Designing and building your own home is a thrilling experience, giving you the chance to turn the home of your wildest dreams into a reality. Of course, between fantasy and reality there lies a lot of hard work, nailing down all the practicalities it will take to bring your dreams to life. It’s far from impossible – assuming your demands aren’t too wild! – but putting things together when it comes to laying down foundations and putting up walls will be a challenge.
Nonetheless, enthusiasm can go a long way in getting you to the point where you’re coming home to your ideal house and chosen furniture every evening. As long as you fasten that enthusiasm to a sense of clarity, and follow the tips below, your self-designed custom home could be everything you ever hoped it would be.
Be realistic about storage space
We all like to think about the exciting aspects of a custom home – infinity pools and kitchen islands are certainly show-stopping features – but when you’re going to be living there, you need to temper excitement with reality. For one thing, this home is going to need to hold all of your stuff. Storage may not be exciting, but it needs to be taken into account. Enough closets to hold your clothes, enough cupboards to contain your kitchen items, and a bit extra because you know that nowhere you have ever lived has had enough space. Honestly, an entire additional full-sized room just to store things won’t be a bad idea.
Actually use the loft space
Plenty of people embark on an attic conversion after living in a home for a while and thinking about all the cool things they could do with that extra room. If you’re building from scratch, then you can get ahead of things by assigning a purpose to it immediately. Then you can commission the necessary roof diagrams and ensure that your loft space is sturdy enough and your home equipped to handle a functional room in that area. As anyone who has had that space converted will tell you, it’s never cheap to do this after the fact.
Take your budget and then add at least 15%
You may well have budgeted your self-build home down to every plank of wood, every single bolt, screw and frill, but you would be astonished just how common it is to not budget in key things like landscaping and road access. When you build a new home, it doesn’t end at the front door; you’ll need to make the ground secure to build on and ensure there is space around the house. You’re also likely to have legal fees to cover, and let’s not forget getting hooked up to the utilities grids. We’ve not even covered everything here; that’s what building a house is like – no matter how much planning you put into 100 different things, #101 will catch you out. So make sure you build in a hefty contingency – and dip into it only when needed.
Building your own home is an enthralling experience. It can quickly become frustrating if you don’t plan for little eventualities – but if you take a realist’s eye view, you can prevent things getting out of hand.