As you review home plans, envision how the landscape plan can become part of the home.  The relaxing environment of a beautifully landscaped area can indeed be a vital part of your comfort while you enjoy your new custom home.

Landscaping can prove to be expensive at times, especially when you don’t have a plan in place.  As you build your new custom home, whether you choose to build for yourself or use a reputable builder, most likely you will begin with a standard landscape package.  There are plenty of ways to brighten up your landscaping while maintaining a reasonable budget.

First, understand most lavish landscaped homes have been created over time.  A few things to consider when preparing for your landscaping project include:

  • Knowing your climate zone
  • Knowing and understanding which climate zone you live in will help you to determine the best plants to use within your landscaping project.  There are beautifully thriving flowers and plants in each of these areas, so taking the time to research is an important place to begin.
  • Perennials vs. Annuals
  • Perennials are the type of flowers that grow each year and return the following year.  Annuals are the flowers that bloom only the year they are planted.  It is great to have some annuals as filler among your flower garden, however planting perennials, designed to return each year, will brighten your days as they bloom and save some time and money along the way.
  • Local Plant Exchanges or garden clubs

Most communities have a plant exchange coop, garden clubs or other groups of people who enjoy learning about and cultivating plants.  Many of these groups trade plants or can offer experiences on how to grow plants and proper maintenance of a home vegetable or flower garden.  There are even some organizations that focus on plant rescue, and as a member of these types of groups you may be able to transplant some of the rescued native plants in your own yard.

Of course, once you have planned your layout, chosen and planted your plants, it is important to make sure you are watering the plants as needed.  Make sure to plan the perfect location for hose bibs  around the exterior of your home. Other items you may want to consider when planning your landscape project, and keeping a budget in mind, are rain barrels, sprinkler systems, misting stations or lined bed watering options as well as ponds, arbors and don’t forget the bench, so you can rest and enjoy the nature around you.  Discuss your landscaping options with your building consultant to create a plan that will fit in your budget and be a delight upon everyday living in your new custom home.

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More than just a trendy fad within the custom kitchen today, painted cabinets have been an ideal selection within home designs for years. More and more people are choosing painted cabinets as an option for their homes because of the variety of colors and finishes available and the overall unique look it provides within custom homes.  There are a variety of options, colors and patterns that can be applied to most cabinets.

Painted cabinets are generally for those who enjoy a pop of color and wish to offer a focal point within their kitchen among their selections for flooring, countertops and wall colors.  You can truly make a statement by adding painted cabinets to your kitchen. Imagine a light maple cabinet kitchen design with a bold red or yellow island – the color is sure to grab your attention!

When you are designing your kitchen cabinet layout, decide if you are going to use a new pre-painted cabinet or new cabinets that will need to be painted.  Make sure you are working with a reputable painter to determine what type of paint is best for the type of cabinets you will be installing.  This may assure your cabinets don’t start flaking once you move in to your new home.  Painting cabinets can vary depending on the type of material the cabinets are made of and making sure the proper prep work is done can ensure the finished product has the finish you desire..

When selecting painted cabinets you can opt to go with a solid color or incorporate a faux finish or vintage/antique look.  You can add several types of distressed appearances or opt for a clean, glossy or matte finish.

Painted cabinets can offer a modern look, and while sometimes more expensive than traditional cabinets may be the perfect fit for your new custom home.  Explore color options and make sure to discuss any ideas with your building consultant to get recommendations and ideas regarding your painted cabinets.  As with any building product, make sure you understand how to properly maintain the cabinets over the years to keep the cabinets looking beautiful for years to come.

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You have moved into your new custom home and storm season has arrived. You hear the hail falling on the roof and can see the trees dancing to the wind.  This may create some thoughts about the stability and strength of your roof. We have all seen the aftermath of a major storm, as the roofing contractors parade the neighborhoods offering explanations of why a new roof is in your future. Understanding your roof isn’t as overcomplicated as one might think. As with any of the products within your new home, take a few minutes to learn about your product and you are sure to have peace of mind knowing you built your home with a reputable builder.

Roofing has come a long way over the years and as technology creeps into our daily lives benefiting our everyday tasks, the options and benefits of roofing materials is on the upswing for improvements. These benefits include multiple color options, styles and generally speaking an assortment of applications being applied to the roofing materials themselves like added moisture protection or algae resistant enhancements. It is no surprise that durability and warranty has improved over the years.

Upon considering a roof a few thing to consider are:

  • Wind Ratings
  • Fire Ratings
  • Weather Protection
  • Curb Appeal
  • Warranty & Lifespan

In addition to these items, you may consider the different types of roofing like asphalt shingles, copper & steel, fiberglass shingles, flat roof, stone or tile roofing or wood/shake shingles.  Each of these products is going to come with a different lifespan and the manufacturer of the product you choose may offer different warranties than others.  It is important to ask questions and know what the benefits to each type of roofing system is as well as understanding the different price points and overall look when added to the home.

Naturally you want your home to have a nice curb appeal.  In many cases when people build a custom home they don’t like to consider ever moving out of the home, however at some point this may be a reality and in this event you want to assure your color selections complement each other.  If you are unsure of your color selections I encourage you to visit some of the online design option websites that will assist with the visualization or speak with your building consultant.

A popular style among builders is the 3-tab architectural type roof.  This style of roof offers a great curb appeal for many home plans and many manufacturer warranties offer a 15 – 25 year guarantee.  These shingles are available in an array of colors and the overall lifespan of this type of shingle may depend on the style selected and the manufacturer.

Many steel roofs are designed to last at least 50 years, and some copper roofs with age and weathered patina can sometimes last well over 100 years.  Most asphalt shingles have a life span of 20 – 40 years.  Of course, as it is with any product the key to longevity also depends on the proper installation and maintenance over the years.

Understanding your warranty is vital should you ever need a replacement or repair.  The majority of manufacturer warranties offer a guarantee against manufacturing defects.  What you need to know about this terminology is that in the event there is a defect in the roofing materials then the roofing materials may be replaced under the guidelines of your products manufacturer warranty.  Most people may never even inquire of this information prior to building a home, they may assume the builder is using the best product available and they move forward with a selection primarily based on color.

Most warranties do not mean you will receive new roofing materials or installation once the storm rolls through and your shingles have blown off due to improper installation or if leaks arise due to improperly installed gutters or flashing.  While there are plenty of installation issues that may generate unnecessary roof repairs it is important to understand the difference between a manufacturing defect and a bad installation.

In the event it is in fact a warranty issue, there is generally a time period that is associated with the product you have chosen.  You may have heard the phrase limited lifetime warranty or guarantee, with the lifetime period being set at 15 years.  Once this 15 year period has passed the manufacturer may choose to offer an extended warranty period which becomes prorated, meaning each year that passes the amount of coverage they extend is then based on a percentage of reduction over a set amount of time.  In this event, at 30 years the manufacturer may still extend a portion of the warranty; however it may only be 15% of the cost due to a viable manufacturing defect.

Having a reputable builder who utilizes reputable vendors and manufacturers/suppliers may offer some security with your new home investment.  There are even builders who offer their own warranties and guarantees on particular products and services and this is one other area where you may want to ask questions if you are unsure of what all is available to you.

Other factors to consider and which may be a determining factor in regards to the lifespan of the roof could depend on the climate where the product is being installed as well as the actual slope of the roof.  In areas where there is more wind resistance or higher amounts of annual rainfall a shingle that is designed for more of an arid climate may not do as well as a shingle designed for wet climates.

If you are uncertain of the roofing application you should choose make sure to do your research and inquire with your building consultant for suggested guidance.

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In today’s society it is common to hear about a mother or father moving in with their adult children or adult children, possibly grandchildren moving back in with their parents.

Regardless of the circumstance, there may be times which call for multiple families to reside under the same roof. This dynamic can have many blessings, and it can also have its share of more desired space. When properly planned, the environment can prove to be beneficial for all parties living within the home.

If you are in the process of designing and building your new custom home this may be an area you haven’t thought much about but may want to consider. As you think about your family dynamics and whether this possibility may be a reality for you at some point in the future here are a few options you may want to discuss with your building consultant:

Stubbing in for future plumbing

-You may not need additional plumbing at the time you build your home, but for a lower cost now you could potentially save some money in the future by planning where future plumbing could be installed and making the necessary steps to have this option incorporated within your existing floor plan.  Your building consultant will gladly assist you with proper placement for this type of addition.

