3 Tips for Building a Home Office

When it's time to build a custom home, you may be considering building a home office within that home. This is a great time to make sure you get the home office you've been dreaming about and Powell Custom Homes can certainly help.

Even if you're not building a home, you may want a few tips to help with building a home office. Here are a few tips you can use to ensure you get the most out of your new home office, whether adding it to your current home or designing it within your new custom home.

Plenty of Light

Those planning to add a home office to their custom home will want to make sure the office will receive plenty of natural light and plenty of light in general. Design in a few windows or even a skylight to ensure you'll receive plenty of natural light.

Once you've designed the home office to take advantage of the sun as much as possible, you want to add in ambient lights. These lights can help to compliment the natural light and give you plenty of light in your home office once the sun has set for the day.

While ambient light is helpful, you really want to ensure your new home office will get plenty of natural light. One study found that workers getting more natural light sleep better, while another found workplaces with natural light provide more productivity. 

Function over Form

When you're designing your new home office, you want to make sure function comes first. While the space should be aesthetically appealing, it has to function in a productive way, as well.

Consider your workflow within the office before you start investing in furniture. You may even want a few built-in shelves or storage solutions if you're designing the office into your new custom home.

While it's always nice to have a home office that looks great, make sure it functions well, too. Consider every piece of furniture and how it will work within your new space.

Consider More than Just a Desk

Your home office certainly needs to be a place to get work done. However, it should also be a place to relax and get some thinking done, when necessary. Sometimes, you just need a place to kick back, do a little reading, or just let your mind wander.

Consider adding space for a comfortable chair and an ottoman. You may also want to add in a table for your beverages and even a lamp to allow you to get some reading done, when necessary.

Whether you need to look over the numbers or read the latest trade journal, adding space for more than just work is important. Your desk is for the day-to-day work, but adding space for a chair will give you a bit of an escape right inside your home office.

There are several things to consider when designing your home office. If you're building a custom home and adding a home office into it, you want to make sure it's just right. Powell Custom Homes can help you design the perfect home office for your specific needs.

home office setting

How to Know When a Room Addition May Be Right for You

Adding onto your home is a solution many homeowners have gone within the past. It’s a great way to add some space, get a designated area for a need you are trying to meet and to increase the home’s value for someday when it’s time to move on.

At the same time, it’s going to be expensive, there may be some building restrictions, and sometimes there are better options. Take a look at this guide to determining the reasons you should choose room addition and when there are times that there may be better solutions.

room addition with vaulted ceiling

The costs involved

The first area to consider is what you are going to spend to complete a project like this. This will vary depending on what kind of room you are trying to add on, with a bedroom or living room being a larger space compared to a bathroom or sunroom which may be less expensive.

It could cost you anywhere between $200 and $600 per square foot as a rough estimate. Some people choose to refinance to cover the cost of the addition while lenders may also offer construction loans if the future property value is going to be great after the improvement.

The average cost of adding a room is $41,000 but you could see a return of up to 49% on a sunroom addition, 63% on a master suite, and 53% on a bathroom addition. You’ll have to get estimates when it comes to things like new flooring, adding windows, support beams, and pouring concrete.

Building restrictions to watch for

In most cases, there are going to be building restrictions you’ll need to be aware of. You’ll have to check with your city and county offices on the specifics of your area. You may not be able to build all of the way to your lot line because some areas will require space for protection during a house fire. You could also run into restrictions with height when adding on.

How to build and who to hire

Another area to consider is how you are going to build on, whether you choose to build up or build out while staying within your restrictions. Building up means that you won’t have to pay for excavation or foundation but it can be complicated and you’ll have to watch for obstructing a neighbor’s view if there are regulations.

Building out can be much simpler, but you’ll have to work with the land you have and the regulations. A build-out of a garage or guesthouse can be a great addition to a home and you have the option to make it detached.

You’ll likely want to hire someone to build this for you, but don’t forget that working with a local architect will also assist if the project is going to be more complicated. They can help you determine how to add onto the second floor with new stairs or how to add a closet to a room without interfering with the rest of the layout. A local contractor can help with the whole project if it’s less complicated such as with adding on a patio, extra room, or sunroom. Or, simply contact Powell Custom Homes and we’ll do it all for you!

How will the construction affect my home life?

