Building a new home lets you personalize your house for todayâ€™s needs and tomorrowâ€™s dreams. Hereâ€™s how to plan your new home for future needs.
When I was designing our dream home 15 years ago, I was chasing around our toddler while laying out rooms and selecting finishes.
Back then, I didnâ€™t let Ben out of my sight and couldnâ€™t imagine a time when we wouldnâ€™t be attached at the hip. So, I selected new-home options perfect for parents of a 16-month-old, never questioning if theyâ€™d work for parents of a 6-year-old, or 16-year-old.
Here are things that seemed like a good idea at the time.
Kitchen/great room combo: I figured one big space would be great for watching tiny Ben while I was cooking; heâ€™d drum on a pot while I fixed him buttered noodles. But Ben grew up and now likes to watch â€œLaw & Orderâ€ on TV while I talk on the phone with my mom, and my husband runs the disposal after dinner. The room sometimes sounds like Grand Central, and I now dream of a separate family room and a little less togetherness.
Two main-floor bedrooms: We downsized our master suite to squeeze in a second bedroom next to us â€“ perfect for soothing a preschoolerâ€™s nightmares. Turns out kids outgrow nightmares, but skimpy closet space is forever.
A pass-through instead of cabinets: I gave up two kitchen cabinets to cut a pass-through from the kitchen to our mud-cum-crafts room so I could keep an eye on Benâ€™s finger-painting sessions. Ben hasnâ€™t dipped a finger in paint in 12 years, and I could really use that storage now.
The Future is Now
If I were buying a new home today, Iâ€™d do things differently: Iâ€™d crystal-ball my thinking and plan for my future needs. Thatâ€™s the beauty of buying new construction: You can focus on want-to-dos, rather than to-dos â€“ even if you canâ€™t anticipate all your wants.
Luckily, builders know the life of a new home is a journey, and have consultants who help you fast-forward your thinking about features you can install now that will make life easier later.
I brainstormed with a couple of executives from Toll Brothers and Ryland Homes about some forward-thinking, new-home options.
â€¢A main floor den that could be converted into another bedroom as your family grows.
On a related note, see how people are reinventing their living rooms (http://www.houselogic.com/photos/rooms/living-room-design-photos/).
â€¢Bedroom soundproofing (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/soundproofing-walls/) to ensure privacy.
Credit: Toll Brothers, Inc. (http://tolltalks.tollbrothers.com/2012/01/24/5/?cmpid=OHo1)
â€¢Roughed-in plumbing (http://www.houselogic.com/maintenance-repair/preventative-home-maintenance/plumbing/) and electric for an eventual attic or basement bathroom and kitchenette. If you donâ€™t have the resources now, this is a great way to plan ahead. This extra living space not only could accommodate elderly parents or boomerang kids, but will increase the value of your home when itâ€™s time to sell.
â€¢A double-deep, tandem garage that can fit three cars now, but can be walled-off later to add indoor space for an extra bedroom or bathroom.
More: Attic conversions (http://www.houselogic.com/photos/attics/going-attic-conversions-are-smart-remodeling-projects/) | Garage conversions (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/garages/converting-garage-into-room/)
â€¢Upgraded structured wiring throughout that can handle a souped-up Internet connection and other tech revolutions. Handy if you telecommute.
â€¢Temporary partition walls that attach to hardwood flooring, rather than subflooring. If you eventually want to combine bedrooms â€“ kids move out â€“ youâ€™ll only have to do a floor repair and refinishing, rather than patch a gaping hole.
â€¢Plywood sheathing behind drywall and tile in bathrooms. These sheets of plywood let you attach grab bars anywhere without hunting for studs.
Credit: Mosby Building Arts (http://www.callmosby.com)
Grab bars arenâ€™t just for our later years. Theyâ€™re also good for kids and aching weekend warriors who need a little help getting into and out of a tub.
â€¢An addition (http://www.houselogic.com/home-improvement/rooms/home-additions/). If you can site your home to accommodate a bigger footprint later, plan to run conduit through exterior walls for future electrical and plumbing needs.
Credit: CQ Surveying (http://cqsurveying.com)
Â Unless youâ€™re psychic â€¦
Youâ€™ll never know today exactly what youâ€™ll need in the future: Itâ€™s hard for me to imagine life beyond next Tuesday.
But choosing options for tomorrow is one perk of buying new. These forward-thinking selections can mean years of enjoyment as your family changes, and can make it easier to sell if moving â€“ and buying new again â€” turns out to be the best alternative.
Learn about more benefits of a newly built home. (http://startfresh.newhomesource.com)
Article From HouseLogic.com
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: April 16, 2013
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