Custom Home Shopping Guide
Custom homes come in all shapes and sizes. There are no rule books dictating how large your custom home must be, and even fewer surrounding what you must have in a custom home. The nature of the house is stated in its name: they are custom; they must only make YOU happy. So while I share what I believe would be great additions to any custom home, at the end of the day, you should only incorporate what you truly love.
Before we even get to choosing a single paint colour, there is already plenty of work to be done! Every project starts with doing research and developing a plan and that does not change when it comes to building your dream home. With the complicated different aspects that come alongside a complex project, such as designing your custom home, it is important to stay organized with both your ideas and your finances. That is why we recommend getting a medium sized binder for each facet of your house and keeping track of your invoices with accordion file folders. Depending on how much physical paperwork you have, you can choose different size folders accordingly. But overall, they will all accomplish the job of helping you keep track of all your paperwork to ensure nothing is lost or forgotten about.
After the exciting completion of the construction of your house, you get to start the real fun: styling and making this house your home! First up, the lock on your front door. This may often be an overlooked portion of design, but it is truly one of the first impressions people will have of your house and plays an integral role in your safety. After considering whether you would like a physical key or a keypad or touch screen smart lock, you must consider what material and finish you would like your lock to have. Do you want a rustic brass finish or a sleek matte black finish? This is all up to your personal preference, but whatever you choose, it will end up being the first impression your guests will have of your house - so choose wisely.
When planning out the electric and plumbing for your house, it is important to consider what features you would like to incorporate in your final product. This is especially true for the kitchen, as there are so many different variations and additions you can add or remove depending on your preferences. First of all, with custom homes, you can have your cabinets hug your appliances perfectly and blend seamlessly to create a beautiful and clean look, or even purchase appliances that accommodate the cabinet doors for a hidden look. A custom home is all about making your dreams come true and making it exactly how you want it. However, this requires you to know the dimensions of your appliances and that’s why I recommend knowing what appliances you want before you design your kitchen. I have listed a few great options below, all from name brand companies that are known for their reliability and quality - if you are spending this much money on each detail of your kitchen, you want it to last as long as possible.
It is also important to consider how many sinks you would like in your kitchen: perhaps one for a more minimalistic and clean look or maybe two to separate food preparation and dishes from hand washing. If you choose to have a handwashing sink on your island, you might want to personalize it to your style by purchasing the sink and faucet separately, or use a bundled option to simplify your purchase. As for your main kitchen sink, there are countless options to choose from to make this space your own; between faucet styles and materials and sink sizes and finishes, the combinations are truly endless. To go the extra mile, you can even add a pot filler on top of your stove to avoid having to carry heavy pots of water across the kitchen. This little detail shows how much thought and effort went into your home and really brings your home to the next level!
As for the largest surface of your kitchen, the countertops, it is imperative that you choose the one that will work best for you. Here, there are so many factors to consider: look, feel, function, price, durability, and maintenance. We actually wrote a whole blog about how to choose the countertop that is right for you a little while back that you can check out here.
Moving onto the bathrooms, this is definitely a space for creative freedom! You can put up funky wallpaper or choose colourful tiles or go the extremely minimalistic route and keep the space super clean and simple. Depending on how you want to style the space, there is a large variety of sinks, faucets, toilets, and shower bases and fixtures. Beneath, I have provided some ideas to get started and included my all-time favourite toilet. Although it is a little pricier than most toilets, this has been one of the most stable and reliable aspects of my life over the past decade. Despite it being a low-flow toilet, it has never clogged or given me any issues and I recommend it to friends and family every chance I get!
If you’re looking to splurge a little on your bathroom, my favourite ideas to recommend considering are a smart shower and heated flooring. By installing this Moen smart shower valve, you can control the water temperature from your phone and never have to stand in the corner of the shower while waiting for the water to heat up ever again! This is such a game changer and seriously makes morning showers so much better. To go the extra mile, you can also look into heated flooring as well. By running a heating mat underneath the floor tiles, you can keep your beautiful tiles but also have the warmth and comfort of a comfy heated blanket. Just make sure you get a professional to install this, as the electrical can be complicated and if done incorrectly, can lead to disastrous consequences.
