Kitchen Considerations when Building Your Custom Home

Your kitchen is the most important room in your house. It’s where the most work is done on a daily basis, and one of the rooms that every member of the family uses. When building your custom home, here are three important considerations to keep in mind when planning your kitchen.


A good kitchen layout allows freedom of movement, easy access to appliances and tools, and economy of movement. Freedom of movement means making sure people don’t have to walk all the way around the kitchen to avoid the open refrigerator door. Easy access means everything is organized and within reach without having to get out a stepladder. Economy of movement means you don’t have to walk a quarter of a mile between the counter with your groceries and the pantry where they will be stored.


Good lighting is essential for a functional kitchen environment. Kitchens need a combination of natural light, overhead light, and task lighting. For natural light, ask your builder about installing a tubular or tunnel skylight. Overhead lighting can be a ceiling light fixture you find visually appealing. Task lighting can include under-cabinet lighting.


Some of the more popular kitchen finishes don’t provide a high level of functionality. For example, marble countertops are stunning, but they stain easily and can crack with extreme heat or cold. If you’re a person who loves to cook, be sure your options and upgrades provide the functionality you need.

These three kitchen considerations are perhaps the most essential things to keep in mind when it comes to building your custom home.

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Selecting the Right Energy Efficient Windows

Winter drafts and summer heat reduce indoor comfort and contribute to high utility bills. Energy-efficient windows help bring energy costs down to size. There are four elements to consider when choosing energy efficient windows: framing, glass composition, design and proper installation.

Frame Options
Window frames are available in four different materials: vinyl, wood, fiberglass or composite and wood clad aluminum. Each material has both pros and cons:

  • Vinyl: Vinyl is typically the least expensive material and is virtually maintenance free. However, vinyl frames are only available in light colors because dark colors absorb excessive heat from the sun, which causes them to warp.
  • Wood: Wood is only slightly more expensive than vinyl and can take any stain or paint color. Preservation requirements may also require wood frames. However, wood requires diligent maintenance to prevent splitting, cracking and other damage.
  • Fiberglass or Composite: Fiberglass or composite window frames are more expensive than either wood or vinyl. However, fiberglass can be painted any color, unlike vinyl, and is more durable than wood. Fiberglass can also be treated with a faux woodgrain finish.
  • Wood Clad Aluminum: Wood clad aluminum window frames are typically the most expensive and may not be suitable for areas where saltwater is prevalent. However, they are maintenance free and the wood cladding can be stained almost any color.

The type of frame you use will depend on your needs, your wants and your location.


Window Glass Composition
Single pane windows are the least energy efficient. Double-pane windows are more energy efficient than single paned windows, especially windows filled with inert argon or krypton gas between the panes, which are harmless to humans. Triple-paned windows are even more energy efficient.

U-value refers to the rate at which windows conduct heat flow from non-solar sources. Lower U-Values translate to higher energy efficiency. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is the amount of solar energy absorbed through windows, translated into heat and released into interior spaces. A lower SHGC translates into less heat being released into interior spaces.


Window Design
Window design also contributes or detracts from energy efficiency. Double-hung, casement and picture windows represent three common types of window design:

  • Double-Hung Windows:  With double-hung windows, both the upper and lower sashes slide vertically. They typically have higher air leakage than other window designs.
  • Casement Windows: Casement windows are hinged on the sides. They typically have lower air leakage rates than windows that slide vertically.
  • Picture Windows: Properly hung picture windows are airtight. However, because they don’t open, picture windows are not suitable for spaces that require ventilation.

The type of design you choose will rely on your home and your needs.


Proper Installation
The most energy-efficient windows in the world won’t do the job if they are improperly installed. Precise measuring and proper sealing with caulk or nails are necessary to eliminate hot and cold drafts from occurring. Proper installation also minimizes damage to your windows from the elements.

