Answer These Key Questions When Planning a Custom Home

Posted on: 6 November 2020

Choosing to build a custom home rather than buying from the available inventory is a big decision. It's also very exciting as you can choose the features you want most. To make sure you get a home design that really works for your lifestyle, you will first need to answer some basic questions. 

Where Do You Spend Most of Your Time? 

Consider your current living accommodations. Which room do you find yourself in most often? For many Australians, it's the lounge room. Others may consider the kitchen or even their master bedroom their primary living space. 

Your current housing situation may not accurately reflect how you would like to use your space. For example, if you are currently letting a small flat, you may not have the space your ideal kitchen would provide. Giving serious thought to which room in your future home you will spend the most time in will help guide the design process. 

How Important Is an Open Concept Design?

Open floor plans have been popular for some time now, but they aren't right for everyone. The reality of living in an open living, dining, and kitchen space day in, day out may not work with your lifestyle. A wide-open space may be initially aesthetically pleasing, but some homeowners find they aren't always comfortable. 

Consider the acoustics of an immense space. Without resorting to draperies on the window and carpeting on the floors to help dampen the sound, an open floor plan can be quite noisy. If a family has young children, who tend to be loud and boisterous, it can be hard to enjoy the space. If music or a movie is playing in the main living area, there will be no escaping the noise in an adjoining kitchen and dining space. 

Another potential issue to consider with an open floor plan is it can be more expensive to heat and cool the space, especially if the design also incorporates high ceilings. Unlike traditional individual rooms, these wide-open spaces cannot be closed off to contain heated or cooled air. It can also be difficult to create a sense of cosiness in an open concept design. Depending on the other architectural features of a home, such as large windows, the space can end up feeling as though you are living on display, both to the rest of the members of the home and the outside world.  Clearly defined individual living spaces can feel more comfortable, homey and impart a sense of privacy and security. 

One more consideration is how you foresee using your primary living, cooking, and dining space and the value you put on a clean and orderly environment. For example, if doing the dishes regularly is at the bottom of your list of priorities, you may prefer a separate kitchen that better contains the mess and isn't immediately visible to anyone who comes through the front door. 

Which Architectural Style Do You Like Best? 

How do you envision your custom home's exterior? Do you want a home that resembles a Mid-Century Modern home, with lots of windows and spaces that bring the outdoors in, or are you more drawn to a quaint California-style bungalow? Perhaps you prefer a contemporary home style. Do you want a single story or a multiple story home? 

It's important to understand that a home's exterior also largely dictates the interior living space and how the floor plan is laid out. If you have decided you prefer an open concept living space, a bungalow may not be the right architectural style for you. Meeting with an architect and custom home builder early in the process will help you refine and reconcile your wants and needs.