Thinking of Building a New Home? Here’s What Our Successful Clients Did

Thinking of Building a New Home? Here’s What Our Successful Clients Did

Thinking of Building a New Home? Here’s What Our Successful Clients Did

photography by Lisa Russman

When building a house, you want the finished project to meet your needs and your budget. As with anything that is meant to last many years, a fantastic result comes from detailed plans. The following three tips for building a new home condense words of wisdom from thousands of sources into a few simple reminders.

Have a Detailed Plan
Among the must-haves when building a new home, detailed plans top the list. You must consider many factors when designing your dream home. Where should your house sit on the lot to make the best use of light and be protected from wind and other forces? Where will you locate bedrooms, closets, and storage areas to make them easily accessible and also facilitate the flow of your home? Where should electrical, network, and cable access points be placed in each room? What are your current needs as well as your anticipated future needs?

Answering all of these questions will help you create a design for your new home that is functional, makes use of all the available space, and keeps your building costs on budget. Whatever you do, do not rush the planning process. You can avoid many expensive mistakes and potential disasters through careful and thorough planning.

Make the Best Use of All Your Space
Designing a home presents many challenges, including anticipating the future needs of your family. One mistake is creating underutilized spaces that end up serving little or no function. Instead of dedicating space specifically for less-used purposes, consider making multi-function rooms. Think of a sewing space that also serves as a guest room or a gym that also has craft space. These areas will help you get more use from your square footage, and as your needs and interests change, so can the use of these spaces. Make every room count when it comes to its functionality for your family.

Other considerations when building a house are where to place functional spaces such as the laundry room, garage, and kitchen. Putting the laundry in the basement may be an option, but is walking up the down the stairs multiple times per day to manage loads the best choice? Placing a kitchen at the back of the home may capture the best light, but if you have to lug groceries through the entire living area to reach this room, you might rethink. Working with a professional architect helps you consider all these choices and select the best options for you.

Know Your Needs and Communicate Them
Another essential addition to the list of the must-haves when building a new home is working with a professional architect. A thoughtful architect will know what questions to ask to create the perfect design for your new home. Before meeting with your architect, though, create a list of non-negotiable features for your new home. Knowing what you cannot live without will enhance the design process.

Ask questions at any point during the design or build process to ensure you are getting what you want, and do not allow your architect or contractor to pressure you into something you don’t. You know your family’s needs better than anyone, so communicate those while listening to the advice and suggestions of the professionals charged with making your dream a reality.

Building a new home is an investment in time, money, patience, and planning. While it can be very stressful, careful planning for maximum use of functional space and effective communication will minimize problems. Talk to your architect to learn additional tips for building a new home.


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What’s in an architectural remodel? With so much access to home remodel/renovation inspiration, it’s no wonder that plenty of homeowners are opting to re-imagine their homes. Home remodeling isn’t a cheap decision, and it might turn your daily life upside down for several weeks or months depending on the scale of your project. Whether you’re downright bored of your current home or choosing to complete a remodel for other motives, here are three reasons why you should consider an architectural remodel.
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How to Add Onto a House and Get Maximum Value

How to Add Onto a House and Get Maximum ValueAdditions are a great way to add space to an existing home without the hassles and expenses of moving to a bigger home. Though the construction process can be stressful, it’s important to remember that the outcome is well worth the headache. Additions can be built-out or built-up on a house. Building-out causes fewer life disruptions while expanding the overall area of your house, but building-up won’t cost you precious yard space. Whichever route you decide on, it’s a good idea to think about how an addition will impact the overall value of your home when you sell.

There are good additions and there are bad ones. Here are some home-improvement ideas to avoid that won’t give you a substantial return on your investment:

  • Home office
    Most people don’t need a fancy home office, therefore building one wouldn’t be a great investment and the technology will surely become outdated as time moves on. You’d have to find the perfect buyer who could benefit from a home office, which might prove difficult.
  • Sunroom
    Though aesthetically pleasing and a comforting thought, sunrooms don’t actually maximize the value of most homes as they only return maybe 49% of the initial investment. The glass panels on sunrooms lack insulation, which raises energy costs in the winter. Typically, only people who live farther south or on the beach where other homes include sunrooms, could benefit from a sunroom.
  • Gourmet kitchen
    While extending a kitchen is a great investment, making the newer kitchen include expensive items might not work. Newer kitchens should all have quality appliances that everyone can use, whereas gourmet kitchens would not attract the average buyer. Only consider a gourmet kitchen if your neighborhood is high-end and everyone else has one.

