At some point during their house-hunting experience, most people think about building their own home rather than moving into someone else’s vision of how a home should look. But the idea is usually abandoned quickly in the assumption that it would be too costly and lengthy a process. Brooke and Steve Giannetti didn’t let those fears stop them. They were determined to find ways to build their house in a low-cost, expeditious manner.
The persistence paid off their dream home was built to their specifications and was move-in ready in six months. For those who lean toward buying an older home because they are attracted to vintage architectural details, Brooke suggests incorporating those features into new house plans. We love the details of older homes, so we built ours using elements that would have been found in one. Steve, who is an architect, used classical proportions when designing it, she says.
Brooke, an interior designer, found another benefit to building her own spaces: unrestricted creative expression. We have wood floors in the bathroom, she says. Most people worry about getting water on it, but it doesn’t damage the wood. We even have it going up to the shower. The floors are constructed of random-width pine boards nailed to subflooring. They get better with age, Brooke says.
Seeing the Light
Perhaps the aspect in which the Giannettis showed their ingenuity the most was in adding light to their new bedroom suite. Our previous place was very dark, so when we built this home it was important that our bedroom and bath be light and bright, Brooke says. To accomplish this, they added expansive windows in both of the rooms and painted the walls bright white.
No fan of recessed lighting, Brooke instead used chandeliers, sconces and table lamps. Not only do they adhere to the vintage aesthetic, but they also add a touch of romance to the couple’s boudoir.
Blending Old and New
Decorating with vintage and vintage-inspired furniture and accessories also lends an aged look. In the master bath, a claw-foot tub, pedestal sink and vintage rug impart just the right feel. In the master bedroom, Brooke used an old French bed and vintage linens for the same reason. In the end, it’s the personal touches that make a house a home.
Quick Ways to Create Vintage Style
– Add crown molding, window trim, baseboards and beadboard.
– Use architectural salvage pieces such as columns, fireplace mantels and leaded or stained glass windows.
– Install vintage-style faucets, sinks, bathtubs and hardware.
– Embellish your rooms with vintage accessories. Stick to a common look or theme; this will help ensure a cohesive look to your home.
– Light your home with chandeliers, pendant lights and wall sconces.
It’s all in the Planning
Architect Steve Giannetti shares his tips on saving money when building your own home.
– French Doors: We used standard-size T.M. Cobb French doors, which are about half the cost of custom doors.
– Pine floors: We used 10-inch pine shelving boards, nailed and glued to the plywood subfloor, for the look of old floors.
– Eaves: There are 2 by 4s for the eavesâ€™ overhangs. They are inexpensive and old-fashioned looking.
– Insulation: Denim insulation was installed in all of the walls and ceilings, and there is a foil liner under the roof to keep the attic cool.
– Skylights: An operable skylight in the middle of the house provides natural light, and when open, natural ventilation that keeps the house cool all summer.
– Tile: We used only one kind of white 3- by 6-inch tile in the house and also used only Carrera marble to keep costs down and maintain consistency.
Written by Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel