Nine Things To Know 
Before You Build Your Dream Home 7

Building your dream home sounds romantic, but a lot can happen between your dream and the finished product. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced builder and an interior designer to facilitate the process.

We asked the experts for the most important things to think about when building your dream home: Mike Burianek, president, and Katie Frichtl, operations manager of Modern Home Concepts of Wooster, as well as Katie Heinz, president and senior designer of Interior Design Studio of Medina. Modern Home Concepts is a leader in building beautiful energy efficient homes, designed to match each client’s specific needs. Interior Design Studio is a family owned and operated full service design studio. Both companies work together in bringing a creative and caring experience to the design/build process for their mutual clients.

Details, details, details

“Most people don’t realize the amount of detail that goes into designing and building a home,” says Katie Heinz, “People start off thinking about the basics – paint, flooring, cabinetry — but they also need to consider layout, function and durability.”

“When I’m building a home,” says Mike, “I ask my clients about their dominant hand. That little piece of information makes a difference in where the light switches go. I work with clients to make their home user-friendly. I want to make sure light switches are easily accessible, electronics outlets are exactly where the client needs them. I test my layouts for function. Yesterday’s kitchen triangle doesn’t always work because today’s kitchens have many more gadgets and technology. I look at how each room will be used by the client.”

“The laundry room needs storage, but every family is different,” says Kate Frichtl, “What works for one family doesn’t always work for another.”

The team encourages clients to think about things like how much storage is needed; where the laundry room and mudroom will be; how many bays or lockers are needed in the mudroom; will the master bedroom be on the first floor or second floor; will they want to watch the sunset or the sunrise from their master suite, and much more.

“They need to consider the options that will add to the value of their home,” says Mike, “That’s why we work closely with our clients to get it right.”

Plan ahead

Knowing how long you’ll be in your home is important to its design.

“Will you be there five years or 30 years?” says Katie, “Will your children grow up in the home? Or will you upgrade to a larger home as your family grows? You want your home to age gracefully with you, but if you’re not planning to live in it for the next 30 years, that’s going to change how your home is designed.”

The Lower Level

“We don’t call them basements anymore because they’re much more than that,” says Mike, “The lower level is extra square footage of living space. Don’t just build one big dry-walled room. Plan ahead. If you can’t afford to finish the lower level now, put in the lighting, rough in the plumbing, and plan how the area will be used. Then finish it when your budget allows.”

Weigh today’s dollar against tomorrow’s cost

“Think about how much a project will cost you now against tackling it in the future,” says Mike. “If you know you want an extra garage bay, build it now because it’s going to cost a lot more to build it in the future. Exercise your budget to its fullest potential and make sure you’re allocating those dollars to the items you really know you want and need.”

Consider your options

“Make a list,” says Katie, “Balance wants, needs, must haves. It will give you a clearer picture of your dream home.”

“Some items may seem like luxuries but are actually necessities.” says Mike, “If you want that heated floor in the master bath, don’t think of it as a luxury, especially in our cold climate. If you decide to add it later, it will cost more. I recommend clients go for the granite countertop, the stainless steel appliances. They increase the resale value of your home, plus you get to enjoy them for many years before you sell.”

Think electronics and electrical

“There have been many electronic innovations to date and there will be more,” says Mike, “Docking stations for tablets and phones are a must. We also guide our clients through lighting options. Most people think about that big statement chandelier but they also need to think about task lighting. The proper lighting can affect the mood of a room. Do they want LED or rope lighting on the stairs? Do they need recessed lighting or task lighting? We walk the client through all these decisions, and there are many of them.”

Go for certified 
energy efficiency

“We’re a certified energy efficient builder,” says Mike, “You want to make sure your builder performs all the tests needed to ensure your new home is certified energy efficient. There is a big difference between certified energy efficiency and energy efficiency. At Modern Home Concepts, all of our homes are certified 5 Star or 5 Star Plus.”

Take a tour

Before you build, tour a variety of model homes, but remember everything looks perfect in a model home.

“Look beyond the decorating and really think about the layout of the house,” says Katie, “Picture yourself living it. Do you like the flow? Would it work for your family? Are rooms the right size, is there enough storage? Then think about how the home would be situated on your lot. Where will the sun come through the windows? Will flowers grow in the front yard? Go beyond just the bones of the house.”

“The bones of a house are important,” says Mike, “but you need to think beyond that. As you tour a home, think about things like are the floors creaking? Do doors and drawers close easily and quietly? Not all buildings are created equal. You need to consider more than the face value of a home. Use all of your senses to get a feel for the quality of the workmanship.”

Do your research

“When looking for a builder, make sure you find a reputable, financially sound builder who respects your vision,” says Mike. “Things happen. One year after your home is built, something can go awry. You want a builder who stands behind the product.”

Mike Burianek is passionate about the home building process, designing homes for structure and efficiency, while working within a client’s budget. Every Modern Home Concepts home is built certified energy efficient. Kate Frichtl focuses on the hundreds of details involved in building a home, pulling all those details together during the home building process.;

Katie Heinz works directly with each client to bring the latest and greatest design elements to the planning process, working from the outside to the interior and assisting the client in the selection of all materials. or visit