Ideas and advice for the design of your custom home in Dallas, Texas.

Unlike renovating an existing home, when you are building a custom home there’s no need to worry about maintaining the previous light fixture placement, or springing for expensive electrical rewiring to get the placement you actually want. A custom home allows you to design your lighting your way, from the start. 

Choosing the right fixtures, though, can be challenging. Even the most beautiful fixture can look out of place in a room if it is not correct in its size, scale, finish, or style. To help ease the selection process, and to avoid the hassle of a return or fixture swap in the future, we have a step-by-step guide that will simplify your experience and let you focus on enjoying the end result.

Step 1: Narrow Your Search by Knowing Your Style

Before you begin to source your light fixtures, it will save you a substantial amount of time to first solidify your style.  This is an absolute necessity because there are an endless number of light fixtures available on the market. The goal when selecting your fixtures is to make the process as straightforward as possible, and that starts with narrowing down your search.

Are you drawn to traditional silhouettes? Do you prefer streamlined and clean, modern lines? What style is your custom home built around? Whatever direction you’ve gone with the rest of your home’s aesthetic is the direction you’ll want to follow when choosing your lighting. It’s easy to get distracted by a gorgeous wedding cake chandelier that would look luxurious in your foyer. But if you have an ultra-contemporary approach to your home design in every other space, it will undoubtedly feel jarring style-wise. Stick to your existing aesthetic and keep your design style top of mind, and we guarantee the selection process will be far easier for you.

Step 2: Take Note of Placement & Type

The beauty of choosing light fixtures in a custom home is that you know exactly where your fixtures need to be placed. Based on your home’s design, you should have a clear list of exactly how many lights you need, and which types of fixtures you need. Your builder can work with you to lay out a checklist of vanity light type, kitchen island pendants, flush mounts, semi-flush mounts, can lighting, or chandeliers, depending on each space’s needs. Armed with a detailed amount of information will help you to know precisely what you should be looking for during your search.

Step 3: Measure Your Space for Scale

To narrow down your selections further, you need to know the size and scale of each space. This is where measurements come into play – once you have the right sizes narrowed down, you can customize your search from there. A basic rule of thumb is to choose a light fixture that fits the size of each room (and when in doubt, go larger than you think is necessary). For example, a miniscule flush-mount light in a wide-open living room with cathedral ceilings will look far too tiny, and functionally, it won’t provide enough light for the entire space. In this case, you’d want to opt for either an oversized chandelier that adequately fits the scale of the room, or multiple smaller lights throughout the ceiling space to provide scale and enough light. Conversely, a smaller mudroom or laundry room needs a smaller-scale fixture to match its size. Options appropriate for such a smaller space could include simple flush mount or semi-flush mount fixtures, or even wall sconces, for a simple and fit-to-size look.

Step 4: Stick to Your Finishes

Just as you want to stay consistent with your light fixture style throughout your custom home, you also want to pay attention to your fixture finishes. And while a mix-and-match approach can look quite beautiful, and there certainly isn’t a hard and fast rule about mixing fixture finishes, you want to ensure that you’re being intentional about your finish selections. Overall, you want to stick to similar finishes in each room, and opt for no more than two different metals in any given space. Brushed brass and matte black, for instance, go quite well together and make for a stunning contemporary aesthetic. Likewise, a brushed nickel or an antique bronze finish will add a warm and traditional vibe to a room. Chrome tends to brighten things up, and matte black will make the best pairing with fixtures in this finish.

Light fixtures don’t have to be complicated, and with our quick checklist the process should be quite approachable. So, if you’ve been scrolling through endless pages of fixtures, feeling like the selection process will never end, don’t stress. With key search criteria firmly in place, narrowing down your choices will be much more manageable, and you’ll have a beautiful light-filled home in no time.

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One of the best aspects of building your own custom home is the fact that you get to quite literally start from scratch. There’s no need to sacrifice on space or square footage, ceiling height or plumbing locations. You can skip the costly retrofitting of an older home, and you never have to face the disappointment that often comes with the realization that that dreamy master suite you envisioned simply cannot happen.

A custom home gives you all the freedom to choose exactly what you want. And one of the most popular areas for customization is hands down the master bath. While each custom bath can look vastly different, depending on each owners’ personal tastes and preferences, there are a few must-haves to consider when designing your own space that you definitely won’t want to skip.

Trendsetting Tile

Incorporating a tile pattern into your master bath that you love through and through is essential. Sure, a run-of-the-mill white or grey tile will look classic and beautiful, but why not take this opportunity to choose something that you know you’ll adore for years to come? Tile is one of the most impactful design choices you can make because it instantly sets the tone and aesthetic for a room. Just be sure that when you’re selecting your tile, you consider all angles. Consult with your contractor on which types of tile may or may not be more difficult to install, and likewise, understand that there is a wide range of price points to consider. Similarly, when choosing your style, consider the longevity of the design. Is it something you could design around endlessly – like a stunning creamy catalina tile? Or are you drawn to a vibrant encaustic tile that you just can’t take your eyes off of (and are more than ready to commit to a bold vibe overall)? Whatever your decision, just know that replacing tile down the road is not an easy (or cheap) task, so you want to find the best fit for the long run.

Double Sink

There are definitely gorgeous single-sink designs out there, but if you have a custom home, why not go for the double sink setup? Trust us when we say that it can be a gamechanger for your relationship. Each person gets their own space, and there’s no debating where you put your toothbrush, hair products, or makeup. If having a double sink has always felt like a faraway luxury, well, now’s the time to embrace it. You have a custom home after all! Go for the design you want.

