6 Master Tips for the Master Bedroom - Part II in our series Avoiding Common Regrets When Building Your New Home

by Greg Dodge 24. March 2014 14:27
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Part II in our series - Avoiding Common Regrets When Building Your New Home


In case you missed our first post about what to consider when designing your kitchen you won't want to miss it. Read it here.



6 Master Tips for the Master Bedroom

When you begin looking over the plans to build your brand new home, you will experience a lot of emotions, and excitement is probably one of the big ones. You (and your significant other in many cases) get to help create a home to match your wants and needs, how could you not be!?! 


If you are like most, you will probably begin to feel a little overwhelmed as well. With all the decisions you get to make, your builder will be looking for direction on this room and that. Which upgrades do you want? Where should you place your vents? What kind of lighting do you want in your master bedroom?

Understanding what is available to you before you have to make these decisions will help you when it comes time to make decide. Not only will this help you avoid that overwhelmed feeling, but it will decrease the stress and make the whole experience more enjoyable.

With that said, lets get into what you are all here for:

Six Masterful Tips for Your Master Bedroom!


The master bedroom is yours! Its your space to retreat, sleep, relax and feel at home. Taking the time to make it a place you will enjoy and find comfort in will go a long way in helping you love your home. So, what should you consider when putting your master suite together? How about we start with the following six areas:


1.   Focal Point

2.   Comfort

3.   Lighting

4.   Color

5.   Ceiling

6.   Storage

Focal Point


Deciding where (and what) your focal point will be before hand, will help you create a master bedroom you will be able to enjoy for years to come. You may have a number of options to choose from, fireplace, large window, doors leading outside, but no matter what the options may be youll want to begin by looking at the layout of the room.


Where will you place your bed, dressers and any additional furniture you may be planning to add? Having this in mind will help you visualize what you ultimately want out of your master suite. Once you have an idea of what will be going into the room, you will be able to determine where you focal point will be.

Depending on the builder and house plan, you may have a few add-on options to choose from, the fireplace, double doors leading to your deck or maybe even a large bay window. Any of these options would make for a beautiful focal point. If these arent available to you, you may want to consider the placement of your bed and/or the inclusion of the large painting.



As you settle in and begin to discuss the layout of your new bedroom, I recommend keeping comfort in mind. As I stated earlier, this is your room! Make it a sanctuary to yourself (and significant other.) Make it a place where you will be able to getaway, when you cant getaway.


This could include simple things like the placement of your bed to enjoy the beautiful view outside to which upgrades will help you feel more at home. Imagine how the setup will help calm you, and provide a relaxing space to get the rest you need.


If you do have a significant other, make sure that both of your voices are being heard. This should be a room you can enjoy together.



You've probably already been thinking about this, you may have thought about wall sconces, chandelier or how the natural light will come into play. If so you are on the right track!


Not only can you look at how the lighting will brighten your sanctuary, but you can add a touch of you with the style in the fixtures. You may want to take a look at a site like Houzz.com for ideas.


As you explore windows and the benefits of natural light.   Transom windows are usually smaller and placed high in a wall allowing daylight and at the same time, privacy.  When set atop other windows, they extend views and sight-lines.  Where appropriate, you may also want to include a blackout liner for when you need to rest during daylight hours. Additionally, I would recommend adding a dimmer, so you can adjust the brightness during the evening and late night hours.



Similar to the lighting, you may already have a few ideas in your head. If you already have bedding, furniture or even art picked out, I recommend taking the time to understand how it will look with the color schemes you have in mind.


If you are struggling to choose the colors, check out these tips from the Decorating Files. Remember the colors we choose will affect our modes.




Will the master bedroom be on the 1st floor? Will the ceilings be angled because of the roof? How will the ceiling compliment the walls? As you can see this is only skimming the surface of choices you will have when deciding how to ensure the ceiling will compliment the goals you have for this important room.


Far too often I see new home builders skimp over the ceiling, and miss out on a tremendous opportunity to add some character to a room where they will be spending so much time on their backs. Spend a little extra time to add a little bit of yourself to the ceiling. Check out these fun ideas from HGTV to get started to get your creative juices flowing.



