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

Questions to Ask before Choosing a Floor Plan

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 @ 09:08 AM

Top 10 Questions to Ask before Picking a Floor Plan

Finding the Right Floor Plan

When choosing a floor plan, there's a lot to consider.   Here are top questions to keep in mind before building a home you'll love to live in.

1.   Where do you want to sleep?

A two story plan is usually most cost effective.   But for a number of reasons, you may want to sleep on the first floor.   A one story home usually has the highest price tag, and a main floor master suite plan may offer a good compromise between location and price.

Open Floor Plan

2.  What kind of lifestyle do you have?

Are you formal, or informal?    The layout of the main living areas should be determined by your lifestyle.   The kitchen can be "out of sight" from guests, or can be completely exposed to the Great Room for an open concept plan.

3.  Can we stay at your house?

Do you have lots of overnight guests?  Do the grandparents come to visit?  

A first floor guest bedroom and full bath can come in very handy.  

Keep in mind that a full guest suite will require some additional square footage, and may mean losing a room elsewhere if you're working to a strict budget.

4.  What does your dream kitchen look like?Huge Island with Seating

Whether a huge island with seating is most important to you, or just having tons of counter space, don't feel too confined by the kitchen layout noted on the floor plan.  

Changing a kitchen layout is one of the easiest things we'll be able to do for you, just let us know what you're looking for and we'll sketch some ideas for you.



Floor Plans with Front Porches

5.  Is outdoor living just as important as indoor living?

If a front porch, rear porch, or screen porch is an absolute must for you, don't feel limited to floor plans that already picture one of these options.  

Screen porches can be added to nearly any home, and porches are usually easy to add (or subtract!).  

Just keep in mind - the more porches there are, the higher the price tag will be. 

6.  Will you be working at home?

Whether you're working at home, or just want a private room to catch up or web surf, you're not alone.  Home offices are one of our most popular requests right now.   But don't worry if you don't see a room labeled "office" on the plans.   Formal dining rooms are easily converted to full offices, as are formal living rooms.  And even a pocket office can be a great addition.    

Built In Bookcases

7.  How essential is storage?

Storage can be found in all kinds of places.   What's on the top of today's wish lists?  

A larger pantry (walk in where possible), easy attic storage (can often be found in eaves off the bonus room or other locations), and a big enough coat closet.  

Built in storage centers or an extra large master closet can be key features.

Mudroom Design


8.  Is a mudroom important?

Keeping the house organzied with kids around is a constant challenge.  

But a "drop zone" off the garage can go a long way - someplace to store baskets with shoes, coat hooks for backpacks, and even lockers or cabinetry.  

A drop zone can be added in the laundry room, mudroom or hallway. 

9.  What about a basement?

Keep in mind that while walk out basements are fairly common in the Triangle area of North Carolina, full basements are not recommended.   If your lot is sufficiently sloped, an unfinished or finished basement can offer lots of additional square footage, at a much lower cost per square foot than for "above ground" square footage. 

10.  How many bedrooms and baths?

Powder Room

The number of bedrooms you'll need is probably fairly firm.   But be prepared to be a little flexible on the number of baths, though, if you have a limited budget.   It would be great for each bedroom to have it's own bath, plus a separate powder room for guests, but a "dual door" bath with dual vanities can also help all the kids get ready for school on time, AND help Mom and Dad stay on budget.



Contact Stanton Homes for floor plan ideas, to get a new home cost estimate, or find out more about building a custom home in North Carolina.

Here are some floor plans to get your search started:

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="New Home Floor Plans">Click here to view Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="One Story Floor Plans">Click here for One Story Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="Main Floor Master Floor Plans">Click here for Main Floor Master Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="Mother in Law Suite Floor Plans">Click here for Mother-in-Law Suite Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="Value Floor Plans">Click here for Value Floor Plans

Tags: top 10, floor plan guide, top questions, raleigh floor plans, custom floor plans, floor plans

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace? | Custom Homebuilder Questions

Posted by Penn Hull on Tue, Oct 12, 2010 @ 06:10 AM
Custom Homebuilder Tips

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace?

What Kind of Fireplace Should You Choose for Your New Home?

When thFireplace Custom Home Builderse air starts getting crisper, you might find yourself yearning for a woodburning fireplace. But you’ll need to check with your custom homebuilder to see whether they can add a woodburning fireplace to your new home.

Materials, cost, and even where you choose to live could have an impact.

Here’s what you need to know:

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - Where you choose to live

Some districts no longer allow installation of woodburning fireplaces, due to air pollution issues. Check with your custom homebuilder to find out where they’re allowed, before you choose your lot.

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - What it costs

A woodburning fireplace usually costs more than a gas fireplace.

The firebox must be built to withstand higher heat: Wood is hotter than gas.

Fireplace Custom HomebuildersCustom homebuilders will make sure that the fireplace vents directly to the roof instead of through the wall, the way a gas fireplace does.  Thus the chimney must be taller – which adds to the cost of building.

Today's woodburning fireplaces usually consist of a woodburning insert with a metal flue that reaches the roof, but this is still more expensive than a gas fireplace.

A traditional masonry or brick chimney or firebox can add considerably to the cost, and are extremely rare in today's new homes.

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - What you’ll use for fuel

Woodburning fireplaces are intended for the burning of wood – and that can take more effort than you realize.

Fireplace Entertainment Center Custom HomebuildersEven if your property has a lot of trees you’re planning to chop into firewood, you need to make sure your community allows you to do that. If there’s a Homeowners Association, check the rules to make sure you’re allowed to take down the trees.

Woodburning logs are getting harder to find, and when they’re sold by the bundle, they can be expensive. Ask custom homebuilders if they’re aware of local costs and availability for a truckload of wood to be delivered to your home, if you’re unable to get it, yourself.

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - Where to store wood

Keep in mind that with a woodburning fireplace, you'll need to store wood somewhere.  Storing wood in preparation for burning can attract insects or rodents.  If you store wood too close to the home, those critters can get inside. You’ll also need to protect the wood from the weather – too much rain will make soggy logs difficult to burn.

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - When you’re not allowed to use your woodburning fireplace

Local restrictions can include special rules for days when air quality is low, due to pollution. When this happens, you may only be allowed to light a fire if you have a gas fireplace – which doesn’t have as many emissions that affect air quality.

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - Where you can put a woodburning fireplace

Brick Chimney Custom HomebuildersIt isn’t always possible for custom homebuilders to put a woodburning fireplace where you think it might be fun in your new floor plan.

Because a woodburning fireplace has to have a vent that goes straight up, the home needs to be designed with that in mind. Gas burning fireplaces have more options - and have a much lower installation cost when place on an exterior wall.

Due to the extra heat involved in burning wood, you also may not be able to add a recessed entertainment center above a woodburning fireplace, like the one seen here. 

Woodburning or Gas Fireplace - What you need to do

Ask your custom homebuilder what the best option is in your area.   

Give custom homebuilders the floor plan you're considering, and let them know what area you want to live in BEFORE you buy a woodburning fireplace.  

Other Top Custom Homebuilder Questions:

What Ceiling Height Should I Choose?

Formal Dining Room - yes or no?

Article copyright Stanton Homes 2010, all rights reserved.  Provided for informational purposes only, no claims are made by Stanton Homes regarding the validity of any statements. 


Tags: custom homebuilder, fireplaces, woodburning, top questions, new home trends, custom home builder