Social Media can be a Powerful Tool for Finding the Right New Jersey Architect

Social Media can be a Powerful Tool for Finding the Right New Jersey Architect

Social Media can be a Powerful Tool for Finding the Right New Jersey Architect

You purchased land and decided to build in New Jersey. Congratulations! Now it is time to embark on building your dream—but first, you need an architect.

With so many New Jersey architecture firms to choose from, it can seem daunting to find the right one for your project. While social media cannot calm your nerves, it can be a powerful tool in helping you find great local architects. The key is to know how each social platform works and the unique functionalities that they have to offer.

Pinterest defines itself as a visual discovery engine for finding ideas. Its search bar can be used much like Google’s search engine. Try typing in “New Jersey architecture” or “NJ architects,” and see what comes up.

In addition to discovering a plethora of inspirational images to help spark ideas for your project, you will find a few local architects you may want to consider hiring. A quick visit to their Pinterest profile will allow you to obtain their contact information and see examples of their work, which you can save for future reference.

Once you are logged into your Facebook account, you can use the advanced search feature to produce a list of suggested businesses in your area:

  1. Type “New Jersey architects” into the search bar.
  2. Select the “Pages” tab.
  3. Add the category filter “Local Business or Place.”

Peruse the resulting list of suggestions, and click on the architect pages that interest you. While you are visiting these pages, you will find a recommendations section where you can learn more about client experiences and, in some cases, see images of actual projects.

Instagram is an image- and video-sharing network designed to be used from any iOS or Android device. Similar to Facebook, an Instagram search will yield a list of architect recommendations.

Architects utilizing this social platform will display their work visually. Their profile will serve as a portfolio allowing you to scroll through a grid of images and quickly ascertain if they appeal to you as a company you would like to work with.

If you prefer to find individuals instead of companies, LinkedIn is a great way to locate professionals working in an architecture firm. We recommend two different searches depending on your preference and the size of your LinkedIn network. In each scenario, type “New Jersey Architects” into the search bar:

  1. Find someone you know. Once the search results appear, use the filters to refine your search. Select “Connections,” check “1st,” and click “Apply.” This will allow you to see if anyone you already know is a New Jersey architect you can reach out to.
  2. Find someone to connect with. Select a company from the search results list you would consider working with. Once on the company page, you will see a hyperlinked statement advising who on LinkedIn are employees of the firm. It would be appropriate to send connection requests and inquire about discussing your project.

No matter which platform you prefer, each provides the convenience and time-saving qualities that can help make hiring the right architect for your project easier:

  • Save it for later. All social channels provide save features that allow you to save articles, posts, or images so you can reference them at a later time.
  • Take it with you. Each social platform offers a mobile app that enables you to take your search on-the-go.
  • Everything you need in one place. Social media profiles act as a single source of information, providing you with detailed company information and a way to connect.

Your Wonky House Layout CAN be changed! Here are the Trends We’re Seeing Right Now

photography by Lisa Russman

If your house’s layout and design aren’t working for you anymore, fear not. Changing the layout of your home doesn’t have to be terrifying, and working with an architect to draw up new house plans can allow you to finally get rid of those weirdly shaped rooms or re-envision the flow of your home. If you are ready to change your house’s design, here are some hot new trends that can inspire your plans.

Combining indoor and outdoor living
When the average home size is shrinking, people are learning to live with less while making the most of all of their spaces. This includes the outdoors. More house designs are including outdoor living areas, like sunrooms, rooftop decks, outdoor kitchens, and porches, which expand the home’s functionality. Depending on your climate, you could use these spaces during a significant portion of the year.

And with advances in outdoor audio and video technology, as well as shading and heating products, you can stay comfortable and enjoy these spaces all year-round. Creating house plans that combine these worlds has also never been easier. Foldable and collapsible doors and windows, which are falling in price and rising in variety, help to open up the flow through these spaces and allow you to enjoy the outdoors more of the year.

Backyard getaways
Speaking of the outdoors, many people are finding valuable square footage in their backyard, too. No room inside for your studio or home office? Kids need a place to chill that doesn’t drive you mad? Whether you need extra storage, a workshop, or a space to entertain your friends, backyard sheds and cottages are on the rise. Small, backyard outbuildings are perfect for adding space, functionality, and charm to your home. They can be single or multi-purpose, depending on your needs, and they are an affordable way to add functionality to your house’s layout.

