June 28, 2024

Homeowner Spotlight: Meet Deb M.

June 28, 2024

Homeowner Spotlight: Meet Deb M.

Homeowner Spotlight: Meet Deb M.

At BrightBuilt Home, we’re thrilled to connect with like-minded individuals passionate about making their dream homes as efficient as they are beautiful. In today’s world, a green approach to building is no longer just a preference—it’s a necessity. We're proud to be at the forefront of this sustainable shift.

Here’s what Deb M., a wonderful owner of a BrightBuilt Home, has to say about her experience with us. Let’s dive into her insights with some signature pointed questions!

What considerations were you prioritizing as you began your search for the right design firm?

I started my search with a clear "must-have" list. At the top was energy efficiency—I wanted a home that would be eco-friendly and cost-effective to run. Additionally, it was essential that the design included practical spaces for my family of cats and my hobbies. A basement for storage, a garage, and dedicated spots for cat litter boxes were non-negotiable. These were crucial factors as I envisioned my future home.

What initially inspired you to choose BrightBuilt Home for designing your home?

BrightBuilt Home's Drisko (formerly known as the Bungalow) plan immediately caught my eye because it closely matched my needs. Unlike other companies claiming energy efficiency, BrightBuilt offered designs that included basements and adaptable spaces suitable for my requirements. My decision was also influenced by my sister, who recommended BrightBuilt. She has an off-grid home built about 10 years ago and had thoroughly researched design firms, so I trusted her judgment and leveraged her findings.

Which base design(s) stood out to you from the start?

The Drisko (formerly known as the Bungalow) design stood out right from the beginning. It was almost exactly what I envisioned for my home, and I initially thought I would choose it and proceed directly to construction.

How did the features/potential modifications of that design help you come to a final decision?

The Drisko’s (formerly known as the Bungalow) spacious kitchen was a significant plus, and I appreciated the possibility of creating upstairs rooms that could serve as my office and a space for crafts or a guest room. These features made it easier to see how the design could be tailored to my lifestyle.

Throughout the design process, were there any specific features or aspects of your home that you felt particularly excited about or passionate about?

I was especially enthusiastic about creating a nearly maintenance-free and energy-independent home. As I was approaching retirement, I wanted a house that wouldn't burden me with high utility bills or constant upkeep. The promise of a net-zero home was incredibly appealing and aligned perfectly with my vision.

How did you find the process of modifying the Bungalow base design?

Audrey Rolio was fantastic in customizing the Drisko design to suit my specific needs. She adapted it to fit my site, incorporated a dedicated "cat room," added a wood stove, and even designed a screen porch! These modifications were handled expertly and reflected a deep understanding of my requirements.

Were your ideas and preferences effectively incorporated into the design plans?

My experience with the design team was very positive. My preferences were well-reflected in the final design, which KBS Builders manufactured and Energy Efficient Homes site finished. Given my background in architecture and energy-efficient design, I felt we worked seamlessly as a coordinated team. We consistently aligned on the goals and vision for the project, ensuring a smooth design process.

Can you share any specific instances where our team went above and beyond to meet your needs or address any concerns you may have had during the design phase?

Audrey Rolio was incredibly helpful and went beyond the call of duty on several occasions. For example, she provided valuable advice on which wood stoves to consider, a topic I was unfamiliar with. Moreover, when my initial general contractor was slow to act, Audrey stepped in to help find a new contractor who quickly got my project back on track.

How has your experience been since moving into your new home?

Moving into my new home was a joy! I was so eager that I would have camped out there if needed! Fortunately, it didn't come to that. With my experience in home building and renovation, particularly with older houses and LEED Platinum Habitat for Humanity homes, I had a unique working relationship with the general contractor. I actively participated in the project, fixing issues as they arose and suggesting solutions. The house is incredibly comfortable, and I've enjoyed personal touches, such as finishing the upstairs floors, doors, and trim on my own. Living here has also been financially rewarding; I haven’t had to pay anything to Central Maine Power for electricity, just the delivery fee!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Being on a limited budget and determined to avoid a mortgage, I was deeply concerned about the unpredictable nature of construction costs. The financial stress was significant, but I was relieved when the budgetary aspects were finally in sight. Now, I’m in a much better place financially and logistically. With the expertise of Maine Solar Solutions, I have a battery backup that provides up to four days of power in cloudy weather, eliminating the need for a gas-powered generator. It's comforting to have such reliable energy independence!