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!