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The layout Planning…

The hardest part of building a custom home is trying to decide how you want to live in your home. Then how to stay in the budget you make for your build. We had so many ideas and plans we loved but we wanted something that was all ours and not like anyone else. We wanted to lay it out just how we wanted to live. Our lives have changed over the years and now its just Jason and I. The kids are all adult but we are living across the street from the beach so visitors of family and friends we will have. So we planned according to that also. Think about all the rooms and how you will live in them. We started with the kitchen the hub of our home and worked out from there. Small list of ideas we had to start with….

  • 3 Bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, powder bath, pool bath
  • Kitchen, dinning, great room, clubroom & office, pantry, laundry, art studio
  • Large kitchen two islands, one for prep and one for casual eating
  • Vaulted ceilings in specific rooms of the house
  • Tub area in master bathroom
  • Dining room for family heirloom table
  • Guest bedrooms with their own baths
  • large width, height and depth garages
  • Art studio and design office for Suzanne
  • Club room and office for Jason
  • Outdoor Kitchen, and living space
  • Pool and enclosure

You will find your own list of things you want/need. We made a list of all our necessary needs, and then wants. It was harder to accomplish than you would think. There are so many moving parts to a custom build. If you select the right builder they will guide you and help you make great choices. Know in advance that you will go over budget in places and may be under in others. We planned a budget and then we planned a buffer for the things we just could not go without.

Next I will talk about the style of our home and how we came to that…. I hope you have a great week and thanks for following along on our dream home journey.

Meet our Builder…

Here is an introduction to our builder Trendsetters! Here are some of the reasons they feel are important in choosing them as a builder and we agree….

  1. Honesty/Integrity – This reason goes on the top of the list of why you should choose our company. Everyone at our business prides themselves on doing the right thing and being transparent. Far too often in construction you hear horror stories of people that have not been treated fairly. A home is a huge investment and the piece of mind of choosing a company that has integrity and trust is invaluable.
  2. Growth – We are always growing and trying to become better. We take the opinions of our customers and colleagues very seriously. No matter how many years we have been in the business we always try to remain teachable.
  3. Relationship –  We have been in business with some of our colleagues for decades. We have worked hard to nurture and gain trust within the industry, and it shows in the loyalty we have grown throughout the construction community. This also shows in the end relationship we have with our clients. The feeling you walk away with at the end of your build is so important to us, and we work hard to make that a priority.
  4. Experience – Trendsetters has been in business since 2004. Even before that Pat gained knowledge by working in the field. From the time he could work he was learning the ins and outs of construction and you can tell by how passionate he is about it. Tony is extremely detail oriented and loves the intricacies that come with custom home building, there truly is not a problem that comes to him that he does try to solve with 100% accuracy. You can feel confident when you know Tony is in charge, because he will evaluate every possible scenario and make sure that you are making the best choices when building your home.
  5. Unique – At trendsetters we love trying new things, this is not something that you will get when going to an everyday track home builder. We love a challenge. You can be sure if you bring us a unique idea, we will do our best to bring that to fruition.
  6. Quality – We work with vendors and subcontractors that make sure you are getting the very best in your home. We do no cut corners, and we want you to know that your home will be just as sound from the day it was built to 20 years from now.
  7. Family/Small business – We are a local family run business and pride ourselves on using local small business for our subcontractors and vendors as well. When you choose us you are supporting your community, and a family as well!
  8. Buildertrend – We have invested in a project management system that will keep both us and the clients on track when it comes to their home build. The communication tools of this program ensure that we are on top of all the details, and that the client will have access to every aspect of the process. We love being ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies, and we believe that sets us apart from our competitors.

Our Builder Choice…

We have been lucky enough to build two other homes. The homes were semi custom and custom so we have a bit of experience. We read all the articles and have the life experience to help us. The hardest part of the builder choice here was not knowing any of them. I interviewed and spoke to numerous builders in our community. There were a few that just were not a good fit for us to work with. It is important to remember that it is a relationship. The fact is you will be working with the builder and seeing them a lot. A custom home is a different experience than a production builder. There are lots of moving parts and lots of things are done on the fly as you move along. We looked for someone who was flexible with our thoughts on design and that would let us make choices with gentle guidance.

We chose our builder for the following reasons and many more: We liked them as people and knew we could work with them. We were comfortable with their knowledge, experience, and the quality of their work. Their reputation in the community. They were professional and timely in the process. They were a family business. There were are way to many things to mention in this post. Our choice for our builder is Trendsetters Construction. We are so excited to have them on this journey with us in building our dream home.

You can find them at

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Builder Choice 2

There are tons of great places on the internet to find information on how to find the best builder. I probably looked at all of them and read most of them LOL. Earlier this week I posted a link to one of them. I will add two in this blog post. There are tons of list out there and I suggest you pick on that reflects what is important to you and make your own. Take the best of a few and make a perfect list. The links below are ones I booked marked in the process. I am not endorsing any of these companies but found the information helpful.

Next week I will introduce you to the builder we choose and why we choose them. See you next week…

Get it off the sand and onto paper! The FLOOR PLAN….

