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Building Your Dream Home: Tips for Designing Your Custom Home

Thinking about building your dream home? Designing your perfect house is the first step, so check out these tips for a great design.

You don’t need clever software and design technology. A pad and pencil are a good place to start. Sketch ideas you have about your dream home.
You don’t have to be good at drawing. Sketches for the basis for discussions with friends and family and also with architects and builders. They are a starting point for other ideas.

Make some assumptions about how long you expect to live in this house. As you do this, consider what life changes might happen to you. Plan to take account of these in your design.
If this is a retirement home you may be in great health now. Try to anticipate the implications of mobility problems in later life.
If you plan to have children or grandchildren, is the design child-friendly? Is the pool safe? Do you have enough rooms for the little guests you may have in the future?

Getting your ideas across to others is sometimes difficult. Making sure they are coherent is also a challenge. Using a storyboard can help with this.  Cut out inspirational pictures from design or lifestyle magazines. Print out ideas from websites and blogs. Take photographs whenever you see a design feature, building or room that excites you.
Assemble these images and ideas in a scrapbook. Make notes and add sketches next to the images. Use it to stimulate discussions and creative thinking.

If your vision is of your dream house you may have clear ideas about the interior and even the exterior. It’s really important to consider the context that the house will sit in. For this, you need to know where it will be.
Imagine or sketch the house in the landscape. Workout how it will be orientated. Understand the lay of the land.
Slopes can make a huge difference to a house. Will you need to excavate? Will some of the house be underground?

Where will the sun come up and go down? Where will shadows fall? Where is the best place for a garden or BBQ area?

Make a wish list and prioritize it. If it’s essential that you have five bedrooms rank it in a priority list higher than the non-essential space. Prioritizing will be important when you start turning your dreams into a budget.


Better to decide your plans before the first spade full of earth is dug. Changes are usually much more expensive after you’ve started work on building your dream home. Take your time and get it right on paper first.


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8 Responses to “Building Your Dream Home: Tips for Designing Your Custom Home”

  • I like your suggestion to sketch the house into the landscape to make sure our dream home will actually work on the land. My sister and her husband are planning on having their current house demolished this summer so they can build a new custom home on the plot of land. I’ll share this info so they can use your advice to ensure the process of building their new home goes smoothly!

  • I think it’s good that you should keep major life changes in mind when designing your house since you may need to ensure that the design is safe for children. My wife and I would like to use the money I inherited from my late father to build a house, but we need to make sure that a door is installed near the basement’s entrance so that our future children will be able to safely crawl around. We’ll keep our needs in mind as we look for an expert that can help with the design.

  • It’s great that you talked about how it’s important to make a list of priorities when designing a house. Recently, my wife and I decided we want to build our dream house from scratch. We have a few ideas, and we want to organize them before meeting a home designer, so we’ll be sure to follow your advice. Thanks for the tips about how to design your custom house.

  • It really helped when you said that it’s important to understand the lay of the land when planning to build your dream home. I’m going to build my new home near the beach, but the land has a lot of trees and plants, so I’m having a hard time visualizing the structure and design that I want. I think I should get an earthmoving expert who can remove the trees and plants, so my property will be ready for construction by July.

  • Thanks for the tips on building a home. My wife and I hope to build a home next year. We will consider these tips and hire a contractor when we start construction.

  • I like your custom home tips. I need a new place to live. I’ll have to hire a contractor to build me something.

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