Choosing an Architect: 5 Things to Consider

If you planned on cutting your hair short, you’d probably choose a stylist known for creating gorgeous pixie cuts. It’s the same idea with architects: each has their own style and specialty. And while two architects could have the same technical training, the end results could be completely different. That’s why choosing an architect is such an important part of the home design process. By choosing a designer that has the same style, taste, and philosophies as you, you’ll be on the same page. Take these factors into consideration when choosing an architect and you’ll be able to pinpoint the one that’s right for your project.

Websites are the best place to start. Image: Adelaine Construction

Research online

First thing’s first: narrowing the field. On the bright side, architecture is usually a smaller field than other contractors. Still, you might feel overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. Start by checking
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Underutilized Spaces: Getting the Most Out of Your Home

Let’s face it: some of the areas of your home can feel like an afterthought. After all, it’s not like you’ll be showing your linen closets off to your guests. But just because a space isn’t Pinterest-worthy doesn’t mean it should be any less functional. In fact, some of the underutilized spaces in your home can actually become the most useful. By thinking outside of the box, you can turn what seems like wasted space and dusty corners into your favorite places in your home. Here are some ideas to help you look at every nook and cranny a little differently.

Use stair space as a play area. Image: Elena Del Bucchia Design

The Space Under the Stairs 

The space under the stairs is typically ignored or drywalled. But, with the right repurposing, it’s valuable square footage. Before you opt to drywall that empty area, consider making it into a
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Aging Gracefully: Timeless Design for a Classic Home

Trends may come and go, but taste is forever. When designing your own home, it’s tempting to take an “everything but the kitchen sink” attitude. There are so many exciting features and fun trends to inspire your build! But before getting whisked away on the trend train, you need to remember that today’s trend is tomorrow’s dated. It’s better to take a classic approach to designing and building your own home. That way, you can incorporate trends without letting them take over. Aging gracefully isn’t just for skin care and fashion; the same ideas can be applied to home design. Take these factors into consideration to create a timeless design for your home.
timeless design arched windows

Co-opt classic timeless design elements like arched windows. Image: Phoebe Howard

Blast from the past

There’s a reason some architectural styles have been popular for centuries. By incorporating some of these classical design styles, you’ll be sure
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8 New Construction Money Mistakes That Could Cost You

Building your own home is an exercise in careful budgeting. Each and every dollar needs to be accounted for, or your build could get away from you. Still, even if you’re careful with your budget, you might be making mistakes that cost you in the end. Maxing out your money might be less about choosing cheaper tile and more about managing your build with the future in mind. Don’t make these mistakes or you could be paying for years to come.

Consider resale value even if you don’t plan on selling your home. Image: Livingstone Design + Build

Ignore Resale Value

Most families build custom homes because they want a specific end product. Unless you’re building a home as an investment to sell, chances are you plan on spending years in your new place. But just because you don’t plan on selling doesn’t mean you won’t. Changes in lifestyle, careers,
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How to Visit Your New Home Construction Site

After months of prep, your new construction home is finally starting to take shape. You’re excited, and you understandably want to track your home’s progress from top to bottom. Visiting your construction site is a great way to stay connected to your home throughout the process, but popping in unannounced could do more harm than good. If you plan to visit your new home during construction, remember that it’s about respect. Workers, superintendents and contractors are working hard on your home, and your visit shouldn’t derail their progress. Here are some things to keep in mind as you visit your new home construction site.
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Talk to your builder about the potential to visit your new home. Image: Erotas Custom Builders

Talk to your builder

If you plan to visit your new home construction site, ask your builder about safety rules. Your builder likely has policies in place to protect homeowners
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10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Building a House

What started as a lazy Saturday afternoon looking at model homes soon turned into a full-scale homebuilding project. That’s how my husband and I went from a pair of looky-loos to building our own home over the course of a year. Now, it’s a funny anecdote we bring up when talking with friends and family. During the process, though – that was another story. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. When we started our build, we were naive and had all the energy in the world, but it didn’t save us from some of the pitfalls of building a home. Would I change the experience? Of course not. Would I change the number of linen closets in my home? Absolutely. After a decade of living in our custom-built home, there are definitely a few things I wish I’d known back when we were building. Here are 10 things you can learn
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Why Square Footage Matters (and Deciding on the Perfect Fit)

Square footage is about more than just size. It’s about the actual livability of your home. Whether you’re designing your own place or shopping for an existing home, square footage is one of the first considerations. It shouldn’t be just an arbitrary number you think will work, but a calculation based on how your family lives, works and plays. By taking your lifestyle, budget and costs into consideration, you’ll be able to find a size that isn’t too big or too small – but just right.
square footage

