Q & A With Mega Mansion Builder John Finton | Homes of the Rich – The #1 Real Estate Blog

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  • Avi

    Wow. Very honored!
    Question: Based on his past work, which features a whole bunch of French Chateau designs, is it safe to say that his favorite architectural design is the Chateau?
    And what does he think of Georgian and Italian Villa designs, which are my favorite.

  • Daniel

    Working with such an eclectic array of customers and consequently personalities probably means you have seen some odd requests in terms of home features. What is the oddest, most eye-opening or most memorable feature(s) you have included in any of your homes.

    • Kenny Forder

      Great question, Daniel! 🙂

  • Ewan

    Is there a home or project that he yearns to one day do, or what is the one mansion he really wants to do (design, size, location and amneties.)

  • Grrrowler

    My question is sort of an outgrowth of Daniel’s: Has there ever been a request for a structural feature or design element that you simply couldn’t or wouldn’t honor? If so, what would that be and why did it get turned down?

    • Daniel

      That was going to be my second question. Thank you 😀

  • Michael Sproul

    I would like to say thanks for the time in doing this. A lot of people are really interested in architecture and the different styles and aspects there are in building a home, including me. What are the trends that your clients are requesting, mainly, or is each project distinct to the individual? Tuscan and chateau styles have always been my favorite styles for a home. Also, I would like to ask if you have any advice for someone wanting to enter a field such as yours. I am about to get my degree in drafting and will continue for a BS in Engineering. Your answers advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • BJ

    Great job Kenny. One of the best guys out there for sure. Looking forward to getting copies of his “California Luxury Living: A Private Tour” and “Building Up A Storm” books. I’d like to ask him by what process does he find his exceptional craftsman, and more importantly, how does he measure them to ensure they meet and exceed his (and his client’s) standards in line with price expectations and radically fluctuating global economy?

  • Tony

    John Finton is my favorite home builder ever. I have been singing his praises on this site for the longest time. Here’s my question that I have always wanted to ask John Finton and I think everyone wants to know the answer to this. And I hope he gives an answer since he agreed to answer questions lol.

    What is the construction cost per square foot of a typical high quality John Finton home? (If location is a factor then I want to know the construction costs for the Beverly Hills area)

  • ZigZagBoom

    Where does the typical customer get a sense of what they want? Does celebrity X say “I want my house to look like celebrity Y’s house”? Do they come in with copies of Architectural Digest? Photographs on their smartphones of various houses in the Holmby Hills?

  • Grrrowler

    I’ll be selfish and ask a second question.

    How much of the fittings in Finton house are bespoke? Does your team make custom door handles, hinges, door/drawer pulls, etc, or is it common practice to use off-the-shelf (albeit high end) fittings?

  • Robert

    2 questions:

    1.) Normally, How many people do you have working on a mansions per shift?

    2.) If I were the owner of the mansion, could I pay more to have alot of people per shift? i.e. like cowboys stadium?

  • mak

    My question (and this is a hard one)…do you ever question the wisdom of building houses that are far too big for the average sized family to ever truly use? Do you ever wonder about the true need for such houses, and do you ever counsel smaller is better, or do you just build what your customers are asking for?

  • Tay

    Well, I’m in architecture school now, I graduate soon and I might be pursuing a masters in Real Estate Development with a focus on residential design. Therefore, I would just love to know how Finton got his start, and maybe his opinion on how one pursues a career of high end building and development.

  • Chance

    I have 2 questions.

    What’s the largest home you’ve ever done (completed or in the works), and have you or would you turn down building a home for someone and if you have, why?

  • rob

    What is the best house in the world? If I came to you with unlimited funds but a limited education in re architecture, how much responsibility do you feel you have to educate me before I spend my money? How do so many terrible houses get built when there is so much access to info on great houses? Do you like corned beef hash?

  • Tony

    Hey Kenny how long do we have to wait to get the answers to our questions??

    • Kenny Forder

      I don’t have the answer to that, sorry.

      • Tony

        Hey Kenny, how did you get John Finton to agree to answer our questions? Did you reach out to him or is he a fan of your site?

        • Kenny Forder

          I reached out to him.

  • Kris

    Hi ! Being a High End Builder myself, my question would be: How do you make sure you have the highest possible quality/finishes, particularly when having multiple luxury projects at the same time ?

    That is the most difficult part I found in growing my business, as the work demand is there, but I cannot find the solution to taking more than 2/3 high end projects at the same time without compromising quality & finishes ?

  • Bella Dunn

    First I love your work and especially in Orange County. I loved 12 Skyridge and thought your work with Richard Krantz was extraordinary. Are you working on any new homes in Newport Coast? If so where and could you talk about the style of the project.

  • dan

    Is there an advantage/disadvantage to using concrete framing and subfloors instead of wood/plywood.

  • mac22

    Couldn’t ask just one

    Not including your own firm, which other contemporary architect or firm reproducing historical architectural styles do you admire and/or respect for what they have built to date and what American architect or firm from America’s other great mansion building era, the late 19th century’s Gilded Age, do you feel produced significant architectural masterworks?

    What’s your favorite American residence extant or demolished?

    And further touching upon a question Mak asked do you ever feel that a few or a majority of homes that you have built will become white elephants in your own lifetime as the real “need” for gargantuan oversized homes wanes, as it did in the early 20th century, foreshadowing the destruction of many of the Gilded Age palaces?

  • Taylor

    Which of his clients homes would he choose to live in?

  • Sean

    How would you suggest someone wanting to become a builder get into the industry? What is the best way to gain knowledge of quality home building?

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