New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

7 House Plan Features in the Best Floor Plans

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 @ 14:12 PM

Most Popular House Plans:

The Liberty Park, a floor plan design by Frank Betz, is a popular floor plan with features similar to many homes chosen for the Wake County Parade of Homes. What were some of the most common house plan features this year?

  • Kitchen Island with Seating (with more than 50% accommodating seating for at least 4)
  • Formal Dining Room
  • Built In Drop Zone, many in a totally separate Mud Room
  • An average porch size of 95 sq ft
  • Laundry Rooms on the Second Floor

Take a look at the images and descriptions below, to see more new home building trends in North Carolina, using Cary NC parade homes as a representative "snapshot" guide.

Cary NC New Homes | Popular Frank Betz House Plans
Liberty Park Rendition Copyright Frank Betz.

The Liberty Park - Two Story Home with 2286 sq ft, Four Bedrooms, Two and a Half Baths:

The Liberty Park, copyright Frank Betz, is a great example floor plan that includes many of the most-requested floor plan features. Here are the top 7 layout, design, and special features. 

House Plan Feature #1: Cost Effective Layouts (and Two Story Floor Plans)

Two story homes (with a second story master) are generally more cost effective to build when compared to similar homes with a the master suite on the first floor - find out why here.

(And see the 12 reasons smaller homes cost more to build, here.)

All four bedrooms are upstairs in the Liberty Park. 

Cary NC New Homes | Popular Frank Betz House Plans

House Plan Feature #2:  Kitchen Island with Seating

Kitchens experience more traffic than any other room of the home. And more new home plans than ever are incorporating additional functions and features inside the kitchen, including creative ways to add eating space (island seating), homework stations (a built in desk), and home business technology hook-ups (with special gear built into walls) to accommodate modern needs.

The Liberty Park includes an 8' x 3' island with a raised eating bar designed for four (each seat requires 24'' of space). Here is a similar island: 

Cary NC New Homes | Kitchen Island with Seating

House Plan Feature #3:  Formal Dining Room

Inside the Liberty Park, the 13' x 11' dining room is well-designed to comfortably fit a formal table for family and guests. Looking for a more "casual" floor plans? See how many home buyers convert the formal dining into a home office, library, or multi-use space.

House Plan Feature #4: Built-In Drop Zone

Nearly all Parade Homes included a Built In Drop Zone. If there is no dedicated Mud Room area, the hallway off the garage or rear entry serves as a great place to include built in shelving, cubbies, and storage units.

The Liberty Park floor plan includes a drop zone between the garage and kitchen, ready for storing keys, purses, and other daily use items.

Cary NC New Homes | Built In Drop Zone

See 7 mudroom drop zone layouts, with photos, here.

House Plan Feature #5: Front Porch

Homes in the Parade had an average porch size of 95 sq ft, perfect as a "rocking chair" layout. The Liberty Park includes a 19.5' x 7' front porch, or a total of 137 sq ft, above the average size.

House Plan Feature #6: Storage Space in the Laundry

The usability of laundry room space ranks high on homebuyer must-have charts. In this year's homes, more than half had Laundry Rooms on the Second Floor - which makes sense, given the high number of two story homes with all bedrooms upstairs. Buyers want to keep the laundry close to the master and kid's rooms.

The Liberty Park laundry room is roughly 6' x 7', with space for a base cabinet and folding counter (or a stack of open shelves) beside the washer and dryer and 6' of upper cabinets.

Cary NC New Homes | Popular Frank Betz House Plans

House Plan Feature #7: Attractive Staircase Tucked In

See a staircase similar to The Liberty Park, below. The one story foyer opens to the formal dining room and staircase.  The staircase is enclosed on both sides, with two steps of open railing visible in the foyer entryway. 

Get staircase design ideas from our Houzz Ideabook - here.

Cary NC New Homes | Open Staircase Design

See a full list of Cary, NC Parade of Homes trends, here.

Steps to Build a Custom Home

What is most important to you? Discuss, design, and decide what your next home should look like, with tens of thousands of floor plans to choose from. Contact Stanton Homes at 919-278-8070 or visit to learn more about building an NC custom home - with the help of an interior design expert throughout the selection process.


Tags: Cary NC new homes, NC new home trends, floor plan guide, most popular floor plans

Surprising Changes in Cary NC New Home Trends

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 13:11 PM

Parade of Homes Trends:

The Parade of Homes in Wake County is one of the largest in the entire nation. And design trends seen in the Parade are usually at the forefront of cutting edge – as a wide variety of builders work to identify what homebuyers want most, today.

