I love working on new construction homes. It is incredibly gratifying to be involved in the design of a client’s dream home from the very beginning and see it through to completion.
My favorite part is the space planning because that is when we figure out how the house is going to live. From there, I really enjoy the cabinetry design, selecting finishes, and choosing lighting fixtures, which are the jewelry of the home.
Hard Work Pays Off
In the end, all of the hard work and decision making comes together beautifully, but there are always bumps in the road along the way
I’ve consulted on several new homes in the U.S. and spoken with custom home builders over the past few years and have noticed similar issues crop up in almost every project. If you’re thinking about building a new house in the next year or so, this post is for you!
Take Your Time
I can’t emphasize this point enough. Take your time!!! Take a year, even two. Do not rush the process. I promise you will regret it in the end. There are so many details and decisions – large and small – that are involved in building a house.
You need time to mull them over. Do not break ground unless you are 100% committed to 90% of the design decisions.
You do not want to be in the middle of framing and mulling over the size of the rooms or debating the placement of doors and windows. This type of indecision will cost you time and money.
Do Not Finalize Your Floor Plan without a Furniture Plan
A few years ago, I was helping a woman select furniture and finishes for her new home that was already well into construction.
She told me all about how she wanted to have her two grown children and their spouses all in the living room together for family gatherings on a regular basis.
She also anticipated the family would grow with the addition of grandchildren and pictured everyone being together in her home. When I drew the furniture plan for her living room (she had built a smaller better house, by the way), we discovered that it was too small by about three feet.
Lack of Seating
It could barely fit enough seating for six people let alone eight or more. If I added more furniture, it would have crowded the kitchen island. There was no way around it.
If she had hired us before the plans were finalized, we could have recommended increasing the width of the living room to accommodate more furniture.
Or, we could have designed the kitchen differently. But, at this late stage, there was nothing we could do. She was very disappointed.
Hire a Designer
This point might sound self-serving, but it is completely in your best interest to hire an independent designer who works for you and not for the builder. I plan to write a whole other post on how an interior designer can benefit you during the construction process.
First and foremost, your designer is your advocate. He or she will approach the project with the end goal in mind and keep everyone on track to the vision, even when it isn’t the popular thing to do.
You are building a house, not ending world hunger. Time, money, and a little creativity can solve just about any problem.
Builders and designers are people too, and if you treat them with respect, they will bend over backward to get you the house and living room you want.