Committed to Serving Our Clients Again & Again

Case Study:

At Bontrager Custom Homes, it’s not uncommon for us to stay connected with homeowners long after their move-in day. We may install a fence, finish a basement or repurpose a space at a home we finished years earlier.

We’ve been incredibly lucky, over the course of our 30-year history, to find ourselves working on behalf of repeat customers and clients. When homeowners want to work with us again on a new project years later, that’s how we know they really appreciate the relationships we build and the communication, respect and experience we bring to the table every time.

One valued client has even continued coming back to us over a 25-year span! She first found her Bontrager custom home while on a home show tour in Carmel’s Bayhill neighborhood in 1992. Ours was her 15th house of the day on the 16-stop tour, but the first to grab her attention. “This is it,” she told us right away. “It was love at first sight.”

After moving into her custom home, she hired us several times again to finish her basement, expand the backyard deck and take care of a few other small upkeep items.

A need to downsize eventually meant her beloved home was passed on to new owners while she relocated to an area townhouse. When she needed to make some cosmetic and maintenance upgrades around the aging home last year, we were honored to hear Bontrager was the first and only call she made.

New paint and flooring made a world of difference and brought the homeowner a renewed appreciation for her space. This may seem like a simple project, but we were thrilled to continue the history we’d developed with the homeowner over a 25-year stretch.

“I didn’t even think about having anybody else do it because I trust them so much,” she said. “I think of them being the most honest, hard-working people with a real desire to please. They strive to keep their clients happy. They really want people to appreciate what they do and they want to do it right the first time.”

We know homebuilding is our business, but treating our homeowners like family is really our life’s work. We hope the commitment we have to our clients and craft is evident in everything we do. Their commitment to us, returning with repeat business over the years, is certainly cherished by us.

Whether you’re a longtime Bontrager homeowner or potential first-time customer, reach out and let us know how we can help create the home of your dreams.

Adding Vs. Changing: 3 Ways to Know if a Room Addition is Right for You

Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, you really don’t want to leave. But what if you start the hate the layout or design of your home? You may want to add an entirely new room to create a fresh look, creative cubby or a new escape.

Regrettably, building an addition onto your home is not as simple as having an idea and making it come true. There are a lot of hoops to jump through and red tape to cross.

There are other options.

To save yourself from the large burdens of financial strain and stress, it’s wise to think about a remodel before investing in an entirely separate area.

What you should consider when deciding between an addition or a remodel:

1. Could a current space be changed to suit your new needs?

The costs of adding on to your home can add up quickly. This is why it’s best to consider all other alternatives before jumping right in. Remodels are traditionally more affordable and reasonable compared to an addition, so start taking an inventory of every possession in each room to see if it could be updated to meet your standards. Finishing a basement or attic could be a great way to gain additional space in your house.

2. Are there building restrictions you should worry about?

Before you start any kind of internal or external construction, you need to do your research and find out if there are any kind of codes that you need to consider. The answer to this is almost always yes. The section of buildable land available on your property does not extend all the way to its edges. This is done in an effort to prevent house fires from spreading too quickly in the event of an emergency. There could also be a height limit that would impact your ability to add another floor. Your city or county office will have all the information you need regarding the rules in your area.

3. Will you need a contractor or an architect?

Major additions require the skills of an architect or contractor. If you’re looking to add a floor with a new set of stairs, you will definitely need to employee the skillset of a professional. Adding a new master bedroom or den also needs these same talents. Remodeling projects can often be completed by the homeowner through do it yourself methods.

But what if you really can’t solve your problems with just a remodel? You may find that you need an additional bathroom or bedroom for a guest. Although upgraded furniture is a nice touch, it does not compare to an entirely new room.

This is where we come in.

Bontrager Custom Homes takes pride in working with our clients to create a personalized vision. Whether you want an addition or a remodel, we know just how to make your house a home.

We want your newly designed space to have your personality and style in as many places as possible. Schedule a time to talk with us and learn more about what we can do for you to transform your home and make you fall in love with it again.

5 Popular Basement Trends of 2019

If there is one place in your house that you aren’t eager to let guests explore, it’s probably your basement. Unless you have recently redone your underground dwelling, this area of your home probably smells a little musty, looks kind of disorganized and is – overall – dingy. Rather than continue to let your basement stay outdated and unappealing, make it the main attraction! With a few tweaks to the overall aesthetic, you can make this space livable, innovative and fun.

So how you do make your basement less dreadful? Consider these five growing trends when planning your renovation: 

Trend 1: Open Space

Having minimal space in your basement adds to the feeling of being uncomfortable and anxious. There’s already less natural lighting, so the last thing you want to do is force your guests into a cramped layout. Removing walls – when appropriate and safe – can help visitors feel free and open while in your home.


Trend 2: Upgraded Storage Areas

As years pass, more and more “valuable possessions” find their way into the basement. Whether they are stored in boxes in a corner, or left to collect dust on a shelf, these items make your space looked unkempt and crowded. To help clear out some of these “memories” consider labeling each box to assist in organization. New storage boxes, crates or shelving can also help inspire you to de-clutter and make your storage space more appealing.


Trend 3: In-Home Gym

Having a membership to your local gym can have quite the impact on your monthly income. Not to mention the hassle of actually going! Rather than constantly paying for the same experience, why not make your own? If you have the space, putting mirrors on the walls and having a water-resistant floor can turn your basement into the ultimate workout facility. You can then choose your own equipment to customize your space to meet your fitness needs.


Trend 4: Brewery or Mini Pub

Bars and lounge areas have always been a common basement staple, and now that trend has advanced as micro-breweries and little pubs are becoming increasingly popular additions. Changing the lighting and decorations – while also including the equipment to brew your own beer – can make this area the perfect place to catch up with friends or watch the game.


Trend 5: Luxurious Guest Rooms

Normally, a house may have one room on the main or upper level to accommodate guests for an overnight stay. But imagine all the space in your basement that you could dedicate to visitors! Giving them their own room to make themselves comfortable is one way to change the feel of your unused floor. Depending on the size of this area, you could even give your guests their own bathroom, family room or bar! The possibilities are endless.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Custom Home

Here at Bontrager Custom Homes, 30 years of custom homebuilding means guiding you through the process and putting together a plan for completing your dream home is our specialty.

Every Bontrager home is built on trust, and we’re confident you can trust us to keep you feeling informed, and valued every step of the way.

But how many steps are there? What sort of timeline can you expect from decision day to move-in day? Let’s break down the custom home building process.

Step 1 — Budget

Here’s something you can begin thinking about before ever meeting with our Bontrager team. Setting a budget is the first (and most important!) step your family can take toward your dream home. Then once we connect, we can help set you up with a trusted lender who will prioritize organizing your finances and helping you understand how the choices you make can affect your new home’s price.

Reasonable timeline: 1 month

Step 2 — Land

Where are we going to put this dream home of yours? Maybe you already have your own plot of land purchased and ready. If not, we can help connect you with trusted partners, tools and resources you need to find your perfect site. Once you’ve got your land, we’ll conduct an on-site inspection to get a better idea of how the property’s unique characteristics will affect construction.

Reasonable timeline: 1-2 months

Step 3 — Plan

Every one of our Bontrager Custom Homes is designed from scratch and individualized for you, your lifestyle and your needs. We’ll sit down with you and your architect or one of our trusted partners and pore over every detail of your design.

Reasonable timeline: 1-2 months

Step 4 — Pricing

We know you already set a budget, but once we’ve determined the design of your custom home we can begin finalizing every detail by putting together an allowance for everything down to finishing touches like appliances and fixtures. Then there are the fun final steps of closing your loan and signing the contract so groundbreaking can begin!

