Five Words to Know When Building Your Hamptons Dream Home

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When you’re buying a new car you want to familiarize yourself with a specific vocabulary to ensure you’re getting what you want at the right price. There are MPGs, torque, AWD, FWD; whoseamabobs and whatchamacallits all of which will inevitably need costly repairs. Equally important are terms you’ll need to understand to finance the car: MSRP, APR, etc. It’s no surprise then, that when you’re getting ready to build a new house, there’s a list of vocabulary to consider to ensure you and your architect are building the home of your dreams.

LEED: An absolute must-know acronym, LEED, short for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a rating system by which buildings are evaluated on their green friendliness. LEED isn’t just plugging in Energy Star Rated appliances and LED light bulbs. LEED certified buildings are resource efficient, using less water and energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping our communities clean and healthy. As an added bonus, LEED will save you money in the long term. And it won’t take too much time. The 69 LEED points that make up the programs specific considerations can be reviewed in a two-hour meeting with your architect. For more information visit

Interstitial space: This is more of a technical term you might not hear unless you’re eavesdropping on your architects. It is, however, important to consider, especially if you plan on entertaining guests in your new digs. Interstitial space is essentially the places “in-between.” Think courtyards, porches, balconies or curated garden. You’ll also want to keep this term in mind if your new home bumps up against one of the Hamptons many natural boundaries, as the question of how to best mix manmade and natural is a vital one we all have to consider.

Siding: If you’ve ever looked at a house then you know what siding is. But who knew there were so many options? America’s most popular, low cost, yet versatile siding is vinyl. Stucco uses natural materials and can be made in just about any color, giving you endless design options. Fiber-cement siding offers the look of masonry or stucco at a lower cost and with less need for maintenance. A popular siding trend in the Hamptons is board-formed concrete, which is essentially concrete processed in such a way to give it a wood grained image on its finished face, softening an otherwise hard concrete look. And of course we can’t forget a Hamptons staple that needs no explanation: the cedar shake. Talk to your architect about which siding will best match aesthetic you’re looking for.

Scheme: No, your architect is not trying to swindle you out of your dream house money. In home-building lingo “scheme” is one of several variants on an idea. Say you tell your architect exactly what you want: how many bathrooms, bedrooms, how big the kitchen should be, etc. You might even know exactly how you want the house laid out. The architect considers all this and comes back with various schemes offered as alternatives for your review and consideration. Sometimes, based on anything from legal regulations to pure functionality, architects might have to make various changes to your ideal scheme. Keep in mind that they do this for a living.

Bid alternate: Building houses is big business, so it’s no surprise business terms sometimes creep into architecture circles. Clients are generally on a budget (which means architects are, too) and sometimes there are items that might run the project over that budget. A bid alternate is a request to the general contractor to provide stand-alone pricing on items that the architect hopes can make it into the final-built project. You and the architect can then discuss, item by item, how to best keep you on budget while still being happy with the final project.

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