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Blog Category - Building a Custom Home

Debunk the Myths of Home Building to Get What You Want

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, San Antonio New Homes, WhiteStone | Posted: August 18, 2020

There are a lot of myths out there about building your first home:

  • That it will quickly become a money pit and swallow your savings whole
  • That contractors only exist to rob you blind
  • That it will take forever
  • That you never end up getting what you really want…


I’m here to debunk many of those myths so that you can make clear-headed choices and decide on your own terms how to proceed. It’s true enough that some may have gone broke building a new home, but was it the contractor’s fault? A misunderstanding about the process? Or both?

For instance, it’s a common assumption that, to build a home from scratch, you first need to consult with an architect. But which architect? I’ve seen many a client bring in blueprints for “dream homes” that, quite frankly, were so unrealistic they looked more like something out of a science fiction novel.

I’ve heard from other clients that they’d previously tried to build a home, but after pricing the architect’s specs, never pursued it because the house in question was simply too expensive to actually build.

Other clients tell horror stories of small custom home builders who quoted them one price–and one due date–only to add more and more cost and completion days onto the original bid as time marches on.

What can happen in that case is a $500,000 home, which isn’t cheap to begin with but worth it if it’s your “dream” home, can quickly become an $800,000 home, with no visible improvements over the original blueprints, due to hidden costs or unforeseen obstacles.

At WhiteStone Custom Homes we lay it all on the line before the first shovel goes into the ground. That is a part of the process I’m talking about. The more you know, the more details you get into, the clearer your goals and the deeper you get involved in the process, the less fear you will experience and the less vulnerable you’ll be to some of the myths—real or imagined—that are associated with home building.

To Build or Buy: You’re Ready for a Change

Categories: Available New Homes, Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: July 13, 2020

1516 Aubrey Court. A current Home for sale in Highland Estates

I love what I do because I help people make their dreams come true. Everyone who comes into one of my Model Homes at WhiteStone Custom Homes is ready for something new; ready for a change. Most of them have lived in “off the rack,” non-custom designed homes all their lives and are ready to build the house of their dreams from the ground up. Others loved their last home, but after the children grew up and moved out, they were ready for something new; ready for something “more their size.”

It might be a bigger house, or just a “better” house. It might be sleeker, or in a better neighborhood, or have the pool they always wanted, or the mother-in-law’s apartment or a three car garage.

Buying or building a home can be an emotional decision for some, and having a process–as well as knowing that process–helps take some of the emotions, including fear and misunderstanding, out of the equation. Knowing how to start, knowing what comes next, knowing what pitfalls to avoid and which paths to follow can all help you avoid mistakes, and do so with confidence.

This should be an exciting time for you and I hope this book only adds to that excitement. The fact that you have questions, and that you’re beginning to look for answers, is exciting in itself.

We all love the thrill of starting something new, and there is nothing more rewarding for me than to watch a couple come into our Model Homes with that extra “pep in their step” as they prepare for the adventure of building or buying a new home.

Introduction to 90 minute guide to Custom Home Building.

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, San Antonio New Homes, WhiteStone | Posted: June 12, 2020

Every Home Should Be a Custom Home

So, you’re in the market for a new home.

At least, I assume you, are if you’re picking up a book called 90-Minute Guide to Custom Home Building . My name is Tim Rice, and as founder and CEO of WhiteStone Custom Homes, I’ll be your guide through the process of choosing, and even building, your new home.

And, it is a process. So one of my goals in writing this book is to help you understand the process of taking the idea of a new home through all the various stages of design, style and livability. Ultimately, this will give you the confidence you need to realize your dream and enhance your life.

Fear Can be Either Debilitating–or Motivating

One of the reasons you’ve probably picked up this book is that you have some fear. Not “run for your life” fear, but the kind of fear that you might make a $500,000 to $1 million mistake and be forced to live with it–live in it–for the next 20 to 30 years.

Well, you wouldn’t be alone. In my experience, the two biggest obstacles that keep new home owners/builders from “taking the plunge” are fear and misunderstanding. Why? Because, first of all, they don’t know that there is a process, and even if they do, they don’t quite know what that process is.

But building a home is like anything else in life: the first step is the hardest, and a crucial part of the process. If you were going to do any other major endeavor for the first time, such as plant an oak tree in your yard or build your own pizza oven, the first thing you’d do is research it, right? You might buy a book or two, Google the topic and watch a few videos, that kind of thing.

Well, buying or building a new home is no different. Don’t let fear or misunderstanding keep you on the bench for another day. Allow me to walk you through the process, instead.

