Spring in Charlottesville and Albermarle County »

March 21st, 2013

While most Winters in the Charlottesville area are tolerable as far as getting projects out of the ground, it’s always nice to see Spring roll around!   If there is rain, it will dry up if the nights are above freezing.

With our custom home and addition projects, we try to pick a ground-breaking time when the weather looks good for the next week or so; however, if you wait too long you’ll find it has become Fall!  Once the concrete footers are in, there is less bad weather can do to hold us up.  The main stage we are looking to get to is when the house is framed and “dried in.”  Getting a house to the “dried in” stage means all framing is complete and at least the tar paper or other waterproof roof underlayment as well as the Tyvek on the exterior walls is in place; we usually shoot for having the windows installed and the shingles on before the HVAC, plumbing and electrical are roughed in.

Getting a custom home or major addition out of the ground is a very  intense time, as is finishing a project, so we try to schedule our building to minimize major projects starting or finishing at the same time.

Bill Ware, President

High Caliber Construction

Custom Homes- Major Additions & Remodels- Historic Restorations

Charlottesville, Albermarle & surrounding Counties

Architects & Custom Home Building »

March 14th, 2013

About 90% of High Caliber’s projects involve an architect.  On occasion stock home plans or rough homeowner drawings for a Terrace Level finishing are just fine, but most projects do and will benefit from adding an architect to the design/build team.  High Caliber is affiliated with 4 different architects, each of whom brings something special to the table.

David Kariel of David Kariel Architects has run his own architectural practice for the past 23 years and is well known in the Charlottesville area.  A good number of his projects have involved work on structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mark Kestner is a principal in the Charlottesville architectural firm Atwood Henningsen & Kestner and has extensive experience with residential custom design.  His partner, Chris Henningsen, is also available as a part of the team to provide continuity in busy times.

Cathy Loman is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and holds a Masters Degree from Harvard University in architectural design.

Sherri Tracinski is both an architect and an architectural historian (UVA degree) and has collaborated with High Caliber on 3 design/build custom home projects.  Sherri is also available to advise on interior design.

High Caliber does find itself working with other architects as well, as it did recently with a major addition in Ednam Forest designed by architect Bob Tyrrell.  Both Bill Ware, President of High Caliber, and High Caliber’s affiliated architects are available to meet with prospective clients on a no-cost, no-obligation basis for folks contemplating a buiding project.

Bill Ware, President

High Caliber Construction

Custom Homes-Major Additions & Remodels-Historic Restorations

Charlottesville, Albemarle County & surrounding Counties


Weather and Custom Home Building »

February 21st, 2013

The Weather Channel is my second favorite TV destination,  just after HGTV.  Every morning I look at the next few days forcast as well as the outlook in the 7 day window.  You have to be careful not to let the longer forecast change your plans because, as we all know, forecasts can be wrong; if you wait around for perfect weather, projects just would not get out of the ground.

A good example of a hesitation being a good thing came 3 winters ago when we were contemplating breaking ground on a large custom home in Ivy, about 10 miles outside of Charlottesville.  The short term forecast was for light snow over a 2-day period but there were ominous warnings for down the road 4 days out.  Well it was more than just a light snow the next few days and that was followed by 2 additional snow storms which left over 18″ of snow on the ground and would have turned the site into a muddy quagmire, which would have taken considerably longer to dry out than the undisturbed ground.

After a while in the business, you get a feel for the rhythm of the weather and when to wait and when to go for it!

Bill Ware, President

High Caliber Construction

Custom Homes – Major Additions & Remodels – Historic Restorations

Charlottesville, Albemarle and surrounding Counties

Custom Home building in Charlottesville, VA »

February 14th, 2013

I’m often asked the difference between custom home building and tract or volume building.  The biggest difference for the client is that with custom building, you get exactly what you want instead of approximately what you want.  Within the paremeters of the budget, the builder, the architect and the clients team up to develop plans that reflect the nuances of the clients’ lifestyle right down to designing rooms around favorite furniture.  This process will typically take 60 to 90 days though we have had clients, who were not in a hurry, take 6 months to finalize a set of plans; when it comes to timing, we always take our cue from our clients’ situation.

Custom home building is much more of a creative process than just repeating a model home time and time again.  Every situation is different and it’s very satisfying at the end of a project when a client declares “success!”

Bill Ware, President

High Caliber Construction/Custom Homes- Major Additions & Remodels- Historic Restorations

Charlottesville, Albermarle and surrounding counties

Universal Design in Charlottesville, Virginia »

February 10th, 2013

Universal (Aging in Place) design seems to be a part of the majority of projects High Caliber Construction is involved with these days.

Last Spring we built a house for a couple (See “Fred & Sue L” under Projects) retiring out of the Northern Virginia area and, even thought both clients are in great health, the entire project was designed and built with “aging in place” in mind.  All hallways are wide to allow for 3′ wide doors; the Master Bath shower is “walk-in” and the walls are lined with 3/4″ plywood to allow for placement of grab bars anywhere the client desires.  An elevator allows easy movement between floors- handy now for elderly family & guests and, if necessary, available later for the owners. 

Many of these Universal Design elements are easy and inexpensive to incorporate with new construction; when properly executed, they do not look or feel instituional.  High Caliber has also been involved in remodel projects where the retrofiting of these design elements is more of a challenge and our associated architects must be inventive to accomplish the mission. 