Consider the rooms where your family spends the most time. Photo: Izumi Tanaka

Family ties

The size of your family definitely dictates the size of your home. That being said, some families can do with a little less. A great rule of thumb is that for every bedroom in your home, you have the room for at least two people to sit in any
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7 Ways to Stick to Your New Build Budget

Making the decision to build instead of buying a home is the easy part. After that, the real work starts. Working with your builder to choose plans, finishes and overall budget can test your limits, but it’ll ultimately get you exactly what you want. Of course, what makes sense on paper doesn’t always work when it’s time to break ground. Unplanned setbacks, sudden changes and fluctuations in the building market can derail even the best-laid new build budget. If sticking to your new build budget is a concern, start planning before you ever spend a dime. A little creative budgeting and a lot of foresight ensures that you’re able to build your home without ending up in the poorhouse. Here’s how.
new build budget inventory

Take stock of your major items to start. Image: Wyrick Residential Design

1. Start by categorizing

One of the easiest ways to blow a budget is by simply failing
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7 Design Mistakes You’re Probably Making With Your House Plans

Designing your own custom home means getting ultimate control over your abode. Whether your wish list is a mile long or you’re looking to downsize, the design process should yield exactly what you want. Of course, if this is your first time designing a custom home, your enthusiasm can override experience and result in major mistakes. Since years of enjoyment and your investment is on the line, it’s important that you don’t get swept away in the excitement of designing your own place. Be on the lookout for these common design mistakes that almost everyone makes their first time around.

Skipping Storage

Storage might be more important than you think. Image: Bloedorn Lumber

Hey, it’s understandable that you’d be more excited about your dream master bath than you are a linen closet. But don’t underestimate the power of closets in your home design. Not only will they increase your home’s
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How to Get the Best Price When Buying a New Build

Buying an existing home is all about the art of the deal. A new home, on the other hand, is set in stone, right? Not exactly. While the materials might have a set cost when a builder is estimating your home, you can still negotiate a better price when buying a new build. Even if your drywall and lumber costs are fixed, you might be able to snag upgrades on the cheap. Before you sign a contract with your builder, make sure you’re getting the best price when buying a new build by using these steps first. That way, you can sign knowing that you got the best deal possible.
buying a new build location

A different lot could help you afford more house. Image: David Morello Garden Enterprises

1. Walk the lots

Your builder has created your dream development, but each and every lot is different. Your builder knows that some lots –
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7 Ridiculously Easy New Build DIYs

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.  There’s a reason you had a contractor build your home; you didn’t want to get your hands dirty. But the problem with new builds – especially those built by a developer – is that they can sometimes lack character. Fortunately, if you think of your new build as a blank slate, there’s a lot you can do to add personality. The good news? Your new home doesn’t need a drastic renovation. A few super simple weekend new build DIYs can go a long way in making your house a home. Grab your paintbrush and a hammer and you’re just a few hours away from your dream house.
new build diys mirror

A framed mirror adds warmth to your bathroom. Image: MirrorMate

Frame up your mirrors

Builders want
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6 Things Your Architect Wishes You Knew

My husband and I recently took a trip to Europe. As we walked through the streets of London and Paris, I filled my phone up with pictures of pastries and store windows. My husband, on the other hand, was busy taking shots of building facades and window casings. I should have known; my husband is an architect and has been living and breathing buildings for over 15 years. Justin now owns a design firm – Curtis Design Group – where he and his intrepid batch of employees create floor plans and facades for clients throughout the Western United States. So much for vacation, right? CDG designs about 250 homes each year, which means working with many different types of clients. Most are great; some are challenging. It’s not uncommon for me to hear about a couple that doesn’t have a good handle on their budget or a family that can’t
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How to Choose a Floor Plan: 8 Questions to Ask Before You Pick

Just searching for a floor plan online will yield thousands of results. And here’s the thing: There’s probably more than just one plan that would work for you and your family. So how can you narrow down the results and find the right one? Instead of aimlessly clicking through plan after plan or paging through your builder’s catalog, define what you want and use those parameters to lead you to the perfect plan. Not sure where to start? Asking yourself these questions can help you decide exactly what you want.
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Imagine your family life in each floor plan. Image: V3 Architects

What am I missing in my current home?

One of the main reasons homeowners choose to build their own homes is to design a place that’s just right. Maybe you’re experiencing growing pains and your current home simply isn’t large enough. Maybe your lifestyle has changed and you need
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11 Clever Ways to Use Your Bonus Room

Most spaces in your home already have a designated use. The kitchen is where you gather with family and your master bedroom is your nighttime respite. So when you have a room that doesn’t have a clear purpose, you might be left scratching your head. Bonus rooms are often found tucked away over garages or in attics and sometimes create challenging layouts. But a little clever planning can help you define the space and turn your bonus room into one of the best places in your home. Not sure what to do with the awkwardly placed space? Here are some ideas to get your design juices flowing.

