Archives: March 2015


One day during the construction of the Carrboro house, the tile installer interrupted me to ask: “What is this place?” “A house?” I responded, somewhat unsure of the question.
He looked up then over, “Really!?” He started walking away. “Wow… Holy cow!” As he walked down the hallway, his head turned up to the skylights and back to the floor. “Wow! This place is (expletive) amazing!” As he entered the living room, he grinned from ear to ear and said, “I’d love something like this in the country.”
I wish I had video of him walking through the house because his reaction is part of the joy we get from creating places that make people feel good every day. Many others have walked through with more reserved comments: “beautiful,” “fabulous,” “love it!” But once in a while you see people visibly moved like the realtor who walked into the Jetty House bathroom and exclaimed, “Wow! Honey, come here! Look! Now this is architecture!”



One common question we receive is how much should be budgeted for a modern home project? Paying for a home is analogous to buying car: the bigger the car, the higher the cost. More options add cost and higher quality costs more than lower quality. If you’re in North Carolina, we suggest budgeting between $225 and $250 per square foot as a base – in Massachusetts, add $50 to those numbers. This should achieve a good level of quality and energy efficiency with a balanced cost approach. If you desire Porsche-level high design and perfection, add up to 40% to the above. If you’re on a shoestring budget, consider building a smaller home. There are many ways to make a small home live big and you’ll have less to maintain. Our Carrboro house is a 4 bedroom, 2.5 baths, with a very generous living area in just 1750sf.

There are many variables in the cost of building, but controlling a budget starts with the layout and design. A compact 2-story 3,000sf home will cost less than a single story 3,000sf home, as some of the larger building costs are associated with foundation and roof areas. This is why it is often helpful to consult with an architect early in the planning process.