Building a new home gives you the freedom to design your home to your personal tastes and lifestyle. You get to choose your neighborhood, community, home site as well as the home’s exterior and interior appearance, features and livability. This article was designed to help you start thinking about what you want and need in your new home. We are here to help, you can utilize all our online resources, but don’t hesitate to set up a preliminary concept meeting to learn more about us and talk through any questions you may have.
Also check out our downloadable floor plans and our in depth article Finding the Right Floor Plan
Type of Home
Homes are built in a range of styles, from single family detached to townhomes and duplexes.
A Ranch or Rambler home is a single story, free-standing house. Ranches allow for easy and open access to all spaces with large basements open to finish.
Two-Story – Great option to build additional square footage with all the bedrooms typically located on the second floor. The main floor can offer open space for kitchen, great room, den and possible formal dining. Basements can provide further space for guests with their own bedroom and bath along with entertainment areas.
Story and a Half – Allows for vaulted ceilings and open foyers that two-stories sometime don’t offer. Master Suites are typically located on the main level with bedrooms on the upper level. Lower level can be set up for guests and entertaining.
Home Size and Lifestyle Needs
Whether you’re expanding your family or downsizing, space is important. Determine what your family’s needs are.
Each room in your home should reflect the way you live. We compiled a list of common floor plan features for you to consider as you look at different options. Keep in mind some rooms and spaces may seem like traditional must haves, like a formal dining room, but many families are opting out to open space for an eat in kitchen.
Porch – The front porch may be covered or not covered and range in size from a small stoop to a wide wraparound covered deck
Entry/Foyer – Entryway may be a hallway or even a small room just inside the front door
Living Room – Although not as common with updated great room and family room designs it can be a separate room for sitting.
Dining Room – Much like the living room, it may be its own room or an area within a larger space. Some floor plans offer eat in kitchens or breakfast nooks.
Nook/Breakfast Nook – Area of the kitchen intended to contain a breakfast or dinner table. Used often in lieu of dining room.
Great Room/Family Room – Typically the focal point of the home and main gathering location. Usually used to entertain guests and often used as an alternative to a formal living room. You can usually find a fireplace and unique features like vaulted ceilings, bookcases etc..
Kitchen – Includes all the things that keep our homeowners running. Kitchens come in many different layouts and offer many great features like:
Sit at Island
Study/Den/Library/Home Office – These rooms may double as an additional bedroom but are typically used for a home office. They may include things like built in bookcases, large windows, hard surface floors etc..
Game Room/Media Room/Rec Room – Additional areas for entertaining guests
Sun Room – Oftentimes located in the rear of the home. These rooms have large windows to let in lots of sunlight.
Bedrooms and Closets
Master Suite (Bedroom and Bath)
Laundry – Can be located in many places depending on the size and style of home.
Mudroom – Usually located between the garage and the rest of the home. It is a hub with space to hang coats, store shoes and any other actively used gear.
Basement – Option to create an extension of your home finishing’s on another floor or reserve for storage
Outdoor entertaining areas like Patios, Decks, Balconies
Garage – Front Entry/Side Load or Rear Entry garage or examples of how your garage entry may be orientated. Options regarding size and use are also considered.
Exterior Style of Home
You will get to choose how the exterior of your home will look as well as the interior. Exterior options are called elevations. Elevation differences may affect porch styles, window types, shutters, columns, siding, brick or stonework, garage doors and many other architectural details that make your home unique.
Modifications can be made
Keep in mind that even though a plan is close to perfect for your family you can talk to your builder about what modification can be made to fit your family’s needs better. Always ask, you might be surprised!
Base your decision on the layout not the finishes
Always keep in mind that pinning down the layout of your family’s new home is priority one! Your personal style will come later in the finishes you chose for your home. The same floor plan can look contemporary, traditional, mid-century, modern, transitional…the possibilities are endless. Plus you’ll have a lot more fun focusing on the styling details when you’re comfortable with the right floor-plan chosen.
Lot size, location, utilities, easements and grading could determine the size of home you can build. It is important to speak your builder about these constraints.
Walkout lots have enough slope to make a home’s lower level feel similar to the other levels in the home. Walkout basements offer full windows that brighten up the lower level and full access to the backyard.
Daylight lots, also called lookout lots, provide a balance between walkout and standard lots. Homes that feature a daylight basement have full windows in the basement, but no basement access to the backyard.
Standard lots are generally flat. Homes built on a standard lot include egress windows in the lower level basement, but offer you direct access to a patio or your yard from the main level.
Keep a line of open communication with your builder
Talk to your builder! Do not be afraid to bring up questions, concerns or ideas. More than anything we want you to be happy and comfortable with your new home. Keeping an open line of communication with your builder will ensure your family’s needs are met, you feel 100% part of the process and your builder understands your family’s needs, wants and concerns.