Reasonable timeline: 1-2 months

Step 5 — Selections

Knowing the importance of staying within your budget, we’ll utilize our connections with local and reputable brands to give you options that will complement and fit the design of your home. We’ll attend consultations together and shop for products so you can visualize their place in your home and feel confident with each decision.

Reasonable timeline: variable and ongoing through construction

Step 6 — Building

Here’s where things really get fun! You’ll be kept involved and informed throughout construction with routinely scheduled on-site meetings to discuss your home’s progress. Every project is different, but we’ll ensure things go according to plan. Want to change something along the way? No problem. We’ll meet and discuss any impacts on timing or cost with you at every turn.

Reasonable timeline: 7-8 months

Step 7 — Move in

Construction is complete and it’s time to turn your house into a home! It’s ready for new memories to be made and experiences shared with your family and loved ones.

And while the build might be finished, just remember your relationship with Bontrager Custom Homes isn’t. Our commitment to your home extends well past handing over the keys. Anything your house or surrounding property may need in the future, we’ll be here ready and happy to help.

6 Kitchen Renovation Must-Haves for 2019

In a constantly-changing world, the phrase, “keeping up with the Joneses'” takes on a whole new meaning. It seems like every day there is a new mobile device or a recently discovered superfood to try. We are so focused on having the latest and greatest, we sometimes forget about the areas no one sees. Let’s be honest, everyone has that one drawer in the kitchen filled with scissors, pens and other odds-and-ins.

Isn’t it about time you gave these forgotten areas some attention?

Your kitchen is where your food is stored, meals are prepared and maybe even where you entertain guests. Shouldn’t it look just as amazing as the rest of your home? This area, like all smaller rooms in your home, is just as important to maintain as larger spaces. 2018 had some very unique kitchen decorating trends and 2019 is sure to have more.

6 must-haves to look for in 2019


1) Concealed Vents

Moving into 2019, a quieter, artful ventilation look is trending. Whether using a traditional or more modern style of vent, having a sleek, seamless area over your oven will enhance the overall appearance of your kitchen.


2) Specialty Sinks

Craftsmanship (decorating with plenty of natural materials) will be one of the largest trends of 2019 and utilizing different materials and styles for a kitchen sink will be an anticipated conversion. Hammered copper and other materials will be making an appearance in many kitchens this year, giving a unique focal point to a once-overlooked kitchen feature.

Specialty Sinks

3) Industrial Countertops

Countertops may just be one of the most notable aspects of any kitchen. We’ve already seen marble, granite and a mixture of the two, but in 2019, we can expect a more earthy, concrete display. Swirls of rusty-tones will make your countertop stand apart from the rest.


4) Open Shelving

Open shelving will become a popular trend to not only showcase your favorite dishes, but bring new opportunities for styling your kitchen. Employing different color schemes into your dish sets can create an easy-to-change ambience for various holidays and seasons. Prepare to make very bold statements to keep up with this upcoming trend!


5) Concealed Storage

Maximizing storage space is becoming increasingly popular in 2019. Rather than bulky cabinetry taking up space, we can expect to see more concealed and concise approaches to kitchen storage.


6) Wood and White

Two-tone kitchens are going to become a commonality in 2019. All-natural, raw wood will become one of the first pioneers leading the kitchen design shift from matching to eye-catching.


As exciting as the new decorating trends of 2019 are, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Changing the layout and design of your kitchen is a big commitment. That’s why you want to hire a custom remodeler that puts your needs first. Bontrager Custom Homes takes pride in bringing your personalized vision to life. We want your newly designed kitchen to have your personality and style in as many places as possible. Centrally located in Indianapolis, we are prepared to do whatever it takes to transform your kitchen and make you fall in love with it again. Schedule a time to talk with us about what we can do for you!

Is Your Home Ready for a Fresh Start?

