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Custom Coastal Living

Photos by John Martinelli

There are many important phases when it comes to the planning, design and building of a custom coastal home.

Once the size, structural elements, floorplan and overall design have been carefully determined with respect to your desired lifestyle at the shore, the architectural plans, specifications and allowances are finalized and the actual building process moves forward. Your homebuilder should seamlessly handle the permits, proceed with site preparation and begin the technical aspects of the build. Finally comes the exciting time to make those decisions that will bring your home to life: The stage of homebuilding called ‘the selections process.’

The selections process phase requires the homeowner’s personal time as it visually sets the tone for the home. As one is guided through this process, you will make the many required decisions about selections that will complete the look, feel and finish of a home reflecting your personality and style. These decisions will begin to make your house unique and fully yours— with the materials, textures and colors that you’ve always envisioned. It’s time to “fill the box.”

With a true custom home, there are many categories of decisions to be made like siding, roofing, windows, railings, lighting & plumbing fixtures, flooring, cabinetry, appliances, paint, trim, hardware, mantle and doors, to name a few. Within these categories, there are almost unlimited sizes, styles, colors and materials to choose from. To some this may sound daunting but to most it’s a lot of fun! For those not interested in all of these choices, things can be streamlined and made as simple or as detailed as you would prefer.

Many people who build a new home actually collect ideas for years before the process begins. They have a folder of torn out magazine pages or saved helpful articles, pretty pictures and bookmarked websites on a laptop. Surely, you’ve even taken photos on your smartphone of things that have caught your eye, for ‘some-day.’ However you do it, you’re on the right track by preparing. Taking the time (ahead of time) to simply think through and determine what you like and don’t like is extremely productive in helping your builder and you stay on track, on schedule and within budget. With the guidance and expertise of your building team—whether simple or detailed—your home selection process can be stress-free and enjoyable. An open dialogue and clear communication is always key.

Here are some hints to having you cross the finish line with a smile:

Collaborate from the onset

Involve your custom builder from the beginning of the home design process to help you achieve your best end-goal. Some homeowners assume that they know what they want once sitting down in the ‘selections meeting’ but if the home was designed with mid-range allowances in order to maintain a certain price point or final budget, the homeowner may realize that the choice they really wanted is not attainable within that allowance. Similar options may exist but this is best discussed in the beginning to avoid any potential disappointment and ensure you achieve your desired vision.

Bonus Tip: taking photos of all of your top choices while you’re

actually doing the selections will help when looking back.

Gather Ideas

Do the research upfront. Don’t wait until your ‘selections phase’ meeting to start thinking about it. Collect and bring photos or samples of what you find attractive and appealing (i.e.: paint colors and stains, fixture finishes, siding/roof color combinations, etc.).

What’s Your Style?

Whether building a vacation, investment or primary home on Long Beach Island, clients truly enjoy making it their own. Do you favor traditional styling, modern and contemporary, craftsman or cottage? Do you lean towards certain materials like natural wood, vinyl, glass, tile, stone, metal or brick? Do you like dark or light colors, traditional or classic/clean trim styles, oil rubbed bronze, chrome or satin nickel for your plumbing fixtures? Knowing visually what you prefer will help to narrow your choices more quickly and create a nice integrated look.

Select in Stages

Although all things inter-relate, all decisions do not have to be made at once. It is critical, however, that the homeowner understand how the promptness of their selection decisions affect the timing of the project overall. A schedule will be determined so that each stage can be focused on as-needed. For example, exterior selections are required first (windows, roofing, siding). Then come things like flooring (large area) that set the tone for the other surfaces followed by cabinetry, countertops, wall coverings (tile, paint, trim, etc.), stairs and so on.

Some companies offer partial on-site showrooms; others will direct clients to select suppliers who offer more extensive showrooms with greater choice and whose quality and varied price points are on display for greater homeowner choice. Some offer a combination of both.

Consider all Elements

Think about your realistic commitment to maintenance in your new custom home. Are you the type who will be dedicated to the upkeep of a look you’ve created or are you the low maintenance type? Living on a barrier island has its challenges with salt, wind, sun, sand and overall weather. Answer this question honestly as you think about your potential selections for exterior and interior materials for your home.

Watching all of the pieces finally come together is an exciting and rewarding part of building your own Long Beach Island home—a wonderful experience and exactly what you envisioned for you and your family.

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