It's always important that clients and builders be on the same page when it comes to turning a custom home plan into reality. But it's especially true when that's all anyone has to go on: a page. In Evelyn and John Lipori's case, it was a page with the idea of a house sketched by their teenage son.
The gray shutters are a defining feature of the otherwise modest exterior.
"Because we were creating something from scratch, there was no model we could walk into and say, 'This works for us,'" Evelyn says. "It was a stressful process."
And one that could've easily gone wrong. After all, Evelyn and John were building alongside Lake George, which is hundreds of miles from their Long Island residence. The couple also had to deal with an ever-evolving design — which existed merely in their heads, mind you — that included red pine and sparkling lake views from every room.
But nothing went wrong. In fact, everything went exactly right, and their 2,200-square-foot retreat boasts amazing views from every space except the bathrooms. And it wasn't just what they'd been visualizing — it was better. All the credit, they insist, goes to builder Red Pitkin, owner of Warm & Welcome Log Homes in Athol, New York, a dealer for log producer Lok-N-Logs Inc.
The comfy furnishings in the master bedroom were purchased well before the family moved in. "We didn't want the house to be done and then have to start buying furniture," says Evelyn, "because we figured it'd be months before we had enough stuff in there to use it."
"He was unbelievable. He was just never wrong," says John, recounting the back-and-forth exchanges with Red about design tweaks, including the great room's 19-foot ceiling and the rear deck with twin staircases. These weren't ideas the Liporis were open to — at first.
Morning coffee overlooking Lake George is a peaceful start to the day.
"He'd say, 'Well, think about this,' and we'd fight and fight. And he'd tell us to keep thinking about it. And we'd fight and fight some more. But he was always right."
For Red, though, it wasn't about being right. It was about simple communication, which, along with having the experience to know what works, is the key to any successful building project. "I hear builders talk about adversarial relationships with clients all the time," says Red. "I don't have those kind of relationships. I call my clients every Friday night to give them an update on what we're doing, what we got accomplished and what changes we might need to discuss."
It was just this level of honesty that built the Liporis trust in Red — and ultimately their home.
Evelyn and John are thrilled with how much of a difference his changes made. "It's not a big house, but it feels big because of the design," Evelyn says. "The way we describe it is that it hugs you. It's that welcoming."
A hugging home? There's no higher praise than that.
Home Plan Details:
Square Footage: 2,200
Builder and Log Dealer: Warm & Welcome Log Homes
Log Company: Lok-N-Logs Inc.