In addition to the expense, you’ll also be inconvenienced during the build. It may bring noise into the home, being unable to use that area of the home, and there will be a mess. If you are expanding your kitchen, you may not be able to cook in there until it’s done.

If you are working from home, you may need to find another office space during the noise of the job. Don’t count on your household being able to function just as normal during the build because most likely you’ll need to be flexible and you’ll be inconvenienced. It’s all worth it for the end result.

If these scenarios don’t sound like something you want to sacrifice for, you may consider if it’s more sensible to simply remodel a space you already have, rearrange your home to work with the addition you were hoping for or to move to a house that better suits your needs. It’s going to cost money to add on a room, especially for the labor and the contractor or architect required to make it happen, and it will cost you time rearranging your life to account for the interruption and to get everyone hired and building restrictions accounted for to make this all happen.

Consider if a room addition is right for your home by looking over these tips and considering your situation. Once you have that added room though, you’ll be relieved to have the space you’ve always dreamed

The Importance of Excavation in the Home Building Process

It doesn't matter how amazing your new custom home is if it was built on a bad foundation. Excavation may be the most important part of the home building process.

Every building site comes with unique characteristics and the site must be prepared for the foundation. Without proper excavating, the foundation of your new home may not be all it needs to be. Here are some of the important things you may go through during the excavation of your home site.

Site Clearing

The first step in the process is often clearing the site. This step will remove any unwanted trees and other plants, along with rocks and boulders. Tree stumps will be removed and vegetation may be cut down to the proper height.

Home Site Staking

Once the site has been cleared, a home site can be staked to show where the foundation will be laid and the home will be built. Usually, this includes placing four markers in the four corners of the future home. Then, a diagonal measurement will be taken and the length and width will be verified.

Layout Design

After staking out the site, often, builders will design the layout of the home including plans for patios, planters, steps, walkways and other structures. This helps to give you a general idea of where everything will go and how it will all fit onto the site.

Preparing the Site for Building

Excavation will also include digging out the areas staked out to ensure vegetation is removed and proper drainage is added. Footers may be placed around the slab of the foundation and other steps may be taken, such as digging a trench below the frost line.

backhoe excavating for a new home

Slab Support Material and Drainage

Laying the proper gravel down will make a difference in the process. Builders will also place drainage pipes and make sure the site is level before laying the foundation.

Digging Sewer Drainage Trenches

Trenches must also be dug for the sewer drainage pipes. This is a vital step in the process as the sewer drainage pipes are very important to the excavation process.

Excavating the Driveway

While the home site must be excavated for the foundation, the driveway space also needs to be excavated. This includes removal of trees, boulders, shrubs, and other plants. Often, gravel will be used to reach the desired height and leveled. In addition, the excavators will ensure the driveway shape is created and drainage is considered.

While the excavation process does include laying the foundation, it's far more intricate than just digging a hole and pouring some concrete. The process involved setting up all the proper drainage, laying sewer pipes and plenty more. It's the most important part of the entire building process as you must have a strong foundation for your home.

If the excavation process isn't properly done, it can lead to future issues. Make sure you choose a home builder willing to ensure the excavation process is done correctly. With a strong foundation, your new home can stand the test of time.

How Best to Communicate with Your Home Builder

When you've made the decision to build a custom home, you'll be filled with excitement, nerves, and maybe feel a bit stressed. It's quite a journey and it's important to ensure you get the home you're picturing when you first start the process.

Choosing the right custom home builder is a great start, but you need to be able to communicate with your builder, too. Without clear communication, you may not get what you want. Here are a few great tips to help you communicate with your home builder.

Custom Home builder holding blueprints envisioning a home

Choose Your Preferred Communication Method

It's best to choose the way you prefer to communicate and let the builder know this is how you will be communicating. Whether you prefer to talk face-to-face, over the phone, or via email, you need to inform your builder so they will be on the same page.

You should also discuss how often you would like to communicate and even meet with your builder. You need to feel comfortable, so make sure you choose a custom home builder willing to communicate in the way you prefer.

Don't be Shy

If you don't speak up, your builder won't know what you want. Make sure you say what you think and communicate your feelings. If you don't like a paint color, say so. If you prefer a specific type of tile for the bathroom, don't be shy, tell your builder.

