Unity Blog

A Semi-Custom Design for a Unity Shell Package

A Semi-Custom Tradd

How can Unity provide an efficient, streamlined design-build process for our clients, when every site is unique and every client has different needs? Some building sites are simple and easily-developed, while others are complex and expensive to build on. Many clients find just what they are looking for in Unity’s sample plans, and they are thrilled with the standard finish options that Unity offers. Other clients have tastes in design, fixtures and finishes that run outside of Unity’s norms. 

Because planning and building a home shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all process, Unity has developed a variety of pathways and packages to serve a broad spectrum of clients and their needs. 

A recently-completed Tradd in Jackson, NH exemplifies one particular combination of pathway and package. The design of the home followed Unity’s Semi-Custom design process, rather than our Streamlined or Personalized options. The Semi-Custom pathway allows the flexibility to develop unique design solutions for a particular project. And Unity provided a Shell Package for the home, as opposed to our Tempo Package or Whole House service. We assembled the weathertight shell on site, and a local builder finished the exterior and interior. 

The Semi-Custom design pathway emerged early-on from discussions with the clients about the site, and their desires for the home. The sloping site lent itself to a walkout basement, which requires that the foundation and walkout walls be customized to fit. The site also affords a wonderful view of Mount Washington, which suggested that the windows on that side of the house should be larger and more plentiful than Unity’s standards. On the interior, the owners wanted extensive vaulted ceilings to accentuate the view. They also asked that we extend the master bedroom wing from our standard fourteen feet wide to sixteen feet. We were easily able to incorporate these design moves within our Semi-Custom design pathway. 

The choice of a Shell Package was driven partially by the location of the home. Unity offers full general contracting (Whole House) services within about an hour’s drive of Walpole, New Hampshire, and this site is three hours away. The clients could have opted for a Tempo Package, in which Unity provides the shell of the home plus many of the materials and fixtures to finish it, but they decided that they wanted the flexibility to work with a local interior designer and choose all of those items starting with a blank slate, not with Unity’s curated selection of options. 

The resulting home features certain materials and fixtures that would not be found in a typical Unity home, but that work well together in this instance. These include random-width solid hardwood flooring, tiles imported from Europe, wrought iron light fixtures, built-in custom cabinetry, and stone wainscoting on the exterior. Underlying these finishes and fixtures is the high performance shell, which provides the same benefits found in every Unity home: continuous fresh air, comfortable temperatures, energy efficiency and low-maintenance durability. 

Because Unity’s Semi-Custom design path is more time-consuming and expensive than our alternatives, it’s not for everyone. And because Unity’s Shell Package option requires that the homeowner take on more responsibility for finish and fixture decisions, many Unity clients opt for our Tempo or Whole House packages. But in the case of this Tradd on a hillside in the White Mountains, the combination of Semi-Custom design and a high performance Shell Package fit the clients’ needs perfectly. 

The homeowner had this to say when the project was completed:
“Everything from the screenshot meetings to the itemized pricing is very impressive.  I don’t consider myself the most visual or technically minded client, but you make it very easy.  Having gone through this process, I’m not sure why anyone would want to build a house any other way!”

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