When building a new house, you must consider many options while your forever home is under construction. The design should fit not only your current needs and lifestyle but also your future life.
These decisions are important because, when most people build a custom home, they usually intend to live there for a long time. Therefore, when designing your forever home, don’t forget about vital age-in-place features, too. These features allow you to live comfortably in your residence now and throughout your golden years as well. During construction, these small changes or additions will save you money and time on future remodeling projects and potential issues.
Below are seven tips to help you design your perfect forever home.
Start With a Sturdy Shell When Building Your Forever Home
Work from the ground up and from the outside in when designing your forever home. Your structure is only as strong as its foundation and walls. Before determining more intricate interior design details, begin by discussing the larger construction elements. Consider durability and longevity first. Wisconsin has frigid and windy winters, rainy springs, and hot, humid summers, so choose materials to withstand the climate and maintain their integrity.
When building your forever home, ask the builder to use high-quality materials that require less maintenance. Start with a sturdy foundation and consider high R-value insulation, siding, doors, windows, and roofing materials that can stand up to whatever comes their way.
Choosing the right building materials will make a major difference in your home upkeep costs and utility bills. It will also minimize the amount of repair work you’ll do and add to your peace of mind.
Leave Room to Grow When Building Your Dream Home
As mentioned earlier, your forever home should accommodate your current lifestyle, as well as your potential future needs. As you design your house, think about the future. Do you plan to raise children here? Will your elderly parents eventually move in? Perhaps you’ll be working from home and will require an office. Do you enjoy entertaining? Do you have hobbies that need space?
Allocate enough bathrooms, bedrooms, and living areas for everyone to feel comfortable. Not having enough room to grow at the start could lead to costly building additions in the future.
It is also vitally important to consider accessibility. As you and your spouse/partner age, you may not want to go up and down stairs every day. Consider locating a room on the ground floor as a home office today and as a master bedroom later.
Steer Clear of New Home Design Trends
There are many interior design trends fashionable right now. Still, they’ll likely change soon, leaving you with an outdated-looking living space. Forever homes are created with classic longevity and timeless designs in floor plans, not with trendy decor. So, look for ageless style elements rather than decorate your home with the hottest trends.
When you’re designing the architecture and layout of your forever home, this mindset is most applicable. The style of your furniture or the color of your walls can be trendier because you can easily change them. But remodeling projects get very expensive when you knock down walls and rearrange rooms.
Focus on the Floor Plan for Your Forever Home
Work with a licensed architect when designing the floor plan for your forever home. The best floor plan for your lifestyle requires a lot of discussions, planning, visualization, and organization. The right builder will ensure your home is equal parts fashionable and functional, for now, and in the future.
When creating the blueprint for your home, discuss with the architect how frequently and easily each room flows from one space to the next. A more open floor plan enables an easy flow of traffic and increases the amount of usable living space.
Instead of opening up the entire first floor, some homeowners create the same feeling by widening the doorway between the dining area and the living room. Some prefer one large space for the kitchen and dining room with a separate living area. Using large archways instead of doors can open up the space without removing walls.
Thoroughly Plan Plumbing and Electrical Work When Designing Your Forever Home
Think critically about where your electrical work and plumbing will be located. It is best if you approve where plumbing fixtures and electrical switches are placed. These elements will likely stay in the same position for the life of your forever home.
Always work with a licensed plumber and electrician. These professionals can offer the best solutions for placement and ensure that everything is installed correctly and safely. For example, they will make sure you have enough easily accessible electrical outlets. That way, you won’t have to blindly reach behind the couch or get down on your hands and knees when you’re 75 years old.
Determine Your New Home’s Budget
Whether you’re designing your forever home currently or plan to wait a while, start budgeting for it now. If you’re beginning your career, it’s impossible to know what you’ll need when you retire. But by working with a financial advisor, you can set a realistic budget. For a home that you only intend to stay in for a maximum of 10 years, you can consider a smaller budget. But, it’s worth spending a little bit more if you intend to spend the rest of your life in this home.
Understand Universal Design for Your Forever Home
Universal design is defined by The National Association of Home Builders as the following: “The design of environments and products utilitarian to all individuals (without needing to be adapted or requiring specialized design) to the greatest extent possible.”
Universal design meets the needs of anyone and creates flexibility as someone’s abilities and needs change. Most importantly, this means if you use universal design now, you won’t need to make expensive renovations to your house later.
For example, sidewalks were initially designed with curb cuts for wheelchair accessibility. However, they’re ideal for baby strollers, delivery staff using rolling carts, and kids on skateboards and bicycles. Extra-wide hallways were also designed for wheelchair use but can be very helpful when moving large furniture. If you have the goal of aging-in-place in your forever home, be aware of common universal design features. They won’t change the look or feel of your home yet make it easier to live there longer.
Common Universal Design Features
When designing your forever home, consider adding several features of universal design. For example, building a single-story ranch home keeps better mobility in mind. It will offer a kitchen, bedroom, and a full bath all on one level. A no-step entrance into the house is the perfect way to accommodate anyone with a walker or wheelchair, or even young kids and aging pets.
Talk to your builder as you make decisions for your forever home:
- Lever-handle door knobs and rocker-style electrical switches give both children and adults ease of use
- Bright lighting will help family and guests avoid trips and falls
- Accessible storage spaces and pull-out shelving can keep your things easily within reach with less clutter
- An open floor plan can keep your home spacious and easily maneuverable
- Electrical outlets should be raised or lowered with future needs in mind
- Flush thresholds allow for ease of movement and fewer trips and falls
- Non-slip flooring will be safe with kids around or as you age
- Building reinforced bathroom walls with grab bars right away is more efficient than tearing out and rebuilding an old wall, and both children and elderly can use them
In short, you’ll save money and time with less stress if you plan for the future of your forever home. You can live in your dream home today and still enjoy it tomorrow.
Let Cobblestone Builders Create the Home of Your Dreams
Retirement might be a long way off for you. But you can design a home today as you think about your future. Choose the right builder who knows how to build a home suitable for your family both now and tomorrow. Cobblestone Builders can answer all your questions and provide you with expert advice to create your forever home.
Are you ready to build your dream home? Design a home you and your family will love for decades.
If aging-in-place is important to you, Cobblestone Builders will design and build a beautiful and comfortable home that will suit you for years to come. Your forever home awaits – contact Cobblestone Builders today.