Walking into the show home of a professional new home builder is bound to elicit a few “oohs” and “ahs” from home buyers. With their dramatic entrances, sweeping vistas, soaring ceilings, gleaming floors, stunning bathrooms, gorgeous landscape design, and bold colours today’s new homes are designed with flair and creativity.
Professional new home builders understand their customers. They know that every home buyer is looking for that “special home” that’s just right for them. They spend a lot of time developing designs that capture the imagination – homes that combine design pizzazz and practicality, reflect today’s lifestyles and are great to live in.
With the incredible selection of styles and designs available today, it can be a challenge to narrow your choice down to a single home. As you visit model homes and look over builders’ plans, take time to consider how various designs would work for you and your family.
Layout and Function
Imagine living in the model home. Think about your daily routines and what’s important to you.
- Does everyone rush out the door in the morning at the same time?
- Where will the children play, study and watch TV while you are preparing meals?
- Do you require a private space for work or relaxing, away from everyone else?
Talk with your builder who will show you the homes that are most suited to your lifestyle. What if you love a particular model but the bathroom simply won’t work for you? This is not necessarily a problem. Many models are available in different designs and layouts. Also, new home builders are often able to customize plans and can advise you on cost and construction implications.
Movement in, out and inside your home is an important aspect of design.
- How easy is it to get grocery bags from the outside to the kitchen?
- Is it easy to let the dog into the backyard?
- Can kids take off their outside clothes without trekking mud into the house?
- Do some areas serve as “corridors” to other areas, thereby limiting privacy and furniture placement?
- Can everyone get around the whole house safely and easily?
Many new home designs stress spaciousness rather than square footage. Smaller well-designed homes can have all the details and amenities you could want. High ceilings of 9, 10 or even 11 feet, sloped or cathedral ceilings and two-storey rooms add to the sense of spaciousness. This also allows for larger windows that extend your home visually and bring in more natural light.
One of the enduring and popular design trends in new homes is the move away from formal and separate rooms on the main floor. Eating, kitchen and living areas are integrated into a single “great room.” From the front entrance you can often enjoy a wide open view to the rear of the home.
The open concept brings it own challenges for home owners.
- Where to hang pictures?
- How to add visual interest?
- How to delineate different living and working areas without closing up the space?
New home builders offer lots of possibilities. Bulkheads and other ceiling treatments provide visual interest and delineate spaces, while a mixture of lighting (ambient, task and accent) lets you create distinct atmospheres within the great room. Your choice of flooring can have a big impact; ceramic tile throughout the entire area, for instance, offers a different feeling than “mix and match” flooring. Columns, partial walls or glass-block walls can help to define private areas without taking away from the overall sense of open space.
You need to consider how your furniture will fit into the home. A foot can make a big difference when it comes to putting a table in the breakfast nook or your couch in front of the fireplace. Know the dimensions of your furniture and bring a measuring tape so you can figure out quickly if a particular model or layout has enough room. Also consider the placement of windows, doors, and perhaps fireplace, as well as traffic patterns. Even a large space can present challenges.
Without adequate storage, a home can become cluttered and harder to keep tidy. Look for closets located near the entrance door, not awkwardly down the hall, and in every room as needed. Check that you have enough space for linen, seasonal clothing, sports equipment and so on. There is a wealth of storage solutions, from prefabricated units to built-in customized systems. Ask your new home builder for advice.