Here’s a visual of what was seen in Cary, NC new homes featured in this year's Parade of Homes:

Cary New Homes Changing Trends 2015


For Single Family Homes:

  • Avg list price $769K
  • Avg sq ft 4088 finished
  • 68% have three car garage, 42% have two car
  • Of the three car garage plans, 77% are “split” garages
  • 68% are two story, 47% are main floor master. The overlap comes from a few Dual Master Suite homes

Features that are very popular in Cary NC new homes:

  • 100% have a Bonus Room or Game Room
  • 100% have a Formal Dining Room
  • 63% have Laundry Rooms on the Second Floor
  • 95% have a counter in the Laundry Room
  • 95% have a Built In Drop Zone (and 79% have a separate area for the drop zone, ie a dedicated Mud Room area)
  • 74% have a first floor guest suite
  • 53% have a first floor office (that is not a guest bedroom)
  • 74% have a “Jack and Jill” bath
  • 100% have a Kitchen Island with Seating (with more than 50% accommodating seating for at least 4)
  • 89% have a Butler Pantry
  • 84% have a Walk In Pantry

Features that do not appear to be very popular in Cary NC new homes:

  • 11% have a pocket office
  • 11% have a formal living room
  • 5% have a keeping room
  • 5% have a sunroom
  • 5% have a private sitting room in the master
  • 5% have dual islands
  • 16% have two staircases
  • No homes have a Curved Staircase

New home design trends vary by price point and area, but it is interesting to see what’s popular in this year’s new custom homes!

Penny Hull enjoys identifying new home trends in her spare time, which is part of why she was awarded the “Top 40 Under 40” National recognition from Professional Builder magazine.   She works with Stanton Homes to help homeowners build beautiful custom homes that “make sense”.

Custom Homes Build North Carolina:

Tell us which home plan features you'd like to include in your new home, and we'll show you what it costs to build in central North Carolina. We'll get down to details, including full price estimates for all the floor plan features - and selections - you love. 


Tags: cary custom home builders, Cary NC new homes, Cary NC custom homes, Wake parade of homes, cary nc home builders

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 @ 06:08 AM

Types of Flooring for a Staircase:

While carpet and hardwood are the two most common new home staircase flooring materials, you can get creative with how you combine and incorporate these materials in your Cary NC custom home. 

Browse popular staircase style photos inside Cary, NC area new homes.

Flooring Materials for a New Home Staircase:

How do homebuyers choose between hardwood and carpet for the main staircase? See the pros and cons of each staircase flooring material, with photo from Cary custom homes by Stanton Homes. 

1. Hardwood Staircases

Hardwood staircases - which provide a clean look for all home styles from contemporary to craftsman - are a popular request for Cary NC new homes.

On one hand, homebuyers consider hardwood steps easier to clean - they require a broom rather than vaccum or rug machine.

On the other hand, a hardwood staircase is more expensive. 

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases

2. Carpet Staircases

Carpeted staircases are often considered:

  • Safe and comfortable: carpet can be more slip-resistant than hardwood
  • Quieter: some say they prefer carpet because it muffles the sound of kids, pets, and shoes
  • Less costly: an upgrade to a hardwood staircase is often close to $2000 or more depending on the size, shape, and features.

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases 

3. Carpet Runner on the Staircase

A carpet runner can offer the best of both worlds: it provides a slip-proof layer to your stairs, without covering your coveted hardwood steps and white painted risers. 

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases

4. Staircase Carpet Runner Idea #2

A specialty carpet runner can create a more traditional effect - such as the foyer staircase this version of the Summerlyn. The black patterned carpet runner flows over hardwood steps and white wood risers, with a hardwood landing half-way down the stairs.

This staircase also features a "volute" or curved handrail at the foyer landing.

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases 

5. Hardwood Base Step or Steps

Another popular staircase design pairs one or more hardwood steps with carpeted treads and risers. Using a combination of carpet and hardwood materials can help save money on your new home build.

In this version of the Bostwick, the first step - called a rounded edge "open stair" - is made of hardwood.

All steps visible through the wrought iron balusters are carpeted with hardwood treds, made to look like a carpet runner. The remaining steps - mostly out of view - are fully carpeted.

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases

6. Multiple Hardwood Steps

Here's another take on the dual hardwood - carpet staircase style. In this version of the Firebird, all visible steps are made of hardwood treads (the horizontal portion of the step) and white painted wood risers (the vertical portion of the step).

Again, we see that the steps primarily out of view are carpeted. 