Maybe you have planned for a large closet or have a few dressers youll be counting on and feel youll have plenty of storage. If so you could be missing out on a great opportunity to get creative and ad some additional storage you may want or need in the future.


You may want to consider adding some shelving, built in doors or maybe even an alcove for a little more creative storage space. Dont limit yourself just the traditional, get creative and check these storage ideas from DigsDigs for more ways to add to your storage needs.


Whatever your needs (or wants) are, we can all get a little creative and make our master bedroom a place we can truly enjoy with a little bit of planning and preparation.


What ideas and tips do you have? I would love to hear about how youve made your master bedroom a room that reflects who you are and what you need.



Design Trends | Master Bedroom Design

Avoiding Common Regrets When Building Your New Home

by Greg Dodge 25. February 2014 09:51
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The moment you’ve waited for has arrived, keys are in hand and your builder is eager to show off the finished product. You are flooded with a mixture of emotions, relief, joy, exhaustion and you can’t wait to finally move into you brand new home!


Three months later, and for the most part you couldn’t be happier…well except for…


We’ve all been there, whether it is our first car or picking a major in school; we wish we would have done something a little different. When it comes to building a new home, what we thought we wanted doesn’t always end up meeting our needs.


So, whether you’re building your first home or you are a recent empty nester looking to downsize, join us as we take a look at how to avoid making some common regrets in your dream home.


First up we take a look at the kitchen.



5 Areas to Consider When Designing Your Kitchen


Depending on where you are in life, can make a big difference not only with what you need in the kitchen but what you want as well. If you love to cook and you have a large family, you might want to double up on the ovens. Or you may be recent empty-nesters, and you are downsizing your collection of bowls and plates. Whatever the case, here are the 5 most important things to evaluate and pay close attention too.

1.  Size: Storage space, cabinetry, pantry
2.  Placement Sink & Appliances
3.  Appliances
4.  Flooring
5.  Colors, lighting (Not enough light)


As you begin reviewing options for your kitchen, keep in mind the following 5 areas to avoid any major regrets.


Kitchen Size & Storage Space (Cabinets & Pantry)


Scholz Design's Siena Manor B 135, Home Plan 56139 Kitchen


Getting the kitchen size right can go a long way to avoiding any potential regrets lurking around the corner. Nobody wants to start cooking in a kitchen and feel cramped, nor do you want to look around at your massive room and feel as though you missed out on an opportunity because of your gargantuan kitchen space.


Take some time before you sit down with you builder to discuss with your spouse what each of you is expecting out of your kitchen. You’ll be deciding the overall size as well as storage space (cabinets and a pantry.) Getting the size and space right is key to feeling happy with your finished kitchen. 


How many dishes will you need? How often will you be entertaining? How many meals will you be preparing each week? Although it can be hard to hit the sweet spot when it comes to storage space, it is usually better to err on the side of too much storage space.




Design 42057 Kitchen. As built by Sam Bradley Homes in Springfield, MO.


We all want to get the most out of the kitchen. One thing I hear often about building your own home is,


“You don’t always get what you want but you get what you ask for.”


I think there is nothing in the house more applicable to that as you are considering the size of this space you’ll want to think about the layout as well. Addressing simple questions such as functionality, design and placement of appliances, can help you get the most out of your kitchen. Especially if you are looking at one story home plans, this decision is even more important.


Take some time to really understand what you like and don’t like in the kitchen. If you’re like me and enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you’ve probably already been making mental notes of what you do and don’t like about your current kitchen. Don’t stop there! Write down any ideas you have, spend some time in your family and friend’s kitchens, and consult with your builder.


Sinks & Appliances


Design 42048.  A kitchen with a view.  Extra storage in the enlarged island compensates for the loss of cabinets on the outside wall.  Lots of windows allow for tons of natural light!


Sink location and the number of sinks in a kitchen has evolved considerably the last couple of years. As the beautiful sink above illustrates.


While you’re deciding on what type of sink to get, you may not be spending as much time thinking about where to place it. We recommend giving a lot of thought into where your sink will go. Deciding on the type of sink and placement of that sink should be a joint decision. Look at the positives and negatives of the positions you are considering and talk to family and friends about what they like and don’t like about their sink.


