RHB: Jorgensen Part 2
Carla and Jesse Jorgensen are building their Frank Betz dream home near Greenville, SC for themselves and their four young children. They chose to build after looking for a home when relocating to the area and not finding one that met their needs.
When we last spoke with Carla and Jesse Jorgensen their new home was in the framing stage of construction. At the time of this interview the home is nearly finished - in fact, the walls and trim were being painted as we did our photo shoot, which is why you’ll see protective plastic sheets covering the cabinets, mantels, and light fixtures in the pictures accompanying the article. Despite this, it’s easy to see how the final result is shaping up.
The Jorgensens are relocating from Atlanta, GA to Greenville, SC, and living away from the construction has generally worked out well, though it has created some stress. Carla and Jesse are both physicians, but since Carla’s schedule is more flexible she has taken the lead in overseeing construction of the home. Both are excited to see it nearing completion. “Jesse and I are ready to move and start our life in Greenville,” she says. “Building this house has taken every bit of my free time. Living in Atlanta means there is a great deal of commuting time involved. However, it has been an enjoyable adventure.”
Contractors Brad and Cindy Thompson of 1st Choice Custom Homes have made it very easy for the Jorgensens to stay in touch and keep up with construction progress. “Brad and Cindy have been open to talk about any changes and ideas that we have for our home. Jessie and I found them very easy to work with,” said Carla.
As construction has progressed Carla is finding the process to be easier. “I come to Greenville every three weeks to meet with Cindy and pick things out,” said Carla. “While I’m there I run through the house with Brad to let him know of any modifications or decisions, then I spend the rest of the day with Cindy making selections.”
“The big decisions - site plan, floor plan selection and modifications – happened up front,” said Carla. “Once those decisions were made the builder was on autopilot, which allowed us to begin making decisions on the exterior and interior details of the home. I chose quickly and planned ahead so that we were actually able to get some of the interior design elements in place early.”
She continued, “Our biggest challenge was adding the basement but we worked closely with Brad and Cindy. They were very accommodating and helped guide us through the process to ensure that the changes we made are workable.”
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. “Being able to pick out what suits our individual style adds personality to our home and is a fun outlet for me personally. I know what I like and when I see it I know if something is right. For me it would be hard to design with a decorator - designing for me is spontaneous.”
Carla describes her style as eclectic. “I like to mix fancy and casual pieces, and combine Asian-influenced pieces with more traditional accents. I lean toward being somewhat minimalist – I like clean lines and an organized space.”
Throughout the home Carla has chosen warm, mostly neutral wall colors, though she has added punches of brighter color such as the rusty red of the dining room. “I love mixing sophisticated blues, reds, copper and beige and setting it off with black and dark brown accents,” she said. She plans to have furnishings and window coverings that will incorporate bolder colors as well. The children’s rooms will be decorated in whimsical designs that incorporate their favorite colors.
Carla has been enjoying the interior design so much she cites it as her favorite part of the homebuilding process. “Decorating, searching for the details, looking at samples and seeing the final design come together is fun and has given me a sense of accomplishment.”
For the most part Carla has stayed within their allowances, but there are a few areas that have gone over budget. “We are way over on appliances, but that was predetermined,” she said. “We also went over somewhat on lighting, plumbing and tile. My first choices for the master bath came in WAY over budget and selections had to be redone. That added extra time and effort, but I’m pleased with how that space has turned out. We were able to save money on landscaping and some other areas which helped to offset some of the interior upgrades.”
Because Jesse and Carla both like to cook they wanted to create a kitchen that would be functional for years to come, so they decided to incorporate extra appliances that added to their investment up front but will ultimately provide convenience and time-saving benefits – especially important to two busy working parents with four children under the age of five.
“We love cooking with gas better than electric, so of course our choice was a gas stove,” said Carla. “We chose WOLF because we feel their appliances have ’friendly’ cooking features and we like the styling. Another personal preference was a convection microwave/convection oven combo instead of traditional double ovens. We are excited to take advantage of microwave technology and use it to cook some dishes much more quickly than a conventional oven to save time. We decided to incorporate a built-in steamer into the kitchen island. We plan to use this for pasta, veggies, rice – I’m sure it will be one of the most-used appliances we’ll own.”
Family needs influenced their choices for refrigeration. “Our refrigerator system will be a combination of refrigerator drawers and a Sub Zero built-in refrigerator,” said Carla. “We built the refrigerator drawers into the island to add a kid-friendly approach to snacks and drinks. They can easily help themselves when they are hungry or thirsty. I think the Sub Zero is going to be fabulous because it’s very roomy and we were able to panel the front to match the cabinets, so it isn’t the focal point of the room.”
“With four children, washing dishes is obviously something that we considered very carefully. We chose dish drawers because we think that being able to run smaller loads more frequently will work better for our needs,” Carla said. “In the basement we’ll have an ice maker, beverage center and a microwave drawer because that area is centered more on entertaining.”
Asked what advice she would give to someone planning to build, Carla offered several tips. “I think it’s best if you have one ‘boss’ – meaning one project leader. By operating this way Jesse and I made major decisions together, but I was the final decision maker for the interior design and little details, which eliminated that stress for him. In addition, you have to hire a builder that works around your needs – sometimes we found ourselves on the phone with Brad at ten o’clock at night and he was fine with that. You also need to know what you like so that you can give the builder clear direction. We took pictures of other homes, collected pages from magazines, and selected colors in advance to help set the overall design direction.”
Join us in the next issue to see finished photos of the Jorgensen’s new home.