Three Easy Upgrades to Transform Your Bathroom

Could your home use something new? Now is the perfect time to refresh and start planning your home improvement projects for the 2019 year. Remodeling spending is expected to grow to more than $350 billion in the third quarter of this year, according to an October report from the Remodeling Futures Program at the Join Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, which is why getting a head start and planning your projects now is a good idea. Whether you’re looking to take on small or large improvements, bathrooms are a great place to start. Even the littlest updates can make a big difference, and the larger ones have the potential to turn your bathroom into a deluxe spa retreat that you’ll never want to leave. No matter what you’re looking for or the size of your budget, here are a few easy ways to give your bathroom some new major flair.


Bold and colorful are two trends we’ll continue to see in 2019. Don’t be afraid to do something different with your bathroom floor and give it an extra pop of color or pattern you may not normally go for in a larger space. This is a great focal point and can dramatically change the appearance of your bathroom. Another effective option is hardwood or laminate floors. They freshen up the room and make any space look clean and sharp. Since you’re working with a smaller area, you won’t need to buy as much flooring, allowing you to save and still make a big impact.



If you have a little more to spend, new cabinets and countertops can make a world of difference in your bathroom. From ample storage space to your choice of colors and new sink designs, you have full reign to renew your bathroom with custom cabinetry that fits your specific taste and style. And, depending on the size of space, your investment in quality materials is often fairly low compared to what you’d spend on kitchen counters. Updating your cabinets, countertops or sinks are effective ways to add value and give your bathroom a completely different feel.



Nothing screams new like swapping out your old tub or shower. Today, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the size and details of the look you want. If your space is limited, Bontrager Custom Homes has experienced custom home remodelers and can renovate your bathroom to expand the areas you want, like a larger shower or tub, which is always a good option if you’re in the market for a bigger project. Or, if you’re looking for a simpler transformation that’s still highly effective, you can experiment with different types of tile, shower heads, doors and more to spruce up your space quickly.


If you’re looking to change up your bathroom, these three easy transformations are effective for adding value and making your space look like new. Bontrager Custom Homes paves the way for bathroom design and is known for creating stunning sanctuaries. We work with local partners who are experts in cabinetry, plumbing fixtures and flooring to recommend beautiful new pieces that bring your entire space together. So, if you’re looking to tackle a bathroom home improvement project on your own or with professional help, these three easy upgrades are a good place to start.

Creating your custom home floor plan


One of the most exciting things about building a custom home is getting to create your own floor plan. However, I also understand that the thought of drawing up plans can seem intimidating. If you have no design experience, how could you possibly come up with a floor plan for an architect to draw?

At Bontrager Custom Homes, we’re here to help.

Our experienced team is by your side through the entire planning and building process, so you never have to feel overwhelmed or stressed.

After you select your desired lot, we can begin to draw up plans customized to that space, taking advantage of any nice views and adjusting to the contour of the lot. We partner with an experienced, quality architect that knows exactly what builders and their teams need to see on the plans. Of course, we can also use the architect you select as well.

We’ll sit down with you and the architect, acting as liaison to ensure both parties understand the floor plans and the project goals. This also helps guarantee the final plans and budget meet your expectations. The architect will ask you specific questions to draw the preliminary plans first and then you get to review, add your thoughts and make any desired changes.

This allows you to have true input into the layout of your home, ensuring total customization. While other builders only offer a set number of plans to choose from, allowing you to draw up your own plans solidifies the uniqueness of your Bontrager Custom Home.

Once you see the preliminary plans, you won’t be able to contain your excitement as you begin to further customize the layout to fit your lifestyle and preferences. Want to create a more open kitchen? Add a larger patio? The choice is yours.

We take pride in being a part of the entire custom home building process, ensuring transparency and satisfaction. You can be confident that your needs are understood, your vision is met and your investment is in good hands.

Are you ready to take the next step towards building a custom home?

Contact me today and let us help you build a home that was truly built for YOU.