Ample Storage

Speaking of personal space, one thing that is absolutely non-negotiable is ensuring you have ample storage in your master bath. Whether you’re opting for vanity drawers, a custom-built linen closet, or even a few strategically-placed open shelves, having space to store all those unsightly odds and ends we all use each day in the bathroom is highly recommended. In fact, if you’ve ever had trouble achieving that hotel-quality bathroom style because of constantly-cluttered countertops, then this will be a lifesaver for you. Now, your storage areas don’t have to be perfect, but even something as simple as an open drawer where you can quickly toss your daily toiletries out of sight will give your master bath a luxurious spa-like aesthetic each and every day.

Relaxation

A custom master bath isn’t complete without relaxation at the forefront of the design. Not everyone will want the same elements, of course, but whether you love a rejuvenating shower each morning, or prefer a long bath before bed, you should incorporate your lifestyle into your design. Skip the typical tub/shower combo and single shower head. With a custom master bath, you have the chance to go all out (and we highly recommend doing so). If you have the square footage, it’s worth it to install both a soaking tub and a separate walk-in shower so you can take advantage of both options. Or, at the very least, if a tub is something you just aren’t into at all, be sure to make your walk-in shower as luxurious as possible with custom shower heads that will make you feel as though you’ve entered a tropical paradise each morning. 

Quality Faucets & Hardware

To top everything off, your custom master bath needs to have a collection of quality faucets and hardware. And while it can be tempting to simply opt for the builder-grade materials, in our opinion, it’s worth it big time to source more unique hardware to fit your personal style. Aesthetically, it can be the difference between an exact replica of your neighbor’s home or a magazine-worthy design that wows guests for years (and makes you feel right at home). If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend first narrowing down your desired aesthetic. Whether you love modern, traditional, boho, vintage, or coastal, knowing your style is going to help you narrow down your options. Then, you’ll need to decide on a metal finish. The simplest solution is to keep all of your finishes consistent throughout the entire room, but you can certainly mix and match metals, too. Just remember to keep some consistency throughout by choosing no more than three metals and keeping like metals on the same plane (e.g. all vanity hardware in one metal, your light fixtures in another, and your faucets in another). 

There are endless directions you can take your master bathroom design. But no matter the specifics you choose, if you make sure to prioritize these must-haves, there’s no reason you can’t have a custom space that fits your every need. Because achieving a space that encourages total relaxation isn’t just for high-end hotels. You can get that same feeling inside the walls of your own home. With a custom master bath built to your exact specifications, you’ll never want to leave.

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What makes or breaks curb appeal? With a custom home, it may seem obvious. With everything in brand new condition, what could be more appealing than that? The truth, however, is that curb appeal is about more than maintaining a high quality condition of your home’s exterior. Curb appeal is character, charm, and beauty. It’s made up of all of the small details that together combine to make a house feel inviting through and through. And whether you’re a green thumb, or prefer things simplified for ease of maintenance, there are more curb appeal essentials beyond landscaping to consider. From your home’s color to the placement of your shutters (and more), we’re breaking down all of the essentials you need to make your home visually appealing for both you and your neighbors.

House Color

Getting the right house color seems like a no brainer, right? But requesting a yellow house, for instance, can mean many different things. A soft, almost pastel, yellow offers a cheerful, yet subtle addition to a home’s exterior. On the other hand, opting for a nearly-fluorescent shade of yellow will quickly earn your home the nickname of “lemon meringue pie” (tasty as a dessert, but not so great as a house color). The bottom line is that when you’re choosing your home’s exterior color, you want to take a few things into account. 

The first consideration is the aesthetic of your neighborhood. Do you live in an area where classic colors like white, grey, and blue reign supreme? Then skip the bright pinks or caribbean blues. Similarly, if your neighborhood is known for its artistic individuality and it has an inherently eclectic vibe, you can certainly opt for something a bit more saturated and vibrant. The second thing to keep in mind is that colors always play much brighter in the daylight. So, when choosing a bolder color, you should always opt for more subtle shades in general. For example, while you might be able to get away with a luxurious plum in a powder room or bedroom, on an exterior, it could read more like “grape soda,” so it’s safer to go with a softer shade that can work almost as a neutral instead. For the exterior of your home, playing it safe is usually a good bet. 

Front Door

Just as your house color can be either a major mood booster or a total downer, your front door has the potential to either shine or feel drab and outdated. While it may be tempting to choose any old front door that your builder recommends, remember that it’s one of the first things people see when approaching your home. So, you want it to fit your personality and home’s aesthetic. Someone who loves traditional elements and is inspired by the ornate details in a colonial home or french cottage is going to be much more pleased with a strong and thick wood door, perhaps with stained glass windows or a unique brass door knocker. Contrarily, for someone drawn to modern farmhouse vibes, a simple and straightforward door – perhaps with shaker-style detailing – will be their best fit. 

Now, whether or not you choose to make your front door pop with a unique color is totally up to you. Just be sure that if you choose a color, it works well with your exterior paint color and isn’t too neon-like in hue to blind passerby. A bright color is fine, but going overboard can be disastrous (and generally speaking, if you have a more saturated hue on your home’s exterior, it’s a good idea to create some balance and go for a more toned-down front door).

Shutters

Shutters can be absolutely stunning, no doubt. There’s something so regal and classic about adding them to each floor’s windows. However, if shutters are wrong, they are very wrong. You may not have noticed incorrectly-installed shutters in the past, but after reading this, we guarantee you’ll be able to spot them everywhere you go.

The first mistake some people make is simply buying shutters that are the wrong size. Your shutters should always be the size of your windows (after all, before they were merely decorative, they were meant to functionally close and protect your windows). A too-small shutter wouldn’t ever actually cover the entirety of your window, and even in just a decorative sense, it makes your home look stunted and odd. A too-large shutter looks a little less strange, but it also wouldn’t fit the “function” test, and somehow manages to feel unbalanced next to a smaller window. 