Dual master suites
As parents are aging, many families today are looking for layouts and designs that allow their house to accommodate multiple generations. We are increasingly seeing the inclusion of two master suites in homes, making it easy for blended families to live together while still enjoying privacy and dedicated space.

While you may not need room for your in-laws right away, planning ahead when redesigning your house plans can make things easier down the road. A second master suite can accommodate guests, adult children who haven’t established their households yet, and even renters if you want to make some extra money. Getting creative with your house’s layout can also include a separate entrance if needed

Flex rooms
In today’s economy, more people are looking to get by with less and make smaller spaces work in smarter ways. That means house designs must be more adaptable, including the use of more flexible rooms. Creating areas that can serve two or more purposes allows them to pull double duty or to be easily transformed as future needs change. Perhaps today’s nursery will be tomorrow’s craft room. Or maybe your gym can easily transition to a home office, with the right design.

You can even create raw spaces during the construction of your home, then finish them later, as needs change. For example, when building a garage, consider a design that allows for a second level, which can become an in-law suite, media room, or another type of flexible space later on. Multipurpose and bonus rooms are very popular for a good reason. How could this type of space meet your family’s needs?

These latest trends point to creativity and imagination in how we use the spaces with our homes to create the lives we want to live. How are you using your space? Perhaps a new layout is precisely what you need to turn your house into your dream home.

Here's How Residential Architects Can Keep Construction Planning User-Friendly

Here’s How Residential Architects Can Keep Construction Planning User-Friendly

Here's How Residential Architects Can Keep Construction Planning User-Friendly

photography by Lisa Russman

As soon as you tell people you are planning to build a new home or start a major residential construction project, what’s the first thing they do? They will likely tell you some horror story about how badly their last construction project went, right?

We’ve all heard the nightmare tales, it’s true. But, it doesn’t have to be that way—honest! Residential architects are the right professionals for helping you keep your construction planning process from turning into your next dinner-party story. Here’s how:

Residential architecture design starts with listening
Your home-construction project can only be successful when your planning includes open lines of communication with your residential architect. It’s crucial that you find an architect who listens and delves into your needs, ensuring that your home’s design will uniquely and thoughtfully embrace your family’s rhythm and needs for today as well as the future.

Your custom residential architect should understand your site requirements, provide you with options and ideas based on your aspirations and needs, and answer all your questions, so there are no surprises along the way. This includes asking your architect to explain unfamiliar terms and use language you understand so that your expectations are aligned with theirs throughout the process. Only when the process is clear and transparent will you feel in control of construction planning.

Relationships are important
If you want a user-friendly planning process for your next construction project, then it is essential to establish a good rapport with your residential architect. If you are going to work successfully with the design team, then you need to trust that they are honest and genuine in all they do for you.

With trust, you’ll feel comfortable asking questions, raising concerns, and offering your opinions, which means your residential architecture design will reflect what you want and need from your home, not what someone else thinks you need. Knowing your custom residential architect is on your side and willing to help you attain your vision of the perfect home leaves you sleeping better at night before, during, and after the construction process.

Knowledge is power
Your dream home may require the knowledge of others, too. Make sure your residential architect has strong relationships with experts in structural and mechanical engineering as well as plumbing and electrical designs to offer advice on your most difficult design challenges. Your architect should also check that your construction project meets all necessary safety, fire, and health codes and obtain the required building permits for your home.

Design and planning of your home-construction project require a lot of moving parts to work together seamlessly. Residential architects are experts in juggling all these details, from design through construction. The relationship between your architect and contractor will be crucial throughout the build process. Meet with both of these people regularly to stay on top of any details you should be handling throughout the construction of your home, and rely on their advice and guidance.

Ensuring a user-friendly planning process
If you want to be the envy of all those friends with construction nightmare stories, then your first decision in the construction planning process is to find an architect who understands what’s at the heart of your family. Make sure you come prepared with your ideas and list of needs, and that, throughout the process, you are communicating openly with your design team.

Remember that even the best residential architect isn’t a mind reader, so be sure you are speaking honestly to avoid frustrations in the planning process. No large-scale project goes off without some glitches, but when you know your residential architect is on your side and embraces challenges, you’ll be confident that there’s nothing you can’t handle together.

