Custom Home - Must Haves?

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BigBadJohn

BigBadJohn

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Joined
Jan 16, 2020
Messages
47
Another thing and may have just been our builder. He really did not have a lot of lights in large rooms around the house. We literally doubled the lights in the basement trophy room that he had planned. It works great now but would have been a hard correction after the fact. Pay close attention to where your lights are and if you have enough.
this is one of those things that’s super important but i 100% can visualize. looking at a blueprint and thinking of how the lighting will look hurts my brain. they are going to put together a 3d rendering which should be helpful here.
 

Catchfish

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
138
Stub out for gas on the back porch, or where you are going to have a grill, Same for power,

switch for your outdoor outlet for the Xmas lights.

I dedicated one breaker just for my freezer. Knew somebody who popped a gfci and lost their freezer.

coat your garage floor and shop floor before you move in
 

tdot

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
1,443
Location
BC
What are you guys choosing for flooring in these new homes. True hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl, ect. The in-laws just installed luxury vinyl and I have to say, I'm impressed with the look and feel. My last home I had acacia flooring installed. It looked amazing, but seasonal swings caused substantial expansion/contraction. In winter there were some pretty sizable (1/16") gaps between some boards. Does all hardwood have this much activity.

That gun room people are talking about is amazing. For me, a must have in new construction would be stairs from the garage directly to the basement. Straight shot for taking items downstairs, without walking through the house.

Acacia is notorious for wood movement. Different woods and different milling methods will yield significantly different amounts of movement.

Vertical Grain or Quarter Sawn are two of the more common terms used for the most stable milling techniques. Flat sawn is the most unstable.

It's easy to research each type of wood you are interested in. Just look up their Relative Moisture Content or Wood Movement Index (or Coefficient). The numbers matter for calculations, but for general knowledge just compare each wood and cut you are interested in, in order to know their relative wood movement.
 

tdot

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Aug 18, 2014
Messages
1,443
Location
BC
Lots of these suggestions are for a long term home, they make less sense for a 5 year hold.

Split AC as previously mentioned are awesome.

Instant hot water tank, plumbed with a small day tank closer to the kitchen. This mitigates the Instant Hot Water Tanks biggest negative. In a kitchen where water is turned on/off the tank turns on/off and you get hot then cold then hot water at the tap.

I prefer a 2 step Spray insulation. Closed cell for 1/4 to 1/2 the stud cavity and then open cell for the balance. Keeps moisture from condensing against the inside of the exterior sheeting. Closed cell homes are noisier, the open cell will dampen noise down. You can also use batt insulation on top of the closed cell, but I've not been 100% happy with any of those installations.

Consider Allowing a ventilation space between your roof and the spray insulation. Spraying right against the roof sheeting can cook shingles as they are so heavily insulated from behind. Speak to the roofing installer and figure out the roof requirements.

Overhangs are king.

Keep wood siding & exterior finishes protected and accessible. The more maintenance required, keep it easier to access. The harder an area is to access, the more durable the finishes should be.

I prefer aluminum clad windows. Dont waste money on Argon fill. Go with a better coating.

Understand the orientation of the windows to the sun throughout the year. We try to build with windows that will be 100% protected from the sun throughout the summer. Even here in Canada, that's usually only a 2' to 3' overhang.

Passive ventilation, functional skylights that open can often cool a house without AC. Arrange for an air intake (open windows) somewhere on the Northside of the house or the basements.

If you are going to have lots of lights and different switches, I'd change everything to Lutron Radio Ra or equivalent. 1 button to control a room is very nice vs 6 or 8 switches. 1 button to turn on/off a house is even better.

Be very award of LED lighting colour temperatures, make sure all lighting matches and is a colour that you like.

I try to convince clients to be realistic with their budgets, don't skimp on whats inside a wall, just to afford a fancy window shade. Put your money where it can't be easily replaced later. If necessary dont finish rooms and backoff on the number of bathrooms. It's comical (sad?) how many 5 bathroom homes only use 2 of them.

Pantry and easily accessible storage is hugely beneficial to the useage of a home.

Kitchen - pay attention to counter heights. We almost always build them an inch or so higher then normal. Unless there is a tiny lady in the house, most people prefer it.
Also look at height to the upper cupboard, base this off of what kitchen appliance you keep and use on the counter. We are generally 2"-6" higher then standard and zero complaints, everyone loves it. Unless you love a specific backsplash. Consider paint. Saves a bunch of money and really isn’t hard to keep clean and looks great.

Skip the crazy multihead showers, 2 or 3 is enough. Same with steam showers. Virtually no one uses them. Same with fancy coloured lights or built in stereo, no one uses them, and the few who do, know it before they build.

There are alot of options available now on homes. Honestly, if a salesman brings something up that you or your wife never thought of, then as good as the idea sounds, you'll probably never utilize it. Approach all the fancy additions with care, its an amazing way to blow budgets very quickly.

Take a serious look at Solar. Even if you choose not to go with it today, wire for it. I have several clients who put money in their pockets every month after about 5 years and the systems are only getting cheaper and more efficient.

Shower pan in the garage or outside with hot/cold water and a spray wand.

Make garages wider/longer then standard.

Have fun with the process.
 

