One of the best aspects of building your own custom home is the fact that you get to quite literally start from scratch. There’s no need to sacrifice on space or square footage, ceiling height or plumbing locations. You can skip the costly retrofitting of an older home, and you never have to face the disappointment that often comes with the realization that that dreamy master suite you envisioned simply cannot happen.

A custom home gives you all the freedom to choose exactly what you want. And one of the most popular areas for customization is hands down the master bath. While each custom bath can look vastly different, depending on each owners’ personal tastes and preferences, there are a few must-haves to consider when designing your own space that you definitely won’t want to skip.

Trendsetting Tile

Incorporating a tile pattern into your master bath that you love through and through is essential. Sure, a run-of-the-mill white or grey tile will look classic and beautiful, but why not take this opportunity to choose something that you know you’ll adore for years to come? Tile is one of the most impactful design choices you can make because it instantly sets the tone and aesthetic for a room. Just be sure that when you’re selecting your tile, you consider all angles. Consult with your contractor on which types of tile may or may not be more difficult to install, and likewise, understand that there is a wide range of price points to consider. Similarly, when choosing your style, consider the longevity of the design. Is it something you could design around endlessly – like a stunning creamy catalina tile? Or are you drawn to a vibrant encaustic tile that you just can’t take your eyes off of (and are more than ready to commit to a bold vibe overall)? Whatever your decision, just know that replacing tile down the road is not an easy (or cheap) task, so you want to find the best fit for the long run.

Double Sink

There are definitely gorgeous single-sink designs out there, but if you have a custom home, why not go for the double sink setup? Trust us when we say that it can be a gamechanger for your relationship. Each person gets their own space, and there’s no debating where you put your toothbrush, hair products, or makeup. If having a double sink has always felt like a faraway luxury, well, now’s the time to embrace it. You have a custom home after all! Go for the design you want.

Ample Storage

Speaking of personal space, one thing that is absolutely non-negotiable is ensuring you have ample storage in your master bath. Whether you’re opting for vanity drawers, a custom-built linen closet, or even a few strategically-placed open shelves, having space to store all those unsightly odds and ends we all use each day in the bathroom is highly recommended. In fact, if you’ve ever had trouble achieving that hotel-quality bathroom style because of constantly-cluttered countertops, then this will be a lifesaver for you. Now, your storage areas don’t have to be perfect, but even something as simple as an open drawer where you can quickly toss your daily toiletries out of sight will give your master bath a luxurious spa-like aesthetic each and every day.

Relaxation

A custom master bath isn’t complete without relaxation at the forefront of the design. Not everyone will want the same elements, of course, but whether you love a rejuvenating shower each morning, or prefer a long bath before bed, you should incorporate your lifestyle into your design. Skip the typical tub/shower combo and single shower head. With a custom master bath, you have the chance to go all out (and we highly recommend doing so). If you have the square footage, it’s worth it to install both a soaking tub and a separate walk-in shower so you can take advantage of both options. Or, at the very least, if a tub is something you just aren’t into at all, be sure to make your walk-in shower as luxurious as possible with custom shower heads that will make you feel as though you’ve entered a tropical paradise each morning. 

Quality Faucets & Hardware

To top everything off, your custom master bath needs to have a collection of quality faucets and hardware. And while it can be tempting to simply opt for the builder-grade materials, in our opinion, it’s worth it big time to source more unique hardware to fit your personal style. Aesthetically, it can be the difference between an exact replica of your neighbor’s home or a magazine-worthy design that wows guests for years (and makes you feel right at home). If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend first narrowing down your desired aesthetic. Whether you love modern, traditional, boho, vintage, or coastal, knowing your style is going to help you narrow down your options. Then, you’ll need to decide on a metal finish. The simplest solution is to keep all of your finishes consistent throughout the entire room, but you can certainly mix and match metals, too. Just remember to keep some consistency throughout by choosing no more than three metals and keeping like metals on the same plane (e.g. all vanity hardware in one metal, your light fixtures in another, and your faucets in another). 