Another shutter mistake people often make is the placement. Remember – a shutter is supposed to, when closed, actually cover the window. So you want to install them on each wall facing the opposite direction. If your window is arched, your arched shutters should swing out so that the lowest point is facing the window and the highest point is on the outside. It may look opposite, but you have to remember that you’re placing it where it would functionally go (even if you aren’t using them functionally).

Front Porch 

There’s nothing quite like a spacious front porch (and a wraparound one is even better). But one of the biggest custom home mistakes we see is a front porch without any railings. That’s not to say it isn’t on the punch list for the future, but we promise that skipping this step is a major curb appeal faux pas. You see, railings are about more than function. Sure, they keep you safe and prevent you from falling and breaking your ankle if you take a step in the wrong direction. But beyond that, railings function in a very strategic visual way. 

Even if they are minimal and can easily be seen through, they work similar to fences, giving a sense that there is a barrier of privacy between your home and the street. It makes your front porch feel enclosed and comfortable, allowing you to fully relax as you watch passerby over a cup of coffee or a happy hour cocktail. Without it, your porch will feel bare and unfinished, to say the least.

The beauty of curb appeal is that it doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of work to get it right. By following a few basic color rules, paying attention to placement of exterior elements, and prioritizing both functionality and style, knocking out a final list of exterior home improvements is actually quite simple. And as far as home improvements go, it’s important to remember that something as straightforward as a new coat of paint can make a huge difference in the way your home looks and feels. The exterior, after all, has a large footprint and is perhaps the most stand-out aspect visually (especially since it’s the first thing anyone sees). So, the bottom line when it comes to perfecting your custom home is to remember that the exterior deserves to have the same attention to detail you’ve given to every other corner of your space. Trust us when we say that if you prioritize it, you’ll be surprised at just how incredible your home’s transformation can be.

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Creating a custom home can sometimes be misleading. “Custom” is often synonymous with “new” rather than actually being completely customized to your taste and personality. What often happens is that a custom home is built for an individual family, but it is also a replica of the neighbor’s home, or the home down the street. And while that makes sense to a certain extent given that different builders and contractors favor different styles, there’s still a level of customization that most people crave.

So, how do you truly customize your home’s look when faced with typical builder-grade fixtures, tile, and finishes? The answer is to get creative and source from a wide variety of vendors, including mom & pop shops, vintage and antique dealers, big box hardware stores, and online marketplaces. The wider you cast your net, the more unique your home’s look is bound to be.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most overlooked elements of a custom build, and many people assume they have no other option than to use the exact same flush mount fixtures throughout their home. But nothing screams “cookie cutter” like taking that route, and trust us when we say that getting your lighting right is worth every penny because it will completely transform how you feel in each space. 

To choose your lighting, you’ll first want to narrow down the style you’re drawn to. And whether that’s traditional, modern, vintage, or a mix of all three and more, you want to maintain consistency throughout your home. Then, get your size and scale right. A too-small fixture is always a bad idea, and it’s better in general to choose fixtures that are slightly bigger than you think you’ll need. An oversized chandelier can look absolutely amazing over, say, a dining room table, but a tiny pendant over that same table will definitely seem off. 

When it comes to sourcing your lighting, don’t be afraid to check out different vendors, too. Especially if you’re drawn to popular styles, there are a ton of different options to choose from, and as long as you’re keeping to your overall home style, it’s actually preferred if you have different fixtures in each space. Now, if this feels overwhelming, that’s totally okay – lighting is a fairly straightforward thing to change as time goes on, so don’t be afraid to live in the house for a bit to determine exactly the types of fixtures you love in your rooms.

Tile

Similar to lighting, tile is a major game changer in a home – but with this finish, you’ll definitely want to get it right the first time because replacing tile down the road can be a costly and messy fix. But don’t go rushing to your local hardware store to pick up whatever white subway tile or grey chevron backsplash you first lay eyes on. Choosing a tile pattern and style takes a bit more finesse to give it the most longevity in your home. 

First and foremost, remind yourself of that style goal you had in mind while choosing your lighting. The tile you select should stay true to who you are and what you love because it makes a statement, no matter where it’s placed. Have a bold and whimsical personality? Go ahead and embrace a colorful graphic encaustic tile. Prefer things a bit more streamlined and minimalist? Probably a good idea to stick to neutral colors and simple patterns. Just be sure to follow your gut instead of following whatever happens to be trendy at the moment – you want to be sure you’ll love it 5, 10, and 20 years from now.

After selecting your style, you’ll want to explore as many tile vendors as you can, both in person and online. The benefit to in-person viewing, of course, is that you can really grasp the texture and feel of each piece. But with online shopping, you do also get a much wider range of options to choose from. Whichever route you take, just remember that tile is one of those custom items that can get pricey pretty quickly. The cost runs the gamut from an inexpensive ceramic tile to a large-scale marble tile made of natural stone. These and everything in between are gorgeous, but being aware of your budget while shopping around will definitely help you narrow down your selections and stop you from falling in love with something far outside of your price range.

Flooring

Flooring is another key element you won’t want to skimp on. And whether you’re drawn to engineered flooring like luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl planks, or you prefer a good old fashioned hardwood flooring, your flooring is a choice you won’t want to make lightly.

While it may seem easy to just choose inexpensive flooring to get it done, it’s best to consider all options on the market because it will affect the lifespan of your flooring. Will you have heavy traffic areas in your home, like mudrooms and kitchens, that will likely need easy-to-maintain and durable flooring? Are you someone who prefers the soft feel of carpeting under foot when waking up in the morning, or do you like the look of natural wood with a plush rug on top instead? All of these are key factors, and ensuring that you’re looking at a variety of flooring vendors to figure out what they offer is essential.

