Steps to Building a Custom Home


Building a custom home can be exciting. You’re creating a dwelling to your exact specifications. However, if you’ve never experienced building a custom home, you may not know what to expect. The following nine steps provide a summary of the custom home building process.

Prep and Pour

This is the first stage of actual building after blueprints have been finalized and permits obtained. Your builder will prep your home site by clearing trees and pouring the foundation for your new home.

Rough Framing

During this stage, your home begins to take shape. Walls, floors, and roofing are put into place at this point. Framing is done with wood or steel, and then wrapped to keep out moisture before adding windows, roofing shingles and exterior siding.

Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC

Once the shell of your home is in place, it’s safe to install utilities such as plumbing, HVAC, and electrical wiring. An inspector will need to sign off on this phase before construction on your house can continue.



Insulation is the next thing to be installed during the build process. Insulation helps keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Insulation can take many forms, such as cellulose, fiberglass, or foam. Insulation can also provide soundproofing.


After insulation is in place, the drywall can start to going in, and the actual configuration of your home becomes more apparent. Drywall can be hung with nails or screws. A layer of “mudding” and primer prepares walls for paint or wallpaper.


Interior Trim

Once the walls are in place, the interior trim work can begin. This is the phase where details like crown molding, doors, windows, and stair railings are placed into your home. Ceramic or porcelain tile, hardwood and carpet may also be installed during this phase. Hardwood flooring will need to cure before it can withstand foot traffic.

Exterior Work

Driveways, walkways, and patios are completed during this phase of construction. Grading to direct water away from your home takes place as well.


Final Utilities

This essential phase involves installing toilets, electrical panels, and other utilities, along with shower doors and mirrors. An inspector must sign off on this phase of construction as well.

Final Inspection and Walkthrough

Once construction is finished, an inspector will give your home a final walk-through. You can attend this walkthrough if you wish. Once completed, you’ll receive a certificate of occupancy and you can move in!

Check out this time-lapse footage of the construction of one of our recent homes. You can see the finished home here.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.

Time for a Design Workout – Creating the Perfect Home Gym

home gym

We all strive for a healthier lifestyle, including working out. But often we just don’t have the time in our day to go to the gym. Scheduling workouts at home is more flexible, efficient, and economical.

If you’re ready to join the home fitness craze, following the five tips below can help you set up the ideal home gym.

Put It Out and Hang It Up

One advantage of a dedicated workout space is that you can have your equipment out where it is easily accessible – and where you’ll be more likely to use it. Take advantage of the wall space in your home gym to install hooks for jump ropes or shelving for hand weights.

Create Workout-Fit Flooring

Especially if you’re doing high-impact aerobics, you will want to install shock-absorbing flooring to reduce the wear and tear on your joints. A yoga mat is fine, but specially designed floor tiles provide a more permanent solution – and are available in fun colors to brighten up your home gym.


Proper Lighting Is Key

Maintaining proper form is essential in yoga, weightlifting, and similar workouts to obtain maximum benefit and avoid hurting yourself. A combination of lighting and strategically placed mirrors can help you observe your movements to ensure that you’re doing things right.

Pump Up the Volume


Working out to music is much more fun – and makes it easier to stick with a tough routine. In the gym, you’re either stuck listening to whatever tunes are blasting through the sound system or listening to your own tunes through headphones. In a home gym you’re free to choose the music and turn it up – no headphones required. Install a home sound system in your gym, or create a place for your mp3 player.

Stock Up on Fitness-Friendly Treats

Be sure to have bottled water, towels, protein snacks, and other fitness-friendly treats handy to reward yourself at the end of a workout.  A small refrigerator can keep drinks cold, while a microwave can heat up post-workout snacks.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.

Choosing a Kitchen Material Palette


Decorating the ideal kitchen requires making several critical decisions.

"However, choosing a kitchen material palette influences every other kitchen decision."

The five tips described below can help you choose a kitchen material palette that reflects your style and fills the desired functions for your kitchen.

Focus on the Large Surfaces


Of course, appliances are essential to a functional kitchen, but the look of a kitchen is largely driven by its surfaces – countertops, backsplashes, and wall coverings. Choose a coordinating color palette for these large surfaces, and design the rest of the kitchen around this scheme.

