A Guide to the Custom Home Design Process

Designing and building a one-of-a-kind custom home provides a unique freedom. Many people take advantage of that freedom, making the decision to build a custom home because they have specific ideas of the features, style and design they want in their home. 

At Turner & Son Homes, our experienced team is ready to work to make those ideas a reality. We are known throughout the region as a home builder who gets the job done. Beginning with the initial consultation, our goal is to work hand-in-hand with you to ease you through the process, from budget planning to move-in.

Some of the first steps in the process can be made on your own, if you so choose. You can determine your budget for the build, set a goal as to when you want to move in, and locate a piece of property if you don’t already have land. 

From there, let’s take a quick look at designing your home, understanding rural design trends, and working with a builder.

Designing Your Home

As you start the process of designing your dream home, grab a pencil and piece of paper. Start listing the rooms you want, the features you want them to have, and the function they will serve. Consider your lifestyle as you go through the design process and determine what aspects of it should be built into the rooms.

Once you have nailed down your list of rooms, start sketching. Don’t worry if your sketches aren’t professional in appearance, what you are trying to do is convey your thoughts and ideas to a professional. Find an architect if you want to make your rough sketches a set of plans or have your builder handle this step. At Turner & Son, we incorporate this step into our process. We  design your floor plan with you so you don’t have to pay an outside architect. This lets you put more money towards the home itself.

Your list of rooms and sketches will help determine the needed square footage of your home. Also, as you start working on the design, you need to consider structural elements such as multiple floors, porches, garages, or a basement. All of these factors will help you determine the type of layout and floor plan you want.

Jot down any design preferences or features you want such as a fireplace, open concept, central sound or vacuum system, walk-in showers, or even a whole house generator. Make sure you think ahead during the design process. Will you need a mother-in-law suite, home office, or extra bedrooms for additional children? Now is the time to include the space or at the very minimum, set it up so that future additions are easily made.

Designing Each Room

Certain rooms require more individualized attention. For example, as the kitchen is the heart of the home and one of the most utilized rooms, it requires a special focus. One of the things you need to decide is whether you want your kitchen designed in the traditional, modern or transitional style.

Due in part to the pandemic, homeschool rooms are increasing in popularity. As opposed to just finding a space for remote learning, many parents are dedicating rooms to create a better educational experience for their homeschooled kids. 

Maybe the room you’ve always dreamed of is a customized laundry room, complete with features like a deep sink, built-in cabinetry, hidden ironing board, and an extra half bath. Your design sketches will need to include this type of information.

What if your dream home is a barndominium with its open floor plans and airy spaces? Those areas need to be designed to include features from your wants and needs list. 

Once you have roughly designed the home, you will probably want to start looking around for a builder. Word of mouth, internet research, reviews and realtors all provide a great place to start looking. To make this step easier, we provide a lot of great information and helpful tips as you shop for a custom home builder.

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Turner & Son Does Things Differently

When you’ve seen one home by Turner & Son, you’ve seen one home by Turner & Son. That’s because since 2016 when we transitioned to a custom home builder, we’ve never built the same house twice. We know that if you are building a custom home, you want it to be uniquely yours. That is why we follow your lead throughout the process. 

Many custom builders will try to influence you to utilize certain materials or incorporate certain design elements. That’s not what we do. We work with your ideas and sketches to develop the  design you want for the budget you have. Together we tweak the design until you are completely happy. From there, we agree on a price. 

At Turner & Son, we are a fixed price builder which means we take on the risk of the changing market in regards to increasing or decreasing costs of materials and labor. Although you, as a customer, can be impacted by the selections you choose. In our contract we have fixed priced items and allowance items. With the allowances, you have many options to choose from and have the added benefit of choosing to go over budget in one area while staying under in another area to balance your overall allowance costs.

What kinds of countertops? Stainless steel? Granite?

Selecting your countertops is an important next step. One of the most visual elements in your kitchen, countertops are also one of the most used and abused. You should consider not only your design and style, but needed functionality.  

Whatever countertops you select need to hold up too many years of use including meal prep, spills, strikes from dropped items and the list goes on. Options include marble, tile, stainless steel, quartz, laminate, granite, butcher block, concrete, soapstone and solid surface. Each option has its own set of unique characteristics and traits. You will need to determine which characteristics are most important to you when making a final decision.

Rural Design and Barndominiums

While many people enjoy the hustle and bustle of city living, others crave peace and quiet, distance from neighbors, trees, wildlife and unobstructed views. There are a number of factors to consider if you want to build on undeveloped land. Access to the property, soil and foundation considerations, and utilities are just a few. Even some incorporated areas on the outskirts of large cities like Oklahoma City don’t provide water or sewage systems, and natural gas lines don’t extend that far out either. So the construction process must include digging a well and septic, and making accommodations for alternative fuel such propane storage tanks and lines. 

While these issues might be a deterrent and make you want to find a lot in a subdivision, consider one of the main draws to building on rural property — freedom to build what you want. No restrictions, fewer codes and less regulation. As a result of these freedoms, it is easier to control costs while building what you want.

Barndominiums

A custom design that has been exploding in popularity, particularly in more rural settings, is the barndominium. A real estate developer in Connecticut, Karl Nilsen, is thought to have first coined the term in the 1980s when he planned a “horse” community similar to housing developments built around golf courses. However, the design’s popularity escalated when HGTV’s Fixer Upper converted a barn to a barndominium.

Typically built of steel on a rectangular foundation, a barndominium features both living space and space for a garage, shop or stables. Most incorporate an  open-concept farmhouse design style with high vaulted ceilings. They can be completely customized to meet your needs and wants.

Most feature an expansive, open-concept living room with high vaulted ceilings. Almost all barndominiums have a rectangular foundation, allowing the barndominium floor plan to be customized to your exact liking. While the cost to build a barndominium is comparable to a traditional style home, obtaining financing may take a bit more work.

Modern Farmhouse

Another interesting and popular style for rural homes is the modern farmhouse. This basic design has been around since the onset of farming in the 1700s.

Incorporating a blend of contemporary sophistication and rustic charm, the design is simple and elegant. Featuring rustic woods, neutral tones, and open and airy spaces, the design incorporates the outdoors by featuring more natural, unfiltered light from bare windows. Built-cabinets and shelving keep clutter minimized.

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Working with a Home Builder

The person responsible for your home’s design and building process from the start to finish is the custom home builder. They’re the point of contact between you and everyone else involved. 

If you’ve tentatively found a builder or are narrowing your choices, you may want to schedule initial consultations with them to finalize your decision. Make sure to ask the hard questions and don’t be afraid to negotiate to get the final price and upgrades you want!

Pay attention to the builder’s processes and who they will have working with you on the project. A builder typically has a team they utilize throughout the project to perform specific functions like serving as project manager. 

In addition to decades of experience building custom homes, Turner & Son Homes has a great team in place to keep you happy and the process moving smoothly.

Take your checklist to your home builder interview

As you prepare to meet a home builder, make sure you download our checklist “10 Questions to Ask a Homebuilder” and take it with you. This simple list can shed a lot of light on whether the builder sitting across from you is the one who will do whatever is needed to build the home of your dreams!

Get your download here.

6 minute read