From Dream to Dream House: Building Your Own Home

If you’re like most people, you’ve lived in more than a few different places. One home after the other will afford both wonderful memories and a lesson on what would look and feel better. That split-level ranch might have been charming but boy, it could have used a basement! Or maybe there was that awesome kitchen in that one house that didn’t have a proper dining room to pair with it. You might look back at the splendor of the master bedroom and wonder why nobody ever decided to build a walk-in closet to service it.

We all dream of having that perfect house, the one with every feature feeding every need. And those past homes you’ve spent years in are just as informative in their disappointments as they are in their appealing successes. And now, here you are, faced with the opportunity to build your own dream home from the ground up! It’s an exciting time, one where you can finally plug in every little detail that will make you happy every day you step into your castle.

Yet there are so many choices ahead! From logistical decisions to budgets and just plain, old questions of style, you are now suddenly looking at important strategy options in just about every aspect of your home building project. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. The secret is to familiarize yourself with the process and then compartmentalize each component into a separate, totally doable task. Managing your project is all about having a little knowledge, a little organization and a little prep. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Perfect Partners

Rule number one when you’re building your own home: Don’t go it alone! Some may be tempted to call all the shots, to proclaim a singular vision and simply expect orders to be followed. While no one is here to dissuade you from chasing that dream home in your mind, partnering up with reputable professionals is among the very first things you should be doing. Present your vision to them and heed their advice for they may both help your dream come true as well as help you dodge a lot of mistakes.

Team up with an architect who understands your vision and can draft it for you. Be open to their advice when they suggest modifications to your idea as they can often improve your design and avoid plans that won’t really serve you. From there, seek out contractors with great track records who are fully licensed and bonded. Whether they are pouring concrete or installing plumbing, these are the folks manifesting your dream home. They need to be the best! Take your time finding your partners. Seek out recommendations from neighbors and friends and even your real estate team. Meticulously review portfolios, absorb testimonials and thoroughly interview candidates. Front load this process so that everything that follows will flow in the right direction.

Lay of the Land

Whatever you want to build, always remember: You’re building on top of an already-existing environment. The very land that you are choosing to set your dream abode upon must play an important role in informing you of how to execute your project. For example, if you’re building in the mountains, you’ll have to think about a very different design than if you’re building on the flats. Topographical realities should guide you to make choices that will complement and not conflict with your natural surroundings.

But there’s also the realities of the type of lot you are building upon. Corner lots will need to plan for augmenting privacy in the home’s design. By contrast, a cul-de-sac lot may need to think more about what the entrance looks like. Then there are other matters such as what local foliage dominates the area or what kind of views you command. Approaching these realities will affect everything from choosing windows to deciding where to place the master bedroom. Pay attention to where you are building and the perfect home will more easily settle in.

Architectural Accents

When building in North America, a number of architectural styles are at the forefront of the design ethos. Many of these traditions go back hundreds of years while others have a more decidedly modern bent. Colonial and neocolonial designs offer a sense of grandeur and pomp that immediately impresses guests and family alike. Artsy styles like Queen Anne and Italianate exude an air of classical aesthetics that speak to the creative spirit of the home’s inhabitants. For those with a more postmodern taste, a midcentury-modern architectural approach can combine elegant sleekness with practical accents like sweeping window views.

Other architectural traditions in North America find their inspiration in the local surroundings. For example, the Mediterranean style is popular in warmer, beachy climes such as Florida and California. Desert dwellers in places like Arizona or New Mexico can lean into the pueblo revival style to complement their environmental conditions while employing a time-honored aesthetic. Or for folks living in long stretches of flat terrain like much of the Midwest, prairie-style homes such as those envisioned by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright can pop on a landscape like a sole artwork in an exhibition hall. However you choose to design the house, keep in mind everything from where you are to who you are when you step into those plans.

Looking Within

But design does not end with the exterior aesthetics! How you form the interior of your home is just as important. From modern updates to practicalities, your home should be designed for comfort and a pleasing ambiance. Higher ceilings allow for space, air and decorative sprawl. Smart home systems can do everything from control temperature to enhance security. Custom cabinet work and spacious walk-in closets afford style and roominess. Heated floors and even heated driveways can keep bare feet cozy in winter and car paths clear free of a snow shoveling session. The possibilities are endless; the trick is to manifest your dream home into reality!

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