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Hey all,

In the process of building a custom home, any out there that have done this? I wanted to compile a list of ideas to put into a new home as well as a list of do's and don'ts that were learned when going through the whole exhausting process, thanks again for any/all feedback, much appreciated!

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One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post:

1-If you'll have an attic, do not put a water heater there. This is li... (more)

oko (Jul. 11, 2017 @ 5:47p) |

There are so many options and ideas. For me, I am a visual person and I like to see it in person. I would recommend go... (more)

MaisyMay17 (Jul. 12, 2017 @ 12:36a) |

You should watch Grand Designs (on Netflix).

Lugs (Jul. 12, 2017 @ 11:04p) |

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If at all possible, choose a builder than charges for labor only and parts are at cost. Builders love to add 15-50% margin to a faucet.

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Step one: find an empty lot.

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rufflesinc said:   Step one: find an empty lot.
Step one is "collect underpants".

/step three is profit.

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rufflesinc said:   Step one: find an empty lot.
  
In some areas of California, the home is free when you buy the lot.

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Electrical:

Specify that your electrician runs a neutral to every single light switch box, even if he/she insists that you don't need a neutral there. Sooner or later you may need one for home automation, even if you aren't putting anything like that in now, or some other unforeseen switching application.

Put in a lot more outlets that the minimum that code requires, which is generally only one in every 12 feet of wall. A LOT more. And consider putting in double duplex boxes for a lot of those.

If you're not going to wire the whole house with CAT5e/6 ethernet cable, at least run a single cable from the head location to more distant centers in the house, so you can eventually hardwire Wi-Fi repeater routers if needed.

Just some ideas that have paid off for me (or that I wish I had thought of at the time !)

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Without understanding your priorities, it's a little hard to narrow down, but here are a few things:

I've seen a lot of modern homes go crazy with light switches for individual lights or small groups of lights. That seems like a good idea, but over time can be annoying.

Home automation - if you're interested, get z-wave switches and dimmers installed. Even if you don't use them right away, you can automate them when you want and use them as regular switches to begin. Also on the automation front, get a wifi thermostat (Nest, Ecobee or similar) installed. You'll need a common wire at the thermostat, but I'm guessing that's standard these days. If you want open/close sensors on your doors, consider getting the ones that embed inside the door. Much cleaner look. Also consider whether to get garage door openers and water heater that can be remotely controlled.

Kitchen - make sure it's a layout you're comfortable with. Island/breakfast bar is a key feature for me. Deep drawers instead of cabinets, slide out drawer for pots/pans, slide out garbage bins, wall oven are all must-haves for me. Under cabinet lighting is nice-to-have.

Master bath - dual vanities a must. Consider whether you really want a bathtub in the master. Many people I know have this huge tub in their master and then never use it.

Master bedroom - get closets that work for you. I've had both walk-in and deep reach-in and they both have worked for me. For the reach-in, I rotate summer/winter clothes out, but I liked having less stuff in there at any given time.

TVs - get power & HDMI installed behind where you will have main TVs so you can have clean look without wires.

Laundry - consider trade-off between having laundry near your bedroom area (convenience) and not near your bedroom area (noise). I've seen recent homes with laundry on the main level AND the bedroom level.

Mud room - think about where main traffic will come in and whether you want a mud room there.

I have lots of other thoughts, but specific questions or areas of focus from OP would help.

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Hire an architect and designer.

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bhofw said:   Electrical:

Specify that your electrician runs a neutral to every single light switch box, even if he/she insists that you don't need a neutral there. Sooner or later you may need one for home automation, even if you aren't putting anything like that in now, or some other unforeseen switching application.

Put in a lot more outlets that the minimum that code requires, which is generally only one in every 12 feet of wall. A LOT more. And consider putting in double duplex boxes for a lot of those.

If you're not going to wire the whole house with CAT5e/6 ethernet cable, at least run a single cable from the head location to more distant centers in the house, so you can eventually hardwire Wi-Fi repeater routers if needed.

