Hiring a General Contractor

Today I’m going to share my best tips for hiring a general contractor. But first, let’s take a quick look at the latest on my new modern farmhouse build.

I’m In Love With A Staircase

Before we ever started building our new home, I was planning it all out in my head. I knew I wanted an L-shaped staircase so I started looking for modern farmhouse staircase ideas.

I finally found a house plan that I really liked. The original plans (before I hired an architect to change a few things), called for a curved staircase. While curved staircases are stunning, it’s a little too formal for me. It wasn’t what I wanted so I had the architect change it to an L-shaped.

L shaped staircase with red oak newel posts

At first, I wanted to paint the newel posts white. And I was going to have white balusters. But when I saw how beautiful the red oak was, there’s no way I could paint it. So, stain it is!

staircase with black metal and red oak

Also, somewhere along the way, I changed my mind from white balusters to black metal. The black metal balusters are squared just like the window casings and baseboards. I don’t have any rounded millwork in the house. 🙂 It’s a thing with me!

I like the clean lines and I love the fact that I won’t ever have to paint all those balusters.

General Contractors - Staircase up close photo

Tongue and Groove Porch Ceiling

The crew installing the tongue and groove on all the porch ceilings will begin work tomorrow. The tongue and groove arrived Friday. We met the lumber delivery guy at the site and my husband helped him unload all that lumber.

Do we get a discount from our general contractor for all of the work we do? Hmmm – I think we should.

What is a tongue and groove ceiling?

A tongue-and-groove pine ceiling usually consists of pine boards that fit side-to-side (tongue into the groove) across the ceiling.

You can paint or stain a tongue and groove ceiling. All of my porch ceilings will be tongue and groove. I think I’m going to stain the wrap-around porch that leads from the study and connects to the lanai in the back.

I’m painting the front porch and laundry porch ceilings haint blue. Because I live in South Carolina and that’s the SC way!

Questions To Ask When Hiring A General Contractor

A general contractor is someone who coordinates and supervises every aspect of remodeling or building a house.

Helpful Tip: If you are building a custom house, make sure you do a thorough interview with the contractors.

I realize that it’s different when you’re buying in a community where you pick out a plan from 8 plans, etc. You don’t usually get to choose the builder.

However, if you’re building a custom house like I am, it’s up to you to find a builder.

Make sure you ask these two questions: “Do you ever visit the site of the new build? How involved are you with the project?”

I did ask a lot of questions when I was interviewing contractors,  but I never thought of asking the two questions above. I just assumed and really wish I had asked.

Unfortunately, our contractor rarely visits the site. When he does call to check-in, he’s giving us old news because we visit the site every single weekday. Every. Single. Day. (unless we’re out of town)

When he couldn’t find a trim guy to do the stairs/millwork, we found one.

Things will get sloppy when you don’t have a general contractor who oversees everything. Since I have a type-A personality, this really bothers me and I have to cast all my cares over onto the Lord.

But, also, because I’m a type-A, I find myself doing things the general contractor should be doing. For example, way back when we ordered our windows, they came in at 25,000 above the window allowance, so I went and had a sit-down with the window rep and we got the price back down to within the allowance.

My daily confession is, “All is well and it is and will be well because it is well with my soul.” Remember, building a custom house is not for sissies.

Reclaimed Mantel News

PS – Today I went to Cope and Stick in Charlotte, NC, and picked out my reclaimed mantel. It’s a beam from a barn that was built in Ohio in the early 1800s. It even has two wooden pegs still in the wood.

I wanted my mantel to be really old and I’m so happy with my choice! I can’t wait to show it to you once they clean it up a little and cut it down to size.




Alli loves her southern, country lifestyle. Whether she's decorating her new modern farmhouse or cooking up a storm for her family, Alli is all about living her best life now and spoiling her grandkids! She enjoys traveling, reading, Duke basketball, photography, and all things coastal. Alli wants to be a beach bum when she grows up.

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