Our $3 million dream home is unfinished thanks to the COVID price spike
How much does it really cost to build a dream home? Today, that means a lot of time, big headaches, and many dollars over budget—all thanks to forces beyond the homeowner’s control.
In 2018, married couple Carrie and Nate LaChance — the former is an Instagram model with 1.1 million followers — relocated from Orlando to the Dallas area and bought a $260,000 lakefront property. Her goal: to build a $3 million “Castle” home, construction of which began in 2020 and the construction of which Carrie documented on Instagram — like breaking ground and choosing a dazzling 24k gold sink. They even hoped to house a gym and a cinema in it.
The Washington Post reports that four years after its founding, the couple’s home is still unfinished. Thanks to a series of challenges, including pandemic-era labor shortages and supply chain issues — not to mention Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — the house has neither its ‘Silver Mist’ blue sandstone shell nor its windows, and costs have risen by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wood and nails, for example, cost more than expected. Additionally, they took out an additional $100,000 for unexpected expenses last fall; By the end of the year, these funds had dried up.
“It was like a chain reaction,” Joshua Correa, the builder of LaChances and owner of Divino Homes, told the outlet. “Everyone started asking for more — for everything.”
Correa added that it used to take five months to build a simple house – now it’s at least double that – and he has to book workers weeks in advance to pour concrete, among other things. Another nuisance: He told the Washington Post that the pair’s wooden planks, which will be needed for the castle’s wooden frames, would have to be ordered three months in advance.
The paper notes that wood in particular has faced dire supply chain problems throughout most of COVID, with Correa saying that wood prices have nearly doubled since 2020. Added to this are higher gas prices, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Garret Cockrell, whose Big D Lumber supplied the couple’s timber, told the outlet that during COVID he received 100 calls every day from contractors trying to source timber products. He’s had to turn away new customers – and his costs have doubled, particularly when it comes to fuel costs.
The prizes have leaked down to LaChances. Her initial budget for lumber was $105,000; By June 2022, that total had grown to $177,000.
Meanwhile, the Silver Mist stone was originally estimated to cost $27,500 – in June the cost rose to $39,000. But with delays, the stone, which comes from an Oklahoma quarry that is itself struggling with labor shortages, has still not been installed on the exterior of the structure.
Home appliances have added an extra dose of hassle, in part due to vendors grappling with chip shortages, making household items more difficult to source. For example, the couple ordered their fridge in September 2021 — and it won’t reach them until March 2023. They had an initial total budget of $65,000 for their needed equipment, which totaled $78,000 two months ago.
There’s no word on when construction of the home, whose structure is characterized by multiple towers, will be complete, but the couple remain hopeful — and construction is ongoing. Carrie herself noted that after such a long period of construction, the design plans have changed. This includes going from a white to a gold color scheme.
“The more you think about things you’re like, ‘Maybe I want that in there,’” she told the paper.
Still, the couple told the newspaper they already know what they’ll be doing on their first night there: a Game of Thrones marathon in their home theater.