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Decisions, decisions, decisions! Who knew there would be so many to make when building a custom home? The process–which seems like such an exciting endeavor in the beginning–can quickly become overwhelming and mind-boggling. Keep frustration at bay by following these five design tips to help navigate the seemingly endless array of options. Your custom home builder can also offer suggestions to suit your tastes and needs while making the most of your budget.
Evaluate the topography, size and shape, and orientation and natural features, such as rock outcroppings, trees, creeks or streams, and views. Whether the lot is steep, slopes gradually, or is level will affect the design of your new home. The size and shape of the lot may impact the size and shape of the home’s footprint, as well as orientation of the home on the lot. Decide how to make the most of scenic features such as mountain views. Your home design should maximize passive solar benefits for maximum energy efficiency.
Deciding on the various rooms your home will have is an important step, but just as important is how those rooms connect and where they are situated in the home. Do you prefer to have family members come through a mudroom on their way into the living space? Where will kids’ rooms be in relation to the master suite? How open is the open floor plan and does it allow for quiet space as well as gathering space? Will there be enough wall space to accommodate your artwork? How much space do you need to host guests for parties, holidays, and overnight stays? Think about all the ways you intend to use each space, and prioritize those needs.
Every home functions best with a combination of natural and artificial light. Maximizing natural light during the day saves on electricity costs, but where electric light is desired, matching the light to the tasks or atmosphere is key. The right mix of light sources (recessed lighting, chandeliers, pendants, wall sconces, lamps and under-cabinet lighting) for different purposes (ambiance, task lighting, safety, and security), provides options for various uses within a space. Dimmer switches and multiple light switches also increase flexibility. Thoughtful lighting choices throughout your home can improve your comfort, rest, and productivity.
Chances are you plan to be in your new custom home for many years, so be sure to consider how your circumstances might change over time. Who will be living in your home? You may anticipate adding family members — children, returning young adult children, grandchildren or aging parents — or you may have fewer family members living with you as kids leave for college or other adventures. Will your work situation change — will you need a home office or space to run a home business? Including flexible spaces that can accommodate your needs now and into the future will make it easier to move through life’s inevitable transitions.
Make a list of all features under consideration and divide them into “must-haves” and “would-be-nice-to-haves.” Chances are you will need to sacrifice some choices in lieu of others. Continue to revise the list in terms of what matters most to you so that if you need to trim something for budgetary or logistical reasons, you can make the decision more easily. Work with your home builder to find possible compromises to get more of what you want without breaking the bank.