Fear can be a good instinct. Some people simply shouldn’t build a new home but should, instead, purchase a new home from an existing inventory of homes. Which type are you? We’ll decipher that in the following pages so that you are fully armed with information and caution before making a costly plunge that could end up in disappointment, if you make the wrong choice.

Is your dream home one you build from scratch or one you run across in an existing inventory of new homes? We’ll find the answer together in the coming pages.

Home of the Week!

Categories: Available New Homes, Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, Featured Home, News, San Antonio New Homes, WhiteStone | Posted: October 18, 2019

It is going to be a beautiful weekend for some cool home shopping. Let me direct you to a one of a kind, amazing property. The Addison home we built at 27220 Highland Crest is perhaps the most unique home we have ever built for sale. The 12′ ceilings down stairs are highlighted by a Great Room with wood tile that is so popular these days. All the fixtures and colors are current and beautiful. The deco finishes were selected by a Professional Decorators and our top management staff. This home is more art than home.

One of  most unique features of the home is the sky bridge and deck to the upper portion of the huge lot that backs to a permanent green-belt. Come see our home this weekend. Open 10-6 Saturday and 12-6 Sunday. The home is in Bexar County but there are no city taxes.

How Your House Gets So Expensive: Foot by Foot

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: September 10, 2019

If you’re wondering how a few thousand square feet turns into a few hundred thousand dollars, well, you’re in luck! In this section of advanced home design, I’ll walk you through a few of the ways in which your crude “working drawing” can reveal how expensive each room might be:

Square feet

In as much as a butcher charges by the pound and a boutique salon sells perfume by the ounce, the construction industry runs on square footage. In short, every foot costs something, and many/most of the vendors and trade craftsmen bid by the square foot.

Most people only consider the square footage that is “under air.” That is, with a roof over it and living space treated by air conditioning. The construction industry has a variety of ways of measuring a square foot that includes under air and then some.

For instance, a “framer” charges by what is called “covered” square footage. That includes all living areas, the garage, the overhangs and the porches. As one might imagine, when charging by the foot, this can add up quickly. Additionally, you must consider the square footage of big porches and other outdoor living area. In fact, many homebuilders calculate the square footage of those areas when they tell you how big the home is. The same is true for garages. That is part of the calculation that must be included. Some Builders even calculate the interior cubic air footage. All that open space comes at some cost.


Another expense that can add up quickly is plumbing, which may seem like it only exists in the bathroom and under sinks, but in fact can snake through the entire house when you consider how water gets to your upstairs bathroom.


You wouldn’t imagine that cabinet space could drive up the cost of a home, but you’d be surprised. Depending on the type of cabinets you select, how many of them, upper and lower and what kind of finish, you’d be amazed by how much that affects the cost of your kitchen.

Every foot of cabinet goes up in cost depending on the finish, the model, the make or the quality of material involved. It seems like such a minor thing when you’re talking about floor tiles and an outdoor living room, but look to how many square feet of cabinets you’re planning on having and how that affects the bottom line kitchen cost.

This is why both the concierge form and the working drawing are so important when it comes to making compromises. Room by room, we can point to the hidden costs that drive up the final estimate and, in this way, they can be addressed instance by instance.

Obviously, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo, nor is it my sales team’s. So, as we discuss the concierge form with clients, we might point out that a certain finish of cabinet can get exorbitant, hard to find, etc. This can help avoid surprises later, but even then, it often takes the working drawing estimates to make those prices clear for home builders.


The more complex your home design, the more bells and whistles you include on your concierge form—Tuscan elevation, a lot of closet space, gourmet serving island, two dishwashers, built in cabinets, double stair cases, epoxy floor covering in the garage, etc.—the more expensive it is.

When we’re talking about walk in closets, man caves, arboretums and speakers in the garage, this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it often does, and so I want to address that here momentarily.

The term most related to complexity in the construction industry is Aspect Ratio. Simply put, a low aspect ratio home is a less expensive home, while a high aspect ratio home costs more. For instance, your typical suburban square or rectangular home, which from the air might look like a gift box or shoebox shaped home, has a low aspect ratio. Why? Because it’s simply less complex than other styles of home.

Now, compare that box-shaped, low-aspect ratio home with one that is wrapped around a swimming pool in a central courtyard, with cupolas coming out of the roof and multiple exits and levels, and the aspect ratio goes higher and higher with each design flourish.

So, while the more complex home is beautiful, it should come as no surprise that, with such complexity, comes a higher price tag.


