For a long while now, you’ve had certain new home features in mind that you know you’ll never get unless you custom build. They’re unique and very specific to your lifestyle. What are they?
One of the biggest reasons to custom build is that it’s your best shot at getting just the home you want, with the exact rooms, layout, and amenities that best serve you and your family. For some of our clients, that’s a Murphy bed that converts the office to a guest room as needed. Others crave an incredibly energy-efficient living experience, a built-in air filtration system, a home theater or a home gym. The particular combination of your “dream features” will never be the same as your neighbor’s, but there are some key new home features we like to recommend.
1. Create custom pet spaces.
Your pets are family members. Incorporate pet spaces into your custom build that make their—and more importantly, your—life easier. Maybe you need a built-in dog crate or a pocket dog-gate that’s invisible when not in use. Or give your cat her own personal bathroom, with a hidden litter closet that has an air filtration system. Tired of your dog tracking sand through the house? Put a dog-wash station in the mudroom. Whatever pet problem you have, we can probably come up with a custom-built solution.
2. Turn your bathroom into a spa.
Want a walk-in shower with multiple jets that transforms to a steam room? Want an in-suite cedar sauna? What about an ice tub to nurse sports injuries, or a freestanding tub that comfortably fits two adults? Whatever says “lavish relaxation” to you, a custom-build can make that happen.
3. Install integrated lighting throughout the house.
Among our top new home features is integrated lighting. Think bathroom mirrors backlit by LED panels, lighting that disappears under kitchen cabinets, inset fixtures, and recessed baseboard lights. This type of elegant seamlessness really solidifies a modern vibe.
4. Custom cabinetry and built-in storage is a must.
Mudrooms with built-in drawers and clothes hangers, built-in bookcases (with backlights!), storage nooks hidden under window seats, banquettes and staircases, seamless wall panels that open with gentle pressure to reveal deep shelves, refrigerators that meld directly into your cabinets, built-in shelves surrounding your bathtub—if you have a room in your current home that could use more storage, add that storage in your new custom home.
5. Speaking of storage, incorporate thoughtful wine storage into your new home.
How you store wine matters. We’ve built walk-in wine cellars, bars with temperature controlled, seamless wine cabinets, wine nooks above dining areas, and wine coolers hidden behind custom cabinetry in kitchen islands.
6. An outdoor living area is probably top among our recommended new home features.
Usually we put the outdoor living room on a top level, to capitalize on those ocean views, and often, we incorporate a wall-sized pocket-glass door that separates it from the indoor living room for the same reason. We’ve incorporated pass-through windows, so that people can pass dishes from the inside kitchen to the outdoor grill without having to walk around, as well as bar seating that allows people to share a meal with both indoor and outdoor seating at the same table. Lounge furniture, a grill or full outdoor kitchen, and a fire pit are necessities.
7. Install a wireless, whole-house audio system.
Homes are multi-sensory places, even though we’re often very focused on sight while in the early design phase. But the moment you have your first family movie night in your cozy new living area, you realize how important great acoustics are. If you invest in a whole home audio system early into construction, surround-sound speakers can be invisibly incorporated into your cabinetry, walls, and ceiling, providing you with theater-style entertainment experiences and outdoor music—all controlled by your smartphone.
8. We need all the outlets, in all the right places.
Many new home features are wireless these days, but often even those wireless appliances have to charge using an old-fashioned wall outlet. And many more home appliances are still tethered to a cord, or at least, the more powerful versions of these appliances are. (Have you ever used a cordless blender?)
When you’re custom-building, you can hide outlets everywhere—under kitchen cabinets and counters, inside bathroom drawers, on the inside panel of your custom-built desk. You can even put a 240V outlet in your garage to charge your electric car.
9. Hyper-organize your kitchen.
Sponge drawers, plate drawers, pull out butcher blocks, larder cupboards with built-in drawers and spice racks—there are so many options here! Kitchens are fun to design, they can be made super-efficient, and they’re one of the best places to spend your budget, in terms of overall home and resell value.
10. Great closets will change your life.
Roomy, well-organized closets with separate spaces for shoes and other accessories, built-in drawers and shelves, and multiple clothing racks can improve your entire day. Sometimes small luxuries make a big difference, like not having to riffle through an overcrowded rack looking for a specific pair of pants when you’re already late. We’ve designed walk-in closets with full-length mirrors and sit-down vanities, as well as whole-wall closets hidden behind custom cabinetry. It all depends on your space and preferences.
These are some of our ideas for new home features you may want to incorporate into your custom build, but we’re also very eager to hear your ideas. Please get in touch and let us know what you’re thinking. We’d love to collaborate with you on your dream home.
Thanks for reading,
Hawlie Ohe heads White Sands Interiors, and she and her husband are raising two boys along the South Bay coast. Hawlie brings the curiosity that fueled her first career, as a journalist, to her interior design approach: Who are you, who do want to be, and how can this space get you there? Great design makes you feel present and engaged, and Hawlie is here for it. Because she wants to help you be “here” (in this space, in this moment), too.