You Hired an Interior Designer. Now What? Here's How to Keep Things Simple!

You Hired an Interior Designer. Now What? Here’s How to Keep Things Simple!

You Hired an Interior Designer. Now What? Here's How to Keep Things Simple!

photography by Lisa Russman

You know you want to make changes to your existing living space. You’re not sure where to start and are beginning to feel buried under all the paint, fabric, tile, and accessory options, so you decided to hire an interior designer to help you figure it all out. Here are a few next steps you can take to keep things simple and allow your designer to guide you through the process of redesigning a space you love.

Get to know each other
Your interior-design professional will want to gather information about you and your lifestyle before getting started. We suggest taking the time to meet with them in your space and answer some key questions:

  • What is your budget?
  • Which rooms are you focusing on?
  • Who lives in or uses the space?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What kind of décor do you enjoy?
  • How do you plan to utilize the space you are decorating?
  • How much time do you spend at home?

Once armed with your answers, the designer can create a space that is personalized and functional.

Take time to plan your space layout
We know you’re anxious to get started on your project, but space planning is essential, and you should be prepared to spend most of your time in this phase. Skipping this step would be like giving a clumsy toddler a sippy cup without a lid—a messy disaster!

An experienced interior designer will look at your current floor plan and help you determine if any construction needs to take place to make your space functional. Do you have an older home with an awkward layout that may require wall removal? Is there a supporting beam or post that needs to be worked around?

Having a plan to overcome these challenges will help keep the overall project running smoothly. Your designer will present options to you through the use of sketches and digital renderings. Be sure to go through as many rounds of revisions as you need to get the space right. And do not forget to take before pictures.

Let the creative juices flow
Once you have approved your space plan, let your design professional do what they do best. Design! Interior designers are well-versed in design styles, current trends, and the best materials available to fit your budget.

This is the fun and exciting stop of the interior-design process. Trusting your designer to run with your ideas will keep things simple for you. They will do the complicated work of bringing your vision to life and providing a tactile presentation to help you imagine what your space will become. Expect to be dazzled with material boards, fabric swatches, paint samples, art, and accessories such as soft pillows and textured vases.

Watch it all come together
Once you have approved the space and design plans, it is time for the project to come to life.

After construction is completed, your designer will guide you through selecting new furniture, choosing textiles such as area rugs and curtains, finding the right lighting solutions, and obtaining accessories.

Finally, they will set up your new space for you so you can sit back and watch it all come together—you know, everyone’s favorite part of the HGTV show!

Surprise! How A New Jersey Architect Can Protect You From Hidden Construction Expenses When You're Building A Home

Surprise! How A New Jersey Architect Can Protect You From Hidden Construction Expenses When You’re Building A Home

Surprise! How A New Jersey Architect Can Protect You From Hidden Construction Expenses When You're Building A Home

photography by Lisa Russman

Building a new home can elicit a wide range of emotions from excitement to overwhelm, but you can find comfort in knowing that a great architect can help protect your budget. When you are ready to hire, doing some upfront research on reputable New Jersey architecture firms will save you from unexpected construction costs.

A good architect will act as an administrator looking out for your best interests. In addition to designing a home reflective of your needs, vision, and lifestyle, you should expect an architect to help in other ways throughout the building process.

Know the local codes
Knowing common fees up front will save you from surprise costs later on in the process. Common costs include plan review, permits, utility connection, and HOA fees. A knowledgeable architect will be familiar with the fees to expect in your area and build them into the cost estimate.

Keep the contractor honest
We have all heard of general contractor nightmare stories such as a contractor running out of money causing construction to come to a screeching halt when workers stop getting paid or building materials cannot be delivered due to lack of funds. These stories typically end with the owner incurring enormous unplanned costs.

Once the design is complete, your architect can help you select an excellent general contractor, oversee the construction process, and avoid hidden costs throughout the project by:

  • Reviewing bids and ensuring those bids are accurate
  • Answering questions a contractor may have during the bid process
  • Double-checking proposals and deterring any cost inflations
  • Helping to make sure the contractor builds your project correctly and provides quality craftsmanship
  • Keeping the general contractor honest when seeking prepayment
  • Ensuring adherence to your design

Provide guidance and options
An experienced architect can guide you through the construction process and ensure your project is completed to your satisfaction while helping to protect your building funds.

