We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

We Answer Your Questions #6

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. is pleased to be part of the Houzz network of professionals. Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design; providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality.

Often, Houzzers (members of the app) come to us with questions about our projects. Through answering these questions, we are provided the unique opportunity to educate Houzzers about our projects.  At times, we are not able to provide specific information for privacy reasons, but make every effort to accommodate Houzzers.

This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

Houzzer: I love the warm color of the wooden beams. Are they rough sawn cedar? Did you stain them or just seal them? What band did you use to penetrate well enough to get/keep that color on rough sawn wood? It’s beautiful with your door. The home is stunning.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.: Yes, the cedar is rough sawn and the finish applied is a sealer called LifeTime Wood Treatment. It makes the cedar turn gray and looking old. It is a product a lot of log home builders use. As for the process of application; it was completed onsite, so there is no record.

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

 Houzzer: I love this color. Do you know the paint company and the name of the color? Also, how did they get the mottled effect & depth in the stucco? Would this have been in the stucco when applied or a faux paint job afterward? It’s beautiful & just what I’m looking for.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.: It was a custom glaze finish over a standard stucco color. The glaze was created onsite and therefore no record exists.

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

Houzzer: Can you please tell me the source of this roof? Thank you.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.: It is a DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-Width Vineyard blend Slate roofing material.


Martin Brothers Contracting, Inc. has been providing our clients with a true custom home building experience since 1965. As a true custom home builder each home we build is unique. By that, we mean that each home we build is designed to meet the needs of the client, and to fit the site on which it is built. We have never built two homes exactly the same…the homeowner chooses the amenities and look of the home and the home is designed accordingly. We invite you to follow us on Houzz!

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Custom built lake home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

Custom Building a Luxury Home

We found this article today on HGTV.com by Annalise Burgos and couldn’t wait to share it. Ms. Gigliotti and Ms. Burgos relate so many common sense tips about the process of building a luxury custom home.

Be sure and check out a few of the custom, luxury homes Martin Bros. Contracting has built in our 51 year history at the bottom of the article.

Custom Building a Luxury Home

When you’re spending several million dollars on a home, you want it to be perfect. That’s why luxury homeowner Sharon Gigliotti chose to custom build her dream home, rather than buy an existing property.

“No matter how lovely the house was or how much I really liked it, I always thought it would be better if it had this or that,” said Gigliotti, who bought previously-owned homes in the past. “I always felt like it was lacking something.”

“If I’m going to spend X amount of money decorating or furnishing a luxury home and will live there for a length of time, I want it to really work for me,” said Gigliotti, who lives with her husband, two teenage sons and two dogs in a luxurious 9,000-square-foot home in Knoxville, Tenn.

And real estate agents say many of their luxury clients feel the same way. “You get the floor plan you want; you get the materials and quality you can afford to pay for. If you want a dream home, the only way to get it is to design it yourself,” says Judi Starliper of Realty Executives Associates in Knoxville. She says 60 percent of her clients in the $1 million-plus price range have their homes custom built.

Consider these factors when custom building your luxury home:

Choosing the Site and Builder

The Gigliottis chose a five-acre property that is both “out in the country” (they wake up to deer in the front yard) and only a short drive from shopping and the freeways.

Whether you build a luxury home or buy an existing one, location is key. “Even though it is custom-built, you always have to think about resale because things can happen even if you plan on staying there for a lifetime,” Starliper says.

As for choosing a builder, interview two or three builders because not everybody gets along personality-wise, suggests Starliper. “Pick a builder that you have confidence in, that matches your personality, that you feel like you can work well with, and then get an architect with the same qualities — somebody who can see your dream. If you can’t communicate well enough to put that down on paper, that won’t work either,” she says.

Gigliotti worked with an architect to design a “European and old-world-looking” home. When planning her dream house, Gigliotti did a lot of research, collecting and studying floor plans. She had no professional design experience, but was inspired by her passion for studying houses. She created a scrapbook of features she wanted in her dream home — from vaulted cathedral ceilings to an open, continuous one-level floor plan to exquisite detailing.

Calculate Each Detail

From the fireplace in the spa-like master bath to the exposed brick wall in the kitchen, Gigliotti focused on every detail. Several millions of dollars later, Gigliotti says she was shocked at how much she had blown her budget. “Let’s just say there are not very many homes in Knoxville in this price range,” she said.