There are endless directions you can take your master bathroom design. But no matter the specifics you choose, if you make sure to prioritize these must-haves, there’s no reason you can’t have a custom space that fits your every need. Because achieving a space that encourages total relaxation isn’t just for high-end hotels. You can get that same feeling inside the walls of your own home. With a custom master bath built to your exact specifications, you’ll never want to leave.

What makes or breaks curb appeal? With a custom home, it may seem obvious. With everything in brand new condition, what could be more appealing than that? The truth, however, is that curb appeal is about more than maintaining a high quality condition of your home’s exterior. Curb appeal is character, charm, and beauty. It’s made up of all of the small details that together combine to make a house feel inviting through and through. And whether you’re a green thumb, or prefer things simplified for ease of maintenance, there are more curb appeal essentials beyond landscaping to consider. From your home’s color to the placement of your shutters (and more), we’re breaking down all of the essentials you need to make your home visually appealing for both you and your neighbors.

House Color

Getting the right house color seems like a no brainer, right? But requesting a yellow house, for instance, can mean many different things. A soft, almost pastel, yellow offers a cheerful, yet subtle addition to a home’s exterior. On the other hand, opting for a nearly-fluorescent shade of yellow will quickly earn your home the nickname of “lemon meringue pie” (tasty as a dessert, but not so great as a house color). The bottom line is that when you’re choosing your home’s exterior color, you want to take a few things into account. 

The first consideration is the aesthetic of your neighborhood. Do you live in an area where classic colors like white, grey, and blue reign supreme? Then skip the bright pinks or caribbean blues. Similarly, if your neighborhood is known for its artistic individuality and it has an inherently eclectic vibe, you can certainly opt for something a bit more saturated and vibrant. The second thing to keep in mind is that colors always play much brighter in the daylight. So, when choosing a bolder color, you should always opt for more subtle shades in general. For example, while you might be able to get away with a luxurious plum in a powder room or bedroom, on an exterior, it could read more like “grape soda,” so it’s safer to go with a softer shade that can work almost as a neutral instead. For the exterior of your home, playing it safe is usually a good bet. 

Front Door

Just as your house color can be either a major mood booster or a total downer, your front door has the potential to either shine or feel drab and outdated. While it may be tempting to choose any old front door that your builder recommends, remember that it’s one of the first things people see when approaching your home. So, you want it to fit your personality and home’s aesthetic. Someone who loves traditional elements and is inspired by the ornate details in a colonial home or french cottage is going to be much more pleased with a strong and thick wood door, perhaps with stained glass windows or a unique brass door knocker. Contrarily, for someone drawn to modern farmhouse vibes, a simple and straightforward door – perhaps with shaker-style detailing – will be their best fit. 

Now, whether or not you choose to make your front door pop with a unique color is totally up to you. Just be sure that if you choose a color, it works well with your exterior paint color and isn’t too neon-like in hue to blind passerby. A bright color is fine, but going overboard can be disastrous (and generally speaking, if you have a more saturated hue on your home’s exterior, it’s a good idea to create some balance and go for a more toned-down front door).

Shutters

Shutters can be absolutely stunning, no doubt. There’s something so regal and classic about adding them to each floor’s windows. However, if shutters are wrong, they are very wrong. You may not have noticed incorrectly-installed shutters in the past, but after reading this, we guarantee you’ll be able to spot them everywhere you go.

The first mistake some people make is simply buying shutters that are the wrong size. Your shutters should always be the size of your windows (after all, before they were merely decorative, they were meant to functionally close and protect your windows). A too-small shutter wouldn’t ever actually cover the entirety of your window, and even in just a decorative sense, it makes your home look stunted and odd. A too-large shutter looks a little less strange, but it also wouldn’t fit the “function” test, and somehow manages to feel unbalanced next to a smaller window. 

Another shutter mistake people often make is the placement. Remember – a shutter is supposed to, when closed, actually cover the window. So you want to install them on each wall facing the opposite direction. If your window is arched, your arched shutters should swing out so that the lowest point is facing the window and the highest point is on the outside. It may look opposite, but you have to remember that you’re placing it where it would functionally go (even if you aren’t using them functionally).

