There are many options to choose from when designing a custom home, we have chosen our top 10 must haves and explain why they made our list. When you start designing and pricing a custom home, Inclusions are a big deal. They can dramatically sway the price of the home and have an everlasting impact on the overall feel of the house. There are certain things that you want to do during construction, there are certain things that you can do later, but we wanted to curate a list of things that we would include in every home, regardless of budget. Our list blends things that impact efficiency, aesthetics, functionality, and design. If there are ten things that we would include in every house, these are them!
1. Large Windows
Nothing can replace natural light. Whether it’s enjoying the morning sunrise, the evening sunset, or just basking in the beauty of the outdoors while your inside, large windows are a must for us. Natural light helps with your general mood, but they can also make your space feel bigger than it really is. For these reasons, large windows are on the top of our list!
Fireplaces (gas, electric or wood), bring a whole different feel to a space. Beyond the obvious benefit of the calming warmth of a flame, fireplaces also give the opportunity to design a unique, custom element in your home. These are often central gathering spaces which give personality to your home. Whether you are drawn to rustic designs, minimalist concepts, modern elements or farmhouse feels, there is always a way to spice up a fireplace that speaks directly to you!
3. Ceiling Change
We will always encourage people to do some sort of ceiling height change throughout their home. Whether in a bungalow or a two storey, this could be a stepped ceiling in a living room, a vaulted or tray ceiling in a bedroom, or an entry that is open to above. These are things that you will NEVER change. It is only something you will “wish you did”. The impact of these height differences makes a space feel larger, gives a home more intrigue, and helps to make it different from the rest.
4. Custom Shelving
It is amazing how custom shelving throughout a home can increase the storage in a space. By thoughtfully designing shelving to maximize the closet space you have, you will be surprised how much you can organize within a closet. Whether you are designing a closet specifically around the clothes you own or a pantry around the food you buy, maximizing your storage space goes a long way!
5. Custom Lighting Package
The difference between a home with a “builder grade” lighting package and a home with a custom lighting package can be severe. Light fixtures go a long way to making your home have its own personality. There are tens of thousands of lighting options to choose from and you get to pick the ones that you are really drawn to. On top of that, we always specify areas where dimmers can be beneficial to help with inside ambiance in the low light times of day and add comfort throughout the year. We can’t say enough about the impact a well-designed lighting package can have on a custom home!
6. Spray Foam Rim Joists
Spray foamed rim joists aren’t as sexy as some of these other items, but they need to make the list. From an efficiency and air quality standpoint, it’s difficult for batt and poly to match the performance of spray foam in these tight areas. In a lot of cases, a home’s rim is the most susceptible area for air leakage which sacrifices efficiency and makes way for potential mould and bug problems, so in our opinion, the added dollars are well worth the upgrade.
7. Custom Cabinet Options
Custom cabinetry is basically an automatic in custom homes, but there are a few specific things that we would like to point out:
Cabinet Drawers: the efficiency of a cabinet drawer vs. an open cabinet with doors is astounding. With drawers having the ability to pull all the way out, you tend to utilize more of the space without “losing” things in the back of the cabinet. From a pure functionality standpoint, these are automatics and something we drive clients towards as much as we can.
Peg Board: if you don’t have an upper cabinet beside your dishwasher, peg boards add organization to the drawer you store your plates and bowls in. It turns an otherwise messy drawer into a clean, organized space.
Cookie Tray Divider: we all have that spot where our cookie sheets get jammed into and clank together as we take them in and out. Like the peg board, cookie tray dividers add organization to an otherwise unorganized cabinet in your kitchen!
Spice Pullout: if you are an avid cooker, you know how many spices you need to keep in your kitchen. That means having an organized spice rack on your counter or having a cabinet where they all get shoved in. A spice rack fixes both by specifically designing a space to hide them all away in a neat and tidy fashion!
Pot Filler: Even though this isn’t a cabinet option, I snuck it in here because I was going to run over by ten point list LOL. A pot filler helps with the function of your kitchen, but also gives another design element to make your kitchen stand out from the rest. This is another one of those things that you won’t regret, but also likely won’t do after the fact.
8. Fibreglass Exterior Doors
We have not installed steel exterior doors for a few years now. Although steel doors can be a cost saver, they simply don’t stand up to the wear and tear of everyday living. They dent and scratch easier than you would like and seem to be more prone to paint chips than fibreglass. On the other hand, fibreglass doors have more design choices, come in smooth or wood grained and can be painted or stained to accomplish whichever design style you are after. They are extremely maintenance free and are simply more durable than a steel door. For us, this is an automatic choice.
9. Hot Water Recirculation Pump
This is something that we include in almost every house we build. It is a pump that attaches to your water heater to monitor the temperature of the water in your lines. Once it drops below a certain temperature, the pump will automatically pump hot water throughout the house which means that when you’re ready for hot water, you won’t have to leave the shower running for 2 minutes waiting for it to get warm!
10. Drying Racks
This is something else that almost every house we built gets. It seems that today, everyone hangs half of their clothes to dry. Well where do those clothes hang? One of our must haves is on a drying rack in your laundry room – hung from the wall. There are different styles and designs, but regardless of what works in your space, for pure function reasons some sort of permanent drying rack makes it onto our must have list!
Building a custom home is an amazing experience! You get to design a home that is truly unique and functions specifically for your family. If there is a list of “must have’s”, this is ours! If you are interested in discussing your custom home in Saskatoon and the surrounding area, we would love to be part of that process. Contact us and we will reach out to start the conversation around we can help bring your dreams to life!