There are certain things in your life that you prefer to be perfect. It can sometimes feel like house hunting will never yield perfection. Each threshold crossed presents its own challenges. One home is palatial, simply too large for the new homeowners’ needs. Another is lacking the refined kitchen of any home chef’s dreams. The fact is that hardly anything is ever perfect—unless you create it with your dream house in mind.
Custom homes are exactly what they sound like: custom. Starting from the ideas within a client’s own head, each piece of the puzzle is put together to fit their needs. Mike Burianek’s company, Modern Home Concepts, turns these ideas into real brick-and-mortar homes. “We specialize in building five-star-plus energy rated homes,” says Burianek.
Open concept floor plans have gained popularity with recent homebuilders. With this comes the reinvigoration of the ranch home. “We’ve built a lot of ranches and we have a lot of clients that are even the younger generation,” says Burianek. The entire perception of the typical ranch has really changed, he explained. Forty years ago, they consisted of several boxy spaces jumbled together—very uniform and uninspired. The modern ranch, however, is full of possibility, something that Burianek demonstrates in his personal home, a ranch with a walk-up basement and 6,700 square feet of finished space.
Just like many of his customers, Burianek and his family wanted a home that fit all of their needs, leading to a lot of customization. “You’re never going to find the perfect floor plan,” says Burianek. His wife had discovered a floor plan online that showed a front elevation that they loved—the one they ended up with in fact—however, the rest of the design wasn’t quite right. “I had all of these extra blueprints at my office. I took a pair of scissors one Friday night and just started cutting sections from houses I’ve done in the past.” Burianek kept tweaking the plan, adding pieces here and there until it started to look like their future home.
Located near Wooster, Burianek’s home is a lovely example of what a ranch can be. Featuring wide open spaces, custom cabinets and floors, and high, airy ceilings, each detail of his home was well-thought-out and planned to perfection. The floors, for example, are all Amish custom-made hardwood floors. “We did a hard maple floor with a hand-scraped finish,” he says.
The home is also quite tech-savvy, something that Burianek’s 8 ½ year-old-twins are very talented with. “We have this system in the house where it’s Android or iPhone compatible. I can control my thermostat, I can shut lights off, I can turn lights on if I’m coming home,” he says. This system also provides a lot of assistance on the safety front. “It’s also my security system, it’s my fire and police and all of those things.” Controlling both internal and external features—outdoor lighting too—Burianek carries the controls to his home with him daily, on his phone.
Smart tech gadgets for your home!
The home also has a built-in entertainment system, with speakers in the ceilings throughout the house. “You plug your iPhone into the main port and you can play Pandora throughout the house,” says Burianek.
When they started planning for this home, the Burianeks knew that they weren’t going to be moving in 10 years. Instead, this was a place for the long haul and worth spending their money on. “My wife and I, our mentality was that they’re going to carry us feet first out of the house.” Burianek made the investment into a great insulation package that allows him to have only one furnace and not a massive heating bill.
The furnace itself has an interesting feature. “I have a device inside my furnace that is an ultraviolet light filter that, if there’s any moisture left in the plenum in the furnace, it evaporates it, so there’s no bacteria that builds up in the furnace.” Because his home is so air-tight, Burianek has to bring fresh air in. To help with that, he has a system called an ERV unit. This system preheats the air before it goes to the furnace, or precools it if the air conditioning is being used. It also filters the air, killing 99.2 percent of all germs and bacteria in the air, according to Burianek.
His home has even received an award for being so well insulated and energy efficient. The mortgage and construction industries use a nationally recognized scale—the Home Energy Rating System, or HERS—to determine how energy efficient new and existing homes are. A score of 70 on the HERS scale earns the home a five-star-plus rating. All of the homes that Burianek builds score well below 70, a great feat. However his own home scored an impressive 44.
Read more: Modern Home Concepts
Creating a home from the ground up isn’t for everyone. Nonetheless, Burianek says people are embracing the custom-built home and enhancing it. “We’ve taken it to the next level,” he says. “That’s where you get creative with the design and the openness that people want.” Whether he’s building a home for a young couple, empty nesters or his own family, Burianek’s custom homes are just that—unique custom creations.