Homeowners should look into additions that can benefit everyone while increasing the home’s value. There should be a balance of current needs and potential value. For example, adding a music studio only attracts a niche group of buyers, making selling difficult. However, if the room can be easily converted into a different function, then it may be worth the investment.

Ways to Get Maximum Value from an Addition

  • Bathroom
    If you only have one bathroom, adding a second could give you a return of 80% to 130% on your investment. You could build a half-bath at 18 square feet or a full bath for 35 square feet. Adding a bathroom to a bedroom makes it qualify as a master suite, which is also appealing to buyers. Then you can save money by getting the accessories online or at Lowe’s and Home Depot when prices drop on floor models like sinks and toilets.
  • Garage
    Adding a garage onto your house is a good investment, especially if other homes in your neighborhood also have them. Garages don’t need finished flooring, drywall, or heating/cooling ducts to make them cost-effective. Plus, these spaces can be used to store cars, tools, sports equipment, and more. Houses with garages also appeal to buyers with vehicles since they offer protection from the elements.
  • Kitchen expansion
    An up-to-date kitchen with quality appliances attracts most buyers. Ample space for food prep and organization along with “green appliances” like the dishwasher and refrigerator are very appealing. These appliances save money for both current and future residents alike without damaging the environment.
  • Bedroom
    Adding a master suite with a bathroom or extra bedroom becomes attractive to buyers who are starting their families or know they’ll need more space. If master suites with bathrooms are a common amenity in your neighborhood, then it’s definitely a good investment. Plus an extra bedroom comes in handy when family members or children visit and can easily be converted into something else.
  • Deck
    Adding a deck to a home increases value because outdoor living spaces are very attractive to buyers. These are great additions since more people are choosing to stay home during vacations and they add more space during the warm months. According to HGTV, you can recoup 65% to 90% of your investment, which can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $10,000, depending on the size and extras. Decks should allow people to transition from the indoors to the outdoors easily, especially convenient during an event with more people. Also, if you’re handy or construction literate, you may even be able to do this task yourself, which saves a lot of money.
  • Going green
    Making your addition eco-friendly and energy efficient will accrue costs in the beginning. However, these options will save you money long-term. Buyers are more likely to purchase energy-efficient homes than not. Installing Energy Star-rated windows can save you up to $500 a year in heating and cooling costs. You can also have a total energy savings of 30% each year. Then there’s the opportunity to recoup 60% to 90% of your costs when you invest in energy-efficient windows. Plus, you’ll be qualified for a green energy tax credit of 10%. Having an Energy Star-rated home reduces leaks and drafts, keeps consistent temperatures, adds durability, and keeps the inside air fresh. Adding plenty of insulation, programmable thermostats, and avoiding hollow metal doors also decreases energy costs.

When considering adding onto a home, researching how much return you’ll receive on the investment is a wise decision. You should talk with your architect who will make sure you’ll get the most of your addition. Additions that have little appeal overall for prospective buyers won’t help sell your home. Also, make sure the addition makes sense with the layout of your home while blending in seamlessly with similar materials.
Don’t move into a bigger home if you don’t have to. However, when thinking about expanding your home for current needs, room additions that can add to the overall value of your home are essential to maximizing future returns.


Unusual Ways To Improve Your Home Addition Plans

Unusual Ways To Improve Your Home Addition PlansNow that you’ve decided to add some space to your home, you probably have already contacted an architect. Perhaps the plans have been drawn up and are ready for execution. Wait! There might be some interesting details that have been overlooked that could make your addition even better.

