Custom New Construction vs Customizing Private Homes Part 1

Johanna G Seldes/IDC Tampa Interior Designer

No two design jobs are alike and the same goes for types of design projects. Johanna G. Seldes IDC/Interior Design Consulting tackles two main types of “custom” projects: new construction and private homes. Custom new construction means working with builders to create dynamic speculative homes for buyers. Customizing private homes can mean anything from a remodel or refresh of one room or selected spaces or a whole home remodel, from pre-construction through the demo and build, to design and installation. Both types of projects yield beautiful results but the process of getting there is drastically different.

Custom New Construction

The business model of Johanna’s custom home builder clients is most often to design and create spec homes to attract buyers. Other home builder clients will showcase a particular floor plan design as a model home and will sell from that example.

In both instances, builders build for their vision of the market, taking price, competition, and past successes. This final point can be a builder’s downfall. When a builder leans solely on proven, well-received finishes and materials, the result can potentially fall flat, and so will the sale. By bringing in Johanna at the start of construction, her years of expertise and an inherent understanding of how people really live in their homes can influence structural, design, and floor plan decisions.

An important factor when designing custom new construction is understanding you’re building for a thousand pairs of eyes to view, but you’re anticipating the one pair that sees themselves living there. Potential buyers need to get a feel for the craftsmanship as well as the design finishes, features, and selections. A spec home should be simple enough for a buyer to envision their life in it but not so simple that they could drive a few miles away and find the same thing from another builder or large-box retailer. Even choosing from those proven products, colors, designs, current styles, Johanna and the builder work in tandem to elevate a spec home into a distinctive custom-level home that is leagues above the competition and ready to sell.

Moreover, Johanna is familiar with the builder’s preferred brand partners and vendors. There are certain set perimeters to work within, such as vendors, brands, budget, product availability, market-acceptance, and so on. Knowing the right design choices to make the spec stand out above the rest and boost the value is critical. In one custom new construction home, Johanna G. Seldes IDC/Interior Design Consulting created a tiled stair riser to upgrade the look of the stairs. The tile was cost-effective and embodied the contemporary design of the builder while still adding something unique to the home.

Johanna’s design acumen balances the proven with the unexpected. Memorable spaces, thoughtfully-designed built-ins, exciting and surprising finishes in tileplumbing, or lighting fixtures, make all the difference. One example is where a builder might lean towards a classic selection of ovens, but a professional kitchen-grade oven with six burners can make all the difference to the result.

Read Part 2 Customized Private Home

Johanna G. Seldes, ASID IDC/Interior Design Consulting is a full service, award-winning Tampa Bay interior design firm that works with custom home builders, remodeling companies and individual clients. We provide interior design project management services throughout the entire construction process, including pre-construction design, selections, and installation.


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She was passionate, patient and professional throughout the entire process!  

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