Tips for Designing a Future-Proof Custom Home
If you’ve made the decision to design and build a fully customized home, congratulations! You will soon experience a feeling that few homeowners have: the joy of living in a home designed entirely by you, for you.
You must, however, also factor in future changes to your family and your needs. “Future-proofing” a home means creating it with the flexibility to easily adapt and accommodate these changes. These tips can help you do just that, so keep them in mind as you design your new home.
The concept of universal design began in the mid-20th century and is now the standard in custom home design, gaining popularity in response to society’s shift towards greater inclusivity and equitable access.
When customizing floorplans and layouts to future-proof your home using universal design principles, you incorporate features like wider doorways that can comfortably fit wheelchairs or strollers, lever-style door handles that are easy to operate for those with limited hand strength, and step-free entrances that accommodate people with mobility challenges.
These design elements also come in handy when family members experience temporary injuries and make everyday and routine tasks like opening doors with your hands full and moving furniture much easier.
Smart home technology allows you to control vital systems of your living space remotely. Sensors and controllers are built into the home during construction, creating a network that can be managed using a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. This includes controlling lights, security systems, and even appliances from a distance.
If you partner with the right custom home builder, when technology advances and expansion and upgrades become necessary, new devices should be easy to add to your existing setup. For example, you can start with a smart thermostat and later integrate smart door locks, cameras, and voice-controlled assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home.
When installed, you can wake up to blinds that open automatically as the lights gradually brighten and your coffee machine starts brewing your morning cup. As you leave, you can lock doors, set alarms, and adjust the thermostat with your phone or voice.
Smart home technology is more than just a convenience. It has the potential to enhance and integrate entertainment systems, make kitchens smarter with connected appliances, and contribute to energy efficiency and lower utility bills with better control over your energy consumption.
Prioritize Ample Storage Space
Storage space becomes scarcer over time the longer you live in a home and as your family expands. Your floor plan must include specific storage areas, like a dedicated mudroom with hooks and cubbies, and integrated storage spaces that maximize the livable area to prevent clutter from accumulating in primary living spaces.
This is often done with built-in storage areas that blend in with the design of each room. In the kitchen, for example, you can opt for cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling, capitalizing on vertical space. Areas under staircases are also commonly designed as concealed storage rooms. And walk-in closets with adjustable shelving systems can help you adapt to changing storage needs over time.
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Furniture can also add more storage. Think about incorporating benches in entryways or bedrooms that provide a convenient place to sit and can be used to stash household items. Beds with built-in drawers or lift-up storage compartments offer discreet space for linens or seasonal clothing.
Ultimately, the key is thoughtful planning and using every available nook and cranny. You can also supplement your available storage space with solutions like movable cupboards and islands as needed.
Design Spaces that Can be Converted to Support Multi-Generational Living
As the name implies, multi-generational living involves different generations of a family living together under one roof. This arrangement offers benefits like shared responsibilities, cost savings, and emotional support.
Consider designing spaces that can accommodate features like a separate guest suite or an in-law apartment with its own entrance, kitchenette, and living area that provide privacy and autonomy while keeping the family connected.
WFH Office Spaces
As remote work and telecommuting become more common, incorporating a dedicated office space is now a custom home design staple. Future-proof your home office by ensuring it can easily be converted into a bedroom or another usable space in case you change jobs and no longer need it.
Plan and Install a wired infrastructure that can support future technology upgrades. This can include extra power outlets, data cabling, and pre-wiring to accommodate new systems or additions to existing ones.
Truly embrace sustainability by incorporating environmentally friendly landscaping. You can use native plants, drought-tolerant species, and efficient irrigation systems to conserve water and reduce maintenance costs.
Energy Storage Solutions
Look into the possibility of integrating energy storage solutions, like batteries or solar power systems, to store excess energy for future use during power outages or peak energy demand periods.
Incorporate Flexibility in Your Design
Create a layout that allows for easy reconfiguration of rooms and spaces to enable your home to adapt to changing needs and tastes without major renovations.
Get Green Certified
Consider applying for green building certifications, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Energy Star, which validate a home’s sustainability and energy efficiency credentials. These certifications can enhance your home’s resale value and appeal.
Choose Durable, long-Lasting Materials
Make the investment in new, high-quality building materials that will last longer, be less likely to need maintenance, and ultimately save you money and stress.
Wrapping it All Up
A custom home goes beyond current aesthetics and immediate needs. By integrating innovative features like the ones mentioned above, your custom home can stay ahead of the curve and be ready to adjust to your family’s changing lifestyle and demands while continuing to provide functionality and comfort for years to come.
By putting these and other future-proofing methods into place, you craft a living space that evolves with you. Whether for functionality, sustainability, or long-term planning, these features encapsulate the essence of a future-ready home.