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In need of some extra square footage, but can’t bear the idea of moving? A custom home addition is a fabulous option, but it’s no small feat. We turned to Grayson Simmons, general contractor and owner of Lone Oak Builders in Nashville, for tips on getting the ball rolling on a home addition. Grayson specializes in home remodels and additions as well as new construction, and he’s sharing his essential list of do’s and don’ts — plus stunning before and after images of some of his projects.

Grayson Simmons of Lone Oak Builders

Grayson Simmons, general contractor and owner of Lone Oak Builders, shares his essential list of do’s and don’ts when adding on to your home. Image: Kate Simmons, aks creative co.

DO Your Research

Grayson’s first and perhaps most important piece of advice is to do your research. A home addition can be quite an undertaking, so it’s crucial to hire someone you trust and who can make your dream home come to life. “Having a solid set of plans is always the best place to start,” Grayson advises. “And also talking to friends or family who have remodeled [their home] before can really help you understand what the process is like, what to expect, and what kind of questions to ask.”

After conducting this initial research, Grayson adds that it’s also important to have plans drawn up as soon as possible — perhaps even before meeting with building specialists like Lone Oak Builders. This can help speed up the pre-construction process, and it allows you to explore all of your options and establish a clear scope of work. “Ideally, all of the design specs should be settled before beginning construction,” he explains. “While unexpected changes and issues may arise, knowing the level of detail and pricing of your selections [before] construction will help keep things within your budget and progressing.”

When doing your research and planning out your remodel, important questions to ask yourself include:

  • How will my addition add value to my living space?
  • How much money can I spend?
  • Have I sufficiently planned out the addition?
  • How would I design my house if I were building it new?
Before image of an outdated kitchen in a Tennessee home

Pictured here is a kitchen before Lone Oak Builders transformed it into a sleek, modern space. Image: Tim Jones Photography

White kitchen after undergoing a renovation from Lone Oak Builders

Post-renovation, the kitchen opens into the living room and is a bright, airy space perfect for gatherings or cozy nights with family. Image: STUDIOBUELL

DO Hire an Architect or a Designer

Grayson also recommends hiring an architect or a designer to turn your vision into a reality. They can help create the design that Lone Oak Builders will implement into your home’s addition. Grayson adds that it can feel overwhelming to make design-related decisions, but it’s much easier when you have someone by your side who is comfortable and familiar with the design process. “When you’re hiring an architect, a designer, or even a builder, it’s best to hire someone who understands your family’s needs and can cater their process to that,” says Grayson. “A beautiful space is one thing, but if it doesn’t function how you need it to, then it’s not really a great design.”

After finding the right architect or designer, Lone Oak Builders meets with them throughout the remodeling process to ensure everything runs smoothly. “We have several pre-construction meetings — and we meet [throughout] the whole process — but pre-construction is a great place to make sure that the vision for the overall final product is clear from the start,” Grayson tells us. “During construction, ideally, we have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the whole team and homeowner, making sure the designs are being implemented, planned, and are on schedule.”

DON’T Rush the Process

Grayson also notes the importance of taking your time throughout the process, especially when it comes to pre-construction. The steps you take before even breaking ground are crucial to the creation of your dream home. If you invest a significant amount of time and research on the front end, you’re likely to save yourself time, money, and frustration later in the process. “Understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says Grayson of the home addition process. “Certainly, the goal is to get things done in a timely manner, but note that the remodel TV shows are anything but reality.”

This also means you shouldn’t be afraid to be as detailed as possible in your planning. Take the time to create a specific, comprehensive plan so you can tell Lone Oak Builders exactly what you want. That way, they can create a home addition that checks all of your boxes.

Exterior of a mid-century modern home in Tennessee before experiencing a renovation

Pictured here is a home before Lone Oak Builders completely gutted the interior and transformed the exterior. Image: Tim Jones Photography

White brick exterior of a mid-century modern home renovated by Lone Oak Builders

Lone Oak Builders maintained the home’s original mid-century modern charm while creating a new, contemporary vision. Image: STUDIOBUELL

DON’T Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Clear, consistent communication is the name of the game. By being specific in what you want, Lone Oak Builders can help you create the home of your dreams. To do so, Grayson says it’s important to ask questions along the way — and he’s more than happy to answer them. “Our intent is not to be the biggest company in the market in terms of number of projects,” explains Grayson. “By keeping our operations smaller, we’re able to ensure a more personalized and involved experience and really make sure the homeowner is comfortable throughout the entire project. There’s always an open line of communication, and that’s seamless with technology these days.”

Questions to ask Lone Oak Builders may include:

  • How soon can you begin construction?
  • Do you have any suggestions for my home remodel?
  • What is the timeline for completion?
  • Do you foresee any issues or challenges during the construction process?
Outdated yellow and white kitchen before undergoing a renovation

Before undergoing a serious makeover, this kitchen featured outdated floors, cabinets, and counters. Image: Tim Jones Photography

Kitchen with steel center island and lots of counter space that was renovated by Lone Oak Builders

The final result is a kitchen perfect for entertaining, offering plenty of counter space and a large center island for guests to gather and mingle. Image: Tim Jones Photography

When you’re ready to begin the home remodel process, call Lone Oak Builders at (615) 714-8278 or visit loneoak-builders.com. They are headquartered at 708 Wilson Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027.

This article is sponsored by Lone Oak Builders.

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