Creating multiple living spaces

-Another area to consider may be multiple living spaces.  In some instances a separate living room may be used for children as they are growing up, or if you have multiple families you may choose to plan for this layout to offer separate living areas for the different families living under one roof.  Some floor plans with basements or added bonus rooms on an upper level may offer the availability for this type of functional space.  If you consider the long term use of this area, you may also want to plan for  additional living spaces to be in an area of the home where, when not being used, you have the option to “close off” this area of your home to save on utility expenses.  This may require additional planning for the heating and cooling of the home and this can be discussed with your builder to best meet the needs of your situation.

Incorporate an in-law suite within your chosen floor plan

-There is a wave of in-law suites being added to pre-existing homes within our society today and in many cases these in-law suites are being built within what was once a garage, basement or attic/bonus area in an upper level of the home. While this is a viable option, if planned accordingly as you design and build your new home, you may be able to make this area of your home as comfortable and affordable for those who may at some point reside alongside you and your immediate family.

Plan for separate exterior entrances for added privacy

-Whether you have college aged children or adult children and grandchildren living at home or an older parent living among you, it may be a desired option to incorporate a private separate exterior entrance to the home.  While living together under one roof does provide many benefits, there may be the need to continue to offer some privacy where this living arrangement is made.  If this is an option you have considered as important within your new home, take a look with your building consultant to locate a nice spot for multiple private entrances to your home.  You may have to move a few walls or redesign a portion of the home, but in the end you will have a custom home designed and built for this type of situation, and one that may not find itself too costly as it would be if unplanned.

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Gutters offer many types and styles to choose from. These include general gutters, contemporary style, french country and old world just to name a few. The style of gutter chosen typically accents the home in a decorative way. There are several sizes and plenty of accessories available to enhance performance and the overall look.

One misconception about gutters is that they are designed to shield flower beds and walkways from pouring water off the roof. In fact, they are designed to keep water away from the foundation of the home, where unwanted moisture could lead to problems for the home. Once installed properly, gutters can also create positive drainage with the use of splash blocks or gutter extensions, both which are designed to carry water away from the house.

The types of gutters vary. There are shallow gutter styles which offer a sleek and almost unnoticeable appearance and there are deep gutters that can be accessorized with decorative heads or bold colors to make the gutter a part of the exterior design of the home. Homes with high roof pitches may have larger gutters to manage the amount of water coming off the roof. There are also many types of downspouts. These range from rigid shaped, rounded rectangular styles, smooth rounded styles and cascading water downspouts, which is more decorative.

Although not required, there are many gutter accessories that have useful functions. Installing leaf guards within the gutter will assist with keeping leaves and twigs from clogging the gutters.

Gutters are designed to reduce rain noise from water running off of the house and prevent wood near the soffit areas from not being over saturated, thus carrying the water away from the area. While gutters are not a required addition to your new custom home, you may want to discuss gutters, available accessories and added features with your building consultant to determine if this is a feature your new home may benefit from. If you choose to incorporate gutters into your home design, make sure to learn about ways you can properly maintain the gutters to avoid other unnecessary problems. It is also advised to use a reputable vendor to assure proper installation which could also avoid potential issues with unwanted moisture.

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If you have been in a newly constructed home over the past 15 years or so you have probably experienced the builder beige or taupe colors that line the walls within many homes.  For years builders were placing neutral tones within the taupe range as the standard wall color.  This was a popular choice for many builders and consumers alike and allowed homeowners to use this as a backdrop for their newly decorated homes.

As times pass and trends fade it is common from time to time for this standard color to change as well.  The trend over the past few years and likely for several more years to come is gray, thus gray is the new beige!

Some people may think of gray being a drab and gloomy color, however this really isn’t the case.  There are so many shades within this popular color and it is nice to see the complementary color schemes that have been worked alongside this color backdrop to bring about some amazing interior design.

In addition to builders and homeowners choosing gray as their wall color within their new homes, this same color palette is making its way into kitchens with cabinet styles and floor tiles.  The availability of tiles and flooring patterns featuring gray colors has increased over the past few years.