Faucets & Hardware

Finally, making the decision on your faucets and hardware is quite important. You certainly don’t want to choose these at random because the result will be a mish mash of clashing styles throughout each space. Instead, with these selections in particular, you want to try to maintain some sort of consistency throughout. Your door handles, for one, should be identical throughout the entire home, while the finishes on your faucets and cabinet hardware can vary from room to room (as long as you’re keeping things pared down visually in those spaces). Mixed metals can work in a room, but if you’re worried about the space feeling too cluttered or overdone, it’s much easier to keep it simple and stick to a single look.

Oh, and just as you’d reach out to other vendors with your lighting, flooring, and tile, you absolutely want to take a look through multiple vendor sites and shops to find the right look for your faucets and hardware. Faucets lining your hardware store aisle are perfectly functional, but often lack the stylistic and customized elements you may prefer in the long run. Similarly, choosing your cabinet hardware is incredibly important because while these pieces are small, together they have a big impact on the overall space.

A home’s footprint and layout don’t have to be 100% customized. In fact, in many cases, reinventing the wheel (so to speak) is entirely unnecessary – after all, there’s a reason builders tend to stick to certain floor plans again and again – they work! But building a custom home should still, at the end of the day, feel customized to your needs. And while furniture and decor certainly accomplish that, you want to make sure you aren’t skipping the more permanent elements in the process. From faucets to tile, there are endless options to choose from, and with a bit of searching, you’re bound to find the look that fits just right for you.

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Windows aren’t always top-of-mind for people building custom homes. Many think they’re about as routine of a choice as the location of light fixtures or doorways – what could possibly go wrong? The answer is a lot.

You see, when windows are overlooked, it can affect quite literally everything in your home – the way you feel, the amount of natural light, privacy, water damage, soundproofing, electric costs, and more. So, if you haven’t yet given a thought to where your windows will be located in your new custom home, take a few minutes to read our guide. By understanding several key factors, you’re certain to get it right from the get-go and will definitely avoid costly and unnecessary repairs down the road

Light & Direction

Understanding where your home is situated – that is, the direction it faces – is the most important starting point when selecting your windows. But if you’ve never stopped to consider this, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the most forgotten components of a custom build for homeowners. Have you ever seen a new construction home with a single completely blank wall and zero windows on that entire side? They’re more common than you might think, and unfortunately, that’s a sure sign that the light in the home is minimal, at best.

Generally speaking, a home that faces east will receive the brightest light in the morning, while a west-facing home will see brilliant sunsets from its front windows. The south side of a home will always get the highest amount of natural light throughout the day while the darkest side of a home will be on the north side. What this means is that however your home is positioned, the choice on where to place your rooms and windows will determine exactly how much natural light streams inside.

The best bet is to place rooms that don’t need a lot of light (like the garage or bedrooms), on the north side of your home, and keep the common higher-activity spaces (like your living room or kitchen) on the south end of the building. Of course, in Texas, too much sun can mean higher electric bills in the summer heat. But that doesn’t mean you should ditch all south-facing windows for convenience. Instead, you’ll want to still keep that side of your home prioritized for light and place the light-friendly rooms in that area. You can always combat the heat with quality sun shades for your windows to save on energy, and the way that ample natural lighting will make you feel is abundantly more important in the long run.

Size & Scale

Speaking of light, when you’re choosing your home’s windows, you definitely want to take each room’s size and scale into account. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful living room with soaring cathedral ceilings paired with tiny windows fit for a small bedroom. Windows have the potential to bring a room to life, and just as you’d want furniture to fit your space like a glove, you want your windows to fit accordingly. 

Choosing the size is, of course, a personal opinion (after all, not everyone wants the lack of privacy that floor-to-ceiling windows can bring). But when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of larger windows. If you’ve ever been inside a small bedroom that still feels bright and cheery, it’s likely because the windows are sizable enough to let in plenty of light. By contrast, the opposite – a tiny window in a large room – tends to look stunted and out-of-proportion. 

Window Type

Once your direction and window size are narrowed down, you’ll need to determine the type of window that’s right for you. Style-wise, you’ll usually be faced with choosing between single/double-hung panes or crank-out/casement panes. There are other options as well – custom arched windows, glass block windows, bay windows, awning windows, and sliding windows, to name a few. But these are usually selected on a case-by-case basis, depending on your custom home needs.

Regardless of style, your window type really comes down to two functional factors: ease of cleaning and airflow. Windows like double-hungs (that open from the bottom or top and usually swing out for cleaning) or casement windows (when the full window cranks out from the home) tend to be easier to clean in general. Because you can easily access both the inside and outside of each pane, you can usually clean the entire window from one spot versus having to hire professional window cleaners each year.

As for airflow, you’ll need to decide precisely how much you’d like in your home. Casement windows (and similar-opening windows like awning or sliding options) tend to allow a full window’s worth of fresh air to enter your home. On the other hand, single-hung windows will only open halfway, meaning you’ll still catch a breeze, but it won’t be nearly as strong or cool as if the full window were open. One option isn’t necessarily better than another, but it does depend on your personal preference, so you’ll want to think about what is most important for you and your family.

Window Quality

Finally, determining the window brand that’s right for you is a must. Don’t simply go with whatever brand your builder suggests – do a bit of research on your end as well to find out their specific components, if there are any warranties (both on the window itself and on the hardware), and what their reviews are like. Something like a faucet or even a vanity are easy to change out down the road, but for windows, you want to ensure you get quality right away. 

You see, while windows are visually important for a home (as evidenced by each of the above sections), they’re also structurally essential. Anytime there is a hole cut into a home (doors, roofs, windows, etc.), it literally opens up your home to potential damage. And if these elements aren’t installed properly or they are poor quality, you can be subjected to excessive rainwater build-up or leaks, mold, rotting wood, or even vermin. Plus, a higher quality window will be much more sound-proof and sturdy, and can even provide a better seal to stop unnecessary heat or AC from escaping (keeping your energy costs low). So the importance of choosing windows that are reliable cannot be overstated. Always go for quality if you can swing it financially – we promise it’s worth every penny.