Finding the dream lot so unexpectedly was one thing (amazing & awesome) but planning the house well that is another thing. Jason and I have had the good fortune to have built two other homes from the ground up. The first one was semi-custom so we could make some basic structural changes and make all design choices. The next one was one we designed giving the builder the basic idea of what we wanted, and they put it together and we got to tweak with it a bit. However, this time we decided we wanted to really layout the rooms and styles ourselves. We decided to think about all the things we loved from each prior home and cool ideas all over the years. We looked at all the great design ideas on line and model homes we visited not to mention my experience. Once we decided what square foot was in the budget and how it would layout on the lot we got started. We made tons of pins cataloging a lot of them on my Pinterest page. CHECK IT OUT HERE Suzanne Wille Studios and Beach House & Turtle Cove Beach Bungalow. Looking at and loving spaces and getting them on paper in a way that actually works is a whole interesting thing in itself. I am going to post some images of the beginnings of our dream plan and how many times it was moved around. So much harder than you would think. I will be posting additional post on some other ideas and ways we came to decide on our floor-plan. I can only put so much in one post.. Will be posting where we ended up in a later post… Thanks for joining in on this journey…..

Clearing the Lot & Those Beautiful Trees!

Once the underbrushing was complete we got a tree survey. The survey showed us where all the trees on the lot are and the type of trees. There are so many old live oaks and sable palms that we wanted to keep. The house we are building has a lot of the trees that have to go. Sad but true we kept every tree we possibly could that would still allow us to build our home. The key buying part of the property and neighborhood we loved the most was the wild old Florida feel and vibe. Natural live oaks, palms, sea grapes, beauty berry bushes, and butterfly bushes. There are others not so nice like Brazilian pepper which is an invasive nightmare. Being close to the beach and lots of wildlife you have to watch out for wild life you might not see other places. We had to make sure we did not have any gopher turtle that would need to be moved to new home if found. We had none thank goodness because relocating a single tortoise will cost you in the range of $1000-$3000. Whew no Gopher Turtles… While clearing the lot we have encountered a family of land crabs who made a little colony in the front yard area close to the road. Did I mention messing with those is a $750 fine each. That area is not being worked on at this time and as of last week I have not see any land crabs in their holes.We did also see a bobcat. Check out some of the images of the lot clearing. Next post will be about our house plans and how we designed dream home. Thanks again for stopping in and following us on this journey. Hope this finds you well…

So we have the lot Now What?

TCBB (Turtle Cove Beach Bungalow) So now we have the lot and its time to start clearing the underbrush! Time to see what we have here… Wow look at all those trees… It is amazing how much can grow in the warm tropical Florida sunshine. We have various palms and amazing live oaks. Lots of invasive Brazilian Pepper and after many years and years of jungle growth. So many trees and a tree survey to help us decide where to place the house and driveway..Here are a few pics of the lot underbrushing only. Next post I will show the lot clearing… Thanks for following along…

Finding the Lot! Turtle Cove Beach Bungalow!

“Turtle Cove Beach Bungalow” is what I am calling our dream home build. Jason and I made the decision to move back to my home state and build our dream home. We made many trips to Florida before choosing our property to build on. Don’t get me wrong we also looked at houses new built to fixer uppers. We would visit family and friends in Florida and keep our eye out for just the right place. We knew we wanted to be in the areas from Stuart to Palm Coast. I was born and raised on the East Coast side so that was a no brainer for me.

On one of our trips we were driving the coast and looking at houses and properties. We landed on in front of a For Sale sign on this jungle looking lot. The lot was in a community of a small grouping of homes. I loved the vibe of the homes all different in style but all coastal beachy vibe. The lots are all half an acre or a bit larger but have an old Florida feel. So many live oaks, various palms and natural landscape. Did I mention the neighbors were all friendly too!

Jason had a conference in Orlando the next day so we put the lot in our list and thought we can look it up later this week. Off to Orlando we went. Jason went to the conference and I did some sight-seeing, shopping normal vacay stuff. One day towards the end of the week it was raining, and I thought I am going to look up the property and see what else we might want to look at when conference is over.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the property price had been dropped significantly an estate type sale. Jason and I talked about it at dinner and agreed it needed a second look. So the next day we headed back to Sebastian, Vero Beach area to look at the property and possible other real estate.

The drive was great, and it was mid-day when we got to the lot! We were surprised when we pulled down the street and there was a realtor, and her clients in rubber boots obviously walking the lot. There was a house for sale at the end of the street and we pulled in and talked for a few minutes and said we will just drive by the lot and come back in a bit. Driving past the lot our windows rolled down the Realtor waives at us and stops us she says this is a great neighborhood, beach access is deeded, and it should be at the top if your list! A second later she says these are my clients and they are looking at putting in an offer on this lot!

Jason and I drive to the end of the street and Jason who never makes a rash decision looks me straight in the face and says we need to buy this lot, let’s find a bank for pre-approval letter, and we can write offer. I was like WHAT! Back the train up! Well it just feels right and I agreed. . So off to the bank we went, and we get our pre-approval letter.  With our Pre-approval letter and a handwritten offer, photo from cell phone to make digital lol and off it went to Realtor.  She kindly responded to us in Florida we have this professional offer form we use. I said ok fine put it on that form and we will sign it. We got the offer in on the correct document and the next day offer accepted and the lot is ours…

More about the lot next post….