Knowing your budget and being familiar with building costs, a licensed NJ architect can provide alternative options, before the project begins, that will keep you within budget but not affect the integrity or quality of the build. Perhaps reducing square footage in a bedroom will allow you to build your dream recreation room without increasing your budget.

During the design phase, an architect can help you decide where to splurge or reconsider the budget because it saves money in the long run—for example, installing a breaker box slightly larger than needed in case you decide to add rooms onto your home in the future.

As your architect gets to know you, they can also steer you toward options that will make you the happiest and avoid the need for costly re-dos. Suggestions such as installing kitchen cabinets that go to the ceiling because they will fit your style better than a standard wall cabinet or using shower tiles instead of an insert that may look cheap or unfinished will help you make sound financial decisions and obtain a design you love.

Before working with a designer, check that they carry a valid New Jersey architecture license. This license is issued by the state and ensures the architect has proper education and permission to do business. Interview a few NJ architects. Discuss your goals and budget. Then see what they say. Make sure you feel they have listened to your needs and read through the standard AIA contract between owner and architect before hiring. You can expect an architect to ask for a fee to cover their specialized knowledge; however, the fee should be fair and will ultimately pay for itself by saving you from hidden construction costs.

How to Stay Sane While Your New-Construction Home Is on the Way

How to Stay Sane While Your New-Construction Home Is on the Way

How to Stay Sane While Your New-Construction Home Is on the Way

photography by Lisa Russman

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably come to understand that the term “growing pains” can mean a lot for a family. As children grow from shared-space-loving kids to quiet-space-addicted teens, the demands of our living places change. For this reason, more and more families are choosing new-construction homes, which can match the needs of a growing family, unlike any pre-owned house. Like any good project, new builds take time, but with an antsy family in need of space, time can be one of the scarcest resources around. Here’s how to keep the whole family at peace until your new, happy home is complete:

1. Tap into unused vacations
Let’s face it: Between the kids’ school schedules, holidays, and work commitments, it’s a pretty common occurrence that we save up more vacation time than we probably should. The perfect time to use it is while you’re waiting for work to finish on your home under construction. Vacations, of course, are refreshing and fun, but the feeling you get when you all get home can be just as good. Time away from the house can make it so the everyday details of your life become totally renewed, and that sets the stage perfectly for getting settled into your comfy, new home.

2. Don’t obsess over the details
While it might seem easier said than done, being careful to avoid dwelling on the details once your new-construction home is on the way can really make a big difference. It’s easy to let our thoughts get away from us with the excitement and worries that come with moving—as if our thoughts weren’t racing enough already! Remind yourself to take it easy. After all, you already did the planning, hired the professionals, and settled on a final design. Trust yourself and trust the professionals you’ve brought on. They’ll take good care of your home, and you’ll get the peace of mind that you deserve.

3. Focus on the exciting future
If everyone in the family is starting to get restless, just remember how important perspective is. It can be far too easy to get frustrated with the lack of space or features about your old home that you don’t like, especially when waiting on new builds. The positives of your new-construction home, though, can be the fuel for good moods and general agreeableness all around. Family time is always good, and it can provide an opportunity to guide the family to think about the good stuff that’s waiting for everyone in the new home.

4. Organize in advance
Moving to a new home is always a process of compression and decompression, and both processes can be severely complicated by a lack of organization. One of the best things you can do to keep yourself grounded while you’re waiting for construction to be completed on your new home is to organize your move well in advance. Everything from packing non-essentials—like the paintball guns you bought during that fad—to deciding which rooms will get packed up first when moving day comes, can keep you happily busy while making the transition into your new home and will make the process smoother than you could imagine. Newly built homes are always worth the wait, and any organizational steps you take to smooth out the process will make it the move so much easier.

Keeping the collective head of your family screwed on tight while waiting for a brand-new building to be constructed isn’t the easiest of tasks, but it’s by no means impossible. Keep your eyes on the goal, and you’ll find yourself happily settled into a perfect homemade just for you in no time.

