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Custom Home ideas

Posted by it4solution (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 10, 11 at 19:04

Ive been trying to think of some custom features and rooms to put in a new house ill be building, but cant really come up with much at this point. Do you guys have any ideas that youve seen or come up with to make this home real unique for kids and adults alike, its mostly going to be my wife and i with our 2 kids at this point, planning on adding 1 or 2 more.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Custom Home ideas

I think a lot depends on your needs and what you think of as custom features. For us, it was important to us to have a lot of window access so we added both a conservatory and a sunroom. We wanted a library so our conservatory doubles as one, with floor to ceiling book cases going up to the top of a high vaulted ceiling, and a library ladder. It was also important to us to accommodate pets, so we put in a "dog room" with built in crates and a built in commercial grooming tub as well as a separate fridge for their food and a sink and counter to prep their food on. A deck off of the master was also important to us, as well as two laundry rooms (upstairs and down) and a pantry that we could access from a door right next to the garage and a door in the kitchen.

The great thing about a custom home is getting to do this stuff that works with the specific needs of you and your family.


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RE: Custom Home ideas

I like that idea of the conservatory and library combo. Would you happen to have any pictures of that or can you explain the complete layout, do you have plants growing in there or is it just heavily windowed library


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Still under construction but here's the pics I have:
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conservtory 2

conservatory 1

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of=50,300,400

This is the back wall you can't see in these pics.
window seat


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RE: Custom Home ideas

A lot will depend on your budget. You're talking a likely multi million dollar house at 8000 square foot and conservatories,etc. Was that the budget you had in mind when you began planning?


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RE: Custom Home ideas

im thinking more of 7000 sq feet in total, i cant decide whether to do a 1 story, or basement, main level and big loft or just a 2 story. I was thinking 1.5mil tops to build


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RE: Custom Home ideas

You are going to build 1.5 mil and you don't know what you want? I see you just joined yesterday. Maybe lurk a while here?


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I just started thinking about it but thats my budget, so i found this site to get some ideas and info. Im thinking 2 story with or without a small underground basement for a nice theater rec room


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RE: Custom Home ideas

This is a great place for getting ideas. Another idea is to spend some time going through home design magazines or books. A 7,000 sq foot house is huge...big enough for 5+ bedrooms and bathrooms, playroom, a theatre room, a large kitchen, mudroom and laundry room. We are currently in our 2nd home. We met with our architect and we wanted and what we didn't like about our current home. Some of the features that were important to us: outdoor living areas like a covered deck, a covered patio, a screened-in porch,lots of windows, a LARGE garage that doesn't look large from the road,a wood-burning fireplace, a very well-insulated home that is efficient and QUIET, a walkout basement style house because of the land slope. You mentioned a possible basement....is your land on a hillside? Is a basement even possible??? Our finished house will be 3,500 square feet and it is plenty big. I know because I have swept every square foot :o)...Just start thinking about what you want in your home....living spaces and think about the future too as your kids grow up...they may enjoy a tv room or theatre room. With 4 kids, you should design a driveway for parking in mind...stuff like that. HTH


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RE: Custom Home ideas

Great ideas Capegirl05 & peytonroad.

Just a few things we can recommend, and that I've seen on lists here of people's favorite features:

- BIG GARAGE with nine foot doors. it's the cheapest square footage you'll have. Consider how the stairs are - will you be able to get a car into that bay without hitting the steps?
- consider two laundry spaces - with that much sq.footage & children, that might be handy;
- walk-in pantry - definitely;
- two sinks in the kitchen - one for clean-up near the dishwasher, separate one in the "work triangle" near fridge & range / cooktop;
- covered area outside where you can still grill when it rains;
- consider the size & ages of your children with regards to their closets. something we just saw in a model home which we thought was odd. We saw a toddler's bedroom with the closet features all at adult height. Shouldn't there at least be SOME racks low enough so little folks can learn how to manage their own clothes?
- something else we just saw in a different model - rather than simply a sprawling master suite, we saw a modestly sized master, with an "ante room" that you went through to get to both the Bathroom area off to one side, and the closet spaces off to the other side. It was rather large, but featured a sitting area (like makeup desk), coffee station, wet area with filtered water, and wine fridge. Seemed like that would be a nice morning area, if a little over the top......

