Fine Line Home Design LLC

we draw on your ideas.

Fun and functional designs for custom homes, additions, and renovations in Western MD and the WV Panhandle since 1998.  Homeowners and contractors welcome!

Thanks, Blue Ridge Country Magazine!

My all-time favorite house has just been featured in the July/August issue of Blue Ridge Country magazine, much to my delight.   This was a challenging but immensely rewarding project.  Pictures just begin to convey the steepness of the lot, which allowed a very small building envelope on the flattest (i.e., least steep) section.  The majority of the property is literally too steep to walk on; rather, you need to climb down to the Shenandoah below.

 

I've got this design plastered all over the place, but hey, it's an awesome house.  The homeowners have done a fantastic job of decorating, and with the help of an interior designer they made some wonderful choices in their finishes.

My husband and I will be kayaking past this home next month.  I'm looking forward to seeing it perched on the cliff as we float past.

http://blueridgecountry.com/newsstand/magazine/mountain-modern-in-harpers-ferry/



How much will my custom home cost?

This is a question that I can't answer for you, unfortunately.  There are simply too many variables for me to give an answer with any authority.  What I can tell you is that there are some Wish List line items I see again and again that translate into higher-than-expected estimates, such as:

  • Solar panels
  • Geothermal
  • Metal roofing
  • Fireplaces
  • Hardwood and tile (as opposed to carpet or laminate)
  • Fiber-cement siding (as opposed to vinyl siding)
  • Stone or brick veneer
  • Custom cabinetry, particularly the modern stuff
  • High end countertops
  • Exaggerated cantilevers
  • "Green" building materials and practices
  • Structural garage slabs with storage rooms beneath
  • Really cool exterior doors
  • Unique staircases (open riser, open stairwells, unusual shapes)
  • Synthetic decking boards and decking rails (as opposed to treated wood)
  • Cable rail systems
  • High ceilings (and the taller windows and doors that follow)
  • Stained wood interior trim (as opposed to painted wood trim)
  • Elevators
  • Floor level transitions (sunken Great Room, for example)
  • Coffered or cathedral ceilings
  • Roof structures that cannot be built using pre-engineered roof trusses
  • Timber framing
  • Multiple covered porches
  • One story homes (as opposed to two stories)
  • Any non-traditional construction technique which would require finding a builder with experience in that technique (such as SIPs, or straw bale construction).

Don't get me wrong -- I like these things too and will happily show them on your preliminary and subsequent pricing drawings.  Every customer has at least a couple custom features that simply  must be incorporated into the final job, no matter what.   And keep in mind that some big-ticket items like solar panels or geothermal are investments that can be recouped over time.  Just be ready for a bit of sticker-shock when your potential builder gives you an estimate that's more than you anticipated.  And be ready to cross a few things off of your list in order to afford the features that will keep you loving your home for years to come.

Might I suggest you check out this site and run some basic ideas through it before you become too discouraged?

www.costtobuild.net

Maybe you don't need a three-car garage after all, if it means you can have 9' second floor ceilings instead of 8'!  This site is free to use and I did a trial run-through of a generic two-story home that came in just where I anticipated it would.

 

 

March comes in like a lion and goes out like, well, another lion.

I resolved to write regular posts on this blog in 2014, and you can see how well I kept that particular resolution.  It's not that I don't have useful and interesting things to post about.  Perish the thought!  I've just been preoccupied with deadlines.

Early Spring is typically a busy time for residential designers.  The phone rings more frequently once the daffodils appear, as homeowners start thinking about parties on future decks and summertime naps on future screened porches.  Contractors are also lining up future projects that they've gotten through various Home Shows in March, and Fine Line Home Design's number is in many a builder's Rolodex. (Yes, I said "Rolodex".  Didn't you enjoy the 90's as much as I did?)

If you're hoping to complete an addition this summer, don't wait until it's warm enough to read in the hammock before you get the ball rolling on your plans.  Even though we had whiteout conditions this morning, warm weather - addition weather! -  is right around the corner.  Give me a call at 301-416-8499 to discuss your potential project.  I'll keep the office toasty warm and will provide endless refills on hot coffee.  Unless it heats up to the 80's next week, in which case I'll turn on the fan and ice the coffee.

There's nobody wishing for Spring more than Michael Taylor, the builder of this clifftop home!

There's nobody wishing for Spring more than Michael Taylor, the builder of this clifftop home!