorgensen Part I
Carla and Jesse Jorgensen are both doctors and have a young family of four children under the age of five. When they decided to relocate they seized the opportunity to build their ultimate family dream home, a Frank Betz design called Hazelwood Square.
Having lived in such diverse cities as Nashville, Chicago, and Atlanta, Jesse and Carla Jorgensen decided to settle down in Greenville, SC. They were partly attracted by the thriving hospital system that offered attractive work opportunities in the area — he is a cardiologist and she is an oncologist — but also they had other criteria for selecting their new home.
“In addition to the excellent work opportunities, we felt this area offered a better quality of life for our family compared to bigger cities,” said Jesse. “Also, Carla is from this area so we have family and friends here and a sense of familiarity.”
Once they decided to make the move, they also made the decision to build a custom home after looking around and not finding an existing home that truly suited their needs and desires. This is the first time they have built their own home.
“In the past we’ve lived in both homes and condominiums,” Carla said. “We lived in a new home but were unable to personalize it. We had a strong sense for what we wanted in our home and it was difficult to find an existing home that fit our family. We always knew we wanted to build a house and we realized that the time is now. Given our current family situation there was no reason not to build.”
Once they made the decision to move forward, they decided to start by finding the builder they felt would best help them to realize their dream. Like many potential home buyers, they asked for recommendations, and one name kept coming up — First Choice Custom Homes.
“After several personal recommendations, we contacted Brad and Cindy Thompson with First Choice Custom Homes,” said Carla. “Once we met with them, we had a personal interview where we talked about our home needs and I immediately felt a connection and trust with both Cindy and Brad. My husband and I both loved that they were detail-oriented and that they had a synergy working together.”
“I was especially pleased to know that Cindy had an expertise in design and since we are building from afar, that was key,” Carla continued. “Also, we were able to tour many of the homes that they had built in the area and we were attracted to the detail and millwork in the homes. We noticed that First Choice uses higher-end cabinetry and fixtures in the homes they build. I also got to see that Cindy’s approach to style, design and color is similar to my own and that gave me an added comfort level.”
While Carla and Jesse had casually looked at home plans in anticipation of building they did not finalize the selection of their home plan until after they signed a contract with First Choice Custom Homes. Carla said, “We felt that it would be important to have the builder’s recommendation so that we would all be comfortable with the homebuilding experience.”
“Brad and Cindy were instrumental in helping us to find our Frank Betz home plan. Brad likes to build these plans and has built several in the past, and that was a selling point. I felt comfortable with the fact that Brad believed in these plans, so we worked together with First Choice to find a Frank Betz plan that fit our essential home needs,” she said.
Even though they had not selected a floor plan, the Jorgensens had some very definite ideas of what they needed and wanted their new home to provide.
“We were looking for a spacious plan that would accommodate a family of six, with each child being able to have their own room, plus a play room away from the main part of the house,” said Jesse. “Because we have young children that are very close in age we feel that it is important for them to have some solitude at home. We also wanted a large kitchen area and keeping room layout. We love to spend time in the kitchen, and with the convenience of a keeping room we can spread out but still be connected as a family.”
“Having a basement was another floor plan requirement,” Carla said. “We plan on using our basement as an integral part of our home and it will have a large guest suite for family and friends, plus an open, central area with a large television and second kitchenette. We are also incorporating an exercise room and a secondary play/art room to help organize play time and space downstairs. The overall intent of the basement is for entertainment, family and play time –— a big space for casual interactions.”
The third requirement that was important to the Jorgensens was plenty of outdoor living space. Their home is situated on a large lot that backs up to woods, offering the children plenty of room to roam and explore. “The South is a perfect setting for being outside,” said Carla. “We wanted to take advantage of that. We will have a large deck on the main level of the house and also a covered patio on the basement level.”
With Brad and Cindy’s help, the Jorgensens found a Betz plan that met most of their needs. By working with the Betz modifications team they made a few changes to make it work perfectly for them. One of the first changes was adding a bedroom and bath to the space above the master suite on the second floor, allowing each child to have his or her own room with an attached bath.
Other changes were made to the kitchen and garage areas. “We removed the pantry and replaced it with cabinet space in the form of pantry units along with extra counter space,” said Carla. This allowed them to make the breakfast area larger to accommodate a table that seats six to eight people easily. She continued, “In addition we moved the one-car garage space to connect with the two-car garage, moving it off the breakfast area to add more windows in the kitchen. This change had the added benefit of also making the upstairs play room larger.”
With the plan for their dream home finally in place, the Jorgensens were full steam ahead on the building process. Though still living in Atlanta through construction, they are finding the process enjoyable so far.
”Because of being long-distance, we chose to divide and conquer on the homebuilding process,” said Jesse. “Carla took on building the home, and is able to rearrange her work schedule when necessary. She has made building a home a priority in her already very busy life — planning ahead, making the most of the trips to Greenville and staying ahead of decision-making timelines.”
Fortunately, so far she does not feel overwhelmed and is not finding the long-distance arrangement disruptive. “Brad and Cindy are great communicators and have systems in place on their website that help, plus they are also always personally available if I have a question,” said Carla. “One system that is really helping us is the Builder Home Trend System. It allows us to see progress of the home, look at images of design elements, view products and keep a smooth line of communication. When there are more in-depth budgetary discussions or other topics where we all need to have input, Brad and Cindy are flexible and work around our very busy schedules to connect with us.”
“We have became partners in the homebuilding process,” said Carla. “We had an immediate connection and we are able to communicate via e-mail or phone and get immediate responses from them. Management of this project has to be timely and well organized, and they deliver.”
Join us in the next issue for a progress report on the Jorgensen’s beautiful new home.
ABOUT THE BUILDER
First Choice Custom Homes was founded in 2003 by Brad and Cindy Thompson. Brad brings to the organization more than eighteen years in the masonry and grading business. Cindy brings a passion for creating an environment that reflects the owners’ individual tastes and personality. Brad is knowledgeable in different types and styles of homes and is complemented by Cindy’s talent for designing unique living spaces. Both Brad and Cindy are active in the homebuilder’s network of businesses and are members of the Greenville HBA, Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce. The team also frequents product shows and homebuilders’ shows to stay on top of the latest trends in home product innovation.
“Beginning with a core strength and home design not only sets the tone for the rest of the building process, but also enables a home to effortlessly function for years to come.” says Brad. “The same can be said for the relationships we build with the homeowner. Knowing our client is critical to building a great home. The relationships we develop are productive and insightful, enabling us to build a home that exceeds expectations.”
Learn more about Brad & Cindy and see photos of projects at www.1stchoicecustomhomes.com.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Since 1976 Frank Betz Associates, Inc. has specialized in custom and stock home plans. Frank Betz Associates, Inc. has developed an unsurpassed
reputation as a leading provider of home plans. With more than 100 years combined experience, their team of experts design trend-setting, award-winning home plans for builders, developers and consumers alike. Frank Betz Associates, Inc.’s goal is to create home plans that set the highest standards in residential design and support those products with unparalleled customer service.