Want to design your next home? It’s no surprise—if you are like most prospective home owners, you have a picture in mind of just what your “dream home” would be like, yet finding an existing home that matches your vision is rare. There are many things to consider when designing your own home, so we’ll show you how to make the most of this process so that your next home can be the dream home you envision.
Get inspired. Before you draw a single line, consult an architect, or buy that cool new software application that will do it all, consider your dreams. At the very beginning of this process, it's not about board feet or setbacks or even floor plans. It's about how you define your desires. Much of this you will already know—it's your dream, after all!
Take photographs. Shoot every angle of a building you like, inside and out. You'll find more detail in the photos than you saw in person, and after visiting dozens of houses, they'll be a great way to recall that thing you loved right at the beginning.
Find a location. This is where the rubber hits the road...or perhaps more appropriately, where the shovel hits the dirt. Before you can really dig into designing your dream home, you'll need to know what you're building on. The landscape matters. building on a hill has a different set of requirements and design challenges than building on flat ground. A heavily-wooded area may makes a big difference when it comes to windows and lighting, not to mention solar panels or other energy considerations. Lots nearer freeways or other noise-producing areas will need more attention to acoustics than isolated rural locations. Access to utilities and services vary by location. Make sure your chosen location includes those things we generally take for granted. Zoning can make the difference between a dream home realized, or a house full of compromises. Enlist the help of a real estate professional who can help you assess your property choices from an objective point of view.
Delegate. Knowing when to hire the pros is what will take designing your own home from a dream to a reality. Let the steady hand of an experienced designer take over the process of finalizing your plans. He'll work with the architect and your general contractor to turn your dreams into reality. You've created the concept, you've driven the dream. You've done all the legwork, found the property, focused your design goals, and know exactly what you want. Now, you have more important duties involved in managing the construction of your dream home.