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Tips for Designing Your Custom Home

December 30, 2013

In our last blog we focused on how planning plays a major step in the success of your custom home design. In this post we’ll discuss some helpful tips and ideas to think about that will get you started with designing the home of your dreams.

Start with the Basics

You don’t need fancy software to begin making decisions for the earliest planning stages of your custom home plan. Really, all you need is a pencil and a piece of paper. Even rough sketches can help your design team to understand what you want. It will be professionally drafted or designed by your custom home builder later.

 

Look for Inspiration.

Finding inspiration for your new home can be as easy as looking through your favorite home magazine to websites such as Houzz or Pinterest.  You can also check out our gallery of ideas on our website at http://www.lexishomes.ca/gallery/.  While these are all great sources of inspiration, just remember to make sure you also keep detailed photos of what you like either in digital form or in a binder.  Keep them organized and handy, so you can easily find them later when working with your interior designer.

Prioritize Your Dream Features

Once your ideas are recorded in rough form, begin by making lists of the features you want for each room to have, and prioritize the list with features you can’t live without (eg. in floor heat in bathrooms, a wine bar in the basement, free standing tub, rain head or steam shower in the ensuite, gas cooktop or sub zero fridge in the kitchen, etc).  With so many luxuries to choose from, your custom home design can easily exceed budget if you don’t begin to prioritize these features in order of importance when you need to decide where to cut if need be.  At Lexis Homes, we use our handy “House Design Wishlist” which is an extensive checklist of considerations that will provide us with a good starting point for your home design.

When we start to layout the floor plans it may become apparent that not all your wishes/needs can work in a cohesive manner and still fit within your target house size. In these situations we will consult with you about whether you prefer to go to a larger house size or potentially reduce some items from your wish list.

Size Matters!

There is always a temptation for most people to go for the biggest they can afford and have their heart set on the maximum amount of floor space possible.  However, unless your funds are flexible, it’s important to bring it all back to your desired budget.  If you want your home built in the best way, with the best products, the only way to get back on track is by reducing the floor area without compromising quality.

Location & Curb Appeal

If you already know where your custom home will be situated, be sure to take into consideration the slope, size and best features of the lot. For example, if your lot overlooks water or a natural setting you might choose to face the living room (or bedrooms) toward that feature so that you and your family can enjoy the best views.

Light Source

Light plays a major role in the overall design of your home. Having plenty of well-positioned windows can maximize the natural light in your home. For example, if you want to enjoy natural morning light from your dining or breakfast nook, it would be wise to face the nook east, where it will catch the morning sun.  It’s also wise to think carefully about how electrical and light fixtures in your home will facilitate comfort. For instance, a custom home designer would suggest installing bright task lighting for kitchen countertops to facilitate food prep, or dimming sconces or a hanging fixture in the bedroom to create a mood for a sense of romance or peace.

Function and Flow

As you and your interior designer begin playing around with where various rooms should be located, consider how your final design will flow and how your family might function in each space in your daily lives. For example, it’s a good idea to place bedrooms away from the busiest areas of the house to reduce noise in sleeping areas.  Or, perhaps you’re the kind of family that tends to gather around the kitchen, so an open floor plan with easy flow between the living room, kitchen and dining area will suit you well. This kind of design also allows for excellent flow between rooms. Consider things like: convenient locations for your laundry room and washer/dryer with a nearby linen closet, the way your doors will swing open in the floor plan if a pocket door would work best instead, well placed ample storage and shelving areas, etc.

Plan for the Future

When you’re thinking about the features you want in your custom home, it’s also wise to think about the long-term features that will accommodate your family members. For example: Do you have plans on expanding your family in the coming years? What about accommodating extended family for holiday occasions? Returning college students? Maybe you have an aging parent who may eventually need to move into your home. You may one day consider working from home or transitioning from an office job to operating your own business out of your home, in which case you would want a private home office space.  If you’re nearing retirement, having a separate crafting or woodworking area might be ideal.  Evaluate the future as you decide how your house will need to grow along with your life changes.

Find this all a little overwhelming? No need to worry! At Lexis Homes we understand that building a custom home is a big experience. Which is why we work hard to ensure that you will not only have the information you need at every step, but that our team of experts is always there to help guide you and answer any questions along the way.

In our next blog post, we will discuss the next exciting phase for when you receive your first set of Floor Plans for review.

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