Perrino Custom Builders finds that homes with wide open spaces remain extremely popular. Photograph courtesy of Perrino Custom Builders, LLC.

Building a custom home can seem daunting but, having the right tools and knowledge goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth process and pleasing results. Often, this begins with having a good flow of communication with your builder. Pat Perrino, president of Perrino Custom Builders, LLC, describes an online scheduling tool that his company uses.
“Customers can log in and see, for instance, when their windows are going in or when the roof is going on,” he explains. Customers also use the tool to see photos of how their house construction is progressing or to request a change. “There’s always a record of it,” Pat says, as he explains that the system eliminates conversations or promises that might otherwise fall through the cracks. “There is a running log of progress at the job site. The system keeps track of all the info.”
Communicating with your builder is also easier when the customer doesn’t have to run all over town visiting different vendors for different aspects of the job. The Perrino team includes designers who work with customers at the Perrino furniture and home-accessory showroom for a one-stop-shop experience. “Our people are so phenomenal,” Pat says. “They can help people build their file (of the look and style they like) on Pinterest or Houzz.” Then they collaborate to find just the right fixtures, furniture and accessories for each client. The company’s relationships with dozens of suppliers empowers the design team to keep projects on budget by offering options at many price points.
In addition to having options for what goes in your custom home, you’ll of course also want options for the construction of the home itself. Every home Perrino builds is custom, whether it’s part of a development or a build-on-your-lot situation. “We can start from scratch,” Pat says, “but 99 percent of our customers start out with a pre-designed plan and then change it to what they want.” Perrino’s selection of home plans is vast and includes popular styles from farmhouse to Tuscan to rustic ranch and many more.
Popular exterior choices include HardiePlank, vinyl siding, stucco or stone. “Brick is also coming back,” Pat says. “It depends on the price point.”
Open floor plans remain extremely popular. Referring to the 13-lot West Pines 55+ development in Willoughby Hills that Perrino plans to complete this summer, Pat says, “We specialize in 55+ open ranch floor plans.” Pat says his company developed their current open floorplan offerings, “through years of experience and showcasing them at other neighborhoods and tweaking them over the years.” He adds, “People love these open floorplans with high ceilings and lots of windows and they want smaller lots that require less work.” HOA (home owners’ association) fees cover everything from mulching and mowing, to plowing and shoveling. “We’ve specialized in this type of maintenance-free community for the past 15 years,” Pat adds.
Emphasizing the customizable nature of everything he builds, Pat says, “We can do an optional second floor if someone wants a game room or an extra couple of bedrooms up there. Or, we don’t have to build a second floor at all, for someone who wants complete first-floor living.”
Inside, people are generally looking for granite or quartz countertops, LVT (luxury vinyl tile) flooring, and tile in the bathrooms. “A lot of people are opting for two-tone kitchens,” Pat says, referring to one in which the island cabinets are a different color from the rest, or all the lower cabinets are one color while the uppers are different.
Today’s customers also tend to look for energy efficiency. “We build 2×6 outer walls (which means more room for insulation). We use high-efficiency furnaces and windows,” Pat ticks off. “The water heaters and all appliances are Energy Star rated,” he adds.
As for what makes a good spot for a new development, Pat says people like proximity to work, to freeways and to shopping, as he mentions company projects in Solon and Pepper Pike as well more rural projects in places like Kirtland. “We also do knockdowns,” Pat says, describing jobs where customers are happy with their location but want to start fresh from the ground up.
Northeast Ohio overall is popular not just with those who are already here but with plenty from more congested and expensive areas of the country. Pat mentions New York, California and Chicago in his list of places where transplants come from. “They are relocating here because of high crime and taxes in those other places. Also, there’s less traffic here and housing is so much more affordable here,” he points out. Whether he is building large homes for customers from elsewhere in the country or smaller homes for Ohio’s snowbirds, Pat says everyone wants open floorplans. “They want the wide-open spaces so even smaller homes feel big inside.”