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases 

7. Hardwood Steps with Painted Risers 

While many home buyers choose to pair hardwood steps with white risers (like the examples above), this custom design uses an accent color to blend the risers into the surrounding mountain house style trim.

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases

8. Stained Hardwood Steps and Risers

This formal entrance features a curved staircase with stained hardwood steps AND risers - in an elegant, dark color. The secondary staircase (pictured in the background) lightens up the great room with white painted risers. 

Eight Staircase Flooring Options | Cary NC New Home Types of Staircases

See more staircase design photos in these Raleigh and Cary custom homes: 

Staircase Idea #1: Curved staircase with dark wood stain - in a version of the Avonstone Manor house plan
Staircase Idea #2: Hardwood staircase in the foyer, with cable railing overlook - in a version of the Smokey Ridge house plan

Staircase Idea #3:  White painted staircase with hardwood steps - in a version of the Worthington II house plan

Staircase Idea #4: Craftsman staircase with split landing - in a version of the Chalet Vert house plan

Staircase Idea #5: Carpeted staircase with black stained railings - in a version of the Treehouse house plan

Cary NC New Homes - Custom Staircase Options:

Considering new homes in the Raleigh, NC area? Tell us what style you love best - hardwood vs carpet stairs - or a combination of both. Stanton Homes will tell you what it costs, inside your favorite new home floor plan.

Raleigh New Homes | Floor Plans Raleigh


Tags: Cary NC new homes, homebuilders Cary NC, staircase ideas, Cary custom homes, staircase photos, staircase design

Guide to Selecting Bathroom Counter Tops | Cary NC New Homes

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

What's the Best Countertop for a Bathroom?

With so many bathroom countertop options to choose from - including new types of solid-surface materials adding to the mix as manufacturers develop novel compositions - it can be difficult to narrow down the right material for your new home.

From higher-end materials like granite, to everyday solutions like laminate, here are the most requested bathroom countertop materials: 

1. Granite Counter Tops

While your master bathroom counters will not take the same beating as your kitchen - you will not be chopping, pounding, or storing heavy appliances on your bathroom counter - durable materials such as granite can be a great long-term investment.

Bathroom Counter Tops | Cary NC New Homes

Granite is elegant, easy to clean, and can be more cost-effective than you may think. Small countertops - such as those in a bathroom with separate his and her vanities or in powder rooms - can sometimes use granite remnants. Remnants are more cost effective than full granite slabs.  

Builder Tip: If you love granite countertops, consider using the same granite in your kitchen and master bathroom (or in a secondary bath), which can be more cost effective than choosing separate granite pieces for each room, if there is a remnant available from your kitchen slab or slabs.

Bathroom Countertops | How to Choose a Bathroom Counter


2. Tile Counter Tops

Tile was a big design feature in 1980's and 90's kitchens (along with wood counter tops).

While we don't expect to see a wave of tile kitchen counter tops again soon, homebuyers have begun to request tile counter tops in the bathroom. Powder rooms - small spaces perfect for design flair - are perfect places to integrate a tile counter top.

Bathroom Counter Tops | Cary NC New Homes

What's the downside to tile counter tops? Tile will always have grout lines, which means a bit more maintenance and cleaning will be required. The smaller the tile, the higher the percentage of grout in the surface of the countertop.

3. Solid-surface

Solid-surface countertops are manufactured materials - which you may identify by brand name, such as Corian.

Corian countertops are durable, easy to keep clean, and come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and finishes, including the look of natural stone.

If your bathrooms require ample countertop square footage, a solid surface material might be the right choice for you.

Bathroom Counter Tops | Cary NC New Homes

4. Cultured marble 

Cultured marble - perhaps the most requested bathroom countertop material - comes in a single piece.

Cultured marble is a manufactured material designed to be easy to maintain and clean, with no seams or grooves - the sink is integrated directly into the mold, which means sink and countertop are a single-piece unit!

Bathroom Counter Tops | Cary NC New Homes

Other options for your bathroom countertops include formica, concrete, wood, and glass.

While laminate and cultured marble is often found in laundry rooms, concrete, wood, and glass countertops are far less popular, in part due to their cost, maintanance requirements and fully contemporary appeal.

More Ideas for Your Raleigh New Home

10 Biggest Kitchen Design Mistakes

Custom Staircase Photo Gallery

12 Best Master Bath Layouts

Formal Dining Room Architecture

Contact Stanton Homes to learn more about building a custom home in North Carolina.

Tags: granite countertops, bathroom counter tops, Cary NC new homes, homebuilders Cary NC