Aug 12, 2023

'100 Day Dream Home' Knows the Best and Fastest Way To Build a House From the Ground Up

On “100 Day Dream Home,” Mika and Brian Kleinschmidt have been solving America’s housing shortage one house at a time.

While most reality TV shows focus on renovating preexisting homes, the Kleinschmidts build new ones from the ground up in about three months, teaching us a ton about new construction along the way.

In the episode “Right in Our Own Backyard,” the couple meet Mike and Maria, who’ve been living with Mike’s dad. He knows this family needs more space, and he’s got plenty, offering them a spot on his 5-acre lot to build a home of their own.

So Mike and Maria call on the Kleinschmidts to build a 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house for $510,000.

As the Kleinschmidts get to work, they pass along some stellar ideas about how to save time and money when working on our own home. Check out what we learned this week.


The houses that the Kleinschmidts design have one thing in common: They’re almost exclusively built of concrete blocks.

The reasons for this are many. The construction goes quickly—it’s one way to get these houses finished in 100 days. Plus, concrete block houses are energy-efficient, fire-resistant, noise-reducing, pest-resistant, and low-maintenance.

Brian and Mika have also found a way to make them look beautiful by applying stylish siding.



“We definitely want a split floor plan,” says Maria when discussing her hopes for the house. Mika, being a mother herself, gets it immediately.

A split floor plan in this case involves having the parents’ room on one side of the house and the kids’ rooms on the other. The parents get their own wing of sorts.

Mike and Maria would like their kids to be able to make noise and have fun and would prefer not to have to listen to them 24/7. So the split floor plan suits the family, giving all members some privacy.


When discussing the original plans for the house, Mika discovers that Maria wants a wood-burning fireplace because she enjoys the smell and crackle. Mike wants an electric fireplace for the convenience.

Mika explains that they’ll have to decide quickly, because a wood-burning fireplace has to be in the initial plans submitted for permits.

“I hear both sides, but in disagreements like this, sometimes I need to be the bearer of bad news,” she tells the couple. “You might be talking about triple costs if you decide on the wood-burning fireplace.” That amounts to a $10,000 cost difference.

“Electric is also a lot less maintenance,” Mika explains. Hearing that, Maria is willing to compromise and go for the electric fireplace.


Mike and Maria want to extend their back porch by 450 feet. They have their choice of pouring a lot of concrete or using pavers. They like the idea of upgrading with pavers but think it will be too expensive.

“Actually right now, poured concrete is more expensive than pavers,” says Brian. “It’s really a supply and demand issue. Right now concrete is in such demand. Next month, who knows?”

As for how much, Brian continues, “What we’re looking at right now is about $5,000 to do a concrete slab back there. We can do the same square footage in pavers for $3,000.”

Pavers, in other words, are a no-brainer.


Mike and Maria want to do a lot of entertaining—they both come from large families and want to have them all over at once—and they’d love for them to be comfortable outside.

“I understand why they wanted a large outdoor space,” says Mika. “You can have a full party out there and keep the inside of the house clean.”

Brian and Mika create many options for gathering outside: a fire pit, dining table, hot tub, lounge area, plenty of seating, and more.

“Look at how many different entertainment areas you have out here,” says Mika when showing the couple the finished back porch and deck.

In the end, the family is thrilled.

“I love it, I love it, I love it,” exclaims Maria. Mike is also happy and grateful.

“The thought that was put into the whole house, everything, it’s been incredible from start to finish,” he says. “It’s overwhelming.”

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, real estate, design, and travel. Find her on

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