Planning for your forever home naturally takes time and attention. If you want your design to be long-lasting and successful, work with an architect or designer that specializes in custom homes. The right one will help you find a design you’ll love, as well as help you select the right materials to ensure that design outlasts anything nature throws at it.
Bringing your home’s design to life means having a clear vision of the project, and working with the right residential architect will help you achieve it more easily.
The right architect will ensure you build a custom home that suits your family’s specific needs and meets local building codes. Equally important, they’ll ensure that the layout, materials and cost for the design all meet that vision.
“Two other pieces of advice I give anyone who is planning on building their dream house: (1) Know going into it that every house involves some sort of compromise and usually some unexpected challenges, and (2) there will be at least one week during your project you’ll wish you never undertook it, and whatever structure you managed to erect you’ll pray will burn to the ground. Push through that week,” says Marc Appleton of Appleton Partners, an established architectural firm in California.
The forever home architect you choose should have a process and timeline that you can trust, along with solutions and materials to enhance your home’s specific design.
They’ll ensure you find a design that isn’t cookie-cutter and won’t try to sell you on materials or products that aren’t a good fit for you or your budget. For example, you might be interested in a brick, stucco or poured concrete exterior, but a helpful architect will know if those products will perform in your specific region and whether or not their installation times could lead to labor or weather delays.
Finding the right architect can be a challenge, but doing the legwork upfront is seldom regretted. Ask friends who they’ve worked with or try reaching out to a few firms to see which of them are busiest. “It is often more prudent to wait for a booked architect than roll the dice with an unknown quantity,” explains Appleton.
“When selecting an architect you should also check references from their previous clients,” advises Appleton. Find out how easy the architect was to work with, if there were specific design challenges and if they were able to find solutions for their design without any trouble.
“Ask how well the architect responded to their expectations and needs, how professionally he or she handled the design process, were design challenges met with tantrums, outbursts, or curling up in the fetal position?” jokes Appleton.
When you’re doing research for the right custom home architect, take a look at their website for an inspiration gallery or past project highlights.
“A practice’s website will be their main selling tool, and chances are there will be a handful of well-photographed projects for you to browse through,” explains Daisy Jeffery for Homebuilding and Renovating. “This will give you an indication as to the caliber of work they produce, the architectural style they might specialize in, materials they’re familiar with and the construction methods they’re used to working with.”
Upon developing a shortlist of architects for consideration, begin to narrow it down further. In advance of interviewing them, take into account the following to ensure the conversation goes smoothly:
“Many homeowners will express their delight that their architect was able to design a home better than they could have imagined,” says Jeffery. “Just be careful that things don’t get carried away or that you sacrifice certain elements you’ve longed for all because an impulsive designer went rogue and wanted to try something new.”
Designing your custom home means keeping the future in mind. Homeowners can help guarantee they get a design they’ll love — that will be long-lasting — when they keep the following strategies in mind for forever home design.
Keep color in mind. Choose classic colors like gray and white for a design that will look appealing for decades.
This homeowner chose contrasting black trim to stand out against the home’s white finish. The look of warm, natural wood pairs well with the rest of the cool-toned exterior, and since the homeowner chose fiber cement board siding, it will be easy to maintain for decades to come.
Adding natural elements to your home’s exterior can enhance the beauty of your surroundings. Plus, bringing the outdoors into your home design can add even greater value.
The expansive glass and timber-themed wall design in this home’s interior make a bold impression, and in northern climates, the additional daylight can help save on energy bills over the long term.
Know what’s on-trend. Aesthetic elements like wood and stone have long been popular. Selecting fiber cement panels that emulate these for exterior and interior applications can help homeowners achieve a wide range of styles, like the inspired design below. By choosing from Nichiha’s cement board cladding options, homeowners benefit from durable, high-performing protection while simultaneously getting the precise desired aesthetic.
Choosing a custom home architect for your forever home can be intimidating, but it’s an opportunity to design a space that is truly your own. As you begin researching potential architects, keep this checklist handy so you can be sure you’re making the right decision for your forever home.
Need more custom home inspiration? Check out these projects for more appealing fiber cement design.