Front Porch 

There’s nothing quite like a spacious front porch (and a wraparound one is even better). But one of the biggest custom home mistakes we see is a front porch without any railings. That’s not to say it isn’t on the punch list for the future, but we promise that skipping this step is a major curb appeal faux pas. You see, railings are about more than function. Sure, they keep you safe and prevent you from falling and breaking your ankle if you take a step in the wrong direction. But beyond that, railings function in a very strategic visual way. 

Even if they are minimal and can easily be seen through, they work similar to fences, giving a sense that there is a barrier of privacy between your home and the street. It makes your front porch feel enclosed and comfortable, allowing you to fully relax as you watch passerby over a cup of coffee or a happy hour cocktail. Without it, your porch will feel bare and unfinished, to say the least.

The beauty of curb appeal is that it doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of work to get it right. By following a few basic color rules, paying attention to placement of exterior elements, and prioritizing both functionality and style, knocking out a final list of exterior home improvements is actually quite simple. And as far as home improvements go, it’s important to remember that something as straightforward as a new coat of paint can make a huge difference in the way your home looks and feels. The exterior, after all, has a large footprint and is perhaps the most stand-out aspect visually (especially since it’s the first thing anyone sees). So, the bottom line when it comes to perfecting your custom home is to remember that the exterior deserves to have the same attention to detail you’ve given to every other corner of your space. Trust us when we say that if you prioritize it, you’ll be surprised at just how incredible your home’s transformation can be.

Creating a custom home can sometimes be misleading. “Custom” is often synonymous with “new” rather than actually being completely customized to your taste and personality. What often happens is that a custom home is built for an individual family, but it is also a replica of the neighbor’s home, or the home down the street. And while that makes sense to a certain extent given that different builders and contractors favor different styles, there’s still a level of customization that most people crave.

So, how do you truly customize your home’s look when faced with typical builder-grade fixtures, tile, and finishes? The answer is to get creative and source from a wide variety of vendors, including mom & pop shops, vintage and antique dealers, big box hardware stores, and online marketplaces. The wider you cast your net, the more unique your home’s look is bound to be.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most overlooked elements of a custom build, and many people assume they have no other option than to use the exact same flush mount fixtures throughout their home. But nothing screams “cookie cutter” like taking that route, and trust us when we say that getting your lighting right is worth every penny because it will completely transform how you feel in each space. 

To choose your lighting, you’ll first want to narrow down the style you’re drawn to. And whether that’s traditional, modern, vintage, or a mix of all three and more, you want to maintain consistency throughout your home. Then, get your size and scale right. A too-small fixture is always a bad idea, and it’s better in general to choose fixtures that are slightly bigger than you think you’ll need. An oversized chandelier can look absolutely amazing over, say, a dining room table, but a tiny pendant over that same table will definitely seem off. 

When it comes to sourcing your lighting, don’t be afraid to check out different vendors, too. Especially if you’re drawn to popular styles, there are a ton of different options to choose from, and as long as you’re keeping to your overall home style, it’s actually preferred if you have different fixtures in each space. Now, if this feels overwhelming, that’s totally okay – lighting is a fairly straightforward thing to change as time goes on, so don’t be afraid to live in the house for a bit to determine exactly the types of fixtures you love in your rooms.

Tile

Similar to lighting, tile is a major game changer in a home – but with this finish, you’ll definitely want to get it right the first time because replacing tile down the road can be a costly and messy fix. But don’t go rushing to your local hardware store to pick up whatever white subway tile or grey chevron backsplash you first lay eyes on. Choosing a tile pattern and style takes a bit more finesse to give it the most longevity in your home. 