Just some ideas - some we have, others we've seen. Have fun - good luck!! Visit lots of open houses!!! Talk about it - take pictures - make notes!!! Pictures are worth thousands of words when trying to convey something you've seen & like to your Builder.......


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Our most "custom" features.

- as above, an ante-hallway for the master suite. From this hallway, you can enter bathroom, closet or bedroom. Amazing for 2 reasons - if one person gets up first, they can use bathroom and get dressed with lights blaring and not wake up the other. The master closet is large enough to be the dressing area. Secondly - there are then 2 doors for sound seperation from the rest of the house. Again - great for a couple that wakes at different times.

Catdoor through the brick.

Terraced garden close to the kitchen with herbs at the top.

An alarm system that monitors whether doors are locked - really valuable with a walkout basement that happens to have 3 doors. No running down to check if they were locked when you go to bed at night.

At that size house and budget, I would definitely spend some time with an architect. First you would want to look at some plans and come up with a basic idea. Also make a list of priorities - grandness, quiet, efficient etc. You can't have them all...


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Im liking these ideas you guys are giving, im starting to believe the house will be 3000sq feet main floor, 2500 sq foot basement and 2500sq foot 2nd level. BTW does anyone have some pictures of that ante hall, i couldnt find any through search


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RE: Custom Home ideas

What's the per sq ft building cost for a custom home in your area? In mine it's over $500/per sq ft, and lots zoned for a large home start at $500K.

You can buy existing real estate for much, much less. Or, you can build a McMansion in the boonies for much less.

Have you considered pre-qualifying for a mortgage to see how much house you can afford?


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Chisue - are you sure it is still that high? That is insane. You can build quite nice here at $150/sqft. Maybe the standard for custom is just so high there because even if labor is twice what it is here that would only go to $200 a sqft.


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little door between the girl and boy twins' closet wall. they love the idea that they can scurry from one room to the other in hide and seek!

We're in the SF bay area. It can certainly get to $500/sf and up, but generally, custom homes can be done by homeowners (not spec builders) starting at just under $300/sf, home only.


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The other idea for making rooms quiet is to insulate the interior walls. My DH did this in our new home and even though he went a little overkill, that house is very quiet. That was something very important to us. DIY cost was minimal...I have never heard of the "ante room" concept. We designed a space that is between the master bedroom and the great room with all walls being insulated to buffer noise. But there won't be furniture, etc. It isn't really useable space. I agree with whoever suggested spending a lot of time with the architect.


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Where are you guys getting $500/sf. What exactly is a custom home, ive been hearing its usually about $100/sf. Its going to be built in washington and not super fancy. Probably an 8 corner house with some of those rounded cone like roof tops originating from bay windows so it kind of looks like a castle. Hardwood floors, carpet, maybe a little marble. How much do you think something like that would be a square foot.


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Whoops! Sorry! I was looking at the Cost Estimator that Bevangel posted. We are high, but not as high as I posted. I also looked at a recent sale up the street and forgot to deduct for the lot! More like $300/sq ft for house only, but...it's existing --about 12 years old.

Our homeowners insurance has us at almost $300/sq ft for replacement -- and debris removal, etc. We have a 10% deductible.

There ISN'T anything new around here now to give me any figures. There's no incentive for a builder to try to compete with existing RE.


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RE: Custom Home ideas

100 a square foot is bare bones minimum in most places - laminate counters, ceramic tile, etc. Perhaps brick on all sides, maybe not depending on the area. Can still be very nice and tastefully done, but not what I would consider high end. I would say 200 a square foot would get you many things most people would consider high end, but not everything (i.e., you would likely have an asphalt roof rather than a cedar shake or slate, clad windows but not Marvin, etc.). If you live in a more expensive area, this will go way up.

Just a word to the wise, though. I have read several of your posts and it seems you are not married and not sure if you will marry your current girlfriend. What you plan to build is very large, very expensive, and very taste specific. If your future wife doesn't like it, what will you do? It sounds like something that will be difficult to sell. Also, if you don't have children yet, your needs may be very different (ours are now with 3 kids). I would suggest a more modest, perhaps mainstream build, much smaller, if you are intent on building. A bachelor building a 7000 sq foot house just doesn't make much sense to me, and then you must furnish it! I would build a nice 4 bedroom 4 1/2 bath house with a basement that would fit most families for the extended period, be easy to resell, and would satisfy you for the next few years. If you are investment minded, you can likely find something that will work for you for a few years and renovate and actually make money on the deal down the road.

