RHB: Jorgenen Part 3
Carla and Jesse Jorgensen and their young family of four have moved into their completed Frank Betz dream home located near Greenville, SC. We visited with the Jorgensens a few months after move-in to see how they are enjoying their new home.
At the time of this interview the Jorgensens had been living in the new home for over six months and had settled in nicely. The family relocated to Greenville, SC from Atlanta, GA and decided to build a custom home after looking at existing homes and not finding any that met their needs. With four children under the age of six, a home that offered a mix of spaces allowing for family interaction and privacy was a must. They also wanted a home that would meet their needs both now and in the future, allowing for changes and expansion as their family grows.
Carla became the “point person” in the family for planning and managing the construction, working closely with builder First Choice Custom Homes. Though building a home long distance is not without its challenges, Carla was very satisfied with the process.
“I really found it easy. I took one day a week to focus on the home, and made sure that I planned ahead,” Carla said. “We also knew what we wanted, and that made the decision-making process smoother.”
“Also, we made sure we chose a builder that could execute our vision. We trusted Brad and Cindy to take our design choices and plan ideas and get it done. Having that kind of relationship with a builder makes all the difference in the world, and I am not sure that our experience would have been so smooth had we not believed in First Choice Custom Homes to build the home we envisioned.”
Carla and Jesse decided not to use a decorator for the project. Instead Carla took on most of the decorating chores with some assistance from Cindy. “I like to do interior design myself and love to shop for unusual pieces that I know we will love as a family,” said Carla. She is pleased with the final result.
“We planned ahead with the décor of the home. While we like to use color in our home, we kept things mostly neutral so that we could grow with each room and add decorative details down the road. We chose warm tones that are very comfortable and understated. The furniture and window treatments really stand out set against a neutral color scheme,” Carla said.
In addition to being aesthetically welcoming, the home is also proving to be very accommodating to their lifestyle.
“The home is functional, particularly with little kids,” said Jesse. “We enlarged our master bath and we are so glad we did! At any given time two kids are in the shower and two are in the tub!”
“The kitchen is very friendly for entertaining and for our children,” Carla added. “The refrigerator drawers are awesome! We can segment the kids’ snacks and drinks in a way that makes it easy for them to serve themselves and frees space in the main fridge for other foods. It’s a great set up for a busy life and especially with the children having lots of friends in the house.”
Carla counts a few other items in the kitchen among her favorite things in the house. “I love not having a pantry. With the added cabinets, we have plenty of space to organize pantry items and they are easy to access. I also love the built-in steamer – it is so easy and convenient for cooking healthy meals.”
Another family favorite is the finished basement. Jesse said, “The kids love the playroom downstairs. It was a last minute add-on and today it truly is a favorite! The basement has a place for everyone - we are not on top of one another and everyone is comfortable. It makes family time easy and fun - a must in our busy lives.”
The Jorgensens also cite the extra-long three-car garage as a favorite, as it affords ample room for storage and toys while still accommodating their cars.
Overall they feel that the home has exceeded their expectations. “In the planning stages it’s hard to imagine what the home will feel like,” said Carla. “The reality is better than what we pictured from the plan, and the space layout and ceiling height make a big difference.”
Jesse continued, “There is plenty of space for both separation and together time. We love the setting of the home and the way it sits on our lot. It makes being in each room a unique experience. The spaces that surround us in the home feel good.”
The Jorgensens are also very happy with their builder. “First Choice Custom Homes was great during the process and continue to be honest, responsible and timely with how they respond to our home needs today,” Carla said. “No home will be perfect, and the key to any great home building experience is a builder who stands behind their homes and sincerely wants to build a home that matters to your life. First choice Custom Homes – for us – is that builder.”
Budget is always a key component when building a custom home, and like most homeowners the Jorgensens did end up exceeding their original budget. “Actually, we only went over by about 5% overall, but we made compromises to keep the budget close to the original price. For instance, we cut back on landscaping and some other amenities like a wine cellar to help offset higher costs on our appliances and cabinets,” Carla said. “Now that we are in the home, we can focus on the landscaping and work towards a master plan. The wine cellar was incorporated and framed in during the building process so that we could come back in and easily finish that space later on.”
Jesse and Carla have future plans for the home as well. “We have many ideas for some great modifications to the home. We chose a double lot because we knew down the road we would want to expand. We eventually want to add a detached one car garage, a pool and pool house, and we would like to enclose the terrace out back with tile floors and glass doors. The pool and pool house will impact the landscaping, which is why we really want a master landscaping plan. That way we know what and where to plant without having to worry about it getting in the way of new structures later on.”
Overall there is nothing they would change about their home building experience. “We planned ahead, we picked a great builder and we set our budget so we knew up front what we could do now and what we could do later. I think that we were ready to have the home of our dreams and had experienced enough to know what we wanted from this home,” said Carla. “Building this home was an incredible experience from a creative standpoint. We were able to bring our lifestyle to the forefront and get a plan that provided exactly what we needed in our home.”
Carla and Jesse offered advice for anyone who is contemplating building a custom home. “The most important part of building a home is finding the right builder,” said Carla. “A good builder will listen and be able to implement the changes you need with good direction and input.”
“Also, the house plan you choose is critical,” added Jesse. “Try to base your choice of plan on your experience with previous homes and how they meshed with your day to day life. Thinking realistically about how you live pays off in the long run.”
Lastly, Carla encourages everyone to spend as much time as possible in pre-planning. “When we were looking at homes before we decided to build, we went in more than 30 and nothing fit what we needed without major modifications. It helped us clarify what we did want, and we made that very clear in the pre-planning process. I am very decisive, and knowing what I wanted ahead of time made it easier as the house was being built to make selections.”
We wish Carla and Jesse and their children many happy years in their beautiful new home!