New Home to be Built - ideas?

Most little girls dream about their wedding, but I dreamed about building a house! My husband and I are about to break ground on our new home next month! We are so excited! Anyone out there have any tips, ideas or advice for us as we embark on our new adventure? :D
  9 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Mar 29, 2013
    This may a bit "late" because if you are breaking ground chances are your plans, layout, permits, etc have all been finalized. One thing that bothers me with many of the new homes I see, is the same old building methods that are not sustainable, energy efficient, and simply too big. Passive solar designs, "passive house" building practices, "net zero" homes etc are all well within current building technology. It is possible to build a home today that would use 10% of the energy normally used to heat and cool a home. I recently delivered some refinished furniture to a clients new couple two kids and about 6000 sq ft. The home had 2 furnaces and 2 hot water heaters. Two complete laundry set ups. To me this is just a waste of resources. I have been following the "tiny house blog" and the tiny house movement for a number of years now. My observations there helped me focus the design on our 200 sq ft cabin. Which is passive solar and completely off grid. When we visited last year for thanksgiving it was in the mid 20's outside yet inside it was 65 degree... purely power by just some sunshine.
  • I have a ton of articles on my site, but in essence - design it right from the start / pay attention what is behind them walls & not just the granite countertops. Not only will you have a more comfortable home, but one that will save you money long term You may want to look into the best practices from Challenge Home, ENERGY STAR, EPA's Indoor airPLUS, WaterSense, etc... 2 of the most popular series that apply here is the Common Sense Building: & Looking Back
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Mar 29, 2013
    @Nicole L not sure what building practices are in your neck of the woods, but here there are a lot of standards and to get what you want you need to know what to ask for. We had to put ceiling fixtures in after we moved in - would be cheaper to do that when they are building. We have put in ceiling lights with fans to reduce the number of days we use our AC. The other thing our neighbours did was to put pocket doors in where the open doors would take away from traffic flow. One other thing they did which I thought was pretty clever is in the wall going downstairs, they incorporated a shallow pantry area - close to the kitchen and extra storeage galore. Perhaps you should visit some model homes and open houses to see what would work in your area. If you have planned for a basement in your home you may want to have a rough in for a bathroom. If that is where you end up with a craft room/refinishing room you may also want a utility sink. I hope you take pics of the progress and decsions you make on this post as you progress. Thanks for posting :)
  • Vintage Headboards Vintage Headboards on Mar 29, 2013
    My advice - plan for the future. In terms of design and construction - one thing, it's easier to run cables/wiring now than later. In terms of location - look at the school district, retail shopping, church and school(s) proximity, etc. If you have kids or are planning to have them how far are the soccer, baseball and football fields away. Is this an area of new growth or not. Is that city building more in that area - that will help you to determine how quick the value of your home should increase. Talk to area Realtors - people that have been realtors for a long time - ask who are the builders to work with and who are the ones to run from. There are always exceptions to the norm - all builders have some type of hick up or mistake that they have regretted. Nobody is perfect. The length of time you plan to be there should help you to determine how much you want to put into the home in terms of upgrades. I hope this helps. This is a bit of a loaded question that I could spend days answering for you.
  • Figure at least 20% over your budget now. If you do better that is great. But on new homes that are custom or semi-custom these overages are not all that uncommon.
  • Gwen Barham Loftus Gwen Barham Loftus on Jul 28, 2015
    Outdoor sockets are a must and were overlooked on our home. (prebuilt) Also....large linen closets are very handy. I have a skylight in my kitchen that I adore and could not give up. Four years ago we had CertainTeed siding installed and it has been great in high winds and hot sunshine and has a 50 year warranty and should work well in Virginia. Good Luck!
  • Denise Denise on Aug 19, 2015
    2-3 electrical outlets on each wall. No matter which way you configure your room, you will enough for lamps, tv, etc
  • Robin Robin on Feb 07, 2016
    All doors should be 36" wide for wheel chair access (entry, bathroom, closets, pantry, laundry room, etc..) and it makes it easier to move furniture. Use pocket doors when possible. Multiple outlets on each wall in all rooms. A large laundry room and ensure you can place your extra refrigerator and a freezer; extra outlets outside with light switches inside for Christmas lights/decorations; a wine or drink cooler for adults & kids; plenty of storage; have your security (have a keypad wired on outside of garage, master bedroom and main door utilized) and Internet/cable/dish pre wired; vaulted ceilings are beautiful but it takes more energy to heat and cool; tech shield in your attic; deep kitchen sink so you can wash those large pots; lights under kitchen cabinets; make sure the shower stall is large enough to move around, the shower head is not too low and build a bench in shower. We have lever door knobs on all doors which come in handy when your hands are full, have arthritis and easier for children. Have all doors keyed the same so you only have one key. For ceiling fans have a switch for the light and one for the ceiling fans. Also, dimmer switches but that can always be added later. We also had handicap faucets installed on all of our sinks and garden tub because we liked the look. I hope this helps! Best wishes to you and your family.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 12, 2016
    Great suggestions - especially about lots of outlets inside and out. I would also get a gas line to outside for a gas barbie (if you have gas). Then no worry about getting tank refills. Pocket doors are great for bathrooms, closets as great space savers. .I like windows you can see out of rather than the standard high windows in bedrooms.
Your comment...