Why Newly Built, Custom Homes Can Change Your Mind on What a House Can Be

Why Newly Built, Custom Homes Can Change Your Mind on What a House Can Be

Why Newly Built, Custom Homes Can Change Your Mind on What a House Can Be

photography by Lisa Russman

It’s been said time and time again that home is where the heart is. While our house is just the physical structure in which we build our real homes, there’s no doubt that we grow attached to the spaces our families live in and our friends come to visit. With that in mind, there’s something powerful about the idea of aligning the physical design of our house to compliment the family spirit that makes up our home. The best way to do that is by designing a custom home that’s truly yours. Here’s a few reasons to consider making your new home a custom home instead of moving into a place designed to fit someone else’s needs:

1. You Know Your Family Best
One of the biggest reasons that many homeowners choose custom homes over copy-and-paste designs by mass-market firms is the simple fact that they know their family better than any builder or designer ever could. You know what you like, and you know what your family likes. Moreover, you know what your family needs better than anyone else does.

Having a house that you like is good but having a house that meets the needs of your family and furballs alike is better than anything. Custom homes let you choose what’s important within your budget, on your terms.

2. Save Money and Get More
Going custom means getting control over the design of your house. Even if you’re not an architecture expert, by communicating with a designer directly, you can choose the features you need and want, cutting out the stuff that just doesn’t fit you or your family. By optimizing your new home to the needs and wants of your family, you’ll get the most bang for your buck, which can turn out to be a surprising change of pace, especially if you’ve bought older, pre-owned houses in the past. If you’ve ever tried to practice softball throws in a backyard that’s barely large enough for a family picnic, you probably know how expensive your window replacement bills can be. Customized space is good space.

3. New in More Ways Than One
Traditionally, the process of buying a home involves removing as much guesswork from the process as possible. Buying an old home, there are a lot of features for which you simply have to take the word of the previous owner at face value. Whether it’s the age of the boiler, the frequency of maintenance, or even the risk of pest problems, old houses intrinsically include some unknown factors.

From leaky pipes you didn’t discover until after you turned on the shower the first time to that one spot on the second floor where every footstep would wake half the household, we’ve all had unexpected “features” in our houses throughout life. The way we see it, though, is that there are enough surprises in everyday life to keep us on our toes without having to inherit the surprises of a previous homeowner.

With custom homes, you’ll cut that type of unknown out of the picture, since you’ll be there with the designer and builders from the get-go. You can choose appliances, plumbing, and electrical products that you trust without ever having to filter through someone else’s old paperwork. Peace of mind is impossible to put a price on, especially when it comes to establishing the central meeting place of your family!

4. Details, Details, Details
Let’s face it: We’ve all had features of old homes that we absolutely hated, even if we absolutely loved the house overall (and the memories we made within!) Some of these features would have been perfect — for anyone but us. Whether it’s poorly placed wall outlets or unsightly, out-of-date phone jacks, the little quirks of our house can really get to us over the course of years. If you thought the twos were terrible, just imagine how bad things could get when every outlet in sight is occupied by your teenagers’ charging smartphones and you just need to plug in the blender!

When you’re in control of the design of your house, you can ensure that those frustrating little details never hit the floor plan.

The way we see it, your house should never hinder the lives of the people who live within, nor should it tarnish memories of your life with your friends and loved ones by having frustrating or ill-fit features. A house should help make things better, and that’s why custom constructions really do help your heart feel at home.

Architecturally Moving Home Designs for 2019

Architecturally Moving Home Designs for 2019

Architecturally Moving Home Designs for 2019

photography by Lisa Russman

You did it! You’ve saved your money, found good land, and connected with the right team of builders. You’re finally ready to make the house of your dreams a reality, and then you’re faced with a blank canvas. Sometimes, opportunity and complete freedom can be paralyzing (we’ve been there,) but there’s no time for indecision when you’re trying to design the home you’re going to live in with restless kids and hungry spouses. If you’re stumped about how to proceed with your home design, we’re here to help you out. Check out these stunning home designs for the new year!

1. Mediterranean Stylings
The Mediterranean style of home design has continually grown in popularity over the course of the last decade, and during that time, it has evolved into a truly rich and versatile style. Mediterranean style homes show off a relaxed and confident beauty that is both refreshing and inviting, drawing on concepts both classical and modern to create something truly yours. Mediterranean styles play very nice with open floor plans, which are in vogue for a good reason; open floor plans let you have space for friends, family, pets, and parties.

