5 Things to Consider When Designing Your Custom Home

Friday, 08 May 2015 Scott Barton

A quality custom homebuilder will guide you from start to finish through the process of building your dream home. They will ask questions and listen carefully to your answers. If what you want is a rooftop garden with a slide down to an oversized hot tub or a fully soundproofed theater room designed to rival the Imax experience, the right custom homebuilder can help you turn your dream into reality, budget not withstanding. But sometimes it’s the simpler, more mundane details of designing your dream home that can make the difference in how much you love living in your new home.

When you come to Bella Vita Custom Homes we want to be sure and build the home you’ve been dreaming about, but we also want to be sure your new home has the little things that make your dream that much sweeter. To help you learn from the experiences of people who have been through the homebuilding process, I set out to find the main things people wish they had done differently and why. I ran a Google search for “You wish you put in building house” and then scoured the comments sections of articles to find out what people wish they had done differently when building their homes. Here is what I learned:


Landing or Drop Zone

Think carefully about the space that will become your “landing zone” or “drop zone” when you enter your new custom home.

That place where you will lay your keys and mail, and where the kid’s coats and backpacks will land every afternoon. Consider your current home and how well it functions. Do you tend to sort through the mail right away, or do you throw it on the pile on the counter by the door? Are there hooks or bins placed low enough to make it easy for kids to store their belongings neatly? Is there a convenient spot to put rental movies or the dry-cleaning that needs to be dropped off on the next trip to town?

Go over your daily routine and then talk to your builder or architect about customizing a landing zone for the way you and your family lives. Look on Pinterest.com and other websites for ideas that will help you create a beautiful, functional landing zone in your new custom home.

Plan Your High Traffic Routes Carefully

Make sure you have a convenient route from the car to the kitchen.

One homeowner lamented the fact that she had to carry groceries up a flight of stairs. That may not be a problem for you if you’re a frequent shopper with a small household. But if you are just starting a family and have to get an infant and a carload of groceries into the house it’s best to make certain your home design reflects your situation.

custom appliances homesConsider Your Appliances

Many commenters said they wish they had gone with a gas stove rather than an electric model.

However, opinions differ when you talk to people who live at higher altitudes and not everyone believes a gas stove is the best choice. If you’re new to living in the mountains and plan to build a custom home in Colorado Springs or surrounding areas, I highly recommend that you talk to locals about their own experience cooking at altitude.

Offer to cook dinner for a friend with a gas stove to try it out. Or, if your home plans already include gas heating, go ahead and run gas lines for a gas stove and if it fits your budget, you can purchase a stove has both gas and electric burners. If cooking and entertaining are priorities for you and your family, spend some time making sure you choose the right energy source and cooking equipment to make your custom kitchen the wonderful place you’ve always wanted it to be.

Hardwiring & Electrical

Consider hardwiring audio and media cables and an alarm system during the build.

Wifi signals may not be strong enough for larger homes so it may be a good idea to hardwire your Internet cable into more than one room in your custom home. More than one homeowner wishes they didn’t have to base furniture arrangement around the location of a single television jack. And who doesn’t want speakers and projection equipment recessed into the ceiling where it is up out of the way?

And while you’re thinking about cables and wires ask the builder install to install plenty of electrical outlets around the house.

Electrical outlets are something that homeowners say they never have enough of, so think about the things you do and where you want to do them. Is cooking breakfast at your house a family affair?

How about putting an outlet on the side of an island so the person in charge of waffles or toast has plenty of room to work away from the bacon and egg cooking station? What about extra outlets in the guest bath for that friend who needs a blow dryer, a curling iron and a makeup lamp plugged in all at the same time? In large rooms where furniture “floats” rather than being placed next to walls, a floor outlet or two is an absolute necessity. That is unless you plan to rely solely on overhead lighting or you don’t mind extension cords taped to that gorgeous hardwood floor you’ve spent hours choosing.

When one homeowner mentioned wishing he had a backup generator wired into the house, scores of other people jumped in to the conversation to agree a hardwired generator is an excellent idea.

It’s not necessary to power the whole house; the idea is to keep essential power circuits, such as those that run the refrigerator and some lights running in the event of a power outage. If you plan to build your custom home in an area prone to power outages, or you have ill or elderly family members who rely on electricity for oxygen or other medical equipment, a hardwired backup generator may be make sense for you.

You Can Never Have Too Much Storage

Make sure your new home has storage for the things you and your family, not your neighbors, needs to store.

One commenter lamented the fact that his neighbor’s garage was always neat, tidy and clean as a whistle while his own garage was cramped, cluttered, and ready to overflow. The thing is, the neighbor hired out all of his yard work so he had no need for a lawnmower, weed trimmer, pruning shears, snow blower or any of the other lawn care equipment.

The commenter, on the other hand, did his own yard work. Plus, he liked to work with wood and so he had all kinds of equipment for that hobby. Think about what you need. Are you a foodie who loves to cook gourmet meals for your friends, or are you happy to sit down in front of the television with the remote and a TV dinner?

The answer will dictate how you allocate space for storage; a foodie will need a large pantry, but if TV dinners and takeout are more your style an oversized freezer may be all the extra kitchen storage you need. How many appliances do you have but never use because they are simply too hard to get to? Make a space for the things you’d use if they were easy to get out and put away.

It's All About You

If there is one theme that emerges after looking at what other homeowners wish they had done differently when building their homes it is this: spend some extra time thinking about the simple things that make life easier.

Think about every room in your current house and make a note of what you love or hate about how the space functions. Consider your daily routines and think about how they may change in your new space. Chances are you’ve already decided on the major things you want in a house, but remember, it’s the small things that will make your custom home a dream to live in every day.

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