Countdown to Parade of Homes series Week 2:

How to turn a good plan into a WOW plan

Thanks for joining me on Week 2 of my new blog series “Countdown to Parade of Homes”.  Last week we looked at what elements make a plan “Parade Worthy”.  Not all plans measure up.  As a builder, we spend hours and hours looking for just the right plan in order to showcase our talents and style while appealing to today’s market.  Hopefully, you read last week’s post and have been waiting in suspense to see which plan we ended up choosing.


Which one, which one???

If you have stumbled upon this blog by accident and didn’t read last week, STOP AND CLICK HERE to read last week’s post first.

Thank you to all who voted on our social media platforms last week.  New this week, I’ve added a poll directly onto the blog itself.  Based on the combined total votes, the WINNER is. . .

That is really exciting because we dug the footing for that plan last week.  However, as much as Neil and I both love the Jennings plan, I also love the Clifton Place plan and am hopeful we will get to build it some day in the near future.  But for now, let’s look a little deeper into the Jennings plan and how we took the original plan which was good, and tweaked it to create a WOW plan.

The Original Plan (before):


The Tweaked version (after):



As I mentioned last week, it is hard to find a perfect plan.  Our goal is to find a plan that with a little tweaking can be a really great plan.  I want to point out that if you plan to purchase a plan yourself from one of the many sites available online, you will need to purchase the plan license and either work directly with the plan company to make changes or you can take it to a local architect and have changes made.  But either way, you have to purchase the original plan license first.

Another option is to work directly with an architect and have a plan drawn from scratch to fit your exact needs and wants.  We personally like working with clients in the early stages of space planning and designing a home.  We have found the entire process goes much smoother when we can work with the client and the architect during the drawing phase.  More than once we have been asked to price a home that has already been drawn by an architect.  The client has already spent months and a good amount of money on having the plan drawn and then we take a look at the plan and automatically see areas that would benefit from some changes.  Architects do a great job drawing aesthetically pleasing home designs, however, from a builder’s point of view, the plans aren’t always as functional or budget friendly as most of our clients would appreciate.  Therefore, I feel a more efficient process when designing a new home is working with both an architect and your builder together so the end result will be a beautiful and functional home that meets your needs, wants, and budget.

Back to the Jennings plan.  After reviewing all the different changes, what do you think?? Thankfully, none of these changes required any major re-engineering so we were able to make these changes pretty easily.  However, that is not always the case.  For example, we had already started framing last year’s Parade Home and as I was walking through one day I had an epiphany that I wanted to open up the kitchen and create a large island.  Unfortunately, Neil quickly let me know it was too late for such a change.  Framing had already started, we were on a tight building schedule as it was and it simply wasn’t an option at that point to stop framing and have the plan re-engineered and a new steel beam ordered.  I was a little pouty for a few days but quickly came to the realization Neil was absolutely right because we would have never made judging if we had gone with my late idea (he’s probably going to print and frame this).

The good news- it turned out beautiful anyway and the home sold during sheetrock stage.  The even better news, we had a new client come in and love everything about the home but always wanted a big kitchen island, so guess what, we are currently rebuilding that same plan with the big island.  It’s framing now and I’m so excited and can’t wait to see it finished.  Now we are both happy! 🙂

Here is the original Kitchen layout:


This wall will stay the same


Original Cabinet drawing


This area has been removed


New Kitchen layout adding the big island

Now that I have taken you through the process of customizing an existing plan, I hope it inspires you to view plans in an entirely different way.  Don’t just look at the plan as drawn, but look at is as a starting point that you can customize and make your very own.  One note of caution, I’m speaking from a Custom Builder mindset.  If you chose to work with more of a Production-type builder, I caution you to ask first before you get your heart set on a change because it could end up costing you a lot more than you anticipated.  Production builders are cost effective for a reason, they don’t like changes.  Changes slow things down and cost money.  Custom Building is certainly not for everyone.  You may prefer to have everything already decided for you.  If you are considering buying or building a new home, consider carefully which method would work best for you.

So now that we have the plan and permits, and the foundation is underway, the real fun begins!  Hope you will join me next week as start the Exterior Selections and ARB (Architectural Review Board) process.

About Jarman Homes

Neil and Joy Jarman are a husband and wife team that specialize in Custom Home building and remodeling. Neil's hands-on engineering and contractor skills combined with Joy's design and marketing expertise work hand in hand to create a unique and customized experience for clients.
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1 Response to Countdown to Parade of Homes series Week 2:

  1. Pingback: Countdown to Parade of Homes: Only 7 days before Judging! | Jarman Homes

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