The newest installment of our series "Steps Toward a New Home" examines the product selection phase of the building process.

Well, you’ve worked with your builder / designer, and your preliminary floor plans are complete. That’s a huge step…but, you’re not there yet. You only have the basic instructions on how to build an empty box. Now you have to decide what that box will look, and feel like. From the point you’re at right now, ten different people could proceed with your plans and wind up with ten houses of vastly different styles and personalities. This is where a basic black and white line-drawing begins to take on a life of its own…and truly becomes yours. This is the “product-selection” phase.

Some builders may have an area in their facility where you can sit with your designer and make many product selections all at one time. PortSide Builders features a “Home Design Center” where thousands of home building products are available to see, touch, and compare.

Cultured Stone

So, what exactly needs to be done? First, you need to visualize what you want the outside of your home to look like. What type and color of exterior siding and roofing you want. Vinyl siding vs. wood vs. aluminum? What styles of windows and doors would you like? They come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, quality, and prices. Nowadays, the trends have moved toward exterior products that don’t require much maintenance. Virtually everything is vinyl or aluminum and doesn’t require painting or staining every few years, like wood products do. Do you want stone or brick accents? Even these items have a “real vs. artificial” choice. Manufactured stone and brick products are cheaper to purchase and to install than the real thing…and it’s often hard to tell the difference between the two.

Now, let’s move inside. Close your eyes and imagine you’re looking around your new home. What color are the walls? Are they wood or plastered? Carpeting, wood, or tile on the floor? Cabinets and countertops….again, a huge range of styles, materials, durability, and costs. You’ll need to decide on fixtures….things like sinks and faucets, lights and switches, door handles, tubs and toilets. If your home has a second floor, what do the stairs, rails, and spindles look like? Painted or stained baseboard and trim?

Molding & Trim

These elements should all work together with your furniture and other belongings, to create a cohesive style and theme to your décor. When done properly, it takes on a life of its own and your home becomes a reflection of you and your family. If you’re not confident in your design skills, your builder / designer can assist you, and some builders have a professional decorator that they work closely with, or have on staff, to make the process easier.  If you’re designing the house with a spouse or partner, cooperation and compromise are a must, as you need to balance your wants and needs with someone else’s. This should be a very fun and exciting time, don’t let it stress you out.

In a previous installment of “Steps Toward a New Home” we talked about honesty and trust being a crucial part of your relationship with your builder. During this phase, it’s critical that you and your builder be open about costs and to stay attuned to your budget. This entire process is a balancing act of what you’d like, versus cost....and when changes are made, costs will change accordingly. Having said that, don’t sweat the small stuff.  You’ll drive yourself crazy by cost comparing every little item.

Enjoy the process!

“The Main Point” – Choosing building products should be a creative and exciting experience. This is where your personality and choices make it “your” home. Have fun with this!