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Outdoor Fire Pit Ideas

From keeping you warm on a cool winter night, to being a gathering place for family and friends, a fire pit is a great addition to your outdoor space. But you want to make sure that your fire pit is not only a comfortable place to gather, but also that it meets your needs while matching the aesthetics of your home and outdoor living space. Here are some things to consider when creating a fire pit:   



You want to make sure you have a place to sit around your fire pit. Luckily, permanent seating is easy to plan around a firepit, and can become a part of the aesthetic of the area. Whether it’s a semi-circle or circular seating area, or something more rectangular, the shape of your seating  can be used to bring geometry and character to your fire pit space. Seating made of natural stone or concrete gives the added benefit of soaking up some of the heat, so you and your guests aren’t too warm.   


Proper Ventilation  

Fire pits require plenty of ventilation, so many outdoor living space designs place the fire pit area on the outer edge of the space. Fire pits should also not be placed on a covered patio unless a special roof chimney has been created. Keeping your fire pit out in the open, with lots of fresh air to fan the flames, means that you can enjoy your fire pit without smoking up the rest of your outdoor space.   


Create the Right Ambiance  

Once you’ve selected the spot for your fire pit, take some time to consider the overall aesthetics of that area and how you can tie it in to the rest of your outdoor living space. Consider installing custom lighting, to bring a bit of light and ambiance to the area. Create more comfortable seating with cushions and pillows. Maybe even install an outdoor fridge or cooler, so that beverages are close at hand. Improving the ambiance of your fire pit area allows you and your guests to enjoy it even more.   


Consider the Placement 

You want your fire pit to be an extension of your outdoor living space, somewhere that you and your guests can sit and enjoy the fire up close, but also something that you could enjoy from afar as a focal point for your yard. Take some time to consider the overall design of your outdoor space, and where the right spot for a fire pit would be in that plan. You also want to make sure it’s not too close to the house, or under a covered patio, so you don’t have problems with smoke or heat. Finding the right spot along the outer edge of your outdoor space, where it fits well into the aesthetics, means that you will create a beautiful and functional fire pit.   


A fire pit can be a seamless extension of your outdoor living space. By taking some time to consider the best place for it, and constructing it to meet the needs of your family and your outdoor area, you’ll continue to enjoy your fire pit area for years to come.   


Ready to work on your dream home? Call us today.  

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10 Trends in Custom Home Design

Sometimes your most inspired custom home design ideas come from others. Paying close attention to new trends can help you achieve a custom home look that you love, while also incorporating modern aesthetics.

1. Waterfall Islands

A waterfall island is a kitchen island where the countertop material continuously folds over and down the sides of the island. This creates a dramatic “waterfall” effect that is sure to elicit compliments from your family and friends.

2. Outdoor Water Features

Speak to your custom home builder about creating some sort of outdoor water feature, such as a pond or trough. These often require special outdoor plumbing and electricity, but the result is well worth it.

3. Copper Tubs

Hammered copper bathtubs are making a comeback, not only as a design feature, but also for their reported therapeutic effect.

4. Spiral Staircases

Spiral staircases with wrought iron banisters are back in style. Your custom home builder can work with your home layout to install a spiral staircase that becomes a focal point, as well as a functional element in the home.

5. Artisanal Ovens

You don’t have to run your own handmade pizza palace from home to appreciate the look of an artisanal oven. These whimsical brick ovens can be created incorporated into anything from a functional oven, to a wet bar, or a kitchen work station.

6. Interior Batten Siding

Batten siding, once relegated to the outside of the structure, is now being used as an interesting interior finish. It’s not for everyone, but it will certainly get your visitors’ attention.

7. Retractable Walls

If your custom home has amazing scenery on the other side of the living room wall, why not open that up for viewing? Retractable walls allow you to fully open the side of the house for a fluid, indoor/outdoor living experience.

8. Sliding Closet Barn Doors

Sliding closet barn doors work well in smaller bedrooms, or tight areas were it may be awkward to open the door on a hinge. These are affordable door options that your custom home builder can easily install.

9. Eco-Friendly Design

Now that sustainable materials and eco-friendly designs are becoming trendy, there are a vast number of designer finishes and options available to the custom home builder. Virtually every aspect of your custom home can be “green,” as long as you’re willing to get creative.

10. Reclaimed Wood

Those who dislike the idea of buying brand new flooring and cabinetry will appreciate the latest trend of reclaimed wood. The wood may come from an old house that was torn down, a sporting arena floor, or any other place where the materials are in good enough condition to be reused.

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