Just some ideas that have paid off for me (or that I wish I had thought of at the time !)

  Extra wires from the furnace to the thermostat as well.  This will let you expand in the future to smart thermostats and whatever else the future has to offer on that front.  Also electrical receptacles that have usb charging ports as well.

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DerekZoolander said:   Hire an architect and designer.
  My parents led us through 4 new builds over the years - mostly they got in as the house was just about to go up so they got to specify a lot of things on the overall template that was already established.

I would definitely want an architect or designer to assist with flow, lighting, architectural styles, etc if starting from scratch.

Think of the features you'd really like, but also consider if any of them are so out there that they're really turn off a future buyer...

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Definitely hire an architect.

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If building from scratch, no reason not to include an underground bunker / safe room.

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woowoo2 said:   If building from scratch, no reason not to include an underground bunker / safe room.
  otherwise known as a basement?

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rufflesinc said:   
woowoo2 said:   If building from scratch, no reason not to include an underground bunker / safe room.
  otherwise known as a basement?

  I'd favor the secret bookshelf room myself.

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rufflesinc said:   
woowoo2 said:   If building from scratch, no reason not to include an underground bunker / safe room.
  otherwise known as a basement?

  Sort of....
https://www.fema.gov/fema-p-320-taking-shelter-storm-building-sa...

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ww3 (586.22kB)
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woowoo2 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
woowoo2 said:   If building from scratch, no reason not to include an underground bunker / safe room.
  otherwise known as a basement?

  Sort of....
https://www.fema.gov/fema-p-320-taking-shelter-storm-building-safe-room-your-home-or-small-business

  a basement is better protection from nuclear fallout

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Get a secret passageway installed behind a bookshelf which automatically opens when you pull down on a light sconce.

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Don't do it unless you can handle 50% overruns, missed completion dates of 6 months & more, & litigation.

If you've got patience & won't sweat the above go for it. Cause if you need it to go perfectly, it won't. GL.

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woowoo2 said:   If building from scratch, no reason not to include an underground bunker / safe room.
  
A lack of paranoia would be one reason.

Run lots of Cat6 everywhere.

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Run a very large conduit (like 4") between the basement and each floor, all the way into the attic. Ideally you want it centrally located. Having several isn't even a bad idea if it's a larger house. It should terminate in a storage or unfinished area in the basement and ideally go to a closet on each floor. This give you the flexibility to easily and cheaply run any type of cables in the future. Having one go from the basement to either a garage or a box outside isn't a bad idea either. It will cost way less to run these empty conduits now than to pull a single cable in the future.

CAT5 is still the go-to for communication wiring now. Run multiple strands to every room and just terminate them in a box with a blank plate if you aren't going to use them now. You never know what you will want them for in the future. DO NOT allow them to daisy chain the wires. Run a separate strand from each room back to a central point.

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jerosen said:   Get a secret passageway installed behind a bookshelf which automatically opens when you pull down on a light sconce.
  
Cut out the builder's tongue when complete.

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Big league electrical hookups in the garage for cars.

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Anywhere you plan to have a tv or your main tv, if you are like 50% of the fatwalleters and buy too many electronics, have a separate line run directly to your tv area that doesn't connect to any other outlets in the room. Home automate everything.

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No basement bedrooms without a full bath. Dont be the guy who makes his guests come upstairs for a shower.

Kitchen range exhaust fan must run to the outside.

Not personally a fan of running network cable everywhere. Sure, run it to a few select locations but there is little need for it to be everwhere. Many CAT 5 installations are already out of date. It's an added expense that could be put to better use.

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wilesmt said:   No basement bedrooms without a full bath. Dont be the guy who makes his guests come upstairs for a shower.

Kitchen range exhaust fan must run to the outside.

