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planning for the future

Written by Renee Dustman
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

What you need in a home just starting out often changes once your children are grown and on their own. Your priorities shift; experiences mold your preferences; and practical needs dictate your lifestyle choices. What do empty nesters want in a home these days?
    We posed that question to the owners of this 3,151-square-foot, custom-built house in Western New York.

Homebuyers’ Must-haves
When this couple began their search for a home more suited to their current lifestyle, reassessing their needs helped them to narrow the field.
    Single-story living: A first floor master bedroom was a must for this couple.  “It was important to us that the house be accessible and easy to navigate around as we get older,”  the homeowner said. “Little things, like having the laundry room closer to the bedrooms, can make a big difference.”
    Open plan living: An open floor plan is highly desirable for families at every stage of life, but not always for the same reasons. “We wanted an open kitchen and living space for entertaining,”
said the homeowners.  “We have a growing, extended family and we want it to be a home where we can all comfortably gather and be together.”
    Accessibility: A good floor plan is intuitive and facilitates your workflow. “I enjoy working outside around the yard and I want to be able to go right down into the basement and not through the house,” the homeowner said.
    Space: The homeowners also wanted more organized storage and more outdoor living space.  “Rochester has more outdoor-friendly weather than we give it credit for,” the homeowner said.  “We love to be outside on those days, so an outdoor living space was a must.”

Home Sweet Home
The couple spent years looking at existing homes, to no avail. Although building wasn’t even a consideration when they started out, they eventually agreed new construction would allow them to design a house that met their needs. Once they decided to build, and found the perfect location, the next step was to find a builder.
    “Initially, we tried too hard to make our desires fit into someone else’s design,”  the homeowner said. In the end, they were able to get what they wanted with Marc-Mar Homes Inc.  “We are very, very happy with how everything turned out,” the homeowner said. “Marc [Fallone] and his team were very good at interjecting ideas as they came up.”
    Their new, single-story home features a very spacious master bedroom with an en suite master bathroom and a massive walk-in closet that doubles as a laundry room. There are also two guest bedrooms with an adjoining bathroom to comfortably accommodate family stays. The great room is the heart of this home, complete with a fireplace for those cold winter nights. French doors lead outside to a covered patio overlooking a picturesque backyard. Off the great room is a spacious kitchen and dining area designed to accommodate large family gatherings.
    Design Inspirations Studio owner and head designer Shery Merkle helped the couple make the interior spaces of their new house look and feel like home.

Sage Advice for Prospective Home Builders
Building can be a scary prospect so it’s important to hire a builder you can trust.  “Having Marc-Mar by our side every step of the way made all the difference in the world,”  the homeowner said.  “Marc’s entire team — framer, electrician, plumber, flooring people — are all top notch and were easy to work with. They all were very collaborative and met our needs.”
    The homeowner advises anyone who is considering to build to  “nail down what you want before the job starts. You are much better off redrawing the plan than making changes in the field.”  To keep building costs from getting out of control, the homeowner says,  “Define your budget, and share it up front with your builder.”
    Speaking of costs, spending a little extra up front on quality, high-efficiency materials will save you a bundle in the future. “You never know what is going to happen with the cost of utilities, so we designed the house to be as energy efficient as possible,” the homeowner said. High-efficiency windows, for example, can make all the difference on your heating and air conditioning bills. This home is outfitted with Rochester Colonial windows, skylights, and glass doors. All exterior walls are insulated with closed cell spray foam. And the heating and cooling system, provided by Aces Energy, uses geothermal technology.
    “We couldn’t be more happy,”  the homeowners said. This will certainly be a home the couple will enjoy for years to come.


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