So why is this important to you?  As a homeowner you can choose whatever colors you like within your new home, making your home custom is part of the enjoyment of building a new house.  If you choose to stay with the taupe range of colors and install these selections within your home, then decide to sell your home within 5 – 10 years you may find that consumers feel the interior of your home looks or appears more outdated than a home of the same age with gray interior features.

Think about shag carpet for a minute.  The vibrant colors of shag carpet was a trend within the home market for several years, and the trend flowed into other rooms like kitchens and bathrooms and as a result there was a rainbow of colors flowing through the home.  If you looked to purchase a home in the late 80s or 90s and found these colors and styles within a home you may feel it was a bit outdated and have to consider additional expenses in order to remodel or bring the home up to date.

This visualization provides you with an idea of how colors and styles can affect selling a home when it is time.  Again, the color choices are yours to select and enjoy within your new custom home.  It is a good idea to discuss your color selections with your building consultant and determine what options are available to you. Expanding your color palette can sometimes seem uncomfortable, but the possibilities of adding other colors you adore with a new backdrop of color can bring about lively additions within the décor of your new home.

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As you plan and build your new custom home you may have decided to go with hard surfaces in your primary living spaces.  Whether you have chosen hardwood, stained or scored concrete or tile surface as your main floor covering, once you move in you may decide to soften up your rooms by adding accent rugs.

Creating a functional, while enjoyable living space can be exciting – and with all of the many home décor accessories available today you have the option to draw out your creative flair as you decorate your new custom home.  Area rugs are a popular choice within living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms.

There are many types of area rugs and finding the perfect one for your décor can take some time.  If you are unsure of the types of area rugs, visit a local rug distributor to see multiple choices.  From imported asian rugs to antique Indian rugs, one is able to find a nice area rug within a broad price range.  Even places like Home Depot and Pottery Barn offer multiple patterns and sizes of rugs should you decide to view their selections.  If you are attempting to find rugs to soften your area and keep within a reasonable budget you may choose to search online venues like or where you can find some beautiful patterns at reduced prices.

Adding an area rug to a large open area will also add a focal point to your room décor and allow you a foundation of colors to choose from while decorating the walls and furniture within the room.

You will want to consider color, texture and size of the rug to compliment the room you are hoping to decorate.  While looking for area rugs, don’t jump at the first one you see simply because the price is right.  It would be better to save money over time and find a rug you will love for many years. Almost as important as the decision to purchase art for your walls, you will be engaged with this new addition for many years to come, so you want to assure it is satisfying to the eye and your overall décor.  Wool rugs are a nice accent and are known to have a long lifespan, typically looking even better as they age. Other types of rugs to consider would be those made of natural fibers.

If you are a family with allergies, you may have chosen the hard surfaces to help deter additional allergens from your home.  If this is the case, you may still choose to use accent rugs, however learn the best ways to keep rugs clean to reduce dust mites and other allergens from invading your living space.

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Minimalist decor is very popular these days. More and more we are seeing people opting for the muted hues in their paint choices as well as fabrics. While this can be beautiful and understated, sometimes it’s fun to play with color to give your room an unexpected touch.

Do you have a room in your home that is just missing something? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it needs that finishing touch. It might just need a pop of color! Now that it’s Spring, this would be a great time to spruce up your space with something bright.

Does 60-30-10 mean anything to you? Well, it’s about to make your interior design world a whole lot brighter! No pun intended. When decorating, this sequence of numbers explains what percentage of the room belongs to a dominant, secondary, and accent color.

60% of a dominant color

30% of a secondary color

10 % of an accent color

To make our live’s even easier, lets break it down by the layout of the room itself.

60% of the room’s color is the walls

30% of the room’s color is the upholstery

10% of the room’s color is an accent piece

Now don’t panic! You don’t need to repaint your entire house. There are some very easy ways to incorporate color without having to do an entire interior makeover or breaking into the piggy bank!

  • Textiles – a few throw pillows and a throw blanket might just do the trick.  If you are up for it, add a bold rug. (Tip: Choose three patterns that “work” but don’t necessarily match and mix them.)
  • Paint a piece of furniture – A dated piece of furniture becomes brand new again when you paint a few  coats of a bright color onto it.
  • Use fabrics as wall decor – Find a fabric that you love and frame it or Mod-Podge it.
  • Add accessories – Add color subtly with a grouping of vases or even some colored kitchen utensils.
  • Bloom your room – Plants and flowers are a perfect way to add an organic element (every room should have at least one) and color too.