Windows don’t have to be complicated, but they do deserve some serious attention. Because no matter what type of window you’re drawn to, how much airflow you desire, or what level of cleaning ease you prefer, selecting the windows that will fit your vision of your dream home is a must. Over time, it will be one of the smartest investments you’ve ever made.

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Designing a custom home can be overwhelming, to say the least. From hardware finishes to wall paint, landscaping, windows, flooring, and more, there is an infinite number of options to choose from. And while that is, of course, the whole idea behind a custom home, it doesn’t make it any less challenging to wade through the details and narrow down your selections – especially if you’re new to the process.

So, what’s the solution? Do you simply go with the builder recommendations and settle for a carbon copy of the neighbor’s layout? Or do you fully embrace the stress and decision process in order to get what you really want?

Well, it turns out that there’s a middle ground and it entails hiring an interior designer.

Now, if you’ve never considered a designer or aren’t really sure what it is they do or if they’re worth the money, fear not. Today, we’re breaking down exactly what to expect when working with one, and we guarantee it’ll make that decision just a little bit easier for you to manage. Because when it comes to a custom route, we want you to get it right with the least amount of stress possible.

What does an interior designer do?

At a basic level, interior designers guide you from start to finish in the custom home building process, helping you achieve your ideal style, all while staying within your budget and keeping your goals at the forefront of the design. They’re different from the builder in that they are not working exclusively with the structure itself, but also taking into account how you want to use each space – all the way down to your choices in furniture and decor. Whether you have a spacious home office at the top of your “must-have” list, or you need to prioritize your growing family and your love of entertaining guests, an interior designer keeps your specific needs in mind and can make recommendations that will dramatically improve the layout and experience of your custom home.

How much does it cost?

The cost of an interior designer ranges dramatically, depending on the designer you use and the level of service they provide. Most designers will offer a range in their service levels, starting with project consulting and moving all the way up to full-service design work. Project consulting is usually reserved for small design challenges such as choosing paint colors or a furniture layout in a space. Full-service design work is the start-to-finish process that likely comes to mind when you think of interior design; a designer will run point on your entire project from the construction phase through to selecting your furnishings. 

The fee structure can be hourly or charged as a flat fee, but regardless of the method, you can expect to pay a “designer fee” for their expertise on top of the cost of any furnishings or decor. This can range anywhere from $1,000-2,000 all the way into the $10,000 + range. The reason behind the wide variety of charges, of course, is experience. The more veteran a designer is, the higher their hourly rate or flat fee will be. However, while you may be paying more, you’re also receiving top-notch service and they’ve spent their entire careers perfecting the design process, so it’s truly a hands-off and stress-free experience. 

What are the benefits?

Having an interior designer working alongside you every step of the way typically makes the custom home building process much smoother in the long run. Not only do they take the lead from a project management standpoint, but they also help to eliminate the overwhelm when it comes to selecting the right elements for your home. In a full-scale design situation, they work with you first to understand your lifestyle needs and the home styles you tend to gravitate towards. Then, they help you to stick to that goal as you progress through the entire custom building process. Rather than getting distracted by another shiny new finish, they keep you rooted in what you actually want, and take the vast majority of work off your plate. Plus, hiring an interior designer ensures that you won’t pay double for mistakes down the road like buying furniture that isn’t to scale or choosing flooring that doesn’t meet the needs of your busy family.

What are the drawbacks?

Aside from the high cost of hiring an interior designer, designers aren’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. If you’re the type of person who really enjoys a more hands-on approach and actually wants to be a major player in the custom building process, then having a designer on your team could be a detriment. It might feel like too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Additionally, you have to be very intentional about which designer you choose. Every designer has their own style, and it ranges drastically from ultra modern and minimalist to traditional and vintage-inspired. If you select a designer only for their cost structure, for instance, you may end up with someone whose design style is in complete opposition to your own (and you could hate the final product as a result).

What should I look for when hiring a designer?

This brings us to our next point: hiring an interior designer is a process. You absolutely want to avoid simply choosing a designer based on a single factor alone. Take the time to really vet your options before signing a contract. Price, naturally, is a top consideration. After all, you need to stay within your budget to build a successful custom home. But in addition to this, you’ll want to dig into each designer’s portfolio. Do their designs make you swoon? Or do you find yourself muttering “not my style” under your breath while viewing each photo? While designers do work for a wide range of clients with all different styles, they tend to have a “type” that they prefer to design for, and a quick look through their website and portfolio will tell you all you need to know. 

Beyond a designer’s style, you may want to have a call or consultation with several to determine if they are a good fit for you personality-wise. It may seem unnecessary, but remember that the custom home process is lengthy and there can be a lot of emotions wrapped up in each decision. You want to work with someone who not only has your best interests in mind, but also with someone you feel comfortable working with (even if things get a bit tricky or complicated).

Finally, don’t forget to take into account a designer’s experience in the industry. Newbies who have just started their careers can absolutely create stunning work, but sometimes they are a bit too green to take on a massive custom home project. It may be better to go with a designer who has a thick portfolio of work and a seemingly endless list of positive reviews from past clients. You’ll need to assess your comfort level with this.

A custom home is an amazing route to take in the DFW area – especially when you can choose exactly the finishes that you know will make you and your family happy for years to come. But before you take on the entire load alone, make sure you at least consider hiring an interior designer. It may make the process seamless and enjoyable rather than stressful and time-consuming. And as long as you follow this list of considerations when making that decision, you’re sure to end up with a designer who fits your style to perfection.

