1. Should you build or remodel?

Remodeling a home is a huge step in life, one that can be pretty exhilarating. You get to take a pre-existing space and turn it into something exciting with new flooring, wall designs, lighting, and more. However, deciding to remodel your home is a big commitment, and you can’t change your mind halfway through.

You could be in a situation just like one of our clients

And we’ll help you any way we can, just like we’ve helped hundreds of our other clients discover the home of their dreams. 

I want to move into a new area because of work or school. Should we do a knockdown and rebuild, or build a custom home on a lot?

A client once reached out to us about a lot we had for sale. She liked everything about it, except it wasn’t in the school district she had set her heart on. She asked about other lots with custom builds in her preferred school district. Unfortunately, that’s the only build we were working on in that area at the time. We discussed lots outside the area that might interest her and asked why she wanted that particular school district.

She was so set on the area because she’d heard excellent reviews about a particular school for her two young children. When we spoke, her first child was still two years away from being school-aged, and her other child was a year younger than that. We politely explained that school districts often change from year to year. By the time her children were old enough to start kindergarten, the school district zones might be far different. She then agreed that basing her living situation around a single school might mean missing out on her dream home. 

We looked at various lots in the area, hoping to find one that fit her unique design plans. The more in-depth we got about her likes and dislikes of other houses, the closer we got to finding the perfect lot. Eventually, we decided that because it was an uncommon design, we would have to buy a lot with a pre-existing structure and tear almost the entire thing down. This meant we could look into a wider variety of building options and find a lot that fit her needs. We then transformed a run-down rancher into a modern, transitional-style house with the living space she’d dreamed of. As a bonus, it was even in a good school district. 

I can’t add on to my house due to lot restrictions … or I’m changing too many mechanics of the home, driving up the renovation costs.

Our recurring clients, Mike and Ann, came to us once with some concerns. They wanted to change several aspects of their home, and struggled to find a way to do so that didn’t violate local regulations. Unfortunately, these changes also drove up renovation costs, but they trusted us because we had previously perfected three other projects for them. 

The most recent of these was a master bathroom renovation, during which we discussed upgrading and changing the rest of the house to fit their lifestyle. Their home was older, and the rooms were pretty closed off, with only small doorways between rooms. They wanted to open it up, but the structure was problematic because of mechanical aspects and load-bearing walls. 

After considering many options, we decided to make a substantial addition to the back of the house and changes to the first floor rooms. We discussed it with the county and quickly realized it would violate a lot-coverage restriction due to zoning laws. Working backward, we managed to size it down. Along the way, we lost many of the things they hoped to get from a major renovation, which wouldn’t work because of the structure of the main house. Adding on wouldn’t work, either, so they decided to move. 

We began to look around their work area and school district, but there weren’t many options. An older, uncared-for home ended up being our best bet. We knocked it down and replaced it with the home they originally wanted. Because we started with a blank slate, there were fewer restrictions. Ann got the kitchen she wanted, Mike got his family room, and the kids got their dream bedrooms. In the end, they were delighted with their build outcome. 

2. Budget and Cost vs.Value Considerations

A budget should be the first thing to keep in mind for any construction project. Don’t commit to remodeling if you can’t afford to finish it, or you may find that you can’t afford the other design ideas you wanted once the base construction is completed. Renovating or starting from scratch is more expensive, but you have more control over your space, making last-minute tweaks easier. The homeowner can’t stay in their home during a renovation or new build like they can with a remodel. Staying home saves money by eliminating the need to find a temporary place to stay.

While tearing down and building from scratch is about 20% more expensive than a whole-house remodel, it’s important to note the long-term advantages it can bring. These upgrades include having up-to-date appliances and utilities. You can design the home around your needs rather than accommodating the pre-existing structures. It will also be more valuable for resale — because even if you completely remodel a 50-year-old house, it’s still 50 years old.

Custom Screen Porch and Kitchen

3. How Winthorpe can help

Process overview

Every project has six or seven steps, starting with a consultation. Next, we generate a design agreement with the client, working out a rough estimate of what they expect from us. We then visit the ideal site, begin the in-depth design, and follow with a preliminary review. 

A phone consultation or initial contact 

To get started, we set up a phone consultation where you describe your ideal project. From there, we put together some budget ranges and may also show you some of our past projects to make sure we’re on the same page. Then, if needed, we may call for a follow-up. 

Execute Design Agreement

Once we’ve gotten the basics out of the way and determined that we’re a good fit, we begin discussing potential plans and exchange ideas. You can take your time to pick a favorite, after which we’ll sit down and walk you through the design process and general plans. 

Site Visit

A rough design of what you’d like us to build helps us find an ideal site to do so. After examining the best options and choosing one, we’ll perform a site visit to better understand the project’s scope. Next, you’ll receive another explanation of Winthorpe’s design-build process, and we will answer any questions you may have. 

Preliminary review  

After the site visit and budget estimate, we review the design agreement along with everything else we’ve discussed up to this point. Then, we begin drawing your floor plans, re-evaluating the previous conclusions to make sure we’re designing the house of your dreams within your budget. During this process, we also do extensive research on the lot and any building or zoning restrictions. Finally, if it won’t work, we’ll discuss other options with you. 

Design Stage

At this stage, we can give you a more detailed budget estimate to make sure you’re comfortable with the investment you’re making. From there, our expert design team continues working on your design until every detail is perfect. Once you approve the final estimate, we can finalize these designs. 

Final Design and Construction Agreement.

When all of the previous steps are finished, you’ll receive a proposal with greater detail than we’ve previously given. This proposal provides a fixed price, among other things. Once signed, this becomes the final construction agreement. Following this, we can schedule the construction process. 


The experienced teams of designers and builders at Winthorpe Design and Build work with you throughout this process. Nothing is more important to us than ensuring you get the results you want in a functional and affordable design. The designing and construction process you receive from Winthorpe Design and Build has been perfected over many years. All of our experience means we know how to do the job right the first time. We also send out updates about any changes made to the schedule, work, and/or scope of the project. 

Completion of Project

Upon completion of the project, we will walk you through the entire build and, if necessary, show you how to operate and maintain your new appliances and fixtures. We verify that the project has been completed to your liking and address any issues, concerns, or questions you may have about the final project. We also fix any design flaws that you would like changed. 

WDB Warranty

Nothing is more important to us than your satisfaction as a client. Winthorpe Design and Build is here for you during and after the project. To make sure everything goes as planned and you don’t have any issues with the project, we follow up on every build after 90 days, 6 months, and one year. We value our clients and would love to do business with you again and again.

remodel and additions in maryland

About Winthorpe Design & Build

Building a new custom home is one of the biggest and most important investments of your life which is why we take it so seriously.

We have extensive experience working with local designers, and engineers to design and build quality, custom homes.

Our strong relationships with our suppliers, tradespeople, and subcontractors ensures the work on your home is of the highest level and is completed on time and within budget.

Winthorpe Design & Build is an award-winning firm conveniently located in Highland, Maryland. We service communities throughout Maryland & Washington DC, and the surrounding areas.

We specialize in turnkey custom home builds as well as distinctive kitchen and bathroom remodels, outdoor living areas, basement remodels, and additions.

Our dedicated and talented team provides concept to completion remodeling that lifts your spirits and enhances your life.

Ready to get started? We invite you to schedule a free in-home consultation.

We look forward to meeting with you!