I am saying this from the perspective of someone who bought her house 11 years ago with no kids. Now we have 3. It has worked remarkably well for us but as they get bigger, the less it works. Thankfully, it is a house that will appeal to lots of situations at an attractive price point. It has also been very comfortable for us, as we have stayed here 6 years longer than we thought.

We are building a house for us which is much above the market in the small town we live in. It is not a castle - far from it - but a much more traditional style which would appeal to more people I think. The price tag is high though. There are very few potential buyers for this house. We plan to live in it for 30 years or so and then if we break even, we are good. It is not an investment for us - it is a place to raise our family and the roots we hope our children and their families will come home to. That is a hard thing to envision when you don't have kids - and something that your future wife might want to be involved in!


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Thanks for the advice athensmom, the thing is im going to be buying around 100 acres to build on, so im pretty much wanting to build a house that i can live in until i die and then pass on. Im not worrying about resell to much either. Im pretty sure ill be marrying her it just has a complicated setup. Whatever it may be, ill have a wife at some point lol and 3-4 kids. Do you have any advice on the subject of adding onto the house later if i decided to build a bit smaller for now. The hardest part for me is you cant add a basement later, so if i were to create the foundation a 3000 sq foot basement with a 2500 sq foot main and a 2000 sq foot 2nd would i be able to extend the main floor to 3000 later and the 2nd 2500.

My plan right now is 3000 basement, 3000 main and 2500 2nd. I could finish with cheaper stuff inside for now and upgrade later to save money for now. Im looking for ways to save the most money but still want a nice inside with hardwoods and and granite or marble countertops in kitchen and bath. I want to get the best foundation and framing i can get though so the house can stand forever without any problems.


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Very good advice AM3!


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I would build the size you want but maybe leave the basement unfinished until later. I would also advise putting the master bedroom on the first floor if your future situation is not certain. We do not know if we will have kids or not so we put the master on the first floor. This allows us to live on one floor and not have to heat/cool the entire second floor area to comfortable levels during the many months of the year when no one is using the space. We also plan to live in the house until we die, so the first floor bedroom allows it to be accessible for us if the stairs ever become prohibitive way in the future.


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Leaving the basement unfinished for awhile could be a good idea. A general question about property taxes for life. After i build if the house is valued around 1.5mil that would be about 15k a year for property taxes i believe. But when the market goes back up again and the reassess it yearly, evn if i dont plan selling and the value goes up to 2.5mil ill say then i would have to start paying 25k just because the market value goes up right? that sounds like alot to pay yearly


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RE: Custom Home ideas

The neighborhood where we are building is small but very in town and large lots. The people who developed it are in their late 60s/early 70s. They are still very spry and active (they do lots of the landscape maintenance (mulch, neatening up beds, etc.) in the subdivision themselves because they like to and are very active. They have an amazing lot on the shoals of the Oconee River and built a house similar to what you are describing. They finished the first floor completely with high end finishes. The house was designed so the second floor could be closed off and it is. They have a door at the bottom of the stairs which is decorative (i.e., nice and matches the other doors which are heart pine - sort of a rustic mountain house look)) but also weatherstripped so as not to be heating the second floor.

They have finished the basement (which is a walkout on the river and is an amazing view). It is a rec room, office, scrapbook area, etc. and lots of room for the grandkids to play (they have 4 kids and most are local and then most of them have 3 or 4 kids)!. The first time I went over there they told me they did that because they realized at that price point whoever bought the house might want more than one bedroom :) (theirs is on the main level and 4 others upstairs).

If you are buying acreage, I love the idea of doing a "compound" type thing. Build a smaller house for you that could be a guest house or pool house. Put a basement in it if you wish - not expensive to do, particularly if you are not particular about whether it is a walk out basement.

I look very fondly back on my first house which was 1100 square feet. Perfect for a couple and super easy to clean and maintain. I can't imagine having 7000 square feet (or wanting it) with just me. Even if your girlfriend is live in, you should be able to get along very comfortably in a very well designed 2500 square foot home, particularly if you have a basement for all the extras (play room, media room, exercise room, etc.).

