For as long as Steve Sakowski can remember, he wanted to know “how things worked.” And his curiosity has worked out quite well for him.
“From early childhood, I have been interested in construction, electrical systems, electronics, manufacturing and how things worked,” says Steve. “I worked construction jobs and in a hardware store during high school and in my undergrad college years.”
He built his first three personal custom homes in 1988, 2000 and 2007 during evenings and weekends while working full-time jobs in various engineering and management positions in the industrial equipment and automotive industries. He was not only building homes but building a dream.
“My first personal home was built on ‘Bull Ridge’ in Webster Township,” Steve said. “Soon thereafter, my passion for building homes grew along with the idea of someday starting a custom home building business.”
In 2006, Steve obtained his Michigan Residential Builder License and built his third luxury custom home which would serve as his residence and model home. Unfortunately, the housing crash and recession put his home building business plan on the shelf.
In early 2014, sensing the economic recovery was real, Steve started Bull Ridge Custom Homes LLC. He bought two premium lots with the intent of building only homes that met his high quality standards. The first two speculative custom homes were both sold while under construction.
“There are no middle people at Bull Ridge Custom Homes LLC,” says Steve, who builds custom homes in the Ann Arbor and Dexter area. “I only build up to two homes at a time and customers deal directly with me, no intermediaries. I will build to customer’s plans or provide design services. My strengths are customer focus/satisfaction, technical knowledge, attention to detail and program management.”
Bull Ridge uses only the best in building materials, including James Hardie siding, Advantec subflooring with engineered I-joists, solid wood interior doors and oversized moldings, Pella Lifestyle Wood windows (aluminum clad exterior), fiberglass exterior doors, and insulated and finish dry-walled garages with insulated overhead doors. The cabinet, countertop, lighting, plumbing and flooring allowances are determined by customer’s preferences and budget.
After graduating from Thurston HS in Redford, Steve earned a Bachelors of Science Electrical Engineering degree from Lawrence Technological University and then earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University.
Building a custom home begins with setting crucial details, including cost and time expectations.
I do not believe avoiding discussing the cost of building a new custom home benefits me or the prospective customer, our time is our most precious resource,” Steve says. “I want to know what style home, size and finishes the customer desires so I can determine price and timing ranges for the project. Sometimes customers are not sure exactly what they want. But with my experience, I can usually help them fill in the blanks.
Steve then sizes-up the customer.
“If the customer is comfortable with my initial estimate, my next goal is to get an idea if we will be able to work together (I fully expect the customer to be doing the same of me),” he says. “I describe how I run the project and explain why project completion times range from nine months to 15 months depending on home size, sub-contractor availability, weather and customer changes during construction. If the customer owns a lot, is it suitable (water, sanitation, utilities, zoning, etc.)? If the customer does not have a lot, I am willing to evaluate suitability for potential building sites.”
One thing Steve can guarantee is that the home owner will have his full attention and commitment to the project. He only works on two homes a year which allows him to continue to personally manage his projects and customers without affecting the quality of the homes and his quality of life.
“I am a General Contractor/Project Manager,” he says. “My thoroughly vetted and experienced subcontractors provide the labor.”
Bull Ridge Custom Homes