A new approach takes the stress out of building a dream home


The joy of building a custom home is that you get to choose all the details yourself. Few things in life are more enjoyable than Sunday mornings spent pinning pictures of luxurious bathrooms and kitchens, right? However, when it’s time to make those final decisions, overwhelming choices and logistics can ruin the fun.

For many homeowners, tough decisions and budgeting are where dreams turn into unpleasant realities. Suddenly, instead of happily surfing Houzz or Pinterest, they’re driving all over town, or out of town, from multiple showrooms to lumberyards, making decisions in a vacuum. Maybe they’ll end up with their dream home, and maybe they’ll end up with a watered-down version that’s 30 percent over budget. Anxiety? Check. Screaming matches about grout color? Check.

Chris Findlay and his team at Source Consulting have a better way to design and build a dream home. Instead of sending clients to different showrooms to pick out materials, they bring the showrooms to them. Source’s Construction Design Center is a comfortable gathering space with 4K televisions and lighted display nooks. Kids, pets, architects, mothers-in-law, therapists and other entourage are welcome. Findlay and his team approach their clients as friends, creating an atmosphere that makes it easy to talk about dreams, budgets, and personal routines and habits.

Kit Spellerberg, Source’s design consultant and kitchen and bath designer, leverages her 20-plus years of experience to transform blueprints into a virtual 3-D walk-through. Digital renderings help identify lifestyle tweaks that can be made before construction begins. “The first thing we do is talk about habits,” Spellerberg says. “Do they drink tea or coffee? Where do they charge electronics?”

Then the Source team arranges design and material displays in the order the builder needs them. “Traditionally, the homeowner has to run around all over the place choosing materials and finishes,” Findlay says. “We understand that’s just not possible for most people. We start with the materials they need first and go down the list.”



For each material or finish that needs to be selected, Findlay and his team transform the Construction Design Center into an interactive experience. If you need to choose windows, the team morphs the design center into a window showroom. “Whatever the client needs to choose, we explain the options and talk about what fits their lifestyle,” Findlay says. “Instead of settling for the norm, we work with the homeowner, builder and architect to select the best materials for every application.”

If you’re just remodeling a kitchen or bath, the Design Center is set up so you can thoughtfully choose cabinetry, countertops, tile and more. “We show people what they’re actually buying,” Findlay says. “Then, once they choose an element, we get back to work on options for the next.” That means no more driving around all over town. At Source, your job is to have a beverage, pet Findlay’s sweet little dog as he wanders by, and think about what you like best as options are presented to you.

For Source’s most recent project, a gorgeous home overlooking Wappoo Cut, Findlay and his team met with the homeowners regularly over the 18-month project. Findlay says most clients come in with the belief that they’re going to have to edit down on their dream features. However, he enjoys helping his clients get what they want—and sometimes even more. This home featured elements on his client’s wish list such as mahogany doors, a hardworking pantry and a custom mudroom for their two children.

Once clients make selections, Source Consulting orders the materials, manages shipping logistics to the site, oversees the installation, and works with the builders to give them any support they need. “We are there throughout the entire process to ensure the homeowner, builder and architects are happy with the result,” Findlay says.

Source Consulting’s approach to the design process and its innovative Construction Design Center mean homeowners can enjoy the dreaming process until their perfect home is a reality.

Robin Howard is a full-time freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com

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