But first, let’s look at common home additions and their benefits:

  • Kitchen
    Kitchen expansions are common among addition seekers. They provide more space while adding some value to your home. Bigger kitchens also allow more cooking and storage space for avid chefs. Dinner parties are a lot easier with bigger kitchens.
  • Family Room
    Adding on to your living room or building a new one opens up a world of possibilities. These spaces can allow families to relax and communicate in a peaceful atmosphere. Plus, the extra space means more room for more people—not to mention the value it adds to your home if or when you decide to resell.
  • Bedroom
    Fortunately, bedrooms can be built up or out on existing homes. These additions are great for elderly family members or children living at home. Extra bedrooms also invite visiting family members to stay over during the holidays in comfort.

Before construction begins on your home, consider these unusual possibilities to improve your plan:
For the Kitchen

  • Create a wine rack out of the kitchen island. Or add a pull-out leaf for extra seating or prep space.
  • Add a pull-out cabinet in your kitchen for extra space that can be neatly tucked away when not in use.
  • Outlets are also important to think about. You can hide them in drawers, cabinets, and even in strips running under counter overhangs. Unsightly charging wires won’t be missed.

For the Family Room

  • If you’re adding a family room to your home, consider lowering the sitting space to make a bi-level room. This creates a cozy space for family and friends while expanding the look of the room.
  • During construction, it may be advisable to install an in-wall pest control system. This is just a series of tubes inside your wall that are connected to an outdoor service port. A material is injected into the tubes from the outside that eliminates pests without affecting the safety of residents.
  • Magnetize your walls with magnetic panelling. These are strong enough to hang shelves, tvs, and more. That way, you won’t have to use a hammer and nails, which could damage the walls. Plus, you can easily move and redesign the area without the hassles of covering up nail holes.
  • Now is a good time to think about outlet locations. Family rooms are a popular place for electronics and charging stations. Outlets could be in the floor, cabinets, on the mantle, or even the end tables.

For the Bedroom

  • Whether you’re planning to build a bedroom on the second or first story of your home, you should consider access to the outdoors. For a first-story bedroom, sliding doors to a nice patio would allow anyone to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings. For a second-story addition, a balcony would add even more luxury to the room.
  • Now you can truly create a masterpiece with the bedroom ceiling. Often overlooked, ceilings are a great space to design and decorate. Having thick beams exposed definitely adds a unique atmosphere to the room.
  • Next, you can also choose to add a bathroom to this new space. A neat idea is to have a stone fireplace in the bathroom that also mirrors a fireplace in the bedroom. Plumbing and electrical considerations would definitely have to be handled ahead of time.

Overall

  • You can install sun windows in any room to the house. These filter in natural sunlight, which adds warmth to any room. If in a bedroom, sun windows can provide beautiful and easy access to stargazing.
  • Before construction begins on an addition requiring a roof, you could decide to install solar panels. The benefits of solar energy are endless. For example, you’ll be saving money on electric bills while using clean energy that benefits the environment. Plus, the value and marketing of your home will increase. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels can sell 20% faster and at a %17 higher value than homes without.

Perhaps you haven’t fully settled on a function for your addition. Here are some unique room uses that would truly add personality to your home:

  • Spa
    Turn that additional room into a spa. Since you’d have all the trimmings like a massage bench, candles, and soothing music, the masseuse can come to you!
  • Yoga
    Similar to a spa room, a yoga room can be created with floor mats, calming colors, and tranquil lighting. This room could afford the privacy necessary for deep meditation.
  • Coffee/Wine
    For that coffee/wine connoisseur, have a special room dedicated to the art of tasting and enjoying. A bar can be set up that handles the appropriate needs for keeping coffee or wine ready to taste.
  • Games
    A pretty obvious option, game or recreation rooms are great for children and their friends. If you have children, relatives with children, or grandchildren, adding one of these rooms would be beneficial to everyone. Or you could even turn this room into a putting green for miniature golf.
  • Music
    Keep all of your music memorabilia and instruments in one place. Listen or create music inside this room that should inspire creativity and fun.

There are many unique and unusual ways to improve your original home addition plan. Talking with your architect about your ideal home pays off, especially when he/she offers valuable advice and suggestions. Architects are there to listen to your ideas, even the crazy ones, while showing you possibilities that you may have not considered.

Hopefully these few ideas have inspired you to think outside the box for your home addition plan, whether that be a kitchen, family room, or bedroom. These ideas are great starting points for building a unique plan for your special home.