Although we designed our Argyle, Texas home and selected all the finishes, we hired another contractor to build it since we were living a ways away and could not oversee the day to day construction ourselves. We came out once or twice a month to visit. We had to trust that the project was being managed well in the interim. When we finally arrived on scene, there was still a significant amount of work to be completed. Derek put on both his architect and project managers' hats and jumped in.
During our build and subsequently, as we began to meet people and talk with others who had built their own homes, we heard a lot of similar frustrations from people regarding their builders. In some cases it was quality and in almost every case it also included communication. It's that old line from Cool Hand Luke "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."
Prompted to explore the idea of creating our own construction company to incorporate Derek's professional background of architecture, subcontracting and general contracting, and mine of construction and business law, risk management and the marketing aspects of my coaching business, we believed we had a unique set of skills to enter the custom home building arena in the DFW area. We were fortunate to have an opportunity during this time to sit down with a dad from our school who was the founder of CiCi's Pizza. He was a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. He listened, he heard our story and finally he spoke. He told us what we needed to identify as we launched a new business was "what makes us different."
Now, almost a year later, we still reflect on those words on a regular basis - before we meet with clients, as we make decisions for our homes, and as we interact in our community. What makes us different? Some of these differences include being a husband and wife team who bring unique talents to the table and work hand in hand with husband and wife clients, Derek's keen eye and attention to detail, our hearts to act with integrity at all times, and our desire to clearly communicate with everyone we work with - from our clients to our suppliers to our trade contractors. And to be intentional about those interactions. Every person matters. Every last employee is doing a job and is part of the team.
Another thing that makes Story Builders different is our commitment to quality workmanship. Today I ran by our Belle Cote job site. This is what I encountered:
While sheetrock was being insalled by a contractor, Derek was busy installing mineral wool for sound deadening between the master bathroom and the master bed headboard wall and a couple other places to minimize sounds from plumbing.
Other things I noticed today that reflect Derek's attention to detail and his desire to create a "custom" home include 1) calling the electrician back out to make slight adjustments to insure can lights are aligned down the length of the hallway, 2) installing shampoo niches in all showers on the inside wall that will never be seen by anyone besides the person showering (although those niches look great on HGTV with their fancy tiles, when they are full of various shampoo bottles and soaps they never look great), 3) he'd also taken the time to install backing for every TV location in each room, with some thought as to size of TVs and how everything could remain hidden, and 4) light switches at every bedside so you don't have to get up to turn off the lights when you are reading in bed. So many of these details are often overlooked until the home is completed and the functionality is affected.
These are all fairly minor, 1st world issues for sure, but when you are building custom homes, the details matter and doing things diffeently sets you apart from others.
We'd love to know about features in your home that you love. What are the things you really are happy about? What features do you wish you had? We'd love your input. It would be fun to take your ideas and add them for our clients. We are always looking for ways to do things differently!