There are many reasons someone decides to build a new home, but by far the most notorious reason is because they want a home that fits their exact needs and tastes....a custom home. While not everyone can afford to go 100% custom, choosing a community home builder is a great way to get new construction and still be able to select some of those custom finishes you're looking for. We just wrapped up designing a parade home with Destination Homes in their Daybreak Lake Village community, so we thought we'd share some of our tips and tricks on how to obtain that "custom" look when building with a builder. 1. Tweak the Floor Plan
Most community home builders have a handful of floor plans for you to choose from. It's important that you find the floor plan that meets your needs best (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.), but don't leave it at that! The key to turning a generic floor plan into a custom one is finding those areas of opportunity where you can do something special! At the Lakeside Loft we converted an empty wall cavity in the bedroom into some open shelving. We also added some built-ins next to the fireplace and even reconfigured the kitchen layout. Take your furniture into consideration, too. Will your sofa fit there? Will the windows be centered behind the bed? Do you need an outlet in the floor for your sofa table lamp? Little structural changes like this can go a long way!
2. Upgrade Where It Matters Most
Most home builders will allow you to "upgrade" a number of finishes in your home, and you may find yourself wanting to upgrade everything! While there is certainly no harm in this, you may find your budget disappearing quicker than you thought! Our recommendation is to upgrade the most permanent finishes first. Things like flooring and cabinets should be first on your list of upgrades. It's hard for us to really put a limit on the upgrades, because let's be honest...we all want the fancy finishes! Things like hardware and light fixtures are the jewelry pieces in your design and can make such an impact! However, if you find yourself having to cut back, go basic on those items for now and you can always change them out later. At the Lakeside Loft, we decided to make a major upgrade to the kitchen cabinets and painted them indigo. Not only are they a killer statement piece in the design, but it really gives them that custom look.
3. Push The Design Limits
So now that you've sat and picked out all your finishes it's time to think about how those finishes are being applied. You know that black slate tile you chose for the mudroom...wouldn't it be cool if you had it laid in a herringbone pattern!? Or what if you took your subway back splash all the up to the ceiling? That's exactly what we did in the Lakeside Loft to give it that high-end look. We even eliminated some of the upper kitchen cabinets and replaced them with open shelving (which was also less expensive!). And our favorite design element of the home was adding the ship lap walls in the entryway. Stunning! You'd be surprised what custom changes you can get away with if you just ask.
4. Be Involved Throughout The Building Process
Just because you've wrapped up your design center appointment doesn't mean you now just sit and wait for your home to be built. Make frequent visits to the build site to ensure you're happy with how things are developing. Depending on your builder, you can usually make some minor changes throughout the building process if needed. Things are hard to visualize on paper, so it's a good idea to make sure you love it just as much in person too. Who knows, you may even pick up on another hidden design opportunity you didn't see before. For us, Destination Homes was excellent to work with and we kept an open line of communication throughout the entire process. Our Lakeside Loft is nothing short of beautiful!
If you're looking for some inspiration, be sure to stop by the Lakeside Loft (house #32) at this years 2015 Salt Lake Parade of Homes, designed by yours truly! We love the opportunity to get to work on homes of all types and styles. Once again, proving that beautiful design can happen on anywhere!