2. The Craftsman Style
Even the name “Craftsman” invokes a warm, storied feeling of trustworthiness and familiarity. This rising style aims to recreate the homey, cozy spirit of rural camp houses and lodges without the limitations of such older, country homes. Deftly blending rustic style with modern comforts, Craftsman style homes encourage togetherness, warmth, and family-focused layouts.

3. The “International” Style
Making the most of vertical space, International style homes spin the designs of traditional beach houses into something brighter, more modern, and much more accommodating to everyday life. International style homes welcome sunlight with broad windows and wide, open interiors. Instead of wasting horizontal space with attached garages, years of mounting toys, and tool boxes you’d never use anyway, International-style homes are raised above the ground with space beneath for parking, creating a clean and tidy look that also doubles as a safety feature.

4. Better Bathrooms
While our first three design ideas focused on the overall layout and design philosophies of your new home, this idea is smaller and more precise in scope. For years, a revolution in room layout has swept new homes all across the nation. New homes focus on clean, clear, and open layouts for nearly all living spaces, but bathroom design has remained comparatively static.

Going into 2019, home designers are turning their eyes to making comfortable, refreshing private spaces that more gracefully integrate with modern architecture. Spa-style tubs and waterfall showers are on the rise, as are broad mirrors and open floor space. Why leave a serene, roomy bedroom only to step into a stuffy, traditional bathroom? The bathroom is meant to be a place where Mom can focus on herself for a bit and Dad can hype himself up before the gym. Better bathrooms mean better lives.

Embrace space and think about how important breathing room is when you get home from work and are ready for a relaxing bath or some well-deserved beauty time. Our lives are busy, and we’re all learning the value of self-care. A well-designed bathroom can make a world of difference.

5. New Color Principles
When it comes to designing a home from the ground up, color is often the last detail you’ll think of. Depending on the layout of your home, though, color can be almost as important as the placement of windows. As more homeowners embraced spacious designs, experimentation was a must, and new, beautiful color concepts have risen to the top.

One breathtaking color concept on the up-and-up is the idea of a color “focus room.” Much like the idea of an “accent wall” (a wall which is drastically different in color than the other three walls,) a color focus room aims to set a space apart from the rest of the house stylistically. Whether it’s a den with darker colors to promote relaxation or a dining room with a splash of color for bright mornings and happy evenings, color focus rooms take the philosophy of color accents one step further.

With these home design ideas at the front of your mind, you’re ready to embark on one of the greatest adventures you’ll ever have: Choosing the perfect home for you and your family.

Timeless Architecture Styles That Can Benefit New Construction Homes

Timeless Architecture Styles That Can Benefit New Construction Homes

Timeless Architecture Styles That Can Benefit New Construction Homes

photography by Lisa Russman

Architecture is an ancient craft that uniquely blends aesthetics with functionality, evolving constantly and persistently as time marches on. In the current day, architecture is more diverse than it has ever been and more accessible as well. With that in mind, homeowners looking to construct their own home are now able to draw on centuries of style, history, and craft to create entirely unprecedented beauty and comfort in their new construction homes. While not all styles can translate to the modern age, there are some that are especially relevant in how they can impact new builds—think about how effective a house must have been designed to meet the needs of toddlers centuries before electricity was invented! Here are a few that aspiring custom homeowners should keep in mind:

1. Classical
No matter who you are or where you’re from, Classical architecture has undoubtedly made an impact on your life. Some of the most famous ancient structures in the world, like the Parthenon, proudly feature the very stylings that their creators designed thousands of years ago. Meanwhile, much more recent structures, like the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., or the Lincoln Monument, draw on Classical features to create a breathtaking emotional effect.

Classical features aren’t only for the monuments of the world, however. Classical style can be woven into current design trends to bestow an aura of timelessness that can indeed make a statement in your new home under construction. Classical features can invoke an austere, beautiful feeling without making your home seem inappropriate for a barbeque or football party.

