Building a Custom Home (Part 2): Designing Your Home

Creating the ideal space for you and your family is an exciting part of the custom home building process. Assuming that the budget and timeframe have been determined, now is the time to organize the vast array of ideas and features you have been collecting over the months (or years). Utilize websites like Houzz or Pinterest to create inspiration boards, or cut out appealing images from magazines to better outline the goals for your custom home.

The more effort put in during the planning process, the less headaches down the road. Changing details on paper is much easier than requesting time-consuming and expensive change orders after construction has commenced. Listed below are key elements to consider during the design process.

Size of home

Families of different shapes and sizes have varying needs when it comes to the size of their home. Not every family will fit in a small home, yet not every family wants to maintain a sprawling estate. The size of your home should be your first consideration when finding the right floor plan.

  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • Do you need a guest suite?
  • How many bathrooms?

Determine which rooms are the most important to you, and rank them in order of importance. Separate the “needs”, “wants”, and “dreams” should you be required to scale back.

  • Living spaces, both formal and informal
  • Formal dining room
  • Home Office
  • Mudroom
  • Laundry Room
  • Media Room
  • Exercise Room
  • Playroom
  • Workshop
  • Garage (how many cars?)

Type of home for your location

The location of your property could dictate the type of floor plan best suited for your family. Keep in mind, some properties have zoning restrictions or neighborhood ordinances to consider.

  • One Level?
  • Two Stories?
  • A Finished Basement?
  • In-Law Suite?
  • Multi-Generational Home?

When browsing floor plans, Architectural Designs allows you to narrow your search by adding filters on special features and styles of homes.

If you’ve already procured the lot, consider adapting your home design to the peculiarities of the site rather than ignore the current environment. Is the lot on a hill? A sloped lot is perfect for a walk-out basement. Is there a view from the front yard? A large wrap-around porch, or forward-facing balcony would be ideal. Mind the direction of the sun and what rooms will benefit from natural light throughout the day.

Consider layout based on your lifestyle and design preference

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Consider a home where the indoor and outdoor spaces flow into each other. Do you enjoy hosting and dining? Indulge in a gourmet kitchen with a nearby formal dining room. Do you prefer a more modern, open floor plan, or do you enjoy private spaces provided by a more traditional, compartmentalized layout?

When browsing home plans, use the experience of past home layouts to determine what did or didn’t work for you. Picture an average day in each of the designs. Will an open floor plan distract the work-at-home resident? Do you prefer to offer guests privacy with a more secluded bedroom location?

Keep budget in mind

Definitely dream big; but, do so with the realization that each dream adds to the bottom line. Remember to continually reference your predetermined budget throughout each phase of the design process to stay on track.