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Five Years Spent in the Future: A laidback interview with BrightBuilt Dwellers

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Marian and Alex Starkey live in a BrightBuilt Great Diamond, finished in 2015. We checked in with them to see how life is going in their now-not-quite-so-new home! Read on to hear about their animals, paint colors, advice they have for the building process, and more.
 
Q.) What is your favorite room in the house and why?

The master suite that we built into the attic of our Great Diamond is my favorite room. I love the slanted ceilings, the balcony, the transom windows, and the shiplap walls and ceiling. During the winter, we can see the ocean out the balcony doors, which is the one positive thing I’ll say about my least favorite season!


Q.) We hear that you are big fans of animals. Who currently lives in the house with you? Do they have special built-in design features?

We have three dogs rounding out our household: two elderly beagles and one young chorkie (chihuahua-yorkie mix). They enjoy the run of the house, and they even have a few features that were created just for them: a groomer’s bath situated right next to a weathertight dog door that leads out to a little fenced in yard, an open corner cabinet in the kitchen with a custom L-shaped cushion to keep them out of my way when I cook, and a fully enclosed deck (with gate) that allows them to be outside with us.


Q.) What was the most unexpected part of the building process? Do you have any advice for people who are starting down that road?

The town zoning requirements were a real headache at times. We had no idea we’d be required to install a full-house sprinkler system until way late in the game (at a cost of nearly $8,000). Nor did we realize that CMP would obstruct the installation of our full solar array—the company required us to cut it down from 10kw to 6kw, claiming that the transformer on the utility pole couldn’t handle more than that. I’d advise those interested in building to fully understand their town’s zoning requirements before designing the home, ideally, and definitely before starting the actual build. And get clearance from CMP before you plan and pay for your solar array!


Q.) You chose such beautiful and vibrant paint colors throughout the house. Which one has the best color name?

We used Benjamin Moore’s Blue Suede Shoes for the exterior doors on the house and garage, and the bold blue really pops against the dark grey siding. The blues inside the house are lighter shades of that (Nova Scotia Blue and Paradise View). The yellow in our living room and hallways is called Lighthouse. The grey in Alex’s office and the hall bathroom is Silver Half Dollar. And the white we used throughout the house on walls, trim, cabinetry, and ceilings is Chantilly Lace.


Q.) Are there any memorable reactions from visitors that you’d like to share?

Most visitors comment on how bright and sunny it is when they walk into our house. They love how open the floor plan is and how huge the breakfast bar is that divides the kitchen from the dining room. Of course, they also love the third-floor master suite, as I do.

 
Q.) That bathtub with a window view is the stuff of dreams! Do you have a favorite bubble bath or bath salt blend you’d like to share?
 
Ha! That bathtub was pretty much the only item Alex requested when we were designing the house. He uses it most days, and I use it about twice a year. I have a eucalyptus salt I throw in when I’m taking a relaxing soak, but the only thing that typically accompanies Alex into the bathtub is his laptop.