DroptineDC18

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
29
Location
MN
Things I like in my current house :
+9' (or taller) 1st floor ceiling
+Laundry/mud room between garage and house (strip down if need be) with easily cleaned floor
+Recessed lighting in kitchen and LR.
+Storm door on front
+High garage ceiling (10')

Things that'll be in my 'next home'
*More storage
*Backup power & transfer switch
*flood lights on back roof eaves
*Heated Bathroom floors
*Gas line to the back of home (patio/porch/backyard kitchen or whatever)
*Master bedroom downstairs
*Wide door/hallways (helpful in injured, indigent, greeting older)
*A real kitchen range hood with exterior vent
I second the high garage ceiling. We bought a new construction 4 years ago and it has almost 11 foot ceilings in the garage. Having vertical space really makes the layout appear larger than it is.
 

dubllung4

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
19
Location
Michigan
Haven't seen anyone mention an indoor dog wash yet. That is on our "must haves" for our next house. A fast slope under the garage door or a block out in the concrete to prevent water from coming in under the door is nice.

Some of the other posts are touching on this too, but don't skimp on build materials for more features right now. I've seen plenty of custom houses that look like trash in 10-15 years because corners were cut in order to have a few extra features.

Also, spend the money up front on a good designer/architect that can render the house. Have them draw the build site and show how the light/shadows look in the house. This can save a lot of headache and money down the road.
 

RaggedHunter

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Joined
Feb 23, 2018
Messages
353
Location
CO
One thing I really want to put in a house/shop if I ever get to build my own is a walk in cooler.
 

wnelson14

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Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
12
Not sure if someone mentioned this... put eave plugs on a switch for Christmas/ patio lights. Add water for a refrigerator and ice maker in garage, also if you have a toilet/sewer that shares a wall with garage wall add a toilet in garage, the framed in toilet room adds wall storage space as well. Shower valve/ hot water to outside dog/kid wash or cooking/cleaning outside. If you have a covered patio wire for speakers and wire for electric heaters, pre wire entire house for cameras and alarm. Wire outside flood lights to a switch in master bedroom, and finally don’t skimp on closet size.
 

WCB

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Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
1,059
I see you are butting vaulted ceilings in...add 9-10' walls on main level.

A good mud room/laundry room besides your entry way larger than you think.

besides an island have a good work place beside your stove top without cabinets above it.

biggest sink you can fit in your kitchen...same with your outbuilding

widen everything....hallways, stair cases, doors into rooms you will haul things in and out of a lot (storage rooms)

more outlets than you could imagine in your outbuilding and the best LED lights you can find.

floor drain in your garage and outbuilding

central vac
 

KineKilla

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
359
Location
Utah
If I were building my separate garage today I would have air lines installed from the out building to the main house.

They'd run from there to the garage on the house, one in my furnace/mechanical space and maybe one on the main floor in the laundry/mud room as well. The days of lugging around a small compressor would be over.

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jgill_pursuit

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Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
282
Location
Wasatch Mountains
we were leaning towards gas so my wife would be comfortable getting a fire going. i will definitely look into it. very good suggestion
The beauty of an Isokern is that you can stub and plumb a gas burner, electronic igniter with remote, and do them gas burning as well. They just hold heat so much better than a traditional "metal box" style, and they look so much better.
 

HawkeyeHunter

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2016
Messages
93
Location
Iowa
Far too many list all at once without writing a novel. Here are a few that come to mind and might add more later.

South facing driveway
Covered back porch/patio/deck with gas line in ceiling for a radiant heater
All 3’0” doors, don’t go smaller if possible
4’0” wide minimum hallways and staircases, wider if possible
Instead of vaulted ceilings, do 9-10ft ceilings with a 1-2ft taller tray ceiling in main areas to accent
Led puck or wafer lights, cleaner looking than recessed cans
Plenty of usable counter space in kitchen and bathrooms
Big storage room in basement and plenty of storage closets throughout house
Lots of Windows for views and natural light
 

Brendan

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Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
3,491
Location
Boston, MA
One thing I really want to put in a house/shop if I ever get to build my own is a walk in cooler.

Definitely space for a walk in cooler.

I'd also love a "Shop Kitchen" or a pantry of sorts in the house where I can leave grinder, big vacuum sealer, meat slicer and all that stuff set up so it can be used easily.

Dedicated workout space.

Outside - I want a covered outdoor kitchen space for my grills / smokers. Thinking concrete columns, steel roof with top vent to keep them out of snow and rain and still usable without worrying about lighting something on fire.

Easy covered place to park boat, trailer, with rafters to hang kayaks, roof racks and such.

Solar and a whole-home battery setup is intriguing to me.
 

KineKilla

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
359
Location
Utah
Definitely solar! Even if you are grid tied the panels will pay for themselves in short order.

Also consider a gun room. Because 'Merica!

A two post lift in the garage.
Water, gas and sewer in the out building as well. Having a bathrooom in the garage is fantastic and cannot be under appreciated.

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CREillY

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2018
Messages
169
Location
North Branch, MN
Urinal/shitter in the garage, and for the kitchen have then add a skinny tall broom/vacuum cabinet to the end of the pantry.
 

Michael54

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2019
Messages
749
Spray foam insulation! Our original house doesnt have it and the addition does. There is a huge difference between the two.
 
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