When building your custom home, it’s important to spend as much time designing how it looks and functions on the outside as you do on the inside. It may seem straightforward – it’s just a roof, walls and windows after all – but you need to take a practical approach to ensure your home not only looks great but gives you the best possible outcome.
You want a design that suits your needs and is energy efficient and practical now, while gaining a high return on your investment in the future.
Here are six external house features you’ll need to make a decision on, and some tips for making the most of your custom designed new home.
A well-designed façade can give a perception of the value of your home. Whether your exterior façade is classic or contemporary, it needs to make a statement.
A bland exterior which follows a cookie cutter design the same as the rest of the homes in the street, won’t carry the same distinction as one designed and customised for maximum impact.
If you take the time to custom design a beautiful façade made from quality materials with a tasteful colour scheme your home will always retain its street appeal.
There are plenty of different types of facades to choose from. A brick façade will add a sense of texture and depth to the front of your home. Rendered façades provide a more streamlined and modern look while timber is perhaps the most traditional type of material used. It’s highly versatile and adds a sense of traditional charm.
Here are some features that can enhance the façade of your home:
The pitch of your roof plays a big part in the overall external appearance of your home. If you’re designing a Hamptons style home, you’ll want a minimum roof pitch of 25°. For a more modern and contemporary design, your roof pitch can be as low as 5°.
There are advantages and disadvantages to different roof pitches. High pitch roofs are the most expensive to install but allow for dramatic architectural elements. Low pitch roofs are the safest. They are easy to walk around on to perform maintenance but are more prone to leaks and require more frequent inspections.
Energy efficiency is another thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing your roof design. Tiled roofs are slower to warm up compared to metal, however they are a more expensive option.
The colour of your roof also plays a role in heat retention. White roofs are known as ‘cool roofs’ because light colours deflect sunlight, keeping most of the heat away from your home. Black roofs are known as ‘warm roofs’ because they deflect less heat, allowing more into your home. During the hottest months of the year, a white roof can significantly decrease your energy usage.
Finally, if you’re thinking about installing solar panels on your new home, consider the direction those panels will need to face. Solar panels work most effectively when they are facing North. If possible, ensure there is adequate space on your roof to install the panels on the Northern side.
Windows quite literally breathe life into a home, with exterior window treatments having a major impact on the appearance and functionality of your home.
Thought should be given when custom designing the size and shape of each window and the amount of light required to enter each room, along with your privacy needs.
To gain the most from your windows, consider incorporating the following into your design plans:
If you’re planning a water feature for your yard, you should talk about it during the design phase with your custom designer or builder. This way, you can get all the plumbing required for your water feature laid at the same time as it's laid for your new home.
Other features which may require contract work and are easier to handle during initial design and construction are lighting features, swimming pools and hot tubs. These items will require either plumbing or electricity or both.
If you are planning any features for your yard in the near future, it would be wise to include them in your construction drawings and talk through your ideas with your designer and builder. This allows you to save money with contractors since they are already on-site.
Balconies are one of the most sought after features in double-storey homes. When it comes to size, think about the function of each balcony – whether it’s for entertaining or simply to pop a chair on to enjoy the sunshine.
The decision around their placement should be based on privacy and positioning. Bedroom terraces should be positioned on the side away from traffic noise and in a way that doesn’t encroach on your neighbours’ privacy.
Having balconies which overlook pool areas can be wonderful, but be aware that sound carries around water so make sure you can block out your teenager’s pool party if you need to!
If your new home will have beautiful mountain or ocean views to the front, you may wish to optimise these views with a wraparound veranda.
There are plenty of ways to optimise the design and placement of your external features to keep the temperature of your home comfortable all year round. For example, a roof design with eaves at a right angle will provide more shade to windows in the summer and less in the winter.
You ideally want to orientate your bedrooms and living areas to face North or North East in order to provide as much sun protection as possible.
All windows and doors should also be correctly aligned in order to let cooling breezes flow through the house.
With one of the largest opening areas of any window style, casement windows, which open outwards with a hand crank, are a better choice compared to sliding windows. They are designed to allow maximum ventilation, offering the ability to control breezes, directing them into specific areas of your home.
You can also bring your existing plans and one of our expert custom home designers will work with you until you achieve exactly on paper what you imagine your dream home to be.
We offer Digital Full Size Plan Walkthroughs at our head office in North Lakes so you can have the unique experience of walking through your new home, seeing it come to life before the first tradie appears! We use the latest technology to project your floor plans onto the floor of our custom-built studio on a 1:1 scale, taking all the guesswork out of designing your new home layout.
You can even make small or large adjustments along the way until it’s exactly right. We welcome you to bring your builder along or we can always recommend builders we work with and trust.
Simply click here to request your no obligation consult today.