First and foremost, remind yourself of that style goal you had in mind while choosing your lighting. The tile you select should stay true to who you are and what you love because it makes a statement, no matter where it’s placed. Have a bold and whimsical personality? Go ahead and embrace a colorful graphic encaustic tile. Prefer things a bit more streamlined and minimalist? Probably a good idea to stick to neutral colors and simple patterns. Just be sure to follow your gut instead of following whatever happens to be trendy at the moment – you want to be sure you’ll love it 5, 10, and 20 years from now.

After selecting your style, you’ll want to explore as many tile vendors as you can, both in person and online. The benefit to in-person viewing, of course, is that you can really grasp the texture and feel of each piece. But with online shopping, you do also get a much wider range of options to choose from. Whichever route you take, just remember that tile is one of those custom items that can get pricey pretty quickly. The cost runs the gamut from an inexpensive ceramic tile to a large-scale marble tile made of natural stone. These and everything in between are gorgeous, but being aware of your budget while shopping around will definitely help you narrow down your selections and stop you from falling in love with something far outside of your price range.

Flooring

Flooring is another key element you won’t want to skimp on. And whether you’re drawn to engineered flooring like luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl planks, or you prefer a good old fashioned hardwood flooring, your flooring is a choice you won’t want to make lightly.

While it may seem easy to just choose inexpensive flooring to get it done, it’s best to consider all options on the market because it will affect the lifespan of your flooring. Will you have heavy traffic areas in your home, like mudrooms and kitchens, that will likely need easy-to-maintain and durable flooring? Are you someone who prefers the soft feel of carpeting under foot when waking up in the morning, or do you like the look of natural wood with a plush rug on top instead? All of these are key factors, and ensuring that you’re looking at a variety of flooring vendors to figure out what they offer is essential.

Faucets & Hardware

Finally, making the decision on your faucets and hardware is quite important. You certainly don’t want to choose these at random because the result will be a mish mash of clashing styles throughout each space. Instead, with these selections in particular, you want to try to maintain some sort of consistency throughout. Your door handles, for one, should be identical throughout the entire home, while the finishes on your faucets and cabinet hardware can vary from room to room (as long as you’re keeping things pared down visually in those spaces). Mixed metals can work in a room, but if you’re worried about the space feeling too cluttered or overdone, it’s much easier to keep it simple and stick to a single look.

Oh, and just as you’d reach out to other vendors with your lighting, flooring, and tile, you absolutely want to take a look through multiple vendor sites and shops to find the right look for your faucets and hardware. Faucets lining your hardware store aisle are perfectly functional, but often lack the stylistic and customized elements you may prefer in the long run. Similarly, choosing your cabinet hardware is incredibly important because while these pieces are small, together they have a big impact on the overall space.

A home’s footprint and layout don’t have to be 100% customized. In fact, in many cases, reinventing the wheel (so to speak) is entirely unnecessary – after all, there’s a reason builders tend to stick to certain floor plans again and again – they work! But building a custom home should still, at the end of the day, feel customized to your needs. And while furniture and decor certainly accomplish that, you want to make sure you aren’t skipping the more permanent elements in the process. From faucets to tile, there are endless options to choose from, and with a bit of searching, you’re bound to find the look that fits just right for you.

Windows aren’t always top-of-mind for people building custom homes. Many think they’re about as routine of a choice as the location of light fixtures or doorways – what could possibly go wrong? The answer is a lot.

You see, when windows are overlooked, it can affect quite literally everything in your home – the way you feel, the amount of natural light, privacy, water damage, soundproofing, electric costs, and more. So, if you haven’t yet given a thought to where your windows will be located in your new custom home, take a few minutes to read our guide. By understanding several key factors, you’re certain to get it right from the get-go and will definitely avoid costly and unnecessary repairs down the road

Light & Direction

Understanding where your home is situated – that is, the direction it faces – is the most important starting point when selecting your windows. But if you’ve never stopped to consider this, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the most forgotten components of a custom build for homeowners. Have you ever seen a new construction home with a single completely blank wall and zero windows on that entire side? They’re more common than you might think, and unfortunately, that’s a sure sign that the light in the home is minimal, at best.

