Designing Custom Homes
Designing custom homes in the Midwest over the last 30 years has allowed me a rare opportunity. How would you like to sit down with a designer and describe your dream home? Especially if you knew at the end of the process you could build that dream home.
I am here to help you through that process. Together we are going to walk through the same process I have used when designing with hundreds of families. You have probably looked at plans online but have you ever made a list of what you want or need when designing a new home?
Here in the Midwest every person still has the freedom to define the exact new home or addition project they want. But no matter where you live I will help you change all that. I believe with the right guidance everyone can be involved in designing the home or remodel project of their dreams.
At the time of this writing I believe that Nevada is the only state that requires designing a home be done by an architect. Many other states will require an engineering review and possible code compliance review. But, you as the home owner can be directly involved in designing your new home if you know how to get involved.
I’m going to give you some homework so take a second and grab a pencil and paper. OK, first thing to remember is that you can have almost any floor plan worked out to appear like any style exterior you want. So begin your focus on what floor plan will work best for you. Let’s talk about some basics with floor plan design now.
Designing for the Future
First, when designing think about now as well as into your future. I always recommend thinking about resale also in the big picture. It is great to create the design of your dreams but don’t make the mistake of creating a home you could not easily resell.
First thing I want you to know about when going through the designing process is general costs to build based on different floor levels. Your main floor living space will always be the most expensive. This is because it includes the costs of a roof system, foundation system, and basic services like heating-cooling system. Basement space is usually very cost effective to add and will provide the most cost effective living space per added foot. This is because most designs already include a foundation and going the extra depth is not a costly addition. When designing a second floor is popular in most regions and gives the combined advantage of cheap finished space and creative exterior looks.
How many bedrooms will you need now and in the future? Are you taking notes here? Rank from one to ten how important it will be to have all bedrooms on one floor. Remember that space created above or below the main floor will cost less and when getting the most home for your money less is more.
It is very popular now to have a laundry area next to the bedrooms. How important is this to you? I work with many families who opt for second floor bedrooms and want the laundry in that same area. How many trips to the washer on a different floor will this save in the coming years?
While I’m in this area, when designing, how many bathrooms will you need? It’s common to have a master bath with at least a shower but what about the other family members? If there is more than one child and kids bedroom how about designing a Jack and Jill bathroom? This bathroom style gives you access to one bathroom from two different bedrooms. Usually when designing the stool and bathtub are in a separated room for privacy. You will also need one bathroom available to the common living space for guests. In designing this is often referred to as a powder room or half bath and will include a vanity and stool and often a linen storage cabinet or closet.
The kitchen has evolved over the years and is now used for so much more than just cooking.While designing will you want an eat-in kitchen with bar seating? This is a great idea for entertaining as well as casual family meals. Many new homes have a separate or formal dining room. When designing will you want this or maybe even create a flex space for future needs.
Storage space in the kitchen can be gained by a simple walk in pantry created as closet space, a very cost effective option. The use of islands and peninsulas has also created many new space options. How about an inset space between the kitchen and dining room set with cabinets. You could use this space as a butler’s pantry for added storage. Plus it will serve double duty as a convenient serving area for special occasions.
Will your new home have an attached garage? How many stalls do you want or need? Do you want the garage doors to enter from the front or are you like many people today and want your doors on the side. We call this a side load garage and it is very popular. It however requires a wider lot to allow for the side approaching driveway.
Looking for more designing ideas?
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