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Couture and Construction Podcast Understanding Construction Budgets with Kelly Ladwig

Welcome back to Couture & Construction, an uplifting podcast dedicated to the many different aspects of the luxury building industry. In episode twenty-five, Kelly Ladwig, of @homeonanashvillehill and Village Real Estate, joins us as our first returning guest. Kelly is in the midst of her custom build journey and in Episode 4, she shared with us the importance of the budget in the home build process. In “The First Trimester” episode, we hear more about the ups and downs of her new construction journey.

Keep it in perspective. Something may seem monumental right now, but when you are sitting in that house, it’s not going to matter. Know when to dig your heels in and know when not to.

Kelly Ladwig

We broke ground, what’s next?

Kelly gives us an overview of where her project stands – she’s broken ground, the house is framed, electrical and plumbing are in, and the house is currently in the inspections phase. We asked what has she learned so far along the way? The one thing she wasn’t prepared for is how the process is all-consuming. By documenting the process on her Instagram account, she’s learned that there is such a hunger for more education on the building process. And, so much of what goes into a build is future-proofing. Kelly says when doing a custom build you should always ask:  “what can you do right now when you’re building that can help you down the road?” One of the biggest challenges has been coordinating all the different vendors since she’s working with several brand partners outside her builder’s preferred vendor list. 

The most fulfilling part of the process for Kelly has been to see the house come to life exactly as she imagined it. Is there an added impact of stress on your daily lives from the process? Kelly shares that while it has been stressful with worries throughout about money, products, the flow of the house, weather, etc, it’s also been so rewarding because Kelly and her wife, Suzie, feel very lucky to be able to custom-build their house. 

It’s very helpful to be able to rely on the professionals, “bring in people who know what they’re doing,” Kelly advises. Communication with the builder is key. Learning how the builder likes to communicate – email, phone, or text – is important to being able to stay involved. Understand the build team has schedules for a reason, which is why they may need certain decisions made early on in the process. It’s also essential to find someone you’re comfortable working with. Lastly, remember your building team is working hard and needs breaks too, so be empathetic throughout the build journey. 

Money is the big looming decision throughout a custom build process. The budget is a guide, there are things that cause the budget to go up and down that are out of your control. Kelly found that if she would go over budget in one area, she’d find a place to lower the budget to even things out. Plan to adduct and reduct.

In the next phase, Kelly is most excited about the flooring being installed. As the build is nearing the final stage, expect delays. It’s hard to anticipate what could happen along the way, so be open-minded and flexible with the finish date. From a client perspective, Kelly suggests some improvements the industry could make is to always consider that this is someone’s home, not just a job. Take the time to close a window if it’s raining, to cover the counters if you’re installing tile; being mindful it’s a home where people will be living. On the flip side, Kelly advises homeowners to “be nice.” Don’t take frustrations out on the crew and be understanding.

Tune in to Episode 25 to hear more from Kelly and learn more about the custom home build process.

More About our Guest

As a little girl, Kelly Ladwig’s favorite day of the week was Sunday because that’s when she would go to open houses with her parents. As an adult, homes have become her passion.

Kelly has renovated several homes, designed several others and is currently embarking on a custom home build of her own. This project spurred her to head to the Instagram app a year ago.  She started her account @homeonanashvillehill as a way to get some inspiration for her build as well as learn from others.  She quickly gained a loyal following who know her for her candor as well as her love of black windows, iron doors, reclaimed brick, handmade floors and tile. She’s discovered there’s a real need for content to help other people who are also building and she’s currently working on a video series featuring her home.

Kelly, originally from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, spent 20 years as a television news reporter, producer and on-camera talent. She’s also spent a dozen years in advertising, working with global brands such as Nissan and INFINITI as well as a variety of travel and education accounts. Her skill for telling a brand’s story using new technology like virtual and augmented reality has resulted in multiple awards including the coveted Cannes Lion.

When Kelly isn’t building her home or writing about homes, she helps other people find their dream homes as a real estate agent with Village Real Estate.

She and her wife Suzie admit they’re building their new Williamson County, TN house for their two dogs and three cats. They just get to live there. In her spare time she loves working out, cooking and planning her next trip to either Italy or the Maldives.

Kelly Ladwig on construction budgets

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