This may not be your aesthetic (sounds like it isn't!) but I associate acerage with farm, and I love a white clapboard house. There is an article which I will try to link about a family compound on Spring Island where they had bunkies linked with screened porch walkways to accomodate families coming home. I think with a great architect you could come up with something special :) I do think that at your budget and with your needs a good architect or excellent designer is important. We spent a lot on our architect because we realized that the details are everything, and I think it payed off.

o.k. can't find the link but it was in Southern Accents by Historical Concepts (an Atlanta area architectural firm). You could do something similar in a vernacular which was more appropriate to Washington State (not sure what that is because I am from the south!). I would research that before building - but I am a traditionalist I think who believes there should be a vernacular relationship between what you are building and where you are building.


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The vernacular theory lol is a good idea, it rains/drizzles alot in washington so i should create some features good for that kind of stuff, like a big glass screened room or something. This planning is a hard thing to do though, i guess it takes time.

How much does an architect usually cost for a project like this.


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OP: What side of WA are you on?

I can speak for my section of SE Washington: .... a basic new home without upgrades is about $100/ sq ft including the small lot. From there, it can go up quite a bit depending on finishes. My current build cost about $173/sq ft and included (A LOT of) upgraded finishes (hardwood/tile,) an expensive kitchen/nice appliances, etc..... but that number also includes the larger lot, septic, well, utility hook up, etc (without, it was about $146/sq ft.) How much you can afford/sq ft depends on the cost of the 100 acres and what you need to do to build on that lot.... septic? well? gas? electric? etc. For that big of a property, it could be very expensive to run all those lines to your site, leaving you with less extra money to put into upgrades.

If you're on the West side of the state, I'm guessing the cost/sq ft is a bit higher than ours...... since the land will cost more.


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lkj

NM. If it rains on your side of WA, you're on the west side! :)

I am guessing you would pay an architect about $2000..... maybe more? Our project was much smaller than yours and the custom plans were about $1200.


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Im looking in the spokane area, i was thinking of installing geothermal heating and cooling and drilling or getting land with a private well, then installing a septic tank.


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lllll

Spokane. I think you should be able to get a lot for your money there (in terms of price/sq ft. It will certainly be nowhere near San Fran pricing!) New builds have slowed down a lot in Spokane...... so, in theory, people will work for less to get your business (my colleagues in Spokane are shocked to hear we have a lot of new builds in my area.) That, and the real estate market is slow/down...... Your land should be much more affordable than it would be in past years.

I don't think anyone answered your question on taxes, but you're right.... If the appraised value goes up with time, your taxes will also go up. I think mine, at just a fraction of what you'll pay, are ridiculous..... but, hey, at least you won't have a water/sewer bill :)


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Howd you know i lived near San francisco lol, I was thinking about solar panels so i wouldnt have an electric bill either but i realized if its gray alot out there then there wouldnt be enough sun to use and solar, what do you think. Wind turbine could be an alternative but idk how windy it is either.


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We did geothermal, a well and septic. So much of your cost with things like a well and septic is variable depending on the land you get. For instance, on our land, we had to have a drip septic system. That cost $35,000. Then, we had a $5500 well allowance- oops, the well had to be drilled down to 525 feet in order to get enough water flow and all of a sudden we doubled that allowance! We put in geothermal too, we had to dig 4 wells for that. The geothermal was another I think $30,000 or something close thereto for a 2 zone system, but we'll get some of that back as a tax credit and I run the A/C constantly, so it should pay for itself. We are not in an area where the cost to build is high, but it became high because of factors like this. I LOVE our lot and I would not trade it for anything in the world (except for a private strip of ocean view land with my own beach if I could ever get one, lol), but between well, septic, driveway and tree clearing, lot prep alone was over $75,000 (NOT including the purchase of the land or the geothermal system)


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I didn't know. :) Someone else mentioned San Fran above, so I used it as an example. I didn't realize you are not in Spokane already. That explains why you keep saying it is rainy/gray/drizzly there. There are plenty of clear days... Spokane has about 16 inches of rain a year only (the snow is another story. There can be at least that in snow in a bad year.) I'm not saying winter isn't cloudy, but it's definitely nothing like Seattle.