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When building your custom home, landscaping may be the last thing on your mind. Considering all of the decisions that go into the interior of your home, it’s fairly easy to push it aside for a later time. But before you shelf the world outside your windows, you may want to at least come up with a gameplan in time for planting season.

Every area of the country, of course, has its own unique climate, and North Texas is no exception. So when it comes to your landscaping, you don’t want to start planting any old tree or flower on a whim. Getting the right mix of plants – and ideally perennial plants native to Texas – that will survive and thrive in the heat and in the proper soil is a must. Not only does it ensure the health of the plants themselves, but it also helps to establish your own peace of mind. And trust us when we say that a self-sustaining landscape design is worth every second of planning. In the long run, it’s far less work and it allows your home to blend in with its natural surroundings.

Large-Scale Trees & Shrubs

Perhaps the most maintenance-free of plant choices, trees and shrubs offer both shade and a variety of visual height and silhouettes to bring your custom home to life. Our state tree – pecan – is an obvious starter choice since its wide-spreading branches offer shade and an added bonus of fresh pecans right in your own backyard. Additionally, oaks and maples are great shade trees to plant given their hardiness in high heat climates and their vibrant autumn colors. For ornamental trees that add an infusion of color and sweet-smelling blooms to your yard, you can’t go wrong with crape myrtle, yaupon holly, Texas mountain laurel, or magnolia.

Ideal shade shrubs include boxwoods, hydrangea, yews, and Rose Creek abelia – many of which produce a show of flowers each year. For full sun areas, stick to junipers for added height and nandinas and Purple Diamond loropetalum for a splash of pink and purple in your garden.

Flowers

It’s always a good idea to add a bit of color into the mix, and given our sun-soaked land here in Texas, there are endless species available to use. Generally speaking, you want to layer your flowers in a way that balances things visually. Keep the higher-growing plants towards the back of your garden and the lower ones in front so each gets its chance to shine (and you don’t miss out on the array of gorgeous colors that will bloom). 

Salvia adds a beautiful purple color into the mix, is incredibly hardy, and keeps pests away while inviting an array of butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden. For show-stopping blooms, you can opt for hibiscus (Lord Baltimore or Moy Grande) or rose (Belinda’s Dream or Knock Out); both are larger than life and a lush tropical aesthetic to your landscaping. And of course, for flowers with ultra-fragrant and colorful blooms, be sure to pepper in some gold star esperanza, Fourth of July roses, Mexican plum, or sweet white violet. 

Groundcover

Groundcover plants, while not essential, are excellent landscaping options – especially if you’re looking to fill empty spaces or provide a layer of texture to your lawn. They also help to create a healthy environment for surrounding plants since they act as “rain gardens” of sorts, soaking up any excess hydration and preventing larger plants from being overwatered. They also serve to minimize weed growth and halt erosion and soil damage.

A few go-to groundcovers we love that provide a nice lush green color include straggler daisy, cedar sedge, silver ponyfoot, and horseherb. For groundcover plants that add a touch of color, consider incorporating primrose, phlox, or verbena.

Grasses

Of course, choosing the right grasses for your custom home’s landscaping is a must as well. Grasses can, admittedly, struggle to survive in North Texas for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the soil is not well-maintained or does not drain properly (and this is especially the case for custom home lots that have seen massive soil compaction during the building process), so getting the right balance of nutrients is essential. Other times, people plant the wrong grasses for the level of sun or shade that their lawn receives each day. Different species of grasses will thrive in different environments, so you’ll want to choose the right one so you don’t have to replace it a short time down the road.

In general, grasses that thrive in full sun include Bermuda grass and buffalograss. Partial shade grasses to consider include St. Augustine and Zoysia. Shade grasses are a bit more difficult to grow, but there are several species that do well overall in these areas. These include Mondo grass, fescue, and bluegrass. You can also opt for more ornamental grasses to add some height and texture to your garden; zebragrass, purple fountaingrass, pampasgrass, and inland sea oats are excellent candidates.

Whether you are drawn to the larger silhouettes of trees and shrubs, prefer a burst of color in your garden, or enjoy the simplicity of a grass-filled lawn, getting the right landscaping for your custom home is an incredibly important step in the building process. Because as thrilling as it may be to see your home come to life within its four walls, without a strategically-placed mix of plants, it will feel stark, empty, and completely void of curb appeal. And while landscaping is certainly lower on the list of items to complete, it’s something you definitely don’t want to skip.

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Your choice of flooring will have a definite impact on the overall look and feel of your custom home, and 2021 is all about bare flooring with premium finishes. 

Two of the most popular types of bare flooring available these days are concrete and hardwood. Both options come with their pros and cons. 

Our goal in this post is to measure both advantages and disadvantages these options offer, to be able to determine which option is best for you.

Concrete Flooring

While concrete flooring in a residential setting is a relatively new option, it can add value to your custom home construction because of its durability and affordability. In addition, this option provides a myriad of customization options, making it possible for you to add a unique touch to your dream home in Dallas. 

Pros

Concrete is Tough and Resistant

Concrete is used in sidewalks, roadways and construction because it is strong and durable. Concrete is tough and resistant to most damage, so it can be specifically beneficial for those areas in your home that receive high traffic regularly. 

Low Maintenance

Concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they need little to no upkeep once installed. Cleaning sealed concrete surfaces is easy and hassle-free as well. All you need to do is to mop the dirty surfaces, and you’re good to go. 

Also, when properly sealed and finished, concrete is highly stain-resistant so usually a few strokes of a mop with any quality eco-friendly detergent or floor cleaner is enough to keep your floor looking like new. 

Customization Options

Concrete floors are highly customizable. There are many types of stains and dyes that you can apply to give your custom flooring the look and finish of your choice, for example. Stamped concrete is another option that is a huge trend currently, and is created using rubber or metal stamps to add texture or designs to the finish.  It is hugely popular and provides practically endless customization options.