-Scott Bontrager

Now is the time to build your custom home

Home Fiances

Since January 2017, the price of an average single-family home has risen by more than $7,000 *




While U.S. made products are our first choice when selecting materials, many of these goods are supplied from overseas distributors. But as more tariffs are implemented against these countries and other actions are taken, the cost of receiving these items, and the cost of new home construction, will continue to grow.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, approximately 600 of the 6,000 goods in the latest round of tariffs are related to the construction of new apartments and homes. In fact, the price of lumber has risen 62 percent since 2017. As higher material costs hammer the industry, and the battle continues around these tariffs, families considering building a new home are left feeling leery about their plans.

But now is the time to build your custom home.

Why? First, because of rising costs. Section 301 tariffs recently implemented in September at 10% will further increase to 25% in January. And while tariffs on items like home furnishings and appliances don’t directly affect the cost of building new homes, they do increase the total price of the home for potential homeowners.

With the uncertainty of what tariffs lie ahead, and how much they will be, choosing to plan and build your home now means you don’t have to worry about what supplies may cost you over the next few years.

Other factors to consider:

  • Housing Market – With the hot housing market we have seen in our area and nationwide, prospective homebuyers found are finding limited availability of existing homes, many of these with higher than average prices. By choosing to build a home, you no longer have to wait around for the perfect home to hit the market when you can create it yourself in the location you desire.
  • Built on Your Budget – Most importantly, choosing to build a custom home means you get to make all of the decisions. As the homebuyer, you get to choose the location, the size and the amenities that are included in your home, allowing you to know and alter the costs of the project to fit your needs and your budget.

At Bontrager Custom Homes, we understand the concerns and hesitations you may have. We take the time to discuss finances, needs and wishes and walk alongside you through the process so you stay well-informed and confident in your decisions. We work diligently and efficiently with our leading supplier partners to find you the best pricing for the highest quality materials so your home is built on time and within your budget.

Are you ready to build a custom home? Contact us today so we can start designing the home of your dreams.


Peggy Magee – An Exceptional Indianapolis Condo Remodel for One

Case Study:

A beautiful 4,000 square-foot estate nestled in the wooded skirts of Indianapolis was the house of Peggy M. It was the home where she raised her children, created timeless memories, shared family traditions and eventually spent weekends playing with her grandchildren. Peggy worked with Bontrager Custom Homes in the early 90’s, around the time her grandson was born, on some remodeling projects she wanted done. After having a wonderful first experience, she continued to work with them for many years to renovate the home she loved…but didn’t want to leave.

When it came time for Peggy to downsize and move to a new place, she wanted to take her memories with her. The gorgeous wood that made up her vanity in her old house was taken with her to her new condo and remodeled into a breath-taking design that still holds the same meaningful value it did before. The natural look and warm feeling it emits is something Peggy didn’t want to part with, and luckily, didn’t have to.

Knowing how hard it is to say goodbye to your family home, Bontrager Custom Homes wanted to create a new space for Peggy that didn’t replace those memories but made room for new ones and always reminded her of where she came from.

Kitchen Function and Beauty
When Peggy got the keys to her new condo, Bontrager Custom Homes met with her to go over the initial consultation. During the first walk-through, she expressed her interest in opening the kitchen to make room for a breakfast bar—a feature she always wanted. The wall that previously existed divided the kitchen and dining area, limiting the size of the kitchen and closing it off from the rest of the condo. Knowing Peggy’s wishes for a breakfast bar, the Bontrager team advised removing the wall to allow for more space. From the granite color to the size and design, Peggy worked with Bontrager Custom Homes and their valued partner Madison County Cabinets to create the kitchen’s quality look and feel.

Kitchen Counter Kitchen Window Kitchen Remodeled Dining Room

Just off the kitchen, there was a closed-in laundry room that also connected to the exterior garage. Collaborating with the Bontrager team and Madison County Cabinets, they decided to remove the walls and make an area in the cabinetry that would hold a stackable washer and dryer. This allowed more space for Peggy to move around the kitchen. When looking at the finished cabinetry, it’s nearly impossible to tell laundry is being done behind the scenes. After it was all said and done, the end results made the kitchen more functional, spacious and desirable.