2. Craftsman
The Craftsman style of architecture has been popular lately, and for good reason! While the Craftsman style reached its peak around the turn of the twentieth century, the features it brought into the public eye have never left the lexicon of American design. In recent years, many architects and home designers have drawn on Craftsman ideas for their new builds, invoking the natural beauty and hand-made appearance that the Craftsman style so perfectly embodies. Craftsman-style features such as large, covered front porches, low-pitched roofs, dormers, built-ins, and large fireplaces, can bring an airy, rural appeal to homes that will soothe even the most rambunctious of families with simple, homey comforts.

3. Victorian
While true Victorian-style homes have fallen out of popularity—largely because of their impractical, ornate flourishes—some of the features of the Victorian schools of design still have their place in today’s home designs. Elegant hallways with plenty of negative space, which can be filled with photographs or decorations if desired, dormer windows with wide sills, and spacious-but-cozy rooms are all features of the Victorian style that can add beauty and functionality to nearly any new construction home. If you grew up in a Victorian home, you might find yourself nostalgic for the way the interior seemed to beckon you from room to room, as if some new comfort awaited in each space. You might also find yourself off-put by the gaudiness of exterior, impracticality of flourish, and rigidity of layout of older Victorian homes. The good news is that you can pick and choose beautiful features from many styles of homes so you can integrate sentimental interiors without worrying that your house looks like Dracula’s second home.

One of the most important ideas to keep in mind while working on a new build is that you are not bound to a single architectural style. Families seeking custom homes today are the lucky beneficiaries of hundreds of years of architectural advancement and hundreds of years of fantastic historical documentation. With a little bit of research and insight, you can make a house for your family that truly is unique and timeless.

Ways to Make Your Custom Home a Dream Home

Ways to Make Your Custom Home a Dream Home

Ways to Make Your Custom Home a Dream Home

photography by Lisa Russman

Making a house into a home that you’ll always treasure isn’t always easy, especially when you’re working with the vision of a previous owner you may have never met. While moving furniture and painting walls isn’t all that difficult, making revisions to the layout or redesigning the exterior of a pre-existing house can be more difficult than trying to get your family out the door on time for the last week of school. This fact is precisely why so many families seek out custom-built homes these days. There is more that goes into the process of how to build a house than just the basic needs, though. Here’s how to make your custom home a dream home:

Step one: Don’t limit yourself
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in building a home for you and your family is to underestimate just how much you can get when you design a home from the bottom up. Many people seek out custom home builders with assumptions from their previous home-buying experiences. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that desirable features were associated with higher prices; such correlations are common when buying pre-owned homes where some features are rarer than others. When you’re starting from the baseline, though, you get to decide what’s right for you in your custom-built home. Need to give the kids some space of their own so you can get some shut-eye? Work with your custom home builders to design a rec room space. Have a passion for cooking? Plan to have a gas range installed from the get-go, saving a fortune on what would otherwise be costly installation and hookup fees.

Step two: Consider everyone’s needs and wants
One of the best factors of custom-built homes is that you are the one who is in control of the final design of your house, not someone who is unfamiliar with your family. Making a house into a dream home is all about choosing to include the features that mesh with the way your family lives every day. Small features like conveniently placed cabinets and spacious pantries (for the organized chef in your life) and larger features like high ceilings or a man cave are easy to include when building a floor plan for your home, and they’ll go a long way toward optimizing your daily happiness.

Our living space is a constant, quiet presence in our lives. Positive features go a long way in helping us feel comfortable, peaceful, and rested for the business of the day. When you design a custom house, you can choose to include those details that you’ve wished for since before you had kids. A dream house doesn’t have to be a pie-in-the-sky fantasy—you can make it real for you and your family.

Step Three: Spend your money where you spend your time
One of the best ways to improve your general quality of life is to spend your money where you spend most of your time. Traditionally, the advice that follows is to get a comfortable mattress, since we all spend quite a lot of time sleeping. In truth, there’s a place we spend even more time than our bed, though we all would probably like to spend more time catching Zs. For some, it may be the kitchen, and for others, it’s the home office or family room. Our house is not only where we sleep, but it’s the place where we live, learn, eat, drink, and celebrate. If you’re debating whether to invest in a few extras for your dream home, think about it like this: Your money will go the furthest when applied to those activities and objects you need the most. Your home is a long-lasting investment, so don’t be afraid to spend a little more to polish your design to perfection.