Heated Floors

Whether you’re building a custom home or adding concrete flooring to an existing slab, you can include a radiant heating system to make your floors feel warm during cold days. Adding this feature can be especially beneficial in North Texas, where winter temperatures often drop into the single-digits.

Eco-Friendly and Energy-Efficient

Concrete floors are both environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient. Their durability and insulation rating makes them an ideal choice for homeowners who want to build an energy-efficient, functional home in Dallas where temperatures can vary dramatically throughout the year.

Affordable

Compared to hardwood flooring, concrete floors can be incredibly affordable, with prices ranging between $2 and $30 per square foot depending on the type of finish and complexity of any added patterns you might choose.

Easy to Install

The installation of a concrete floor doesn’t require the cutting, nailing, joining, gluing and other installation challenges of hardwood flooring. Installation only requires pouring the concrete and leaving it to cure for 3 to 7 days (depending on temperature and humidity). 

It Adds Value to your Home

When finished properly, concrete flooring can improve the look and value of a home.  In fact, many realtors we know prefer to represent and invest time in properties that include concrete floors, as according to them, they can add to the overall value of the house. 

Cons

Slippery and Heavy

Concrete floors are heavy, and they’re not an ideal choice for floors connected by joists. Also, homeowners with kids may not prefer to install concrete floors as they can become glossy and slippery once polished. 

Concrete Floors Can Crack

Concrete floors can crack if the soil forming a home’s foundation settles or shifts, which is not uncommon in many areas around Dallas. Even if you get your concrete floor installed by a pro, the risk of cracking over time remains unless your foundation is rock-solid.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring has been around for centuries and exemplifies luxury and class. But similar to concrete floors, hardwood flooring comes with its own pros and cons.

Pros

Timeless and Classic Look

Hardwood flooring is popular because of its timeless look and classic appeal. It adds opulence to the overall home decor. Because of its price, this type of flooring is generally chosen by owners who want to give a high-end touch to their custom homes.  

Improves Your Custom Home’s Resale Value

Since hardwood flooring is a premium flooring option, it automatically adds to the resale value of your house. 

Plenty of Design and Customization Options Available

Hardwood flooring is available in a wide range of options, making it easy for you to choose something that fits your individual needs and custom home requirements

Heated Floors

As with concrete, you can include a radiant heating option to make your wood floors feel warm during cold days. 

Blends with All Types of Interiors

A significant advantage of installing hardwood flooring in your custom home in Dallas is that it can be perfectly coordinated to blend with your home decor. Whether it’s the contemporary home aesthetic or a vintage design, specific hardwood flooring chosen to match will enhance the look of your home. 

Cons

It’s Expensive

Hardwood flooring is expensive when you compare it with concrete or other types of flooring. Depending on how premium the wood is, the cost difference can be huge.  Unless you have plenty of budget, this option may not be the most practical for you.

High Maintenance

Hardwood flooring is also relatively high-maintenance. You need to maintain it with regular care, and you may have to get it fixed by a carpenter every now and then to help retain its form and shine.  

Not Eco-Friendly

Real hardwood flooring comes from real trees, so it is not as eco-friendly as some other options, including concrete.   If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, then hardwood floors may not be your best option.

Hard to Install

Hardwood flooring is tough to install. There are several essentials involved, including nails, glue, manual labor and various tools needed to install wood flooring in your custom home. The installation charges are pretty high, too. 

Hard to Clean

Unlike concrete that you can clean with your mop and a vacuum, you have to pay special attention to cleaning hardwood flooring. Specialized cleaning products should be used, and using too much water to clean your wood flooring can cause moisture damage, buckling and damage to the finish, all of which can reduce its life. 

All in all, what you should choose for your custom home depends on your preferences, budget, and goals.

Did you know finishing your attic can increase the value of your custom home in Dallas, while also providing additional living or recreational space and utility?

There are many ways you can transform an unfinished attic into a living space. We’re going to discuss a few of those fun ideas while sharing some of our tried-and-tested tips to help you build out your attic space with minimum hassle. 

Things You Can Make Out of Your Attic Space

Guest Bedroom

Need a spare bedroom for your friends and family? The attic is the perfect spot to construct one. You can even build a small and functional attached bathroom to ensure your guests’ comfort. 

Library

If you love reading and collecting books you can remodel your attic space into a compact library. Make sure you utilize space efficiently to maximize shelving for your literary treasures.

Playroom

Unless your kids are genetically engineered to be neat, they are likely to be messy.  Many parents would love to provide them a space to explore their creativity, and converting your attic into a lively playspace is an excellent way to contain their chaos.

Home Office

No space left for your home office while building a custom home in Dallas? Don’t worry. You can utilize your attic space to construct one where you can work from home without any disturbance. 

Sun Room

Yes, you can also convert your attic into a bright and beautiful sunroom. Install skylights and large windows, and invest in comfortable seating to soak up the sun. Add a few plants to make your place look more tropical and relaxing.

Home Theatre

Get a large TV or projection screen, install theater seats or add bean bags, and grab the popcorn. Yes, transform your attic space into a home theatre that you or your family members and friends can enjoy day or night. 

Now that you know some of the fun things you can turn your attic into, it’s time to have a look at a few tips you should consider before you start a custom attic building project in Dallas. 

10 Tips to Consider When Constructing the Attic for Your Custom Home in Dallas

1. Make Sure Your Attic Meets Local Building Codes

Don’t even think about converting your attic space without pulling a permit. It will become trouble for you to resell your home without a permit. To apply for a permit, you need to get your attic project designed and approved by a licensed architect. 

Even if you plan to remodel your attic by taking a DIY route, you should get some paperwork done by the pro to avoid future hurdles.