Staying on budget is a tremendous challenge when custom building a luxury home. Though Gigliotti and her husband were able to cover the additional expenses, any homeowner planning to build a luxury property must create a budget and account for every detail, from high-end built-ins to all the electronics required for a home of a large scale. The last thing you want is a home that’s half-finished, Gigliotti said.

“It’s easy to get carried away,” she explained. “You can plan something and then when you get into the actual building, you have all these options. Spend a lot of time really figuring out how much you’ll be spending. It’s all in the details.”

Build for Function

“I’ve been in luxury homes that feel cold, where you’re afraid to touch things,” Gigliotti said. “You don’t feel like a family lives there. There are no personal photos or collections from the family.”

Not the case for Gigliotti. People who’ve seen her home often comment on how cozy and welcoming the house is for such a vast space, she said.

That’s because she made it a point to build a luxury home that’s both a family-friendly environment and a welcoming space for entertaining. Hence, the basketball court, batting cage and pool with diving board for her kids and their friends, and a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, high-tech media room and covered veranda with outdoor kitchen for the adults. “It would be silly to have a nice place if you didn’t entertain,” Gigliotti said.

“A luxury home inspires you to entertain more,” she said. “If you have such a wonderful space that flows well, you want to share that.”

Nothing expresses this more than the home’s media room. While a typical luxury home theater is a separate area from the rest of the house, Gigliotti’s media room flows right off the kitchen and living room to allow for maximum entertaining. Instead of traditional theater seats, she opted for comfy couches and chairs so guests can socialize while watching the Super Bowl or whatever else on the 96-inch flat screen.

Depending on what you want out of your luxury home, whether it’s to entertain or to showcase your art collection, design your home based on how you plan to use it.

Design to Protect

Luxury homes are owned by high net-worth individuals who want to protect their families and valuables. So when they build homes, security and privacy are major factors. Most luxury homeowners live in gated communities or high-rises staffed with security guards 24/7. But if you don’t live in this type of neighborhood, as is the case with the Gigliottis, you find other ways to feel secure. The home is set back from the road, and the Gigliottis built their own security gate with keypad and motion detection system inside the home.

“It was very important for my husband,” Gigliotti said. “He wanted to feel secure that when he’s not at home, his family is protected.”

Plan for Resale

What if later down the road, you decide to sell your dream home? Will buyers see their dream home in yours? Maybe. Starliper advises homeowners to keep universal appeal in mind when designing the home so the average person can see themselves living there.

For instance, she says, “if you put a big bonus room off the master bedroom and no one else could get to it except for the people in the master bedroom, that wouldn’t be good for resale. You might need that, because maybe you want to have an office off of your master, but the majority of people aren’t going to want a bonus room office off their master. They want it for the kids to have a playroom, so it would need to be accessible to other areas.”

Build or Buy?

If you’re in the market for a luxury home, weigh the pros and cons of building it yourself versus buying an existing one. Custom building allows you to control the home’s layout, add personal touches and choose features that cater to your specific lifestyle. But as Gigliotti cautions, costs can quickly add up. If you want more predictability in your luxury home purchase, buying a previously-owned property may be the way to go.


Custom, luxury homes built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.:

Custom built luxury estate by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
11,200 Sq. Ft. French Country Manor
Custom luxury home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
8,800 Sq. Ft. Fully Automated Luxury Lake Home
Summer Lake Home Estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
14,200 Sq. Ft. Summer Lake Estate

When choosing a luxury custom home builder, we invite you to consider Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. We recognize the investment our clients make in their custom built luxury home; therefore, we provide unparalleled service throughout the project.

At every stage of the custom build process, we commit to:

  • Superior customer service
  • Attention to the smallest detail
  • Insistence on using only the finest building materials

From initial design to the final finishing touches, the professionals at Martin Brothers’ expects your home-building experience to be a pleasurable one. We invite you to call us today at 574-862-2142 or toll free at 877-862-2142 to discuss the Martin Brothers difference.

We at Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. respect our client’s wishes and will not share homes on social media if the client does not wish to do so. References and visits to homes may be arranged to qualified candidates.