It’s great to sit on your covered, screened-in porch at the end of a long day and kick back with a refreshing drink and the joy of custom home ownership. And while covered porches aren’t as expensive as, say, an air-conditioned and interior room, they’re more expensive than most home buyers realize.

Fancy Interior finishing

The fancy flourishes that clients love to decorate their interiors with, such as trim, crown molding, tiled ceilings or inlaid tile walls and faux panting, those interior finishes add up. Room by room, square foot by square foot, we provide a variety of options if this is where home builders want to eventually compromise.

Parting Words: Nothing Is Ever Perfect

It’s a fact of life that no matter how fully you participated in this advanced home design, no matter how long it took or active you were or how fully you envisioned the final product, one day you’ll look up at your finished home and think how you might have changed something.

It could be your first week in the home, a year or two later or ten years down the road, but at some point you’ll reconsider a design flourish, an angle, a room or a feature and experience, if not buyer’s remorse, then the slight sting of “could have been.”

This is the reason I don’t recommend that perfectionists build custom homes; they experience this tenfold and twice as rapidly! But, if you know going in that, as Frank Lloyd Wright so tactfully put it, “All good architectural design is a compromise,” then you can experience those moments of “would have done, should have done, could have done” with less regret.

The reason we at WhiteStone Custom Homes spend so much time in the planning, development and design/advance design phase is because we want you to be fully prepared for the entire process; before, during and after construction. The more you know going in, we like to say, the less regret you’ll have moving in!



Don’t Compromise your New Custom Home!

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, Uncategorized, WhiteStone | Posted: June 21, 2019

So, you are going to build your first or maybe last custom home, right? Great! Fantastic. This may be the last home you ever. There is absolutely no reason to compromise right? Cousin Emily said you shouldn’t and well meaning brother Bob said you shouldn’t either. Are they correct? No! They are only correct if you DO NOT want to build a home. We have seen so many well meaning serious custom home buyers lose their vision and energy designing their own custom home because they suffered under the false narrative that you shouldn’t have to compromise when you are building a custom home. The fact is, you have to compromise less, but you still have to compromise.

How do I know this? Number one, I have been building customers homes for the last 34 years. Day in and day out. Those that are not able to compromise never build a home. Ever. You know what they do? Either they stay in the home they don’t like now, or they go buy a used home that doesn’t even begin to satisfy their desires. Trust me, I have seen it way too many times.   Number two, I learned it from the #1 home architect of all time, Frank Lloyd Wright.( ) It was his now famous quote ” All great design is a compromise”.  Why did he say that? Because it is true. It is always true. It is like a natural law that can not be changed. Think about it. If you want a home by the lake, it cannot be by the ocean. If you want a home in the mountains, it cannot be on flat farm land. If you want a two story home, it can not be a single story home.

You might argue, that if you have an endless budget, you shouldn’t have to compromise, right? Yes you do. Bill Gates built his $127 million home on a lake near his office on a lot that had limited space. It is a two story, so he has to climb stairs. How many buyers want to climb stairs? Most say they don’t, and almost all buyers today want a single story home,  but to accommodate all he wanted in the home, he had to go vertical. See what I mean? Frank Lloyd right was correct. All great design is a compromise.

The problem usually stems from the fact that custom home buyers get lost in the design phase and forget the main reason the wanted a new custom home anyway. They start thinking they can’t live with out the ________ and just will not build if they cannot have that when that was not the main reason they started this process in the first place. We can help. Come visit with us. Let us help you with our trademarked Concierge Form. It is a perfect guide to keeping on track and getting you into your perfect compromise of a new custom home! Build a WhiteStone Homes. Every new custom home should be a WhiteStone Home!

Value Engineering: The Science of Dreams

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: May 21, 2019

How do we help customers turn their dream home into a reality? At WhiteStone Custom Homes, we start with something we call Value Engineering.

Value Engineering is our way of living up to our tag line of “Practical Luxury®.” We want to provide you with the best house possible within your budget. Whatever the budget, we don’t want to waste your money. We’d rather put your money to good use in ways that add value to the home, but don’t add excessive costs. So we examine the plan for your home with a critical eye, playing devil’s advocate with every inch of the blueprint and floor plan to ensure that there are no hidden costs, surprises, wasted money or efforts.

Something as simple as the flooring in your living room can take on great meaning when you match the kind of tiles or hardwood flooring you are using with the actual size or dimensions of the room. Will you end up cutting a fourth of your tiles, or lopping off two feet of every eighth floorboard, because of the dimensions?