A fair number of the baby boomers want to stay in their homes and High Caliber is fully prepared to help.

Bill Ware, President

High Caliber Construction/Charlottesville, Albermarle and surrounding Counties

Custom Homes-Major Additions & Remodels-Historic Restorations


Custom Home in the Final Stages »

November 15th, 2010

Here we are in the final stages of a custom home which was both designed and is being built by High Caliber Construction. With custom home building, the two most intense times during the construction process are (1) getting the home out of the ground and (2) finishing the home and getting a CO (Certificate of Occupancy).

When we were getting this custom home in Ivy out of the ground we ran into a major unforeseen vein of granite that necessitated our moving the foundation of the house 4′ to the left; this involved approval from the County and a bit more stone for a bigger hole.

More to follow on this custom home–

Bill Ware, President
High Caliber Construction
Custom Homes, Major Additions & Remodels, Historic Renovations
Charlottesville, VA

Custom Homes in Charlottesville, VA »

October 28th, 2010

Contrary to the national trend, High Caliber Construction has remained busy during the downturn. Lured by the world class countryside and quality of life, peeople are drawn to Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Current projects for High Caliber include three custom homes– one in Ivy for a couple with 3 school age children, one a rebuild of an historic home in the Whitehall area and a 3rd is a retirement cottage for a couple out of Northern Virginia. In addition we have several major additions and several major remodels. Also, we recently did a full lead-abatement project for the Virginia Institute of Autism where our Certified Renovator-Lead designation came into full play.

Bill Ware, President
High Caliber Construction
Custom Homes, Major Additions and Remodels, Historic Renovations
Charlottesville, VA 22932

Custom Home Building in Charlottesville, Virginia »

September 16th, 2010

At High Caliber Construction, we encounter a wide variety of wants and needs in a custom home.

Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of folks aiming to retire in the Charlottesville area. We are about to start a Design/Build on just such a project for a couple out of Northern Virginia who have focused in on an “English Country Cottage” theme and want to emphasize quality over quantity of square footage; there are many reasons why this is a wise approach. In contrast to a Design/Build we are just finishing up for a couple with 3 children, this cozy abode will feature a 1st Floor Master Suite and a finished basement that can be retrofitted later, if need be, with a chair lift.

Throughout this home will be elements of Universal Design (aging in place). Most of these design features are unobtrusive– 3′ door openings, lever handled door handles and plywood backed shower walls for ease of grab bar placement, for example. The joy of such homes is in the details that make a home warm and inviting– a wonderful prospect for this couple who will be trading a townhome in a busy city for a country cottage surrounded by pines.

Sherri Tracinski, our Architect, and I never tire of custom projects. Each is different, whether it be a home, an addition, a remodel or an historic renovation. Be sure to take a look at each of the featured projects on our website– they each have a story that our clients are willing to share.

Bill Ware, President
High Caliber Construction
Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville Best Place in America to Retire »

August 25th, 2010

That’s right! has named the Charlottesville area in Virginia the best place in America to retire. This goes along with a number of other occasions when Charlottesville has been named the best place in America to live !

My family and I are most fortunate to live in Western Albemarle County where Charlottesville is the County seat. Over the past several years, we have built several custom design/build retirement homes here for folks who have realized, in advance of talking with us, that the Blue Ridge Mountains and Charlottesville are among the garden spots in the world. One of those custom homes was built for Mark and Elaine Baker, a well traveled couple who moved here from Michigan. Still another home was built for Myles and Randi out of the Northern Virginia area; they plan on making their home a retirement home in about 10 years; in the meanwhile, they spend weekends and holidays here. We are currently in the design stage for another couple out of Northern Virginia who decided to retire here after exploring up and down the East Coast.

With our associated Architect, Sherri Tracinski (an Architect and an Architectural Historian), we are able to team up with our clients, not only on custom homes, but also on major addditions, remodels and historic renovations. Please explore our website; every client featured here is available for reference and every project available for on-site review by prospective clients.

Bill Ware, President
High Caliber Construction
Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville Virginia in the Spring »

March 24th, 2010

In the spring a young man’s fancy may turn to “love,” but for High Caliber Construction our thoughts are definitely turning to building custom homes. In beautiful Albermarle County we have had 2 major and 2 minor snowstorms which started in December and ended in February, making this warming trend in March most welcome.

We broke ground today on a custom design/build in conjunction with our clients and our associated Architect, Sherri Tracinski. Set in a 6-acre glen with a great fishing pond and a hillside view featuring wonderful rock outcroppings, this family home has both traditional and craftsman elements and features an exterior in oversized brick and Hardieplank. The Main Level has a 16′ X 32′ vaulted Great Room with a marvelous rock fireplace as its central feature along with a southern Dining Room and a contemporary Kitchen; views of the pond and hillside are available in every room; the 2nd Floor has 3 Bedrooms and 2 full Baths while the Terrace Level harbors a 4th Bedroom, a Home Office, a full Bath and a Rec Room; above the oversized 2-car garage is a full Apartment.

In addition to this custom home, High Caliber Construction is also involved with a Master Bath remodel in Glenmore, a Kitchen remodel in Charlottesville and is just in the beginning stages of an Historic Rennovation in Louisa.

Bill Ware
High Caliber Construction
Charlottesville, Virginia