Remodeled hidden laundry

Master Suite Added Functionality and Personalization
The next major renovation of the condo was the master bedroom. Peggy was having a hard time visualizing how she wanted to rework the space because the current layout felt mismatched and dated. When the condo was built, the entrance to the master bathroom was toward the back of the room and Peggy wanted it closer to the front. The Bontrager team listened to her ideas and presented several different visual renderings of how the room could lay. Peggy was thrilled when she found the option that worked best for her. The detailed visuals helped the team at Bontrager Custom Homes prepare a smooth remodeling process for the room rearrangement.

Bedroom Remodel

After determining where the master bathroom would go, Bontrager Custom Homes and Madison County Cabinets collaborated yet again to create the custom oak wood vanity that was built with one-of-a-kind wood from Peggy’s old house. With this being the heart of the home, no detail was too small or too big to ensure it met every one of Peggy’s expectations. Today, it’s complete with lots of functional space, custom lighting and memories that will last a lifetime.

Vanity Remodel Vanity Remodel 2

Custom Furniture Wins
While dining in a restaurant one evening, Peggy saw a beautiful shelving unit that she fell in love with. She wanted to create something similar for her new condo where she could showcase her beautiful, heart-felt gifts. During the remodel, she worked with Bontrager Custom Homes to visualize where the unique piece would stand out most. Peggy suggested removing the narrow hallway that led into the master bathroom, just off the front entry-way to help open up the space. It became the perfect place to put the custom shelf, giving it the recognition and visibility it deserved. Peggy shared her vision of what she wanted the shelf to look like and Bontrager Custom Homes and Madison County Cabinets partnered together to deliver an exceptional piece, incorporating home-made glass that Peggy’s father gifted to her many years ago. This was another feature of the home that held a great deal of sentimental value and one that Bontrager Custom Homes and Madison County Cabinets took great pride in creating.

Custom Piece

Quality and Beauty All in One
The beautifully-engineered hardwood floors from Bontrager’s long-time partner, Midwest Flooring, along with a fresh coat of paint and eccentric full bathroom, were also big projects that helped bring the condo together. The results transformed a 1980’s condo to a modern, personalized home that is unlike any other in Peggy’s neighborhood. From the wide-open kitchen to the functional breakfast bar, custom shelving and spacious master bedroom, Peggy was able to make the place her own and is now enjoying many unique features that she can’t imagine living without.

Bathroom Remodel Kitchen Remodel Condo Remodel

As of now, Peggy’s not sure what the future will hold or if she’ll ever need to remodel or move again. But if the time ever comes, she knows who she will be calling.

Thank you, Peggy from all of us at Bontrager Custom Homes for letting us be your trusted partner and for allowing us to be a part of your beautiful home remodeling journey!

“The Bontragers are fabulous to work with. They’ll never tell you can’t do something. If it isn’t possible, they’ll tell you what you can do and give you options that are even better than what you originally wanted!”- Peggy M.

6 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

The United States uses 23% of the world’s energy, yet only holds 5% of the world’s population*

How much energy does your household consume?

Conserving energy is not only better for the environment, but it is also beneficial for you and your family. Investing in an energy efficient home can help you lower utility bills, improve comfort and give your home a higher resale value.

Here are some quick and effective changes you can make in your current home:

Create a temperature schedule

Investing in a programmable thermostat is one of the best things you can do for your HVAC system and wallet. Align your home’s temperature with your family’s schedule, raising or lowering a few degrees when you are out of the house. This not only helps lower your energy bills, but allows for optimal comfort.

Install low-flow showerheads

Most showerheads use 5 gallons of water per minute while low-flow options have an average rate of just 2.5, helping you save water and money.

