Recently a friend stopped into the new Barnes Custom Builders showroom in North Falmouth. As we chatted, she voiced her frustration with a new addition she and her husband are putting on. She was irritated that she was out looking for products without knowing how it would affect the budget in comparison to the allowance that the contractor had given them.
After recently looking for countertops, she felt like she wasted the entire day. She left empty handed, and fell in love with a stone that was completely out of her budget. She has a vision–and the Pinterest board to prove it–but no one to help her make it a reality.
Many homeowners face this same issue when remodeling or building a new home. When you go to a granite yard and fall in love with an exotic stone that is 5x your countertop allowance provided by your contractor it can be very disappointing. This conversation was a perfect reminder of what sets Barnes Custom Builders apart on many levels.
Design Makes The Difference
The first thing that struck me as odd, was that she was out looking for countertop material on her own. She has never worked in the construction field, countertop or kitchen design industry. How would she know what to be looking for as a durable material for her young family, and also what would be in her "allowed" price range? I felt frustrated for her.
As a designer for Barnes Custom Builders, I feel that it is my personal responsibility to show my clients their options, teach them more about the product, and explain the different price levels to make sure we stay on budget. And if I don’t have the answer, we will find out together. I want my client to be able to make a decision based on facts and hard numbers, while ruling out unrealistic "dream" items. I accompany our clients to the cabinet showroom, the granite yard, the lumber yard, the plumbing supply showroom, etc. to ensure we are on the same page at all times.
Allowances Are Unrealistic
At Barnes Custom Builders we try to stay far away from allowances. We find that an allowance is just a placeholder that will inevitably change value with no real respect for the client’s wishes or budget. To assume that any contractor can provide an estimate without any knowledge of the style, finish or quality desired by the client is extremely misleading.
As part of our design process, we establish the style of the design early-on. We talk about where to spend and where to save, and what the all-in budget is. Many people come to us and say, "I don’t need to go through the design process, I already know what I want."
While it's true that you might be set on white cabinets, with a light top and a subway tile, there are endless options in all price ranges that fit this item description. For example:
- A simple subway backsplash tile can be anywhere from $3.00 / sq. ft. to over $20.00 /sq. ft.
- A kitchen cabinet layout can change in price by thousands of dollars, just by changing the door style, and not the layout.
- A "light countertop" can be anywhere from $45/sq. ft to over $100/sq. ft.
This can be repeated in every aspect of remodeling, and these are just a few examples of why going through the design process is priceless.
Design isn't a project cost. It's a process that ensures you understand all the option available and invest your budget in the best way that meets your vision and goals while preventing unforeseen expenses.
Feel Excited About Your Project, Not Frustrated
At Barnes Custom Builders we will shop with you, guide you, and present alternative options and solutions and make sure you are happy. We work with you to build the budget. This is your home, and we want you to feel proud and excited to be a part of the process, and feel comfortable when making purchases.
If our clients feel frustrated or mislead, then we have failed. Our absolute main goal in this business, is to complete the project with a satisfied customer that is in love with their new space.
If you're feeling frustrated with your project, or want to avoid that feeling altogether, let's talk.