It's better to speak up than to end up with something you don't like. Ask questions, tell your builder what you're thinking, and make sure you're honest or you could end up with features of your home you really don't like.

Avoid Blaming

When the project has started and something doesn't go quite as planned, it can be easy to want to place blame. It doesn't matter whose fault it was, as long as a solution can be found and the issue can be resolved.

Instead of placing blame, take the time to communicate with your builder to find a solution to the problem. Most issues can easily be solved with the right communication.

Get Regular Status Updates

You should never feel like you're just left out of the process with no clue how far along your custom home is during the building process. You need to know what's going on and regular status updates should be scheduled ahead of time.

Yes, delays happen and things come up, but a weekly email or even a bi-weekly phone call can be a great way to know where your home is in the building process. You need to be an active participant in the process and regular status updates will help to ensure you know what's going on with your new home.

One of the most important parts of guaranteeing you get the home of your dreams is communicating with the builder. It's important to use the tips above and build a great working relationship with your builder to ensure you get the best custom home you could possibly imagine. Contact Powell Custom Homes today for all your home building needs in the Kalamazoo area!

What to Consider Before Starting a Bathroom Remodel

A bathroom remodel is a big undertaking, regardless of which bathroom you're redoing. It doesn't matter if it's a simple guest bathroom or the master en-suite, the decisions you make during the remodel will impact how the bathroom functions, looks, feels, and even how the home sells when that time comes.

designing a luxury bathroom remodel

If you're considering starting a bathroom remodel, there are some things to think about first. Here are a few of the most important things to consider before starting a bathroom remodeling project.

The Budget

Most remodeling projects will be driven by the budget you set for the project. It can be easy to go over budget if you're not on top of the money from the very beginning. Make sure your remodeling plans are realistic with the budget you set for yourself.

Shop Your Contractor

The price of a contractor can vary quite a bit, so you want to shop around. This doesn't mean it's smart to choose the contractor with the lowest price. Instead, look at the value you're getting from the contractor for the money you will be spending.

Usually, if a contractor has a staff, uses on-site designers, has a beautiful office they work out of, and caters to luxury clients, you can expect the quote to come in higher. However, you may be getting far more design value for your money compared to a contractor without an on-site design team.

Take the time to get a few quotes and compare the cost, the service, the reputation, and the trust you have for the contractor. Choosing the cheapest may not be the right choice, as it could lead to plenty of other issues. However, the most expensive may not provide the best value, either. Make sure to contact Powell Custom Homes and give them a chance to quote out any project in the Kalamazoo area.

Use Your Current Bathroom Footprint

If the budget is a bit tight, using the current footprint of your bathroom will help to save money. When you want to move a shower or bathtub, it means running new plumbing, which costs money. If your budget can support this, go for it, but if it can't, design your new bathroom to fit the current footprint.

Pay Attention to Trends with a Grain of Salt

Trends are great for getting inspiration, but not always great for what you want or need out of your space. Bathroom remodeling trends may tell you to use certain materials, but they may not make sense for your space or they may not fit your budget.

Consider what you want, how long you will stay in the home, and the cost. If you plan to stay for more than 10 years, it's likely the trends will change again before you sell your home. Use trends for inspiration, but don't feel like you have to follow them.

A few other things to consider before starting a bathroom remodel include:

  • Storage space

  • The plumbing

  • Adding natural light

  • The overall lighting

When it's time to make your bathroom new again, you want the right contractor to help. With the right help, you'll know what you can afford, how it will work together, and what to expect every step of the way.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Custom Home Building Process

You've decided you want to build a custom home, but you're not really sure what to expect. The process of building a new home can be a bit daunting, especially as a beginner. Below you will find our beginner's guide to custom home building to help show you what to expect.

Everything Starts and Ends with the Budget

When building a custom home, your budget will dictate many of the decisions. This is where you want to start. You want to find out how much you can spend and what the total budget will be.

Once you have a budget, you want to make sure you take the time to consider what's most important to you. When it comes to upgrades, the actual property your home will be on, and anything else that needs to be factored into the budget.

Choose Your Land

After you've set a budget and you know what a lender will approve, you can start shopping for the right lot. You want to consider the neighborhood, the overall location and the actual land you will be building on. The slope/flatness will play a factor and some lots may be more expensive to prepare than others.

Builder and Design Comes Next

Next, you need to select a builder and get your custom home designed. There are several things to consider with the builder and the design of your new home.