2. Have a Larger Staircase and Landing

Attics designed to store boxes and leftover stuff do not require a larger staircase and landing. But when you plan to transform them into a living space, you need to consider adding both. The stairs should be wide enough to accommodate furniture, while the landing should have enough space to handle the top-turn of the stairs.

3. Have Your Heating and Ventilation Needs Covered

The next critical step is to check the capacity of your HVAC unit. Bring an electrician to see if your current HVAC system can handle the load of another room. If not, you may have to get additional ductwork done or add a new unit. If you’re on a tight budget, you may consider investing in a multi-split system.

4. Keep the Cost Factor in Mind

According to Home Advisor, the average cost of an attic upgrade is $49,438. But it depends on your project requirements and the custom elements your project includes. If you’re taking a DIY route, while you may save a lot on labor costs you should still budget for your attic upgrade in your custom home building budget, to cover other expenses you may have to bear to convert the attic. 

5. Call in an Expert for a Structural Analysis

Keeping your attic space for storing Christmas decorations doesn’t need you to think about the floor capacity. But when you expect your floor to hold furniture and people, then this aspect becomes more crucial than ever. You can hire an expert structural engineer or a contractor to conduct a structural analysis of your custom construction. They can guide you through the steps you can take to enhance the capacity of your attic space to support heavy objects and people.

6. Ditch the Drywall Ceiling

While the drywall ceiling is cheap, it is outdated and boring. You can turn a typical attic ceiling into something exciting by opting for a custom look or even with premium wood ceiling options. 

7. Choose Lighter Colors to Paint Your Attic

The next idea to consider is the paint for the walls and ceilings of your attic. Because these spaces are often smaller with fewer window options, lighter colors lend to a more spacious feel while darker colors may make the space feel smaller.  If you’ve been able to add a skylight or large windows, lighter paint palletes will definitely complement the outside light and brighten up the space significantly.

8. Add a Bathroom

We know adding a bathroom to your attic space is a costly investment, but if you’re going to spend any time in the converted space, it is worth it. Especially if you have turned your attic into a bedroom, you need to have an attached bathroom to make your living space more livable. 

9. Install High-Density Fiberglass Insulation

Instead of using cheap and unreliable kraft-supported fiberglass insulation, install high-density fiberglass insulation alternatives. Spray foam is also a good option, as is mineral wool, an insulations which is easier to install and yields professional results. 

10. Install Attic Flooring

Congratulations! You’re about to finish building out your attic space. The next step is to choose the flooring for the space you have just designed and constructed. While you can choose from a variety of options your custom builder can work with, Carpeting makes a smart choice as it will make your living space more sound-proof and adds extra insulation. 

There you have it – 10 Tips to Consider When Constructing Attic for Your Custom Home in Dallas.

In this post, we’re going to talk about some of the more popular elements of modern home design that can be incorporated into your custom home in Dallas.

Essentials of Modern Architecture

Simplicity is Key

With modern housing architecture, less is more. From design to materials, from exterior finishes to interior floor plans, everything revolves around simplicity. 

Simple Floor and Roof Plans

Conventional homes tend to have traditional layouts, with floorplan designs constrained by load-bearing walls which are required throughout the structure.  Modern designs allow more flexibility. as those load-bearing walls are usually not required for advanced, modern architecture.

Modern homes are usually designed with clean, effortless layouts that provide a logical arrangement of rooms, parking spaces, and landscaping. 

Similarly, modern home designs tend to focus on simple roof designs rather than old-fashioned gabled and pitched roof designs. 

Clean Lines and Geometry

Modern housing architecture emphasizes clean and crisp lines with interesting geometry. It tends to incorporate horizontal and vertical elements and usually excludes unnecessary embellishments or outlandish ornamentation.

Vertical and horizontal elements create a form of hierarchy and bring balance to the overall look and feel of the design.

Bring Natural Light into Interiors

One of the more prominent features of most modern house designs is large, unadorned windows. Large windows tend to have beautiful curb appeal from the outside, and allow natural light to play a part in the interior aesthetic.

Open Up the Space

Unlike traditional homes which have interior floor plans requiring walls and doors for structural integrity, modern houses make use of the open spaces their advanced architecture allows. Traditional homes typcially include closed rooms and separated kitchens and dining rooms, while modern, contemporary architecture favors open floor plans.  One prominent example is that their kitchens are usually merged with living areas to create more space and add functionality. Such open floorplans lend themselves to comfortable gatherings and easy flow of traffic throughout the house.

Neutral Color Palettes

Neutral colors are the current trend when it comes to interior color selection for most modern houses.  Neutral tones add light and and a sense of “lightness” to the interior feel, especially when integrated with the natural sunlight provided by most modern designs.

You may, however, want to play around with textures to accentuate and draw attention to your house’s contemporary elements. 

Bare Floors in Eccentric Finishes

Bare flooring with premium finishes is the latest trend. Keep the look of your house interior modern yet minimal by choosing hardwood, vinyl, marble, glazed tiles or even concrete flooring. 

These materials may cost more than carpets or rugs, but they tend to be easier to clean and more hygienic in addition to looking beautiful.

Contemporary Exterior Details

Your house exterior is equally important to the overall look of a modern house. Open parking lots, plenty of greenery or xeriscaping, and dedicated patio space can all add to the look of the modern home exterior. 

There is a wide array of materials ranging from metals to synthetics to even bricks and wood that can be used both in the actual construction or as accents, to add to the exterior aesthetic of a modern home.

Another element that can be especially impactful with modern designs is exterior lighting.  Solar LEDs, perimeter lighting, landscape lighting and even tree lighting can make your custom home stand out.

We hope this post has offered valuable insights about modern custom home essentials. For more questions or to provide your feedback, you can reach out using the comments section below. We’d love to hear back.