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Building A Barden Home

My step by step experience with Barden Homes

Over Budget on Our Barden Home… Time to Re-Evaluate!

clock January 3, 2009 16:54 by author Donny Kemick

One of the hardest things for me throughout the plan selection and design process, is not knowing where we were at relative to our budget.  It’s easy to get carried away when you don’t have dollars and cents in front of you!  So, we finally got some numbers on the Sullivan’s Run house with the customizations that we had come up with, and to say the least, we were well over budget.  Somehow, I had this feeling that that was the case, but I now we know for sure.

Looking back at our plan selection process, we had limited ourselves substantially due to some guidance from our Barden Sales Rep.  At the same time, we were adding to the Sullivan’s Run plan to accommodate our needs.  So, when the numbers came in, we looked for ways to “trim fat” from our house, and still keep some of the niceties we were after.  Well, it started to look hopeless, so we started to review plans that were bigger than the original Sullivan’s Run, but smaller than the customized Sullivan’s Run we had designed.

After some research, we found a great plan that has all of the things we’re looking for, plus a price that fits our budget.  The new plan that we’re working with is the Whitaker Corner’s home.  This house is 3278 square feet, versus 3080 for the original Sullivan’s Run, and 3756 of our modified Sullivan’s Run.  So, after the changes, we’re losing about 500 square feet.  That’s fine with us versus the cost difference, and the home is still about 800 square feet bigger than our last house, and much more of what we’re after.

I’m not sure if our list of priorities have changed, but here was our wish list:

  • Master Suite Upstairs
  • Cathedral or Vaulted ceiling in the family room
  • An Office area
  • At least a 2 car garage
  • Relatively open floor plan
  • Dining room
  • Living room
  • 4 bedrooms (including master)
  • at least 2.5 baths

We had a bunch of other nitnoid things that we wanted, but those were the core items, and we found them with the Whitaker Corner’s design.

Some External Changes

While we love the plan, we do have some change requests that we’re hoping won’t be too big of a deal.  Some to enhance the external aesthetics, and some to make the house more functional for us.  The external aesthetic changes were to make the house look a little more exciting, because the original plan is fairly bland, as you can see:


This house didn’t do itself any favors by using a drabby color (in my opinion), and no shutters…

We found a house from another builder’s site that we’d like to use as an example for the front of our Whitaker Corner’s house:


We would like to create the center stone column, and overhang, as well as the center peak on the roof.  The secondary peak would be nice, but I think in the spirit of cost-cutting, we’ll do with out that.  Our home will not have the dormer over the garage, and will not have the 3rd car garage.  The garage door will face forward though, like the picture above.  We’ll be going with black shutters as well.

Some Internal Changes

Here are a couple of images I sent our general contractor to explain the changes we’d like made to the floor plan.  See if you can keep up :)

1st Floor


2nd Floor


Our GC is a saint for dealing with us changing plans and me sending him drawings like this!



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Committing to One Floor Plan and Customizing It

clock September 28, 2008 05:10 by author Donny Kemick

floor-plan After narrowing your list down to 1 floor plan that you’d like to work with, you must make a one-time payment of $1000.00 to send the selected floor plan into Barden’s Engineers.  They will research your area’s building codes and laws, as well as work on any modifications to your floor plan.  That $1000.00 investment buys you as many iterations of changes to your plans as you want, and essentially gets you final, stamped plans.  If you have ever worked with an engineer on a floor plan, you know that stamped, final plans can run you up to 10 times what it costs through Barden Homes.

Turn Around Time

One of the hurdles we’ve experienced is the time it takes to get revisions to our plans back.  The Barden Engineers say it takes 7-9 business days to complete changes.  This includes even the smallest of changes, so try to submit changes in batches to avoid major delays.  That timeframe is very accurate.  It almost always takes a week+ to get our changes back. 

I understand that it takes time to make changes to the plans, but 7-9 days seems like forever!  Because I am an IT Consultant and Programmer, I am familiar with Autocad and other engineering suites.  It doesn’t take that long for changes to be made.  Ok, enough ranting on turn around time.


My wife and I have never built a home before and know very little about building codes, etc…  The engineers are able to help us in that regard by telling us if changes that we’ve requested are not up to code, or if they compromise the structure of the home.

Because they work on home designs every day, they have also recommended small changes here and there that will provide added convenience for us, or make a room more functional.

Modify, Modify, Modify Until You’re Happy

If you’re like my wife and I, you’re probably building your last home.  That’s all the more reason to take your time and modify the plans until you are 100% happy with them.  Make no compromises!  Heck, you paid your $1,000.00, take advantage of it!  The Barden Homes Engineers will work on your changes until you are happy, so hold them to it.

Time Spent Now Will Save Money Later

By making all of the changes before building starts, you assure yourself that you KNOW what the house is going to cost you.  That’s the biggest reason to iron out the details of the home before you go final with your plans.  If you ask anyone that has built a home, what costs the most money, they will likely tell you, straying from the plan, or making changes on the fly to how the house should be.  It wastes materials, and adds a lot to labor.

Do yourself a favor, plan as much as possible up front, and ensure that your final plans are truly final!

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Looking at Barden Homes Floor Plans

clock September 26, 2008 17:57 by author Donny Kemick

Sullivans-Run One of the first things my wife and I did when we started to consider Barden Homes, was check out the floor plans available in different house sizes.  On the Barden Homes website you can pick between two house styles, Ranch and Two Story.  It is SO IMPORTANT to remember that the floor plans should be used as a general guide, not a set-in-stone selection.  You can customize the floor plan, and design all you want.

The Ranch homes are separated into two categories:

The Two Story homes are divided into five categories:

As you can see, if you want a larger home, you will likely need to research a Two Story home, unless you can find a Ranch that you would like to customize. 

It’s important to note that the floor plans can be found on resellers’ sites as well.  Here are a few:

Our Design and Floor Plan

Sullivans-Run-Built To give you context throughout our journey, I thought I should mention that we chose the Sullivan’s Run design.  The official Barden PDF is here: 

The Sullivan’s Run design includes 4 bedrooms and 3.5 Baths.  It also includes a deck off the breakfast nook and a 3 car garage.  We customized this design to our own needs including:

  • Removal of one of the bathrooms upstairs, making the home a 2.5 bath
  • Used the space made available by removing the bathroom and gave all bedrooms a walk-in closet
  • Removal of the deck off the breakfast nook, allowing us to extend the family room an extra 7’ 10”. 
  • Extended the family room out an additional 5’, making the house 5 feet longer.
  • Converted the single car stall of the garage into an office for my business.
  • Created an access to the basement from the garage
  • Added a large concrete patio off the back of the home

As you can see from our modifications, a panelized home gives you the same flexibility of a traditional stick-built home.

At the time of this writing, the following page provided an extensive breakdown of the Sullivan’s Run home with virtual tours: 

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