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Published May 30, 2011, 12:00 AM

Luxury homes big on details, builder says

FARGO – Ask Terry Becker what sets million-dollar homes apart, and he’ll tell you: It’s the details. A builder of high-end homes for the past two decades, Becker said the typical $250,000 to $300,000 house built in the Fargo-Moorhead area may have $20,000 worth of cabinetry.

By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

FARGO – Ask Terry Becker what sets million-dollar homes apart, and he’ll tell you: It’s the details.

A builder of high-end homes for the past two decades, Becker said the typical $250,000 to $300,000 house built in the Fargo-Moorhead area may have $20,000 worth of cabinetry.

When it comes to upscale jobs: “We’ve done homes where the cabinetry and other built-ins approach $150,000, $200,000,” said Becker, whose company, Terry Becker Construction, has about two projects going at any given time.

“The niche market that we fill is basically a totally custom home. They just demand all of your time,” Becker said.

He said that means making everything that goes into the home.

And by everything, he means everything.

“We manufacture the doors, the cabinets, all of it,” Becker said.

“When you get into the mill work, we did a home where we literally made miles of trim – 10,000 lineal feet of trim.

“It takes a lot of time to produce all that stuff,” Becker said.

Changing tastes

Becker said homeowners are looking for different things today than they were just five or six years ago.

Back then, a client might spend a small fortune on an elaborate shower or a stone-built, wood-fired pizza oven costing $25,000 to $35,000.

Today, he said, the dollars are going outdoors.

“We’ll install $150,000 to $200,000 landscapes, with patios and plants and built-in kitchens outside,” he said.

Becker said with each project, the client usually starts out with a budget.

But more often than not, he added, the scope of work changes.

“They take a bolder step and say, ‘I’m going to be here the rest of my life; I’m just going to do it the way I want to,’ ” Becker said.

There have been times when clients have requested exotic materials from faraway places.

But with some research, he said, it’s often possible to come up with a comparable material closer to home.

“We have used exotic woods that are from foreign places, but for the most part, we can match something or get it to appear the same,” he said.

Steady work

According to Becker, the recession didn’t slow demand for high-end homes, at least not for his company.

“For the last 10 years, there probably hasn’t been an unplanned slowdown,” he said, adding that the process of building a home is an interesting one.

“We typically do the design ourselves. Every item is researched and selected,” he said, adding some clients are very involved in that process.

“Some of them, they totally trust that you’ve grasped their idea and they kind of let you go with it,” he said, adding, “You usually end up with a strong friendship at the end.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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