When it comes to styling your bathroom, there are a lot of small things you can move around to match the season, but the mirrors are more difficult to move around, so it’s important you get it right the first time. Their shape, size, and frame material can make all the difference in creating the perfect feel for your bathroom. There are plenty of options, but what really caught my eye was this simple yet elegant oval frame as well as this art-deco-like irregular mirror. They are both stunning and will certainly pull your bathroom together to give a polished and collected look. In addition to making your bathroom look beautiful, it is also important to remember to implement accessibility features to ensure everyone can safely access and use the space. We actually dedicated two blogs to talking about integrating little things into your home to help people age in place (check them out here and here). The easiest way to increase the accessibility of your bathroom is by adding grab bars to areas that need the most support. This includes inside the shower space, getting in and out of the shower, getting on and off the toilet and wherever else you may see fit.
While your bedroom should be your safe haven from the rest of the world, it is a lot less relaxing when there is clutter everywhere and you cannot seem to clear your head. That is why it is so important that you find a storage and organization system that works for you. The key is to have a place for everything, so that nothing ends up just laying around because it has no place to go. One way to accomplish this is by either building customized shelves, that are based on your clothes and gadgets, into your closets during the construction of your house. A cheaper solution is buying closet and drawer organizers afterwards to insert into your space. Both options will work almost identically, so this is completely up to your own preference.
I don’t know about you, but I hate having to pick and choose which devices I can charge overnight because of a lack of charging ports. That is why I invested in some of these amazing outlets with built-in USB ports. Everything seems to be USB compatible now, so might as well save some space with these outlet alterations. This minor change will have a big impact on making sure you’re all charged up and ready for the day in the morning.
To add onto the electrical theme we have going, something more surface level to consider is lighting. Although you can change your light fixtures anytime in the future, if you already have the contractors and construction workers on site, you might as well get them to put up your lighting as well. This will save you time and headaches and will barely cost anything extra. So I would recommend you start looking around for light fixtures you would like early on in the construction. There are tons of options out there and you can really choose a different look for each room if you want, because this is a "custom" home. This means you can literally do whatever you want and no one can stop you. I listed a few below that are great options for just about every space in the house but don’t be afraid to mix it up!
However, certain things can be added after move-in to really make the house your own and further customize it to make it meet your needs perfectly. For example, instead of having to turn on a big bright light to go to the bathroom at night, you can add motion sensor rechargeable lights underneath your cabinets. This way, when it senses you entering the room, they can provide a dim light and will turn off as soon as you finish your business there and go back to sleep. This is also a great option to add to your stairs to help prevent any falls in the dark.
Another optional luxury addition to consider is installing in-ceiling speakers throughout your entire house to enjoy a steady noise level of music no matter where you are. You can buy them in pairs and if you’re worried about them not matching any particular paint colour, you’ll be happy to learn that you can actually paint the speaker grille. So long as you do not clog the perforated holes, you can paint these speakers to match any crazy colour you might be painting your rooms.
Although there are a lot of areas where we recommend investing in new products or technologies to improve your life, we also do like to think about the environment where we can and provide suggestions on how to reduce our environmental footprint. In fact, you can read a lot more in depth into this topic in this blog, and read about specific products that will help you live at a lower financial and environmental cost in this blog post. In the meantime, the easiest ways to reduce your utilities consumption is by investing in low-flow faucets, showerheads, toilets, switching out all your light bulbs for LED light bulbs, and installing motion sensors in the most high-traffic rooms. We tend to leave the lights on in the rooms where we go in and out even when we’re not in the room, so having a motion sensor on those light switches would be ideal. These small steps will really help you reduce your environmental impact but still live comfortably.
Finally, our last word of advice is to remember to change your furnace filters monthly to clean your air and make sure you can breathe comfortably. In the earlier months after construction, we actually recommend changing your filters more often, so that the extra drywall dust can be removed most effectively and not put unnecessary pressure on your furnace with excess pollution from the filters.
I know this was a long read, but I hope you learned a thing or two or was inspired to make your custom home your dream forever home! This is just the beginning of designing your own house, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my team - our doors are always open for even a consultation if you aren’t quite ready to build just yet.
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