The benefits of a customized home are many, and one of the foremost is flexibility. You can design your home the way you want it. If you want a home with green feature you can work that into the plan. If you want a home that is light and airy, you can add that to the equation. Everything from the basement to the roof will reflect your choices. It’s important to get an idea of what you want before contacting a builder, but keep in mind that a knowledgeable builder can help you through the process, too.
You may also want a house with a big porch, so you can sit outside on a sunny day and watch the world go by. With a customizable home, you can incorporate these features into your home design. Most importantly, you want to imprint your personal style on your new home, and you want a design that meets the needs of your family.
Even before you get specific about the kind of materials you want to use or the look of your new home, you need to think about what you want in your home. You need to decide on how big a home you want and whether it should have one or two stories, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, if you want it to reflect a more formal or informal lifestyle, and so on. You can create your home to reflect your specific wants and needs.
Another important decision is the floorplan. You may favor an open floorplan where the living, dining, and kitchen areas all flow together. Or perhaps you prefer a more traditional Colonial-style plan, with separate rooms and hallways. The style you choose should be compatible with your family’s lifestyle. Does everyone like to be together in the kitchen? Do you like to entertain and have guests get involved in food preparation? These might be reasons for an open floorplan. If you prefer more formal entertaining, or if you don’t care to have people watch you pull the roast out of the oven, you may opt for a different style layout?
Decide on how many bedrooms you want. You may want a very large master suite with walk-in closets and a master bath with a separate tub and shower stall. A second master suite at the other end of the house might be ideal for visiting relatives or friends. Toll Brothers offers an amazing variety of home designs to choose from — so you’ll certainly be able to find a floorplan that meets your needs and preferences.
Toll Brothers’ Design Your Own Home website allows you to explore and play “what if?” with hundreds of our home design and options.
Once you have an idea of the kind of home you want, you can start to decide on the exterior look of your new home. Exteriors come in dozens of architectural styles, from New England Cape Cod to Traditional with brick and stone. Browse through home decorating and builder magazines and websites, and make a list of what you like and what you don’t. This way, you’ll become familiar with what’s available and your decisions will be easier. In Toll Brothers communities nationwide, home buyers can often choose from dozens of exterior designs so that the streetscape of your community is varied and distinctive.
Do you want or need a basement? A basement provides room for extra storage and can function as a family room or entertaining space if finished. Ultimately, the decision may depend on the area where you live and whether a basement is even feasible.
Ceiling height is another consideration. Higher ceilings convey a feeling of spaciousness. You can achieve a certain amount of drama by using vaulted ceilings. You’ve likely seen pictures in home decorating magazines of “tray” ceilings, where there is more than one horizontal area at different levels. If you like that particular look, you’d look for this option in your new home. Crown moldings throughout the home are also a finishing detail that enhances any dwelling and might be perfect in your dream home.
Other features you might want to consider include various choices of flooring, from easy to maintain to ultra dramatic. Kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities are available in various surfaces and materials – and each come with their own set of pros and cons. The experienced staff of a reputable builder, or the professional designers in your builder’s design center can help you to make the best choice. Also, look over different options in appliances for the kitchen and laundry room. If you’re a gourmet chef, you’ll want a kitchen to match, with the best in convenience, space, and appliances.
Another advantage of having a customized home is that custom wiring can be installed inside the walls. This type of installation is ideal for home entertainment systems and for advanced home security systems that come with remote smart phone access.
Choosing a Custom Builder
One of the most important decisions you will make is your choice of a builder. A good place to start is home builder associations in your area. Talk to people who have custom-built homes. You can also go online and look at pictures of completed homes and specifications. And look at the statistics. In recent surveys, for instance, 95% of Toll Brothers home buyers said they would recommend the builder — that speaks volumes about the builder’s professionalism, the quality of the builder’s work, and the service the customer received.
Make sure that you and your builder can communicate well. Discuss what you want in your new home and how much you want to be involved in the building process. A quality builder will guarantee the work that is done in your new home. You can expect a walk-through with the builder and the site manager before assuming ownership of your home to make sure that everything has been done to your satisfaction.
When the house is completed, and you’ve moved in, you’ll feel good knowing you were a vital part of the planning process. You’ll also know that the home will work for your family and friends. As the famous architect John Portman once said, “Architecture is not a private affair; even a house must serve a whole family and its friends…”*
*Architectural Digest, November 2007