What does it really cost to build a dream home? These days, it’s a lot of time, major headaches and many dollars above the initial budget — all thanks to forces out of the homeowners’ control.
In 2018, couple Carrie and Nate LaChance — the former of whom is an Instagram model with 1.1 million followers — moved to the Dallas area from Orlando and purchased a lakefront lot of land for $260,000. Their goal: to build a $3 million “Castle” home whose construction began in 2020, and whose process Carrie documented on Instagram — such as its groundbreaking and the selection of a dazzling 24-karat gold sink. They even hoped to fit a gym and a movie theater inside.
The Washington Post reports that four years since its inception, the couple’s home still isn’t finished. Thanks to a bevy of challenges, including pandemic-era labor shortages and supply-chain snafus — and not to mention Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — the home neither has its sheath of “Silver Mist” blue sandstone nor its windows, and the costs have swelled by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wood and nails, for instance, cost more than anyone had anticipated. What’s more, they took out an extra $100,000 last fall for unexpected costs; by the end of the year, those funds ran dry.
“It was like a chain reaction,” Joshua Correa, the LaChances’ builder and owner of Divino Homes, told the outlet. “Everybody started charging more—for everything.”
Correa added that building a basic home used to take five months — now it’s at least double that — and he needs to book workers weeks ahead, among other reasons, to pour concrete. Another nuisance: he told the Washington Post that the couple’s lumber plans needed for the Castle’s wooden framing required the wood to be ordered three months in advance.
The paper notes that lumber in particular has faced awful supply-chain issues during the bulk of COVID, with Correa saying prices for lumber have nearly doubled since 2020. Adding insult to injury, higher gas prices, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Garret Cockrell, whose Big D Lumber supplied the couple’s wood, told the outlet that during COVID he got 100 calls each day from contractors trying to get a hold of wood products. He was forced to turn new clients away — and his costs have doubled, especially with regard to fuel costs.
The prices have trickled down to the LaChances. Their initial budget for lumber was $105,000; as of June 2022, that sum has soared to $177,000.
Meanwhile, the cost of the Silver Mist stone was originally projected at $27,500 — in June, the cost grew to $39,000. But with delays, the stone, which was sourced from a quarry in Oklahoma that’s struggled with labor shortages itself, still hasn’t been installed along the outside of the structure.
Appliances have added an extra dose of bother, due in part to vendors dealing with chip shortages making household staples more difficult to obtain. For instance, the couple ordered their refrigerator in September 2021 — and it won’t reach them until March 2023. They had a total initial budget of $65,000 for their needed appliances, whose sum reached $78,000 two months ago.
There’s no word on when construction will wrap on the home, whose structure is marked by several turrets, but the couple stays hopeful — and the construction remains ongoing. Carrie herself noted that, after so much time in construction, design plans have changed. That includes going to a gold color scheme from a white one.
“The longer you think of stuff you think, ‘maybe I want this inside,’” she told the paper.
Still, the couple told the paper they already know what they’ll do their first night there: a “Game of Thrones” marathon in their home theater.