Blah, blah, blah


Live it before you build it

Have you ever been a home that sits in a very beautiful location, but the view from inside the home is of the driveway? How about a high end home where guests must walk through the laundry room to get to the bathroom? Or this one: while sitting in the dining room, you can here the toilet flush? I bet we could all add to this list.

When planning a custom home, there are many points to consider. I always urge my clients to draw up a simple version of their dream floorplan, and then attempt to "live" in the home. Consider how the home will flow. When you get up in the morning, how far do you want to walk to the closet and the bathroom? Do you really want the coffeepot to be 100 feet away from your bed? Which way should the door open into the laundry room? What if you drop a load of dirty clothes on the floor with no intention of washing them for a day or two? Will the door shut? Where will you put the outdoor kitchen? The light switches?

I have clients tell me that they truly do not care where the darn lightswitch is installed, only to call me up later and complain about its location. I am sure that to some of my customers, my questions are a constant source of headaches. One of the things that I do to prepare for the actual design process is to have my customers fill out a simple questionnaire. So simple is it, that it contains only 100 questions. I could easily ask over 1000, but my whole point is to get the clients creative juices flowing. My simple 2 page sheet is merely an outline or framework for them.

When you consider building, it is a great idea to have a concept in your head or on paper of what you want. From that, your architect or draftsperson can start to develop your dream home. But, please remember to stop occasioanally during the design process, and "live" in the home.


Kevin Robinson is a building consultant. He is formally educated in general residential construction as well as "schooled" on the job. Formerly licensed as a general contractor in the State of Idaho, he currently shows potential owner builders how they can save thousands managing it themselves.  He has written guest articles for a few construction type  magazines and also publishes his own small newsletter for owner builders. Email Kevin at


Next time, hire a building consultant!.


Comment balloon 3 commentsKevin Robinson • October 12 2009 12:54PM


Owning a home, is a dream!  Thanks for the information.

Posted by Andrew Rosenblatt, Local Expert Real Estate Broker (Andrew Rosenblatt Realty) over 9 years ago

So true. I have been there. It was over light in the living room. Builder said we would not need one there, my husband objected...and I said listen to the builder. We now have a new light in the living room-Dinah Lee

Posted by Dinah Lee Griffey, Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties (Windermere Peninsula Properties) over 9 years ago

Hi Kevin....good main comment is that every "CUSTOM BUILDER" should read your often, a builder wants to be recognized as a "custom builder" when he is actually building a cookie-cutter home....we have subdivisions full of the same mistake, over and over.....70 or 80 of them in one subdivision....same house, different color.....that one difference makes it custom????

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 9 years ago