Building a home from scratch allows us to closely examine every foot of every room, match it to the variables in your fixtures, wall coverings, etc., and “Value Engineer” the home for maximum value and minimal cost from the front door to the attic insulation.

People come to us for very specific reasons, and oftentimes those reasons involve significant life changes that are occurring within the family unit. The reason our homes are not only custom built but custom designed is because there is no cookie cutter formula or template that works for every home buyer.

Maybe your children are leaving the home and you’re looking for a smaller, sleeker, and more streamlined and open floor plan to fit your new lifestyle. Maybe you have two children in college who still come home from time to time and need room, but not as much room; or just one room. Maybe you’re adding children and need more room.

Maybe you’ve just gotten divorced or remarried. Maybe you’re newly single and are looking for that ultimate “Sex & the City” bachelorette pad or man cave, or maybe you’ve just married into a blended family a la “The Brady Bunch!”

Whatever the personal issues in the home, you’re ready for a change and we want to take charge of the process for you; Value Engineering helps us do just that.

Conversational Facts versus Real Facts

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: May 7, 2019

One thing I’ve learned when it comes to homeowners, neighbors, families, friends, and people in general is that not only is everyone a critic, but everyone’s an expert. The minute you take ownership of your home you will be privy to all this expertise, whether you want it or not!

A neighbor will tell you the twelve reasons why your foundation is cracked. An aunt will clue you in to the best way to run your dishwasher (run hot water first!) and your Dad will assure you of the best way to mow your lawn—or tune up your lawnmower. A coworker will insist you have a 12-digit code for your garage doors.

These are what are known as “conversational facts.” In other words, people hear, say and share these “truisms” in conversation and so, after time, they sound like facts, but they aren’t facts. Your aunt may truly believe that running hot water before starting the dishwasher will make it more effective, and perhaps it was in 1959. But today’s dishwashers are carefully calibrated and finely tuned and running the water—hot or not—before starting a cycle won’t have the least effect on how clean your dishes will be when they’re dry.

My point here is that you’ve hired an expert to build your home, now listen to one as he explains how to move into your home with the least amount of hassle and the most effective solutions for a smooth transition.

I started in this business in customer service, taking complaints from all kinds of home owners about all types of home ownership issues. And now, owning my own business and walking proud new owners through their spiffy new homes, I know what to look for, what to warn them about and how to solve any minor—even major—issues that may arise.

In this chapter, I’ll scroll through just a few high-level maintenance tips that will show you the quickest, easiest and simplest ways to avoid 99.9% of home maintenance issues. “Do it yourself” ads will try to scare you into thinking you need a dozen add-in warranties or workmen in your house every day to stave off mold, ammonia, radon leaks, sagging roofs, cracking foundations, peeling paint and 1,001 other potential problems. Like anything else, preventive maintenance is the key to disaster relief.

Follow me on a virtual tour of your new home—of any new home—and you’ll see that, with a minimal amount of effort just a couple times a year, you and your home can get along just fine! Stand by. I will pass this information along to you in my next blog post! Have a great day!

The Four Elements of Home Design

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: April 13, 2019

The Four Elements of Home Design

Regardless of how big or small the house may be or how many rooms or square feet, Traditional style or Tuscan, there are really only four main elements of home design:

  • Kitchen
  • Family Room
  • Master Bedroom
  • Master Bath

Here is where I’d like to walk you through each element:


After thirty years in the construction industry, there is one thing I know for certain: people LOVE their kitchens. Our job is to create a kitchen that clients not only love, but will love for all the right reasons. And that leads us to some specific questions you might not think to ask, such as:

  • Where do you want the kitchen?
  • In the middle of the house, in the front, in the back?
  • Or, let’s get more specific: Do you want it on the left leisure side of the home?
  • The right leisure side of the home?
  • And what do you want in it?
  • How big will it have to be to accommodate, say, a central island or double door refrigerator or breakfast nook?


All of these answers are critical as we move onto the next major element of home design, the family room.

Family Room

Homes are like puzzles; they must fit together, so depending on what your wants, needs and plans are for the kitchen—which is why we start with that area of the house—we can then move on to designing the family room.

If you want your kitchen on the right leisure side of the house, perhaps you’ll want the family room on the left. Or vice versa! Or, maybe your kitchen is the centerpiece of your house and you really want it to blend into the family room in a way that is unique and different.

As the floor plan begins to evolve and take shape, you can see the importance of these four elements of design and how they not only fit together, but begin to inform and color the feel, tone and tempo of the home itself.

The kitchen and family room elements are also integral to the style of home you’re looking for. We see a lot of Tuscan and Texas Hill Country Traditional here, as well as a kind of loft-like, farmhouse style, the castle look and the Mediterranean look, etc.

You can apply almost any style you want to almost any house, but the best styles match inside and out. So knowing the feel, tone and tempo you want for your house can help you pick both the style and have that style influence the size of rooms, the brightness and layout, etc.

The typical square footage for a family room is generally 18 x 18-square feet, or 18 x 20. That would be the size we would suggest you shoot for.

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is the third major element of home design, and provides a wide opportunity of style, size and fixture choices. Here we have a variety of choices to make, such as size and style, of course, but also widow treatment, closet size, flooring, etc.

Do you want a walk-out balcony? A parlor or sitting area? Built in fixtures or flat walls? High arches or ceilings, slanted, low or cathedral? People spend a lot of time in their bedrooms and, like the family kitchen, tend to take a lot of time planning this room out to be both comfortable and personal.

When it comes to size, most of our master bedrooms come in at 13 x 14-square feet. That is our default measurement and the standard by which we go, with the understanding that making the master bedroom bigger or smaller will generally affect the size of adjoining or connecting rooms.

Master Bath

The fourth and final major element of home design is the master bathroom. Again, like the relationship between the family room and the kitchen, the choices you make with your master bedroom will affect your master bathroom.

The larger your sitting area or walk-in closet, for instance, the smaller your master bathroom might have to be. Or do you want the master bath in the front of the suite, to the side or in the back?

Our designers and sales people will help you see all of the facets, options and opportunities involved in your choices, and perhaps help you reach compromises that allow you to have the best of both worlds when it comes to your master bedroom and master bath.

When it comes to designing the master bathroom, there are other considerations to make as well. Do you want the master bath to be just for the master bedroom, so that the flow is quite organic from one room to the next? Do you want the master bath next to the master bedroom? Do you want the master bath to join two rooms, equally accessible to both, in what is known as a “Hollywood” or “Jack and Jill” style? Again, it’s like a puzzle; the choices you make for this room will affect other rooms, and so require careful consideration and lots of visualization!


I always say, if you’re going to scrimp on certain elements of the house, never scrimp on these main four elements; kitchen, family room, master bedroom and master bathroom. There are four main elements for a reason; because this is where, traditionally, home owners spend the most of their time.

In fact, when we begin to design a custom home for our clients we not only start with these four elements but really try to “wow” future homeowners with our designs for these four areas. If you can’t get clients excited about their kitchen, family room, master bedroom or bath, how in the world can you hope to get them excited about the guest room or garage?

It’s Not Just You: Designing for Resale

National averages reveal that most Americans live in their home for an average of seven years before moving out and moving on. While that’s not something you want to dwell on as you invest precious time, energy and financial resources to the design of your new home, it is something to consider in the design of that home.

You will want to create a design that’s not just attractive or comfortable to you, but that will appeal to potential buyers as well. We love to encourage our clients to be as personal, unique and inventive as possible when it comes to designing their homes, but not so unique that they’ll be the only ones to ever be able to live in it!

That’s why we try to blend the best of what we know, and families’ love, with what each specific client brings to the home design process, as well. Once again, this gives them the best of both worlds; ideal living conditions while they own the house and optimal resale value, if and when, they ever decide to sell.




Questions Lead to Answers: Prioritizing the Process

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: March 9, 2019

At WhiteStone Custom Homes, we run a showroom, not a sales floor. And, I think that’s a pretty important distinction. By that, I mean we don’t expect you to walk in, buy something, and leave on your very first trip.  Yes, we have salespeople and we want your business, but not at the cost of your peace of mind, or ours, for that matter.

I’ve spent so much time talking about the mentality of building a custom home because I believe it’s critically important to have the right mindset before you start; even before you decide to start.

Here are five questions to ask yourself before deciding to build a new home:

  • Do you have to be in control in all situations?

It takes a village to build a new custom home, and while you are most certainly the customer and eventual homeowner, you’re not necessarily the “boss,” if you know what I mean. The team we assemble at WhiteStone Custom Homes includes knowledgeable experts, not just in the actual construction but the planning, organizing, implementation, design and facilitating aspects of such a significant project.

You will have people making suggestions on everything from flooring and landscaping to roofing and kitchen cabinets to faucets and all the way down to the nuts, the bolts and the pitch of the roof.