Since I live about 2 hours from Spokane, I can't help you too much on how effectively solar is used. You need to talk to some local builders to help you and guide you. My DH, who is from there, just informed me it can be gusty at times, but not always windy. We have countless wind turbines in my area, but I don't see any in Spokane.


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RE: Custom Home ideas

so it sounds like getting the lot prepped would be around 130,000. But if i live there forever with no water or sewer bills it will pay some of it overtime. Do the wells have a possibilty of ever running out of groundwater?

I looked it up and it does snow a lot in spokane but i think i like that season changes. Snow all winter, then decent days through spring and the fall with sunny days during summer.

One more concern i had was if i were to start building in a couple months and its snowing and raining during the construction, how do they build around that with anything get water damaged or messed up.


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Wells usually won't run out of water as long as you have sufficient gallons per minute. From what I understand, if you don't have a lot of GPM and if more houses or others dig wells around you, eventually you can end up not having enough water. But, I am no well expert.

We started our build in Oct. and they built through winter. Not sure exactly what they did to protect it, other than we were told that the wood materials they use are not susceptible to getting water damage like some wood is. They had our house mostly sealed in by the time it was seriously raining and snowing all the time, if I recall correctly, but there were definitely many days when we went over to the house and the floors were VERY wet.

You may be underestimating the amount of time it is going to take you to get started though. Our offer on our land was accepted in May of 2010 (we paid cash for the lot) and we were not able to get started on building until mid- Oct and we already had a builder selected and a floor plan selected and a mortgage pre-approval from a bank we were thinking of working with (who had pre-approved us when we were looking for houses to buy, before we decided to build).

You need a floor plan first, then bids to build it, then once you decide on a builder, your builder needs to create a bluebook with detailed construction specs for appraisal (this, if I recall right, took like a month), then it needs to be appraised (banks were seriously seriously slow for us!) and then you go through the whole mortgage loan approval process (slower, much slower, for jumbo loans no matter how qualified you are) and then you schedule closing, get building permits, and THEN your builder finally schedules a start date for you.


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RE: Custom Home ideas

You've already expressed your intent to build a large and expensive project, yet you have also expressed concern about saving money during the build and the ongoing maintenance costs of your project. You can't have it both ways. If you're spending a large budget on a large home, then it will also have large costs to reside in that home. Making a large home be zero sum in the utilities department is virtually impossible without spending at least double the home's construction budget. You'd have to have a million dollars or more worth of solar panels in order to be able to supply the electrical needs of a 8000 square foot home. And that's supposing minimal HVAC, which is the largest energy consumption in any home. Geothermal is a great energy saving idea to add to any home, but the initial costs are quite high and the payback period is long. It's usually 30-70K more than a traditional HVAC system.

You are obviously young, as your questions show that you have a limited understanding of real estate, construction techniques and costs, financing, and several other important issues that will impact your build and your life. At minimum, if you want to do this build in an informed and organized way, you are at least two years out from building. It's good that you are asking questions and learning,:) but you have a long way to go. Don't try to rush your education. The only way that you can afford to do that is if you have a lot of money and can hire only the best architects, builders, and designers to do the prep and supervision work for you. Personal education will help you to keep your costs down. The library and this board are your friends. Read all of the back pages here and learn as much as you can. Digest it a bit and then come back for more specific questions that weren't already answered.


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I wouldn't necessarily agree with live_wire. It is not that hard to make a large house zero-sum. A million dollars of solar panels - come on.

I live in 5400 sq feet and about $70k is panels is what I need. Now I am in a slightly sunnier location but that price is also before tax credits. With land, you can mount the panels on their own with a tilting mechanism and increase the yield significantly.

And I don't have geothermal which would cut electric use some. Build it with the goal of zero-sum from day one and you will add maybe 15% to your construction costs - not double.

Wells absolutely run dry in a lot of the country. If you only get 16 inches of rain, then you certainly may have issues with groundwater. In my locale, they still regulate you if you have a well with the idea being, they don't want you to waste the limited groundwater. We get 45 inches of rain a year.

You should of course know that tax rates fluctuate with housing values. Your bill will climb even if values never do. And when values drop, the rate usually climbs a lot. At least in my neck of the woods, the overall taxes climb slowly. So when RE was hot, the tax rate declined. Now that it isn't, the tax rate will climb faster. You may live in an area with a fixed rate but then they just mess with appraised values which don't always reflect market.


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