Keep homework under control with a dedicated space. Image: Peninsula Construction

1. Homework room

If you find that your kids tend to leave papers, binders and textbooks all over the house, your bonus room could be the perfect homework space. Quiet and free
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Little Design Luxuries to Consider for Your New Home

When designing a new home, it’s all about the details. While you’ll be busy picking out things like cabinets and wall treatments, it pays to think small. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are little design luxuries that almost any homeowner can afford. You might even find that those details are some of your favorite features. Whether you’re into entertaining or you’re devoted to your dogs, some of these affordable design luxuries could make all the difference in your home.
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Ask for a hidden pantry to preserve a streamlined kitchen. Image: Tommy Hein Architects

Design luxuries for entertaining

If you plan on doing a lot of entertaining in your new home, the kitchen is probably the most important room. Here are some of the design luxuries to make your kitchen even more hospitable:

Little Design Luxuries to Consider for Your New Home

When designing a new home, it’s all about the details. While you’ll be busy picking out things like cabinets and wall treatments, it pays to think small. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are little design luxuries that almost any homeowner can afford. You might even find that those details are some of your favorite features. Whether you’re into entertaining or you’re devoted to your dogs, some of these affordable design luxuries could make all the difference in your home.
design luxuries entertaining

Ask for a hidden pantry to preserve a streamlined kitchen. Image: Tommy Hein Architects

Design luxuries for entertaining

If you plan on doing a lot of entertaining in your new home, the kitchen is probably the most important room. Here are some of the design luxuries to make your kitchen even more hospitable:

Tiny Homes: What’s the Real Deal?

When it comes to building homes, size matters. And while others might subscribe to the idea that bigger is better, tiny houses are making a huge impact on the housing market. From tiny house buying TV shows to builders specializing in tiny homes, extreme downsizing is shaking up real estate. Building a tiny home on the cheap can definitely seem like a smart swap, but what’s the process really like? Before you start dreaming small, do your research. What may seem like your ticket to financial freedom might be more expensive than you thought. In some cases, a tiny home can become a big pain. Understanding the process from start to finish can help you decide if a tiny home should be part of your future.
tiny homes - dining

Give tiny home living a try before committing. Image: Matthew Heritage

Thinking tiny

Before you dive headfirst into all things tiny, do some due
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Fast Money: 7 Things to Consider Before Flipping New Construction

Whether you’re addicted to house flipping shows on TV or you’ve flipped a home for profit in the past, you know it can be tricky. Flipping existing homes can come with unexpected twists, turns and structural issues. Renovations eat into your profit and can turn a sure thing into a total dud. One way to bypass the unexpected is flipping new construction. It seems like a win-win: you put up the capital for a new home and you get to sell without the potential problems. But before you buy a new build for flipping, you’d better consider how it works and where you’ll make the most.
flipping market

Market conditions will dictate your profit. Image: Trickle Creek Homes

Consider the market

The biggest factor in whether or not a new build will flip well is the current market. New homes rarely do as well in sluggish markets because of bargain-hunting buyers. They’re
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Building Your Home: How to Manage Expectations (and Stay Sane)

You’ve chosen your builder and picked the perfect floorplan, but your work as a buyer has only just begun. Sure, choosing your plan was the fun part, but building your home requires more input than selecting paint colors. Your builder looks to you for guidance, and you’ll rely on your builder to keep the process running smoothly. Snags are bound to happen, but if you’ve set realistic expectations from the start, you’ll have a better experience. Knowing how to communicate with your builder and understanding your role as buyer is the best way to stay sane while building your home. By laying the groundwork ahead of time, you can make sure your build stays on track.
building your home expectations

The success of your build depends on your expectations. Image: Kroiss Development

Focus on the contract

Before you break ground, your builder will present you with a contract. Don’t sign on the dotted line
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Build a Better Bathroom: 6 Bathroom Upgrades Worth the Money

Kitchens are usually seen as the heart of the home, but bathrooms are the muscle. A poorly planned bathroom could affect the way you feel about your home for years to come. What’s more, it’s one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. If you’re building your own home, it’s important to get the bathroom right the first time. Your builder should have a list of standard options and upgrades, but how do you know which bathroom upgrades will add to your home’s value? Repeat after us: Bathrooms should be the most functional rooms in the home. Choosing the right bathroom upgrades means you’ll love your bathroom for years to come — no matter what. Invest in these bathroom upgrades to get the most value for your money.
bathroom upgrades master bath

A master bathroom is a major selling point. Image: Clay Construction

Master bathroom

If your chosen floorplan offers the master bathroom as an
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