All of these people will be working for you, but they will all be working under their own steam and in conjunction with one other, meaning you won’t necessarily be in control of all situations at all times. Not everybody is okay with that, particularly when they’re spending new custom home dollars.


  • Are you excited by change or something new?

I always say that building a home is first an emotional decision, then a physical operation. That’s because the desire to build a new home doesn’t necessarily come from the smell of fresh lumber or the desire to put on a hard hat, but the stirrings of change within a particular individual, couple or family.

Building a new custom home is exciting and it should be exciting. You should be excited about it. It’s also about change- a lot of change. You may be going from 1,500-square feet to 4,000-square feet, from single story to two-story, from apartment or townhouse to a freestanding dwelling. These changes are adjustments and require a particular level of energy to commit to.


  • Do you need a new home?

Let’s shift from the emotional to the physical and ask, “Do you straight up need a new home?” This may seem like a simple question but the fact is many people who think they “need” a new home just want one. They want what their neighbors have, what their friends or other family members have, they want to keep up with the Joneses, or simply be the Joneses. That’s more want than need, and can lead to trouble when the design team start drilling down to details.

However, if the emotional want is matched with a physical need, then the motivation for building a new home becomes clearer and the process simpler. If you need a bigger house, a newer house, a smaller house, a different style of house, one with features you’ve always wanted and now can afford, such as a view of the setting sun, a better neighborhood for your family, a pool or garden or backyard barbecue outdoor living area, or lush landscaping, then the decision to build a custom new home simply makes more sense.


  • Are you a perfectionist? Do people actually *call* you a perfectionist?

No home is perfect; there is always compromise. If you are a perfectionist who can’t understand, abide or compromise, then the build is going to be long, arduous, unpleasant and, ultimately, unsatisfactory. Not because everyone didn’t try to please you, but because perfectionists simply can’t be pleased.


  • Do you and your spouse agree/argue most of the time? (FYI, most of the time is 80 percent.)


In the next section, I talk about your “building family,” but here I want to talk about your actual family, particularly your spouse. Do you argue most of the time? (And for the record, most of the time is 80 percent or more). If so, building a new home is probably not for you.

If you’re fighting under ideal conditions, before you start to design and construct a new home, then imagine what it might be like when the imported Italian Tile shipment is delayed by a few days, which sets back the schedule a week, which impacts the roofing team,  and the tile crew, creating a ripple effect that ultimately creates stress, challenge and delays for all involved.

Building a new home can be challenging for all couples, even the healthiest, friendliest and easiest going. But for those who already argue a significant portion of the time pre-construction, the challenges can turn the construction itself into a nightmare, which bleeds into your enjoyment of living in the home once it’s actually built. Are you prepared for that? Is your spouse?

Or, think of it this way; if there is a screaming match every time you and your spouse and your family go out to eat, how much more intense are those battles going to be every time a decision needs to be made on a new home?


I ask these questions of every client, whether formally or informally. Look, we’re a small family business with an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. That’s because we really do treat your family like our family, to the point where we, a). Want to see your dream of constructing a new home become a reality but, also, b). Don’t want to sell you on something you don’t really want, need or are ready for.

Building for Success: It’s a Family Affair

Think of building a home like taking a long trip with your extended family. Not just your wife and grown kids, but their spouses, in-laws, stepchildren, etc. Now add your travel agent!

Building a home takes time; from planning to conception to construction to completion, it’s a months-long effort full of ups, downs and compromises. What you want is a team, a “building family,” as we like to call it, that you’d actually like to go on vacation with for an extended time.

All parties need to go along to get along, to understand each other, to enjoy spending time with each other and, ultimately, to make important compromises based on price, technology, tools, skill, resources, etc.

I’m not saying we have to be best friends, but there should be a certain level of respect, understanding, and yes, companionship if we’re going to build a house together.

Parting Words

Listen, not every home builder is going to run you through a questionnaire to see if you’re up for the challenge of building a custom home with them. Most likely they assume you’re grown, sane adults who can handle the stress of building a custom home.

But, we build showcase custom homes and that requires a higher level of commitment from you and equally from us. We also consider you a part of the WhiteStone family, and like all good family, we want to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start the process, not midway through!

This is a book I want to be able to hand to my family; my brother or sister, parents or uncles, nieces or nephews. So, I’m speaking to you as I would speak to them. If I could tell them what I’ve learned after doing this for over thirty years, this is what I would say. I wouldn’t let my family rush into building a custom-designed home, so I’m not about to let you—my building family—rush into it, either.