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large luxurious custom home build for a total newbie

5 years ago

I hope this post doesn't sound weird, and I hope someone can provide insight. it's always been my dream to live in a large beautiful custom built house, and it looks like that can become a reality now. I've always been a poor starving artist, but things went unexpectedly well with my husband's startup and we've discovered we can make this dream a reality. I don't want anything mansion-y, but I do want lots of space and high end finishes. I'd prefer the house to have a very eclectic artistic feel and I want to be heavily involved in designing it. my husband is a tech guy and wants the house to have all the latest smart features and be built using cutting edge technology. we're figuring the budget around 2-5 million not including the land cost.

but I have no idea where to start.

1. Builder?

we are remodeling an average house right now in a small town in southern washington to live in while we begin this custom home journey. doing the remodel I met with nearly every builder in town and they all seemed okay but none of them seemed like they'd know what to do with a project like mine. should I look at builders in the nearest big city (Portland) and see if there are any builders there who are also licensed in WA and could do a project like this? how do you vet a luxury builder? since there aren't any similar homes in our area to compare with, how do I know if they're giving me an appropriate price? even the fancy homes in Portland aren't very high tech or cutting edge. They're more like old brick mansions on the river, with lots of wood paneling and chandeliers, not my style at all.

2. Architect?

how do I find an architect? since we want all kinds of neat features do I need a structural engineer too? how can I make sure an architect or structural engineer (or builder for that matter) is familiar with working with the kinds of features we want? do I need an interior designer?

3. Materials?

for our current remodel I've been exposed to the various elements that go into a house and the choices I'll have to make. now I'm wondering, where do you find high end materials? do people who live in mansions buy their appliances from home Depot? I've been to stores with expensive light fixtures -- their wares seem either tacky or just higher quality versions of the exact same styles available at Lowe's. Is that all there is? we went to a few higher end tile boutiques and their stuff was nice but the selection was smaller than I thought it would be, and again, there was nothing too unusual, just a high quality version of the same styles found everywhere. we went to every countertop place in Portland and didn't find a single countertop I really liked. but I see pictures of stuff on Pinterest and think "where did they get that!?!!" so... where did they get that?

I have zero exposure to this world and I'm very clueless where to start.

I appreciate your time and thanks for reading.

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