Mountain House & Home: Hindsight: 20/20
If hindsight is 20/20, then foresight is, well priceless. For most homeowners, building a home is an experience like none other and they, along with builders and architects, will attest that a successful experience can be likened to a marriage: It has as much to do with attitude as it does to paying attention to the details. There may be no more challenging time than when you are married to not only your spouse, but also your architect and your builder, says Lance Keller, vice president of Aspen Meadow Construction in Silverthorne, CO. He tells all of his clients that the time during which their home will be designed and built will be like a three-year marriage; there will be good times and rough times, and how well each party handles the rough times determines whether the marriage is great or not so great. Homeowner Frank Marciante says homebuilders must have confidence in the entire team building the home. The Marciantes built their home in a fairly remote area near Telluride. They had only solar power on their large acreage when the building of their home began, so the contractors had to be self-sustainable and bring their own generators. Upfront communication among the entire team about everything is always important, says Brent Hughes, of Lindal Custom Homes and builder of the Marciante home.
Speaking of communication, keeping a good sense of humor is mentioned most often as an important part of making the team relationship work. An attitude of adventure is how architect Chris Green encourages his clients to approach building their house. His philosophy is that creating a home is an adventure not a means to an end but an exploration where all involved have an opportunity get creative, have fun and break out of the box. For many homeowners, intimate involvement in the homebuilding process is non-negotiable. As Arch Wright says, the building of his home took over my life. He was so excited to be a part of the process that trying to maintain balance between home life, his business and the house was out of the question. The Marciantes were so closely involved with building that Frank designed the home, and they lived in a trailer on-site during construction to watch its progress. According to Marciante, homeowners have two choices: They can either watch everything, or get out of the way and show up only when its finished. Both the Wrights and the Marciantes say building a home can be a huge challenge to a marriage. Each couple dealt with the challenge differently, however. The Marciantes found that delegating responsibility worked, although they made all major decisions together. Frank was in charge of overseeing the construction of the home, while Sharon was charged with designing and furnishing the interior.For the Wrights, it worked better for Arch to oversee the entire project, report progress and consult on all major decisions with his wife, Leslie. But Arch warns that with their busy schedules, they had to go out of their way to remember to communicate and not make assumptions about the tastes of the other. So in the end, perhaps the best advice in having a successful home-building experience is to remember the counsel often passed down through generations as the secrets to a good marriage: Communicate well, keep an open mind, practice a healthy sense of humor and, above all, try to have some fun.