Finding the perfect plan is a long, difficult search. You may have already found 10 that are exactly what you want. Each one of those ten have characteristics that you want in your own home. After chatting with families who have chosen to build their own home on their own lot, here are some principles that I use to help me make good decisions.
1. Know your lot.
We have written about this in a number of blogs. I can’t stress the importance of knowing your lot. The structure of your house and the grade of the land has to work. Of course, if you have an unlimited budget, you can grade the land to suit your dream house, but this rarely a budget-savvy decision. The size and shape of your lot determines many things about the design of your custom home. Like we have said in other blogs, the placement of the road, other buildings and the southern exposure all influence the design of your home.
Look at homes and talk to their owners about whey it works for them. Don’t get caught by liking the finishing products. Be deliberate about looking at the bones of the home. When my brother bought his first house, he took me with him to look at it – for an objective eye. The bones of this home had many issues. First of all, the living room – a large, segregated space – was sunken. This low area in the floor rendered more than 1/3 of the bungalow’s basement useless. That is a design issue that looked appealing when looking at the house, but it quickly became an issue as he tried to use the basement. Don’t let “cool” features distract you. Imagine your family living in that house.
3. Know that everything can be changed.
You may love the layout and plan of a home, but hate the exterior. Give your builder the opportunity to use some of their cool technology to show you how the exterior can look if you change the products used. In some cases, adaptations in the roof lines, changes in porches or verandas can completely transform the exterior details. Make sure the interior design works for your family. then work with your builder to choose the products that will give your home the curb appeal you’re looking for.
4. Be creative
You may be dead set against a living room in your house. Don’t let the labels on the plan deter you. You can use any of the rooms in the house to suit your lifestyle. The room labeled “Living Room” may actually be a great library, study, den, nursery or dining room. Remember that you are custom designing your home – walls can move!
5. Know that anything can change
You may love the layout and design of a house that is just a bit smaller than you need – or you may want to add an extra room or take out a room on a larger plan. When you start with a play that meets many of your needs, you can modify the plan to make it perfect for you. Remember that no plan will incorporate everything you want. Even if you have a large budget, you will have to identify the tings that are essential and things that are extra.
To finalize the design of your custom home is a choreographed dance between your family’s needs, your wish list, your lot and your budget. Inviting the builder to dance with you through the thinking process helps you design a home that is on budget and meets your needs.
Most of all, building your new home on the lot you’ve chosen is a delightful process by which you can express your own personality through the design. Then, once you’ve moved in, you can begin building memories that will be carried into future generations. The walls have ears!