Seal windows

Over time, your windows can develop cracks and air leaks. Adding weather stripping or caulking to fill in gaps is a quick and easy way to avoid having warm or cool air leave your home, therefore helping to lower energy bills.

Reduce water usage

According to the EPA, the average homeowner can save about $170 a year by making small changes to their water usage. Turning the water off while brushing your teeth, avoiding half-loads of laundry and making sure your dishwasher is completely full before running it are just a few easy ways to help you conserve water.

Unplug chargers

The average electronic device charger consumes .26 watts of energy when not in use. How many chargers do you currently having sitting in outlets throughout your home? By remembering to unplug your chargers after use, you can decrease unnecessary energy consumption.

Switch out lightbulbs

Did you know the average home uses 40 lightbulbs?* By switching out old incandescent lightbulbs for Halogen or LED options, your bulbs will last longer and your electric bill will be smaller.

If you are looking to invest in a more energy efficient home, we can help. At Bontrager Custom Homes, we use quality, Earth-friendly products in our custom home building and remodeling projects. We help guide our clients to select energy efficient options when it comes to lighting and appliances.

Let us help you create a quality, custom home that fits your needs, complements your lifestyle and positively impacts the environment.


Why search for a pre-built home when you can build your own?

Building House

The housing market continues to be competitive. With five, six and seven good offers going for one home, homebuyers are being turned away and have even fewer options to choose from. Will it get better for buyers? Leading real estate agents of the Indianapolis market predict no, at least for the remainder of the year.

Instead of fighting, stressing and overpaying for a home that meets ‘most’ of your needs, put the ball in your court and consider building a custom home while the market’s hot.

Here’s what you need to know whether you’re a first-time custom homebuilder or an experienced veteran.

Determine how much you can spend

Before getting started, you should have an idea of how much you can spend on your new home and land. When setting your budget, you should identify how you will organize your financing and understand how the decisions you make can affect your new home’s price and value. From there, you can schedule an appointment with a trusted lender or a financial institution of your choice to get a second opinion and discuss home insurance, loan options and payment assistance programs. If needed, your custom home builder can assist with you this important step and direct you to preferred lenders if needed.

Discuss mortgage qualifications

Knowing your budget, you can discuss with a mortgage broker what your rough estimate of monthly costs will be based on your income, credit report and history. Your monthly costs will include property taxes, home insurance, and in some cases, private mortgage insurance. This preliminary work will set up all the information you need to apply for the best mortgage loan.

Choose a homebuilder

Now that you know your budget, you might be shopping around for a custom home builder that serves your area and best meets your needs and style. During your consultation, your custom homebuilder will ask the style of home you’re looking for, your priorities, if you have a location in mind or if you need help finding one. The more details you give your homebuilder, the better understanding of your project they’ll have to prepare for the next steps. It may be a good idea to think through these details prior to your consultation.

Planning your dream home

After your initial consultation with your custom home builder, the fun part begins! In most cases, your builder will connect you with a trusted partner to help you map out the design of your home. What type of floor plan do you envision? How many rooms do you want? Do you want a master suite? These are a few of the questions you’ll uncover in your design consultation plus so much more. The best part is— every inch will be inspired by you and designed to meet your lifestyle!

Pricing and closing the loan

Once you’ve determined the design of your home, you’ll receive an estimate of final costs and a budget for fixtures and appliances. In most cases, your custom homebuilder will walk you through this process and connect you with trusted partners who can take care of your custom cabinetry needs, bathroom plumbing and everything else you desire. Now that you know your actual pricing, your broker will provide you with official mortgage terms including monthly payments and interest rate. Your final step will be closing your loan, signing the contract and letting the groundbreaking begin!

Bontrager Custom Homes

As your custom home is being built, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the home being built for you! All the better, you’ll be able to shop for your final touches and décor during this time instead of fighting for a home that’s already built and doesn’t meet your every need. If you’re getting dragged down by the home-buying process, you have better options, and at Bontrager Custom Homes, we can help. Are you interested in reading more about the final phases of custom homebuilding? CLICK HERE.

