Interview with Owner Pete Conrad
Photos courtesy Pete Conrad Construction
What are the most popular designs for new homes?
Right now, we’re seeing a lot of modern homes. The Frank Lloyd Wright style is making a huge comeback. It’s a lot of glass, a lot more open space. We just did four modern homes in less than two years, and while people want modern they also want a little of that Vermont edge too. So while the outside and the kitchen are very modern, we try to make some focal points in the room that feel like Vermont. We use a lot of barn board and use Vermont cabinet makers. We try to use Vermont materials like hardwoods and pines. The rustic industrial modern finishes are very popular right now, a lot of reclaimed wood and metal.
What is one of the biggest concerns when building a new home?
Energy efficiency is a necessity; it’s everyone’s priority these days and we try to educate our clients about it. For instance, there are high-end homes that are designed by out-of-state or even out-of-country architects that don’t understand the climate here and snow loads, especially with some of the new modern flat-roof homes. So we have our engineer run snow load calculations based on worst-case scenarios and may need to add more structural elements or steel to the build. But that’s where our experience comes in. We also focus on insulating correctly so that the house can breathe, simplifying LED lighting, the kinds of things that we’ve mastered over the years.
How can you help clients decide whether to build or buy an existing home and renovate?
We do a lot of consulting and really like to get to know the person so we become almost one of the family. We encourage people to contact us before they even talk to an architect because I know all the property available from Rutland to Bennington and I can help them. For instance, they might find a nice piece of land but it needs a $50,000 septic system or it might cost too much to bring in power or a road. So they can save a lot of time if I advise them. I can also run numbers to help them decide whether it’s better to buy a home and renovate or for a little more get a new build with everything they want.
What are three things about your service that you want prospective clients to know?
We have realistic schedules, we know the client and we make sure the client understands the market and pricing. It’s not HGTV! Building costs in Vermont are about the same as Greenwich, Connecticut. It’s because we have a big demand for labor and not a lot of labor here. We are fortunate to have some very skilled, full-time guys who work for us and we try to advise clients on the best places to put their money so they get the best return.
Pete Conrad Construction