Barnes Custom Builders Understands Its Market

Whether it’s a summer home for weekend visits, your dream retirement home, or your year-round home, Barnes Custom Builders is the premier design, build and renovation company on Cape Cod. Since 2008, they’ve built and remodeled homes across the Cape combining old world craftsmanship with innovative technology and the latest materials to increase efficiency and lower year round maintenance.

Barnes Custom Builders is owned and operated by Charlie Barnes. He grew up in Falmouth and began working in construction on Cape Cod while still in high school. “I was doing things like framing and working for various people on the Cape. In fact, it’s how I put myself through college,” said Barnes.

When Barnes finished college, he decided to follow his love of building and open his own business using all the knowledge he’s gathered over the years. “I spent a lot of time working for different people and having a huge network of really skilled people on Cape Cod,” said Barnes “I learned almost everything on the job. I worked with many subcontractors and with a custom cabinet shop. I was really able to learn every side of the business.” Barnes credits the people he was able to work with for his level of insight into the unique market on Cape Cod.

It was during this time that Barnes learned a few low maintenance tricks of the trade that come in handy when building for homeowners that only on the Cape part time. For instance, choosing PVC trim over traditional trim can cost less in the long run. It lasts longer, is rot resistant and there’s not as much paint required. Similarly, solid stain siding has a much longer warranty than cedar shingles. If the solid stain siding is double dipped the stain is guaranteed for 25 years. Cedar shingles, on the other hand, need more power washing to avoid looking old. Cedar shingles need to be re-stained every 5 to 10 years. Instead of using pressure-treated pine decking, Barnes’ alternative is Ipe, which is a natural resilient hardwood or PVC composite material. Both of these last twice as long. It’s a better quality product due to the Ipe’s density. This is perfect for those not around; once it’s built you don’t need to worry about it as often.

Dave Medeiros came from a very different background. Although he is now the Barnes’ right-hand man at Barnes Custom Builders as partner and account manager, he started out in engineering for Dow. “It was great working for an established company, but I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Medeiros.

When Barnes contacted Medeiros to see if he’d be interested in coming on board, he jumped at the chance. “It was a big career change,” said Medeiros, “but what I valued was the independence of working at a small business and having a closer relationship with the customers.”

Barnes Custom Builders understands the Cape Cod building market from the mindset of the customer to the unique landscape of the area. “Every customer who walks in has a different story. We understand that building or remodeling a home is an emotional decision,” said Medeiros.

The design process is a long one, which allows the customer to really convey those desires and needs to the build team. “The design process is actually as long as the time it takes from the start to finish of the build process. You have to get that right. Communication is key,” said Barnes, “For some budget is more important than schedule. For others, time is key and they are willing to forego other things. Every project is unique.”

In addition to ensuring that all of the customers’ needs and requests are included in the design, Barnes Custom Builders also informs customers of the latest building practices that will help the owner achieve long-lasting, low-maintenance homes, even in the harsh New England weather. “Many of our customers are only here part time,” explained Medeiros, “They are looking for materials and designs that they can trust won’t need as much upkeep when they aren’t around.”

The Cape Cod landscape can play a big role in the sustainability of the home. “We deal with zoning and permits,” said Barnes. “This is where knowing and understanding the Cape is really important.”

Barnes Custom Builders understands that not all clients can stop into the office or join them on the job site. Many people are building second homes or looking to move to the Cape after the build is complete. Keeping these customers in the loop is incredibly important to Barnes and Medeiros. They developed a communications system where homeowners have access to every angle of the process.

An online portal, which can be accessed from anywhere from any device at any time, allows clients to view all the documents and communication associated with their project. Additionally, those working on site, update the online account with photos daily so customers can see what’s been done each day. Barnes also sends out a weekly progress report to each customer.

“People have very busy lives. Sometimes our customers aren’t on the Cape. They can’t drive past the build site. Or they only have time to review things after they finish working for the day. This portal gives them the ability to see the day to day activity on the project as well as contact us on their time with any follow up information,” said Barnes.

The response on the system as been overwhelmingly positive. “We’ve gotten such great feedback from this system,” said Barnes, “We had a client who lived in Alabama and was, of course, a bit nervous about handing over money to people thousands of miles away and trusting us with his dream. He loved being able to see everything day by day. Having this level of communication not only adds to the trust customers place in us, but also ensures that things are going as they’ve predicted as well.”

If you are thinking of building a home on Cape Cod, contact the team at Barnes Custom Builders. With extensive knowledge of Cape Cod style homes, the landscape and climate of the area, and a commitment to understanding your vision, there’s no one else that can do a better job. View photos of their work and find out more at Start the dream today with a call to Barnes Custom Builders.

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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