Building Your Home Wisely in 9 Steps – STEP #4

#4 Design Discussion

In step #3, you interviewed Builders and/or Architects that will help you design and construct the home of your dreams, within your budget, with good communication and with respect. Now it is time to get down to business and knock out your home design. Please go into this process with an open mind. Even though you might have a great design in your mind, a good builder will thoroughly analyze and address potential concerns so that your home will be structurally sound and functional.

You and your home have STYLE! – Let’s start with the basics and determine the style of home that is you. Is it Craftsman, Modern, Traditional, Transitional, French Country, New Orleans, Cap Cod, Colorado Western, or Tuscan? These are just scratching the surface of popular styles. Take a look at our portfolio for some examples. Although there are many styles of home to consider, you most likely already have a general idea of what style fits you best. Many times with couples there will be a meshing of styles. In the case of home resale, it is best to mesh two style that already work well together. 

In addition, it is best to have the exterior style of your home match the interior for resale as well. There are cross-overs in style that do work, but it is best to get opinions from professionals. Ask your builder, architect or designer to help if you are struggling to find your style and always include your builder in the discussions if you are working with an architect or designer.

Site Design Analysis – There is more to design than your style. Visit the build site with your builder/architect and look for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. The design discussion must overlap with land selection (Step #3) because your design has to work with the land in which you plan to build. Example: If your design calls for a basement and the land is on a rocky hillside, you will likely need to alter your plan or pick a new site. Some plans just don’t fit the land. At a minimum, analyze the Soil, Area Climate, Orientation/Views, Slope, Landforms (trees & buildings) and even the Solar Potential, if you plan to utilize the sun in your design.

During the design phase you will be determining what type of windows, doors, lighting, room sizes/shapes, flooring, number of floors and even landscaping. When complete, the design should be a basis for the fee proposal, but remember that this is a “living document” that will likely be updated throughout the design process and even into the construction process. Alterations to the design need to be followed with a change order to show cost adjustments.

The design stage encompasses a lot more than we covered here in this brief post. Please keep in mind that this is a guide to help you work your way through the building process. There are many unknown variables in building a custom home or it wouldn’t be custom.

To start from the beginning of “Building Your Home Wisely in 9 STEPS” click here. Watch for our next post on our Facebook page.

Step #1 – Step #2 – Step #3 – Step #4

French Country – Rural yet Refined


The French Country style design arose from rustic manors found in the fields of both northern and southern France. Many describe it as a combination of modest farmhouse and estate-like chateaus or rural yet refined. The rustic and comfortable French Country style usually includes two stories of rustic arches, soft lines, high pitched roofs of various heights, with stucco and brick exterior.

The interior often consists of wood beams, plaster walls and stone floors. Some of the exterior designs are asymmetrical with ornamental attributes, or multiple roof elements, while others are more square and symmetrical with a balance of windows to the left and right of the entrance.

Other features of a French Country home might include decorative shutters, arched windows with accenting keystones, round towers and entryways, or copper-top bay windows to create style and elegance. As with most home designs, there are many variations and as time passes by styles begin to intermix. Some styles intermix well, while others… not so well.

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See our gallery for more photos.



See our gallery for more photos.


What is a Transitional Style Home?


Many describe the transitional style home as a marriage or meshing of traditional and contemporary, which makes it versatile, timeless and simply elegant. As the word itself indicates, the style is a transition allowing the classic look to be given a little zest or fresh look. Houzz describes it as, a sophisticated look hitting “the sweet spot between traditional elegance and contemporary cool.” Some go as far as to equate transitional to a balance of masculine and feminine and even say it is more of a mix of modern and traditional than it is contemporary and traditional.

Calling the transitional style eclectic might be a little drastic, but one can mix in a few select styles as long as it does not stray too far from the traditional/contemporary look. Beige and neutral colors along with warm wood tones, straight lines and classic curves are likely to be found in transitional style homes. All of this makes transitional a very forgiving style with lots of possibilities.

See our blog for more tips and information about anything home.


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What is a Craftsman Style Home?


The Craftsman style of home was born out of the arts and crafts movement after the industrial revolution. As everything began to look like it was made by machines, some wanted to go against the grain and back to a craftsman or handmade appearance.

Most find that a Craftsman style home is a combination a little Asian wood architectural embedded with English rock inspirations and a touch of California styling, but what really makes it a Craftsman Style home? Is it the details on the exterior such as exposed rafters and beams or is it the spacious open areas utilizing natural materials on the interior? Share what you think makes a home a Craftsman.

According to there are a number exterior and interior characteristics that can help you identify a Craftsman style home. A few of these characteristics are:

  • Generously overhanging eves
  • Stone covered foundation walls and porch supports
  • Stone exterior chimneys
  • Wide exterior window and door casings
  • Windows with multiple paned top sashes and single-paned bottom sashes
  • Porch support columns often extending to ground level
  • Extended rafter ends, sometimes decoratively shaped – (Asian Architecture)
  • Dormer windows and multiple roof planes
  • Open floor plan
  • Natural materials
  • Exposed rafters, joists and beams
  • Natural finishes on wood trim: casing, baseboard and other molding
  • Numorous windows for natural light
  • Earthy colors and harmonious wood tones (warm, cozy, welcoming)

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