Choose an Overall Design Theme

Whether your style tends toward sleek modernism, rustic, or traditional, your kitchen should reflect a single coherent theme. Various details can vary from the theme, but they should coordinate harmoniously with the overall design.

Consider Cabinetry Design and Finishes

Along with chef-quality appliances, cabinetry represents one of the most expensive elements of most kitchens. Fully custom cabinets can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so unless your budget is unlimited, choose designs and finishes that you will be happy living with for years. This generally means avoiding the latest trends, which tend to look dated within 3 to 5 years.

Sweat the Small Details

Details like drawer pulls, window casings, and lighting can make or break your kitchen décor. Give them the attention they deserve to ensure that they coordinate with your overall kitchen color and materials palette.


Strive for Coordination, Not Strict Matching


A well-designed kitchen gives your home a high-end look, along with functioning as the heart of your home. Carrying your kitchen materials and color palette throughout your design is essential. However, that doesn’t mean boxing yourself into a strict matchy-matchy bind, which is not only limiting, but boring.

It’s your kitchen - the design should suit your tastes and fulfill your needs for meal preparation.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.

Ideas for Decorating Above Your Sofa


Your sofa may be comfortable and beautiful, but the large blank space on the wall above your sofa can detract from the look of your home.

"Filling large wall spaces can be a real challenge, but that large expanse of wall space behind your sofa provides an ideal opportunity to reflect your personality without using valuable floor space."

The four tips listed below can make the space above your sofa a focal point for your room.

Hang a Large Single Piece of Artwork

Choose a single, large, striking piece of artwork to hang behind your couch to create an instant focal point for your room. Don’t be afraid to select a piece with bold colors, especially if your sofa and overall room palate are neutral.

Mount a Gallery Wall

Hanging a collection of prints or paintings of various sizes behind your sofa is an inexpensive way to create a high-end designer look. Don’t be afraid to mix and match frame styles, colors, and even various types of artwork. Trust your own eye and your own instincts.


Create a Symmetrical Display

If you’re not a fan of mismatched frames, creating a symmetrical display behind your sofa is an attractive and inexpensive alternative for creating a designer look. Choose an even number of frames of similar size and style, or even artwork of a single theme, such as different flowers, to create an orderly look.

Hang or Prop a Mirror Behind the Sofa


Hanging a mirror behind your sofa can give the illusion of a larger room, as well as reflect natural light, helping brighten up a dark room. If you’re renting and don’t want to put nails in your walls, try pulling out your sofa and propping the mirror against the wall behind it. This trick gives your room more depth along with filling that large space.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.

Creating a Home Office Space that Really Works


Far too often, a home office is little more than an afterthought – with kitchens, master suites, and even outdoor spaces receiving the bulk of decorating attention.

"However, for people who work at home, the right home office setup can make the difference between productive time spent getting real work accomplished – and hours wasted searching for this or adjusting that."

The following five tips can help ensure that your home office is comfortable, efficient, and stylish.

Ergonomics Count


If you work full-time from home, you’ll be spending hours each day in your home office. Don’t skimp on your desk and especially your chair. Choose a chair that provides sufficient back support along with cushioning your bottom, and a desk height that allows you to reach your computer keyboard, phone, and other equipment comfortably. If you can afford it, an adjustable standing desk can be a worthwhile investment.

Embrace Natural Light

One of the major advantages of working from home is that you don’t have to endure harsh fluorescent lighting. Your home office should receive as much natural light as possible, while at the same time minimizing glare. Position your desk to provide a pleasant view when you take those much needed breaks from staring at the computer screen.

Storage Overcomes Clutter

Your home office may be your primary work space, but it’s still part of your home. Furnishing your home office with shelving and other storage can help ensure that your office harmonizes with the rest of your home. Sufficient storage also helps ensure that you can find what you need when you need it – reducing time wasted searching through jumbled stacks of junk.


Minimize Electronic Cord Tangles

Computer cords, surge protectors, and other electronic aspects associated with a home office can really detract from your home’s overall décor. Cord covers and specially drilled holes in office equipment help keep cords out of sight.

Make It Your Own

Another major advantage of working at home is that it’s your home. Paint the walls in a color that you love – while avoiding overly-bright shades that can disrupt your productivity.


Add personal touches like photos or inspirational quotes. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so make it as comfortable as possible.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.