Designing Dream Homes

Specialty design-build firm Great Neighborhood Homes shares some design philosophy and advice for planning your next project.

Written by:Kathy Jalivay
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Click to watch our interview with Margaret Busyn and take a tour of this beautiful artisan home built by her company, Great Neighborhood Homes.

In the world of home building and renovation, few things are as important as having a trusted partner to guide you through the process. For Minnesota builder Great Neighborhood Homes (GNH), there is a commitment to helping families build their dream homes through collaboration between the design professionals and their clients to ensure alignment of vision throughout the project. We asked GNH co-founder Margaret Busyn for insights into her process as we explored her world of home design.

Built in desk with an arched cut out and built in shelving, featuring Cambria Ironsbridge quartz design

Cambria design shown: Ironsbridge™

Detailed view of Cambria Ironsbridge™ quartz countertop design

Ironsbridge slab detail

Find a Builder That Values Your Vision

For the GNH owners, living and working in the same community brings an added element of knowing that when they build a home for someone, they will likely run into those clients at the grocery store or at the local coffee shop. So, it’s even more important to make sure their clients’ experiences are great from start to finish and beyond. Whether it’s a full home remodel or custom home build, GNH’s goal is to harmonize the design and construction process with each client’s expectations.

How to Impart Touches of Nature into Your Design

Busyn’s passion for nature-inspired design led her to select Cambria quartz surfaces for a custom home featured in a Minnesota Artisan Home Tour—a biannual event showcasing exceptional custom-built and remodeled homes. Busyn’s desire to bring the natural aesthetic of the outdoors inside is reflected in her choice of materials. For instance, the Cambria Inverness Frost design selected for this home’s kitchen countertops has a textured feel with an organic sensibility that complements the home’s panoramic views of a park.

Busyn says, “When we first were touching and feeling different stones and came upon the Inverness Frost Matte, my customer just felt the quartz, its buttery softness, and also saw its cool debossed veining, and she knew it was perfect. The design is very artistic, but also really organic. It just has that textural feel. And right away, we both knew it was what she was looking for. Plus, it goes with everything in the home. It just has that natural beauty.”

The Importance of Layering Color and Texture

Additional materials used to bring a sense of nature into this home’s interior spaces include wide plank oak flooring and large windows. Beyond that, Busyn’s approach to design is to begin with a neutral palette and gradually introduce color with accessories. This approach not only allows homeowners to express their personalities throughout the interior design but also provides flexibility to change with seasons, tastes, and trends. “Beige on beige isn't a bad thing,” says Busyn, “[Neutrals are] a great way to start. Then the homeowner can add color with artwork, beautiful rugs, and other accessories that bring in color and layers of texture. This creates a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.”

For example, in this Artisan Home, there are a lot of natural colors—greens, reds, and blues. “But really,” says Busyn, “I always say, pick the color that you feel best in. I love blue. So if you go to my place, it’s blue. This particular homeowner loves lots of color. She loves red. She loves all colors, and throughout this entire home, there’s color all over the place using thoughtfully curated accessories.”

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Cambria design shown: Inverness Frost

Detailed view of Cambria Inverness Frost™ quartz countertop design

Inverness Frost slab detail

Trends in Kitchen Design

Airy and bright design has been a prevalent trend in kitchens, with white as a popular color choice. That said, Busyn notes a growing interest in mixing colors, such as white upper cabinets and beige or wood-tone lower cabinets to create a harmonious yet visually appealing contrast. Another evolving design trend is to combine warm and cool tones to create balanced, visually appealing spaces. This balance of cool and warm tones offers a welcoming and elegant atmosphere.

The Kitchen Triangle

But most importantly, when beginning a kitchen project, Busyn suggests you determine your kitchen triangle. The kitchen triangle is the layout of your workspace—the triangular traffic flow from your range, to your sink, to your refrigerator. Your kitchen triangle should work for your lifestyle and how you work in the space. She says, “It’s important to look at magazines; look at Pinterest; look at Houzz; because you’ll start noticing that you gravitate toward the same things. And then you start realizing, ‘Oh, I love white cabinets.’ Or, ‘Oh, I would love to have more wood cabinetry or a wood-stained island base.’” In addition, Busyn highlights the importance of selecting durable and maintenance-free materials, especially in high-traffic areas like kitchens. She appreciates Cambria’s matte finishes because they are not only beautiful, but also make maintenance easy. “Cambria’s maintenance-free properties are a significant selling point, offering peace of mind to homeowners,” said Busyn.

Building with Cambria

This well-respected design builder’s appreciation for Cambria extends beyond it being beautiful and maintenance free. The fact that Cambria is an American-made product with exceptional customer service was a significant factor in Busyn’s choice. She says, “We explain to our customers why we love Cambria because, not only is it such a quality product, it’s American made, and Cambria’s customer service is fabulous. We place a high value on customer service for our clients.” Busyn also notes that Cambria’s showroom experience is a breeze. It only took a small amount of time to finalize selections for this 7,000-square-foot home, because our clients were able to choose from full slab samples at a Cambria showroom or gallery. The GNH approach to the selection process is all about making it a fun shopping experience for clients. And Busyn’s ability to simplify and streamline the process ensures clients not only get what they want but also have an enjoyable time. Clearly, it’s important to ask your builder or remodeler about the details of their process in order to ensure a similarly satisfying experience. Be sure to watch the video linked in this story for a full home tour and more insights from GNH.

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Cambria design shown: Everleigh™

Detailed view of Cambria Inverness Everleigh™ quartz countertop design

Everleigh slab detail

Cambria Is a Builder’s Trusted Partner

Cambria’s commitment to quality and innovation, emphasizing the ease of working with the company, was something that GNH has appreciated the most in their partnership. “The live, responsive customer service and wide range of quartz designs make it a top choice for my projects,” says Busyn. “It allows me to focus on other things.”

GNH and Busyn have an unwavering approach to customer service which is evident in the dedication to creating dream homes—something that is not just a job, but a passion. And their partnership with Cambria reflects the importance of quality and service in bringing these dreams to life. With an emphasis on natural beauty, texture, and color, Busyn’s designs continue to shape inviting and harmonious spaces for families. Building dreams and creating spaces, Busyn and GNH have truly left an indelible mark on the world of home design and renovation.

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