Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.
~J. Paul Getty
And that's just what were going to do here on the farm with The Weintz 'Modern Country Farm House'. Leanne and Chris were faced with the all important question "Where are the best places to invest their money in their new home?"
Leanne and I sat in her builders show home office and listened to him ask about budgets and interior finishes, lighting, faucets, flooring and appliances, gas, electric or dual? Even the toilet posed it's own list of questions. High eficiency, regular or comfort height, dual or single flush, round or elongated bowl? As she waded through the barrage of questions she could feel her anxiety creap up her spine. To her this was an over wealming and daunting task. Without having a clue, she turned to the advice of both myself; her designer and her builder. Your builder, should you have chosen correctly, is a valuable resource to tap into. You should be able to discuss your dreams and fears comfortably with him. He should have the ability to put your desires in check and your fears to rest. To this builders credit, he advised Leanne not to panic, and not to buy anything until the time was right. He then told a story about a previous client that went looking in a fixture store and became awe struck with a beautiful faucet. She was assured by the sales rep that the faucet of her dreams was a mere $25.00 more than her budget allowed for. So she bought it. Little did she know that the fittings to install this particular faucet would cost her another $75.00.
There is a Moen ad where a room is designed around a faucet. Unless your budget is limitless, I don't recommend it. I am not suggesting you don't get the tap set or light fixture you daydream about, but rather hold off until the time is right.
So where does one spend their money if not on the faucet? Well, first and foremost, I say spend it on the permanent fixtures in your home. For example, if you dream of having in floor heating, now is the time. Yes it is an extra expense but, you wouldn't put it in a few years down the road after the tile has already been laid. If it's your desire to have the house wired for sound, again before the gyp rock is hung, now is the time. Leanne's budget allowed for a tub surround in the ensuite, but she desperately wanted a fully tiled dual head shower. It was my recommendation that she go for it! Bathrooms and kitchen's offer the best return for the investment. Although her budget did not allow for it, I felt that we could definitely cut costs in another areas of the house so as to splurge on the shower.
Another example of extra costs worth incurring was in Leanne's kitchen. I discovered that the floor plan that she brought to me had only one window in the kitchen and it was under a covered deck. As Leanne loves a sun soaked room I explored other options for inserting natural light into the kitchen. Option A was a window behind the range and option B was a skylight above the island. While a window definitely would have been a beautiful addition and served the purpose of bringing sunshine in, it wouldn't be facing much of a view. The builder calculated the cost to add the window to be double the cost of option B's skylight; due to the type of glass and vent hood that would need to be purchased. Weighing out the benefit verses cost, we decided a skylight it was to be.
Once you have budgeted in all of your permanent fixtures you can then see if there is any budget left to splurge on the removable finishes like faucets and lighting. These things can always be upgraded down the road. However I think it's possible to save enough money in other places that Leanne won't have to make any big compromises at all. We will look at and compare both new and vintage lighting to cut some costs and infuse character. Chris and Leanne are fortunate enough to have barn wood and equipment at their disposal. We intend to use many of these things as interior finishes and accessories. You may not have the same fortune but if it's a farm house style home you are building, I highly recommend shopping around for old barn wood.
Other ways Leanne and Chris will save some money is by doing some of the work them selves. Tasks such as painting the walls, and staining wooden beams will be done by a group of their friends. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to know someone in the trades who will give you a deal. Although I caution you in this regard. Business and friendship don't always mix well.
So to recap
SHARE YOUR BUILDING SUCCESSES OR NIGHTMARES WITH US!
Tell us where you invested your money, both good decisions and bad.
WHERE WERE YOU ABLE TO SAVE A BUCK?
We'd love to hear from you!