Probably the most intimidating process of building your KB Home, The Design Studio.
The Design Studio consists of two- 3 hour appointments.
These were MY visits. Each studio location will have different standard options and upgrade options available to your community that you purchase in.
We even had a studio one hour closer to our current home but we had to visit the one that was closest to where our home was being built due to the options specific to that area being shown at the designated studio. So keep that in mind as you read my personal experience.
Visit # 1:
We went around the studio and basically our Studio Consultant went through and showed us standard options vs. upgrade options.
"Here are the kitchen cabinet choices that come standard with the house, would you like these or here are the other choices for an upgrade." Every single detail that could be upgraded or remain standard was picked out that day.
The standard options are not terrible! Except the floor. (And I don't know if it's just the way it looked compared to the upgrades) Not what I would prefer in my home, but with 3 kids and 3 dogs, it's an okay start! The backyard will not be landscaped unfortunately, so spending money on upgraded floors didn't seem like a priority right now anyways.
There are nice beveled mirrors that come standard. The upgrade would be a framed mirror.
Chrome fixtures come in the kitchen and bathrooms, You can choose brushed nickel as an upgrade.
Do you want a standard sized kitchen sink or a large deep sink.
Standard sink pictured below
Standard Chrome Faucet
Upgraded sink with upgraded faucet
Do you want the bathroom sink to be under-mounted or are you okay with standard top mount?
A shelf in the laundry room is standard, upgrade would be a cabinet.
Just lots of choices like that.
The most disappointing feature is the paint. Standard paint is flat white. If you want to choose a different whole house color, it's $4000! And that doesn't let you choose different colors in different rooms. But painting is something I can do, and my kids will get to choose their own color. So that's not terrible, just disappointing.
Of course, we enjoyed the upgraded choices for most of our decisions. I was beginning to get worried because we didn't have much of a budget for upgrades, I mean, we're already buying a darn house here people....In California! That's no small feat! But she assured us not to worry about pricing right now, we're just making a "Wish List", if you will.
So after we went through the whole house options from the kitchen to the bathrooms, to the flooring and paint, the garage door options, blinds, door handles, closet doors, extra electrical, appliances. Everything! Then, you sit over at the computer as she types everything into the system. and you go over options for choices that are not displayed in the studio. Think, electrical upgrades and such. Then you get your print out with all the price breakdowns and total price.
Be afraid, be very afraid. Our price was $54,000 with all of our "wish list" choices"!
In California starting this year, all new homes need to be built with Solar Panels. That is an extra expense we had to either lease or buy. Since there is no option to buy later if we went with leasing, we decided to purchase the panels. This is rolled into the loan which is apart of the upgrade price.
Visit # 2
What happens at the second appointment is the same thing except this time you are making your final choices.
Originally, our second appointment was 3 days after our first. Thank goodness we had to reschedule twice and had 2 weeks to think things over. I can't imagine that we would have made the best decision for our budget if we confirmed our options that soon. If you can afford the time before your deadline, I would schedule your second appointment at least an entire week out.
My husband and I came to the conclusion that we were NOT able to afford $50,000+ in upgrades-shocker, right? There was a big decision to make with what was most important to us. What made the most sense and what would be easier to change later vs. what should we take care of now.
Ultimately, we went with upgrading the kitchen, upgraded the doors throughout the house (under $300!), and the privacy deluxe insulation upgrade.
We dropped the floors and the fixture upgrades as well as the blinds.
Floors can be replaced later, after we have a backyard that won't be a mud pie. Fixtures can be changed easily, slowly but surely. Not something we wanted to add to our loan. Floors would've added almost $10,000 to our bill!
However, the kitchen appliances, the counter, and the cabinets, we just felt like that would be way more expensive and a pain in the tush to remodel or change later on. The cabinet upgrade included upgrading all of the cabinets in the house including bathrooms, not just the kitchen.
The insulation, obviously made sense to do during the building process plus, we have 3 loud kids and my husband wanted the noise controlled with more insulation.
The door upgrade which includes closets, bathrooms , bedrooms was a really good deal to switch out the doors in the whole house to one that had a more modern design. So we did that.
After that, we received a phone call from our KB Sales Consultant informing us that the builder will receive our options contract to approve and then it will be forwarded to our lender. The next step was scheduling a walk through after the foundation is poured and next, framing.
Original upgrade options we chose:
Our final choices:
These cabinets were a more affordable upgrade.
This is the standard carpet with standard linoleum.
TIP: If there is a certain style cabinet or counter top that you really love but the price is just not right, ask if there is anything similar but more affordable. I noticed they seemed to show the more high end upgrade next to the standard product. I think they do this so that the difference between the two is so drastic that you want to do the upgrade. Ask to see a more affordable option. The first cabinet upgrade we chose was $5100 and it came with hardware. We went with a more affordable version of the same cabinet with slightly less detail than the more expensive one. It just doesn't come with the hardware. Again, something we can add when we have extra money to spend down the line. Allowing us to save $2,245
There isn't one set price for upgrades. There are different styles and brands with varying quality which means the price ranges accordingly. On top of that, even if I shared my price list, it wouldn't be extremely helpful because our prices are calculated for the size of our home.
You can see the standard cabinets in this picture, they are the 2 maple colored ones next to the back splash options: