With Drees, you can build on your own lot. So she chose a former vineyard.

Nationally-recognized event stylist and entertaining expert Tara Berger is no stranger to research, inspiration and style selections. She has built a career around curating the perfect look. While her everyday projects often revolve around special events, Tara is excited to be taking on the ultimate styling project of her own. Tara and her husband Stephen recently made the decision to build a new home, and they’re not just building in a traditional community setting. They’ve decided to build on a three-acre picturesque site that was once home to a vineyard.

The couple is embarking on this journey with the Drees Build on Your Lot team, who specializes in building offsite in unique locations. Whether you already own a lot, need help finding a home site, or have a particular property in mind, our highly-trained team of professionals will guide you through every step of the way.

Today, Tara shares details on the construction process of her Build on Your Lot project. If you’re curious about the beginnings of her experience, you can catch her first few recaps here:

Behind the Scenes: Building on a Former Vineyard

By Tara Berger

It has been 10 weeks since we broke ground on our new house, and things are moving right along. We have really enjoyed this part of the process where we get to watch our dream home take shape right before our eyes. In my last post, I walked you through some of our design selections, and now today, I am going to dive more into the details and logistics related to building on your own lot with Drees Homes, as well as share a general timeline.

Preparing to Purchase

When my husband and I came across a piece of land last fall, we immediately began discussions with Drees Homes. We were already familiar with their quality constructionspacious floor plans and customization options, but it was their expertise with land improvements that really sealed the deal for us.

Prior to making an offer on the land, the Market Manager and General Manager met with us on site to provide an analysis of the improvements that would need to be made on the land along with estimated costs.

We learned that Drees offers the option to purchase the land on your behalf, and then rolls all of the costs related to the land and land improvements into your total purchase price at closing. This definitely helped to simplify the process since building on your own lot with Drees only requires one contract and no construction loan. We also appreciated the fact that Drees structured the deal for our land purchase to be contingent on building permits being issued, which gave us peace of mind that we were protected if for some reason the land was deemed unbuildable.

The Planning Phase

During the planning phase, the Drees team guided us through every aspect of getting the land ready to build, including engineering drawings, storm water mitigation, sanitary systems, utilities, tree clearing advice, house placement, building permits, and more. We would simply approve and sign-off on each item, while Drees Homes worked diligently behind the scenes with multiple vendors to ensure all of the plans came to together to get building permits approved.

After a few permitting delays (which is to be expected depending on your municipality), we finally broke ground. Here’s a look at the timeline of what has happened with our home build so far.

Week 1 : Tree Clearing

The first step was clearing nearly 1.5 acres of dense brush and trees for our home site. It was fascinating to see how quick the tree clearing company worked, and within a few days, the land was ready for the home build to begin.

Weeks 2-5 : Dig Day, Footers, Concrete Walls

Our actual dig day is when I think everything really started to feel more real! Even though it was just a giant hole in the ground, we could start to visualize what our home would be like on the property. After the foundation was placed and some plumbing and other mechanicals were added inside the giant hole, the exterior concrete walls were poured and gravel was backfilled around the base of the house.

Weeks 6-8 : Framing, Roof, Windows

Next came framing! This was hands down my favorite week of the entire home build so far. I’m convinced that our framing team used magic to build so quickly! It felt like one day we had a concrete hole, and the next day we had a house (well almost!) It took a little more than a week to complete the house framing, and everything else has been full steam ahead since then.

Last week, the roof went on and windows were installed. I nearly cried tears of joy the first time I walked through the house and could see all of the natural light pouring through the windows! It was also surreal to see the actual view from each window in the house, which helps to envision what it will be like living here in a few short months.

Week 9-12 : Mechanicals

We are currently in the mechanical phase where plumbing, HVAC and electric will all be installed over the next few weeks. My fingers are crossed that we will begin drywall by early June and then the fun will really begin with seeing the interior finishes start to come together!

With each phase of building, I feel like I am learning a little more about the process. Truthfully, we did not know what to expect when deciding to take the plunge on building on our own lot. We are grateful that we decided to go for it, and have been pleased with how Drees has guided us through the process so far.


Learn More

Tara will continue to document her personal home building journey. Follow along on her site One Stylish Party on via social media (@onestylishparty).

To learn more about building a Drees home of your own, visit dreeshomes.com and select your location.

Stylized shoot by Brittany Gidley Photography


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