Jacob Baranski on Custom Home Building: Foundations and Frameworks

Jacob Baranski — Woodworking

Like many people, Jacob Baranski fulfilled a lifelong dream of building his own customized home. It was a complicated process, but he found it hard to resist the lure of his own dream home for him and his family. Like every dreamer who sought to undertake such a huge, complicated project, he knew it would be complicated, filled with stress, financial burdens, and endless decisions to be made. But he did it anyway, as the lure of a dream home is just that strong.

But what does Jacob Baranski know now that he wishes he knew then? Plenty. More than can be laid out in a single article, but he hopes that some basic, introductory lessons on the issue, complications, and rewards of pulling off such a big project can be conveyed to readers, to save others time, money, and stress.

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Jacob Baranski — Custom Home Building

Details, Preparation, and More Details

The process of building a customized home involves making an almost endless series of choices, large and small. Jacob Baranski knows the very real risk of decision fatigue, and how it can make everything blur together. A builder or homeowner exhausted from picking out tiling, fixtures, and cabinet colors can mix things up on much bigger issues, like layout, plans, and contracts, topics that can massively impact the actual construction and experience of a customized home. In Jacob Baranski’s experience, the best solution to this conundrum is the simplest one: thorough preparation.

Efficient home construction is all about moving detailed, well-prepared plans into the real world. Jacob Baranski suggests planning every bit of the workout, and then working that plan. Create timelines for the whole process, all the way from the architect to who’s going to put in the locks and hand over the keys. Try to predict where delays are most likely to happen. The plan should be the go-to for guidance whenever things get murky.

Jacob Baranski suggests taking concrete steps toward design. Don’t just make lists. Buy a 16' tape measure, along with some masking tape, and portion out the measurements of rooms and hallways. Do it in the backyard if necessary. Being able to ‘see’ the proportion of a space can be clarifying, letting adjustments be made long before it’s too late (or too expensive) to make changes.

Measure out ceilings as well. The only way to understand proportion is to see it in the real world, especially in comparison to your current abode. A central living area with high ceilings is great, but too much space can feel cavernous. Bedrooms with high ceilings have the opposite effect, often feeling more cramped and less cozy than a small, well-proportioned sleeping area.

Jacob Baranski on Learning From Entrepreneurship Podcasts

The Unavoidable Risks of Customized Home Building

Jacob Baranski found that the biggest risk of building a customized home might just be a temptation. Projects evolve over time, and decisions that were previously set in stone can be tossed aside when a new, supposedly better idea strikes. Never do this unless you absolutely have to. Last-minute changes add time and cost to an already very lengthy and expensive process.

This is, again, where prep work is essential. The earlier changes come, the easier and less costly they will be to implement. Simply put, it is easier to move a few lines in an architect’s design program than it is to move a wall or window in real life. Even ideal home projects have major hurdles to overcome. It’s best not to complicate things with late-in-the-game changes.

Take the outdoor space around your property into account when beginning the design process. Jacob Baranski took inspiration from the area surrounding his construction site, and he recommends adjusting the design to how green or urban things are where you will live. A good architect can provide a 3D rendering of the envisioned house exterior, along with recommended features and fixtures. It may also be worth it to communicate with future neighbors about the ‘feel’ of the neighborhood’s aesthetic. After all, no one wants to live in what everyone in the neighborhood thinks is an out-of-place eyesore.

While exterior 3D models can be helpful, fully-rendered interior models are often the opposite. They are time-consuming for the architect to make, are often made independent of the actual floorplan’s precise measurements, leading to a final render that might not match up.

Jacob Baranski recommends avoiding that confusion altogether and says the same about interior furnishings. As the last details to be finalized, they are often chosen based on what the constructed home actually looks like, as opposed to what might have been imagined. What if your living room gets warmer, morning light than you expected? Or the deck is sunnier than you thought it would be? Furniture is one of the things you can change your mind about right until the end, so make that decision based on how the house turns out to be.

Conclusion: This is Just the Beginning

Every home-building experience is different, and this is just a piece of what Jacob Baranski gleaned from his personal experience with the process. The details are endless, from septic systems to blueprints with a human scale. However, anyone toying with the idea of customized home building needs to know what they’re getting into. There needs to be a balance between managing the complications of building with the reward of living in your dream home. And a good balance requires persistent attention to make it work.

Anyone reading this should imagine the concept of living in their own, perfect home that they designed themselves. Of waking up in a bedroom where every detail was their choice. The kitchen they always wanted. The home they always dreamed of. It is the biggest life goal of many. Something that meaningful is worth the time, effort, stress, and expense.



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Jacob Baranski

Jacob Baranski

Jacob Baranski is an entrepreneur, mountain biking enthusiast, and father to three amazing children.