Selecting a builder should include plenty of time researching and finding the right builder for your needs. Consider the size, layout, features, upgrades and overall design you want before you select a builder. Some builders may not offer exactly what you want.

Consider all the Details

Your new custom home will be your home for many years, so you want to consider all the details. Look at the design all the way from layout to the different features of each room. Make sure the home you've designed is just as you would like it and will serve you and your family well for many years.

Custom Home Building blueprints and framework

Go Through the Building Process

Once you've handled all the above details, it's time to start building. The building process will include the following steps:

  • Site preparation and foundation pouring

  • Rough framing construction

  • Rough plumbing, HVAC, and electrical installation

  • Insulation installation

  • Drywall and interior textures installation

  • Install exterior finishes

  • Finish interior trim

  • Install driveway and walkways

  • Install flooring and countertops

  • Install bathroom fixtures, mirrors, and shower doors

  • Finish all interior and exterior trim

  • Finish exterior landscaping

Once everything is completed, you will do a final walkthrough with the builder before moving in. During the walkthrough, you will receive your warranty information and have the opportunity to have anything fixed or adjusted that isn't correct.

Building a custom home can seem overwhelming. However, with the right builder, you'll be a part of every step of the process. This can make it much easier to understand what's going on and what to expect next. Make sure you take the time to hire the right builder for your new custom home.

Top 5 Accessories to Complement Your Custom Garage Storage

After building a new custom home and deciding to add a large custom garage, you may need a few accessories to make it work. There are several great accessories you can add to your custom garage storage. Here's a look at five of the most popular choices.

custom garage storage

Shelving

From basic shelving to full garage organization systems, you can add the perfect storage solution with the right shelving. Shelves offer a way to store your items off the ground and keep them well organized in your custom garage. No matter what you plan to store, shelves will likely give you a great way to keep things organized.

Storage Cabinets

Cabinets offer the ability to store things in your garage, keep them organized and keep things out of sight. Items you don't want others to see or you simply don't want to look at regularly can be stored in cabinets instead of on shelves.

Storage cabinets come in basic units you can pick up at a hardware store to custom solutions you can have designed specifically for your garage and your needs. With the right storage cabinets, you can also include a place to hang tools, an area to work and more.

Pegboards

A great way to store your tools and keep them readily available, pegboards allows you to turn walls or portions of walls into easy storage. You simply install the pegboard and use pegboard accessories to hang tools, cleaning supplies or anything else. The best thing is a pegboard system doesn't take up as much space as shelving or cabinets and can allow you to customize the way you store items on the wall.

Pegboard systems work great for small tools and for those looking to use their garage as a workshop. This type of system allows you to basically layout your tools on the wall making them easily accessible, as needed.

Storage Bins

Putting items on shelves without any type of protection may not be ideal. However, when you invest in good storage bins, you can easily label the bins and know exactly which items are where on your shelves. Plus, you'll be adding another layer of protection in the event of flooding or another natural disaster.

Small Stack Storage Bins

If you plan on storing lots of small pieces, such as nails, screws, nuts, bolts, and washers, small stack storage bins come in handy. These little storage bins allow you to easily store small parts and they stack on top of each other making it easy to fit them into the right spot in your garage.

Along with these five accessories for your custom garage storage needs, consider the following:

  • Storage lockers

  • Hanging bike rack

  • Recycle bin

  • Ceiling storage racks

  • Slatwall panels

  • Track systems

  • Utility cars

  • Tool chests

  • Workbenches

  • And more!

There are several great accessories you can use for your garage storage needs. Adding the right accessories can make your new custom garage an easy place to work and keep your things. Whether you plan to use the garage to work on hobby projects or simply for storage, the right accessories will certainly make a difference.

Boost the Value of Your Home with a Kitchen Remodeling

The kitchen is known as the heart of the home. When it comes to resale value, it's one of the best areas of your home to remodel. The one thing stopping homeowners from remodeling the kitchen is the cost. However, the cost you spend will help to increase the value of your home.

According to the Remodeling Magazine's 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost for a 200-square-foot kitchen to be remodeled with wood cabinets, laminate countertops, a standard sink and faucet, and an island is nearly $64k. That also includes new lighting, flooring, and appliances. While that may seem high, the price to remodel your kitchen can range anywhere from $10k to more than $120k, depending on the size and what you plan to do to the kitchen.

