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8 Bad Home Design Decisions to Avoid When Building Custom

custom house plan

Building a house can be as liberating as it is overwhelming. The endless homemaking choices are a double-edged sword: you can design the home of your dreams, but you’re responsible for every decision, from the color of the walls to the environmental rating of building materials. One of the first and most important of those countless decisions is whether to build custom or follow a stock plan.

If you’re already overwhelmed by the number of design decisions you must make, then stock house plans are an excellent route to take the nightmare out of your dream home. Stock plans come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re your best bet for retaining resale value. That said, what you gain in time and money, you might lose in customizability. That’s why some consumers still choose to start from scratch by building a custom house plan. 

If sketching out every individual nut, bolt, and hallway sounds like the path for you, you’ll want to take a page from home builders‘ past. Here are eight lousy home design decisions you should avoid when designing your humble abode. 

Vinyl siding

Although vinyl siding is a low-cost and easy maintenance option, it also ages exceptionally quickly. It’s also highly flammable, meaning that even a small kitchen fire could turn into a tragedy for your new home. Lastly, it’s no friend to the environment, so eco-conscious builders should beware. 

If you’re feeling like all of your vinyl dreams are dashed, fear not. You can still opt for a more high-quality, sustainable alternative. It may cost more upfront, but it’s sure to save you on cash and carbon footprint in the long run. 

Undersized eaves

Small eaves have become trendy for their TARDIS-like advantage: they can grant more indoor space while taking up less outdoor lot space. However, compromising with undersized eaves can cause damage down the road.

Appropriately sized eaves help protect your walls from weather like rain, snow, and hail. Though the extra square footage might strike a hard bargain, you’ll be grateful for the larger eaves when you don’t have to pay for water damage in your new digs. 

Adding pass-throughs

A cozy little window to watch your family while you cook sounds like a dream, but it can turn into a nightmare down the road. These customizations can be costly if you ever need to reroute your electrical or plumbing. And if you decide to amend your plans to save that extra trouble, you’re likely to get a too-small space that doesn’t serve the purpose you had in mind.

What’s more, these customizations aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so adding a pass-through could have buyers taking a pass on your resale value. 

Using multi-peaked roofs

These styles were quite trendy at one point, but multiple gables, cantilevers, or peaked roofs can collect excess water and snow, making those spots weaker and more prone to water damage over time.

What’s more, because the trend pendulum is always swinging, these roof styles can date your home and diminish your curb appeal. 

Creating a closed-in floor plan

The open-concept floor plan is one design trend that’s stood the test of time. Even if you like a more closed-in style, try opening your mind to an open floor plan. Closed-in types may be cozy, but they’re just as likely to make future buyers feel claustrophobic. 

An open style helps boost cooling and heating efficiency and encourages better natural lighting for a welcoming, airy home environment. 

Freestyling the style

Even though it’s your home, you should still think about the neighborhood style where you’re building. Putting an extremely modern home in a historical community will make your house stick out like a sore thumb, and it won’t make you any friends in the HOA or your local real estate market. 

Leaving out a central chimney

A central chimney contributes to heating and cooling efficiency, improving a home’s energy rating. It’s tempting to push this feature to either side of the house when you’re building custom, but chimneys do their best work with a front-and-center placement. If you’re still a skeptic, think about where you could spend those monthly energy savings in your new house. 

Choosing cheap windows

If you splurge on anything in your custom plan, windows should make the list. Pay more upfront for better quality windows, and you’ll have a view that doesn’t need replacing any time soon. 

Choosing the proper width and style of window for your climate zone is essential. Thicker windows can insulate your home for years, making them more efficient and less wasteful.

Final Thoughts

Although stock plans are a great way to build a quality, personalized home for less time, money, and effort, custom designs are another option for building a home to your specifications.

If you decide to go custom, keep these mistakes in mind to avoid calling your new place home-bittersweet-home. 

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