For more information about Indianapolis-based Bontrager Custom Homes, click here.

Betty Watanabe & Peter Barickman – Condo Home Remodeling


Case Study:

When husband and wife, Betty Watanabe and Peter Barickman, moved back to Indianapolis and decided to buy and renovate a condominium, the first and only phone call they made was to Bontrager Custom Homes. Having worked with us 20 years prior to that, they were thrilled to see our family-owned business still thriving and delivering one-of-a-kind custom homes and home remodels.

When Betty and Peter found their forever condo on the North Side of Indianapolis, they had high expectations but no doubt in their minds that our crew could deliver. The condo was built in the late 1980s and it had a tight space with lots of rooms, walls and doors. It also had dated bathrooms, bedrooms and an old kitchen that needed a lot of modifications. Knowing they wanted to retire here, opening-up the floor plan to maximize space and customizing it to make it their own was essential.

With three months to completely gut the condo and make it into Betty and Peter’s dream home, there was no time to waste. From the initial stages of planning all the way to completion, Betty had a vision in mind and worked closely with our team to bring their forever home to life. Our partner and preferred architect, Harold Sark, worked with us to develop a completely new layout. We factored in what walls could be removed and what rooms needed opened-up to get the most use of available space. Together, we took our ideas and tailored them to make the most cost-effective solutions, keeping the high-scope project on time and on budget.

The dated kitchen featured a lot of shelving, which Betty admired. However, it was confined in a small room so the space was cramped, dark and only comfortable for one person. Our team tore down the wall that was between the living room and the kitchen, opening it up to make the space three times larger than it originally was. Working alongside Betty, interior designers and Madison County Cabinets, we customized the kitchen to give it ample storage, added in a huge island for cooking, and gave it a well-crafted modernized finish.


Before . Before



Inside the master bathroom, there were two small vanities and a shower-tub. The space was limited, however, we wanted to give the client a shower and stand-alone bathtub that all fit inside the room. We transformed the original setup into a wet room by knocking down one of the dividing walls which allowed us to create space for a bathtub, shower and a toilet. This custom solution gave Betty and Peter plenty of room and allowed for all three amenities to fit inside the master bathroom suite unlike before.





One of the most unique aspects of the condo ended up being the closet and hallway which were turned into Peter’s “man cave”. Using the original coat closet and part of the hallway, we transformed it into a room with a custom pocket door. Inside the “man cave”, we built custom glass shelving to store Peter’s collector items and made sure there was plenty of room for a desk and sitting area.

Next came the three-season sunroom which was originally a concrete balcony on the back of the condo. It overlooked a lake and Betty and Peter wanted a room where they could enjoy the view all season long. Adding siding, a roof, sliding windows and doors, we transformed the old exterior balcony into a new, comfortable addition to their condo.



To showcase Betty and Peter’s unique style, we carefully designed a powder bathroom starting with an old antique nightstand. Adding a countertop, glass bowl and plumbing into the furniture piece, we transformed the old nightstand into a working vanity for their guests to use. Next, we added Asian-inspired wallpaper and a custom light fixture to pull it all together.



From removing all the carpet and installing beautifully engineered hardwood floors, to knocking down walls and creating two large living rooms, we carefully designed the condo to be functional, comfortable and reflect the couple’s style. With our entire team’s combined experience, we successfully completed the project by the three month deadline with the perfect balance of historical feel and modernized environment the clients were hoping for.

View more pictures

laundry room

Laundry room with custom shelves designed by Madison County Cabinets

Master bathroom vanity


Guest bathroom


“Scott at Bontrager Custom Homes is so easy to work with. He is so patient and calm, nothing scares him away. I told him he’s unlike any other builder. Anytime I had a tiny concern, he minimized it with the best solution. Bontrager Custom Homes delivers exactly what they say they will and more.” – Betty Watanabe