Need a little design inspiration? Here are a few examples of creative ways to incorporate color into a space.

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When planning and designing your new custom kitchen, make sure to consider all of the available options for a decorative backslash. There are so many options available today you are sure to find a suitable option that will offer a nice design flair while remaining within your budget.

For years now the majority of installed backslashes were tile. While this is always a nice option, there are several other options you may consider.

Vinyl wall decals are a trendy option offering different wall patterns, in several colors and styles as well as offering an inexpensive option. Another selection offering a similar look however without utilizing the vinyl is to use a stencil template designed for paint. This option is also available in different patterns.  If you are looking for a solid color instead of a pattern design, you may prefer using one of the many faux finishes available. Although Faux finishing entire rooms is still a popular paint option for many homeowners it also adds a nice design touch within localized areas like kitchen backsplashes.

If you prefer the old world look, a great selection may be brick pavers or a nice travertine stone to be applied to the wall. Depending on the type of border pattern you choose you can achieve several different looks. Even stacking the stone at a slight angle or staggered design will offer a completely different look.

As you research the multiple options available you are sure to discover how vast the selection is when it comes to all of the different options available. 

With the popularity of utilizing reclaimed building materials you could choose a vintage tile theme or reclaimed wood or metal to incorporate within your design – of course these items can be incorporated as a focal point within your backsplash design or encompass the project in its entirety. If tile is the option for you,  you may consider a ceramic or porcelain tile design, or add glass mosaics to your custom look. 

Keep in mind backsplashes do not have to be limited to the kitchen. You may choose a backsplash within your bathroom design, custom bar area within butler pantries, game rooms, or mini kitchenettes within an in-law suite.

Try looking through design magazines and online searches for backsplashes to see some of the items you may like. Share some of these ideas with your building consultant and allow them the opportunity to help you create a design that is uniquely your own.

As with most of your new custom home, the possibilities are endless. Make sure to inquire of your building consultant for options that may be available for your home plan.

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Have you ever been in the midst of preparing a meal and as you search the cabinets for a specific utensil or desired pan you come to the realization of how unorganized your kitchen cabinets have become? Or, what about realizing your dishwasher is nowhere near the cabinets that will house the dishes you use every day?

If you are in the market for a new custom home and you happen to be in the design phase – this one is for you.  Take some consideration for the layout of your kitchen and really design the layout to meet the needs of you and your family.  It is likely your kitchen is one of the most heavily used areas of your home, so consider its function and plan accordingly.

If this is your first custom home you may be overwhelmed by all of the available options when it comes to designing your kitchen – from appliances to cabinets, all the various colors, heights, styles, trim options and inclusive options within the cabinets, as well as flooring, lighting – you really could spend a lot of time in this area planning the perfect kitchen.

A few things to consider when planning your kitchen layout:

Decide if you want an open layout kitchen or a kitchen design offering separate room space connected to dining room, breakfast or living room, etc. Is it your hope to have a breakfast bar or space for a kitchen table within the kitchen area?  What about a pass through into a dining room or living room? Do you want an island in your kitchen?  If you said yes to the island – have you considered a prep sink or maybe placing your cook-top within your island?

When it comes to appliances have you selected a standard dishwasher or dishwasher drawers? Do you prefer your refrigerator to be freestanding among the cabinets or built into the cabinets for a sleek design?  Think of all the possibilities within your kitchen and then review your house plan with your building consultant to design a perfect functional kitchen for you and your family.

As you dream of kitchen layouts, try to envision cabinets that house all of you dishes, formal and everyday items.  As you open the drawers try and imagine all of your available pots, pans and lids neatly placed or view the spices lined within a perfectly organized spice drawer making your dinner preparation a breeze.  Maybe your dishwasher would be close to the cabinets so you can easily unload and put away dishes, and you would likely go with the drawer option to conserve water when you only have a few dishes to wash – but having the option to use both drawers when you need to wash a full load.  An island with a trash compactor, prep sink and space for your children or others to sit and chat as you peel potatoes.

Only you know the perfect layout for your kitchen – so before you go with the standard plan design, consider your options and design a kitchen plan that suits your style. This is part of what makes your home a custom home.

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