It's important to look at how much you will spend compared to how remodeling your kitchen will boost the value of your home. Here's a look at how much you may get in return when it's time to sell.

hands framing a kitchen remodel idea

How Kitchen Remodeling Affects your Home Value

Before we get into the actual return on investment, there are a few things to consider. First, remodeling the kitchen will make your home more appealing, even if the appeal factor doesn't show up in the value. It could be the reason someone chooses to make an offer on your home compared to walking away without making an offer.

Second, the kitchen has been listed as one of the top three important spaces in a house by 80% of home buyer in a survey done by Realtor.com.

Finally, the materials you choose could have an even bigger impact on the value of your home from a kitchen remodel. More than half the home buyers surveyed stated they would have paid more for both new appliances and granite counter tops.

Actual ROI of Remodeling your Kitchen

Almost every kitchen remodel will boost the value of your home. Buyers are willing to pay more for high-end finishes and other upgrades. What you will actually recoup depends on how much you spend, however.

The report cited earlier from Remodeling Magazine shows the following:

  • Those spending $126k to remodel will recoup 54% or $68k when selling

  • Those spending $21k will recoup 81% or $17k when selling

This percentage also depends on where you live. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation when it comes to the ROI of a kitchen remodel.

Is it Worth it to Remodel the Kitchen?

Remodeling the kitchen shouldn't just be about increasing the value of your home. It should also be about improving your lifestyle. If you plan to sell your home in the next few months, it may not be a good idea to spend a large amount of cash on a kitchen remodel. However, you can still invest a few thousand dollars to make your home easier to sell and more attractive.

Those not planning to sell in the next few years may prefer a full kitchen remodel. Not only will you boost the value of your home, but you will also get to enjoy the upgrades until it's time to sell. Contact Powell Custom Homes today and see how we can help with your next remodeling project!

How to Find the Right Property for a Custom Home

Building a custom home is an exciting thing. However, finding the right property for your custom home has to be done first. Without the right property, you may not be as excited about your new home. Here are some tips to help you find the right property for your new home.

Location, Location, Location

As with anything in real estate, location is the key. Not only will it matter when it's time to sell, but it also matters now. You don't want to be out in the middle of nowhere, if you like to get out and enjoy the city. However, if you prefer the country-style of living, you may want a property out in the middle of nowhere.

It's important to consider the type of location you prefer. A community under development could lead to neighbors in the future. Of course, the location will also determine your commute. Check out some of the neighborhoods where we are currently selling or building custom homes -

Powell Custom Homes - new home on Martell

Amenities Nearby

Do you want to be near shopping, dining and entertainment options? What about parks and places to walk your dogs? Make sure you check the local area for the type of amenities you prefer. It's important for you to choose a property found close to the things you will use the most.

Consider the Slope

The slope of the property will impact what can be done and how the home is placed. It's also important to consider when it comes to the view. A sloping lot can also allow you to have a walk-out basement, which can be a nice feature.

Know the Restrictions and Limitations

The last thing you want to do is purchase a property for your custom home only to find out you cannot get the home you hoped for. Every HOA has different rules and restrictions. You want to make sure you understand these, along with the local zoning laws before you make your decision. This is especially important in historic districts and for properties that may have environmental limitations.

Understand How the Home will Fit the Property

When you look at a property it's important to understand how your home will fit onto the property. You should understand the cost for cleaning the land and grading before you choose. It's also important to know the side of the lot and how your dream home will fit, along with how much space will be left for a yard.

Confirm the Utilities

You want to make sure you won't have to deal with any hidden costs for sewer connection or water connection. Make sure you have everything you need, such as high-speed cable or even fiber optics. The key with utilities is to have no surprises as they can eat at your budget.

Work with a Professional

Choosing a professional to help you with your custom home building is the best way to ensure you find the right property for your new home. The right builder will help you choose a property that your dream home will easily fit on and will give you a location you will love. Give us a call at (269)668-5227 and we’ll be sure to get you moving in the right direction!

When it's time to build a custom home, make sure you choose the right property. It's not as easy as choosing any lot that's the right size. There are several things to consider and working with a professional is a great way to ensure you're protected throughout the process. Contact Powell Custom Homes today!