The spring season sends Louisville’s leading luxury construction team at Artisan Signature Homes on an emotional high. There are a lot of projects peaking right now, with Louisville homeowners, subcontractors, and builders all pretty happy. This time of year, a lot of people are moving into their final custom homes, which is the most thrilling aspect for anyone, but there are also a lot of people who became inspired by the warmer weather to start the design process on a new home.
Yet, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the long, complex process of building someone’s “dream home” from start to finish. Jason Black, president of Artisan Signature Homes, always tells people, “We’re going to make you this beautiful house and you’re going to love it, but somewhere along the line, you’re going to be mad at me for something.”
He adds, “You’re choosing me because I’m going to make it right. Although something may go wrong during the process and you’ll get upset, I will make it right for you.” Whether it’s a trim detail being wrong or just the grade of the house being different than expected, there are countless unforeseen circumstances that may arise during the building process.
Black often refers to the planning and design process as “the honeymoon phase,” where everyone is blissful and it seems nothing can go wrong. The framing is always another high point for his clients, he adds, because people think “Man, this house is going so fast!”
Yet, once the windows and the roof go up, it’s like “somebody puts screeching brakes” on. The plumbing, electrical and HVAC take some time, where less visible aspects are progressing week after week, month after month. One contractor’s work is often contingent upon other contractor’s work and inspections, so there can be considerable “lag-time” once you get beyond the initial framing. Unless the client is a structural engineer, “the guts” of the house is not very exciting, laughs Black.
The “absolute bottom” is waiting for final inspections from the city and county, which can sometimes take a week or two, and must take place before the drywall can go up. There’s a little uptick in excitement once the drywall goes up, but then there are a couple weeks of mudding and sanding the drywall before painting. At this point, most people find it discouraging to go to the house. “Drywall and dust fatigue” sets in.
Once the trim-work starts happening with doors, crown molding and tile going in, there is a glimmer of hope and excitement that one’s personal choices are finally coming to life. Paint goes on, cabinets go in, lighting fixtures get installed – and buyers feel like kids on Christmas morning. Excitement about moving in really hits home once the final landscaping arrives and the final walkthrough takes place.
The entire process sprawls out over about 12-18 months, so anyone who is looking to get involved with a custom build project should be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster. “I have had a couple of customers in the past that some people are like, ‘I may not ever build again,’” says Black, “but most have enjoyed the process. I have, again, several that are sad that the process is over.”