 

  No basement bedroom without egress window, preferably a walk out basement. better yet don't be the guy who makes his guests live in the basement

the kitchen cook area should be at an outside wall for shortest vent run

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1. Big fan of Cat6 everywhere with multiple runs. I prefer a centralized termination point. That way you can use the Cat6 for HDMI and control using a tablet app or Harmony remote. Dont forget to run to the outside areas as well. Think security cameras, outdoor tv's, outdoor sound.
2. You may only want a 5.1 sound system now but, add more because 9.1 or even 9.2 will be common. Run conduit to the attic from the basement.
3. Hard wire security system.
4. Consider putting a beverage fridge in the island. Great for large crowds and kids to avoid constantly opening the large refrigerator.
5. Concrete floors can save cost and look very nice in some areas like the basement. Look into polish and epoxy.
6. Negotiate in your contract for a penalty for not completing by a certain due date.
7. Put the bulk of your budget in the kitchen and baths.
8. Electrical outlets everywhere! Ceiling included for motorized blinds and projectors. Don't forget the water closet for a Japanese toilet. Dedicated circuit in the garage for an electric vehicle.
9. If builder won't charge for labor only, take builder grade and swap out later for things that are easy to change. I.e. Buy the floor but, don't buy the faucet.
10. be an educated consumer. Research everything yourself and then talk to a designer so that you know what the right questions to ask are.

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zapjb said:   Don't do it unless you can handle 50% overruns, missed completion dates of 6 months & more, & litigation.

If you've got patience & won't sweat the above go for it. Cause if you need it to go perfectly, it won't. GL.

  Couldn't this just be managed by correctly structuring/incentivizing payments to tie to milestones?

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Figure out how big a garage you need for all your cars and other "stuff"....then increase that size by like 30%.

I've never seen anyone complain about having a garage that's too large.

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upanddown said:   In the process of building a custom home
  
Pics of your tools please

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DigiornosHunter said:   
zapjb said:   Don't do it unless you can handle 50% overruns, missed completion dates of 6 months & more, & litigation.

If you've got patience & won't sweat the above go for it. Cause if you need it to go perfectly, it won't. GL.

  Couldn't this just be managed by correctly structuring/incentivizing payments to tie to milestones?

  Seriously pick the answer you want. Some contractors will sign & comply. Then stop if at any point they think it's unfair. It's 80/20 at best. For the average smoe the risk is untenable.

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Here's a detailed blog from a guy who built his own home in Seattle: https://ahousebythepark.com/journal/

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Radiant floor heating  and  ductless split unit AC. You 'll be able to control each room individually. Also wall mounted toilet for the bathroom looks better and easy to clean

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Before you do anything, anything at all, watch this hilarious Cary Grant/Myrna Loy movie:

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Really, you have to watch it!

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novocane said:   Here's a detailed blog from a guy who built his own home in Seattle: https://ahousebythepark.com/journal/
  I. Want. That. House.

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palnic said:   Radiant floor heating  and  ductless split unit AC. 
  that seems really expensive

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palnic said:   Radiant floor heating  and  ductless split unit AC. You 'll be able to control each room individually. Also wall mounted toilet for the bathroom looks better and easy to clean
Any HVAC design decisions that you make are going to be highly dependent on the climate where you are located.  What might make perfect sense in one part of the country would be a ridiculous proposition elsewhere.  

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DigiornosHunter said:   novocane said:   Here's a detailed blog from a guy who built his own home in Seattle: https://ahousebythepark.com/journal/
  I. Want. That. House.


How can anyone who chooses to live in N. Ky afford a house in Seattle?

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seaseathegreat9 said:   DigiornosHunter said:   novocane said:   Here's a detailed blog from a guy who built his own home in Seattle: https://ahousebythepark.com/journal/
  I. Want. That. House.


How can anyone who chooses to live in N. Ky afford a house in Seattle?

Savings. I moved from NYC to atlanta. Sold my home in New York bought, much more in atlanta. Kept the extra cash in investments so if I ever wanted to move to a higher COLA I could.

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rated:
You should watch Grand Designs (on Netflix).

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