Building Your Own ‘Dream Home’ (Part 1)

Considering the very best home layout and design specifications for your new ‘Dream Home’

by Clayton Wade

Many may not realize that the Eastern Seaboard has a number of noteworthy home designers and builders eminently capable of transforming your dream into your Dream Home. It just takes a little comparison shopping.

If you like the idea of an owner-designed home, then take the next step: design your ideal residence.  When you design your own home you can build a house that you will truly feel is yours.

As a judge for the Thailand Property Awards, I meet the very best residential home designers and developers each year, and I am proud to say that the Eastern Seaboard is home to several fine detached-house designer-contractors who compare quite favorably with the very best in Thailand.

To begin with, let’s consider Terry Collins of The Vineyards, Tom Coghlan of CSP Construction, Louis Lee of Q Construction and Mitch and Nancy Jacobs of Sedona, just to name four high-quality developers with developments that feature custom-built design involvement from their purchasing clients.

Now it must be asked: how can you best design your own home, estimate material costs, schedule construction, and finalize the construction agreement contract?

Most architects will be more than glad to work with you. A good architect can put your design and layout ideas on paper, ready to be executed by a proper construction team. The architect can work with you side-by-side as your guide to design the home using your ideas, existing custom-house plans and, of course, the architect’s own creative expertise.

You will find that making suggestions can be fulfilling, but just as important, you will be getting exactly what you and your family desire in a new home. It also can be an exciting experience and special opportunity as you take those first steps.

Of course, if you are seriously considering designing your new home, you must first decide whether to use an architect or designer.

If you do not yet have an existing set of plans, you may want to select a set of design plans from one or more of the many magazines, books or CDs that are readily available. But do they meet your criteria? Are they within your budget? These and other questions must be answered before you march into the process.

If you elect to work in collaboration with an architect or designer, they will be able to work through many of these questions and considerations with you. Every new-home design will present challenges and obstacles that will vary depending on your lifestyle, the location of the land parcel, your budget, etc. With just a little time and effort, you and your architect or designer will create an initial conceptual design and layout for your new home.

If you are not a designer, you may appreciate some pointers to help you formulate your layout in advance of meeting with a professional. Let me present several considerations to help you visualize and develop a plan to meet your family’s needs and interests.


Home Design Step One:
You may want to start by looking through a few home design magazines and books or by taking a walk through a few designer home neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to start from scratch and don’t be afraid to just sit down with a pen and paper and start sketching some layouts.

It is all about being creative, so go ahead and brainstorm a bit. Remember, the more accommodating the design is to your family’s needs and interests, the more joy and pleasure you and your family will receive as the years go by.

Home Design Step Two: Another great starting place is to review some of the most popular and successful house designs. Many are readily available from famous architects via the Internet. You may want to search the websites of some favorite and well-known home architects and see what plans might work for you and your family.

One more excellent source is the collection of ‘design your own home’ CDs on the market. Many not only offer scores of top designs, but also take you through the process of designing your own home via computer graphics.

Home Design Step Three: Bring your own set of plans to the table and work with a professional home-design architect. These professionals are accustomed working out home design concepts with their clients.

They need your personal input to visualize just what will make your family home special and unique. Just as well, you will appreciate the architect’s many years of experience and insights into the logistics of home design.

An experienced home-design architect will know which of your design ideas can actually be integrated into the final plans, and he or she will identify potential problems and offer alternate suggestions tailored to your ideas and expectations.

Before appointing an architect, it will be necessary for you to gather as much information as possible about your home design needs and preferences.

It would be a good idea to prepare in advance a list of the characteristics and objectives of your home design. This may include some of your own drawings, clippings from magazines, photos of houses you like, lists of required spaces (and dimensions). Such advance planning will prove useful and inspiring for both you and your home design professional.

Maybe it’s time for your new Dream Home. What do you think?

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