Generally speaking, a home that faces east will receive the brightest light in the morning, while a west-facing home will see brilliant sunsets from its front windows. The south side of a home will always get the highest amount of natural light throughout the day while the darkest side of a home will be on the north side. What this means is that however your home is positioned, the choice on where to place your rooms and windows will determine exactly how much natural light streams inside.

The best bet is to place rooms that don’t need a lot of light (like the garage or bedrooms), on the north side of your home, and keep the common higher-activity spaces (like your living room or kitchen) on the south end of the building. Of course, in Texas, too much sun can mean higher electric bills in the summer heat. But that doesn’t mean you should ditch all south-facing windows for convenience. Instead, you’ll want to still keep that side of your home prioritized for light and place the light-friendly rooms in that area. You can always combat the heat with quality sun shades for your windows to save on energy, and the way that ample natural lighting will make you feel is abundantly more important in the long run.

Size & Scale

Speaking of light, when you’re choosing your home’s windows, you definitely want to take each room’s size and scale into account. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful living room with soaring cathedral ceilings paired with tiny windows fit for a small bedroom. Windows have the potential to bring a room to life, and just as you’d want furniture to fit your space like a glove, you want your windows to fit accordingly. 

Choosing the size is, of course, a personal opinion (after all, not everyone wants the lack of privacy that floor-to-ceiling windows can bring). But when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of larger windows. If you’ve ever been inside a small bedroom that still feels bright and cheery, it’s likely because the windows are sizable enough to let in plenty of light. By contrast, the opposite – a tiny window in a large room – tends to look stunted and out-of-proportion. 

Window Type

Once your direction and window size are narrowed down, you’ll need to determine the type of window that’s right for you. Style-wise, you’ll usually be faced with choosing between single/double-hung panes or crank-out/casement panes. There are other options as well – custom arched windows, glass block windows, bay windows, awning windows, and sliding windows, to name a few. But these are usually selected on a case-by-case basis, depending on your custom home needs.

Regardless of style, your window type really comes down to two functional factors: ease of cleaning and airflow. Windows like double-hungs (that open from the bottom or top and usually swing out for cleaning) or casement windows (when the full window cranks out from the home) tend to be easier to clean in general. Because you can easily access both the inside and outside of each pane, you can usually clean the entire window from one spot versus having to hire professional window cleaners each year.

As for airflow, you’ll need to decide precisely how much you’d like in your home. Casement windows (and similar-opening windows like awning or sliding options) tend to allow a full window’s worth of fresh air to enter your home. On the other hand, single-hung windows will only open halfway, meaning you’ll still catch a breeze, but it won’t be nearly as strong or cool as if the full window were open. One option isn’t necessarily better than another, but it does depend on your personal preference, so you’ll want to think about what is most important for you and your family.

Window Quality

Finally, determining the window brand that’s right for you is a must. Don’t simply go with whatever brand your builder suggests – do a bit of research on your end as well to find out their specific components, if there are any warranties (both on the window itself and on the hardware), and what their reviews are like. Something like a faucet or even a vanity are easy to change out down the road, but for windows, you want to ensure you get quality right away. 

You see, while windows are visually important for a home (as evidenced by each of the above sections), they’re also structurally essential. Anytime there is a hole cut into a home (doors, roofs, windows, etc.), it literally opens up your home to potential damage. And if these elements aren’t installed properly or they are poor quality, you can be subjected to excessive rainwater build-up or leaks, mold, rotting wood, or even vermin. Plus, a higher quality window will be much more sound-proof and sturdy, and can even provide a better seal to stop unnecessary heat or AC from escaping (keeping your energy costs low). So the importance of choosing windows that are reliable cannot be overstated. Always go for quality if you can swing it financially – we promise it’s worth every penny.

Windows don’t have to be complicated, but they do deserve some serious attention. Because no matter what type of window you’re drawn to, how much airflow you desire, or what level of cleaning ease you prefer, selecting the windows that will fit your vision of your dream home is a must. Over time, it will be one of the smartest investments you’ve ever made.