Ditto for your appliances! Getting placement right the first time will help you avoid possible headaches down the road and help you enjoy your kitchen to its fullest.


Flooring & Countertops


Home Plan 2174 the Cordeaux


We all have preconceived ideas on what we like and want. When it comes to flooring and counters, most of us probably have a preference, whether it is hard wood floors and marble countertops or bamboo floors and soapstone countertops.


Whatever your preference or preconceived ideas are, you should take some time to understand what options are available to you and fit your budget. In most cases this will help you avoid regretting your floors and countertops.


Lighting & Colors


unexpected color!


Far too often lighting is one of the last things new home builders worry about, especially in the kitchen. Invest additional time and research into understanding how the light fixtures will play in your space. You’ll find that most experts recommend using a mixture of fixtures to layer the light in the kitchen.


As you make your lighting decisions don’t forget to factor in the color of your walls, floors, cabinets and countertops. How will these colors affect the overall look and feel of your kitchen? How will they appear in each layer of lighting? While you can change the colors of our walls and cabinets on a whim, it can be more of a challenge when it comes to your floors and countertops.


Prepare Now to Avoid Any Possible Regrets

As you begin planning your kitchen, come prepared with your ideas. Know what you want and need. Don’t leave the decisions up to the builder.


Spend some time looking at the kitchens of your family and friends, and keep track of what you like and don’t like. You are building a home for you and your family, and the time you spend investing in understanding what you want and need, will pay off in limiting if not eliminating regrets and making you a happy new home owner!


Sooner or later after building a home you will say “I wish I had thought of that!” Sign up to our HER Home Thought of the Day to make sure you don’t say that (as often) after building your next home.





Decade of Change | Design Trends | Kitchen Design | Products for the Home

President's Day!

by Greg Dodge 17. February 2014 10:33
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Happy Presidents' Day


Over the weekend, my family talked about the different Presidential homes we have visited. These pictures were taken on one of our trips to D.C.   All the homes are with day trips from D.C.  Can you identify them?







We are are curious to know if you have visited any presidential homes. If so which ones? Which is your favorite?

Thank you MelD (my wife) for the idea!


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Garage Design | History

Doubling up in the kitchen

by Greg Dodge 28. January 2014 06:44
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Designing the perfect kitchen is a matter of personal style. Everything from your household size to meal preferences to how you like to entertain needs to be considered.  



If your new kitchen has sufficient cabinet space, many people are eliminating a base cabinet and adding a second dishwasher. You may be surprised how little the difference in price is. And for individuals who set the table right out of the dishwasher (hey, they're clean dishes!) it's almost like you didn't give up any storage!




Design Trends | Destressing | Kitchen Design

The Kitchen Pantry is Evolving

by Greg Dodge 6. January 2014 16:46
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Pantries got bigger reflecting our appetite for prepared foods. Then they got bigger again as we filled them with mixers, crock pots and small appliances. Now many pantries are being designed as food prep areas.  Women challenged and inspired our designers to create a food prep area separate from the kitchen to keep the kitchen's aesthetic appeal during entertaining. Practical considerations meant it had to be  close to the kitchen with easy access to everything you need. We dubbed the solution the "work-in" pantry! Pantries have not only gotten larger, they're often becoming more discrete. Increasingly popular are kitchen pantry designs where the storage is not visually open to the kitchen. The layout may have a door from the kitchen with storage around the corner, or locate the pantry door itself around the corner from the kitchen. The pantry may even have dual access, with a door from the rear foyer meaning groceries can be stored in the pantry without having to first unload them in the kitchen before putting them away!

Example Floor Plans




Design Trends | Kitchen Design | Storage

HER Home Thought of the Day - Best of 2013

by Greg Dodge 30. December 2013 07:40
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Published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, HER Home’s Thought of the Day is derived from our audience feedback as well as real-life experiences of the Her Home staff. This email series is designed to answer the question -- "I wish I had known about that!" This Monday, Wednesday, Friday email places in your inbox, solutions to common home building questions, design ideas, and insights into products to put into your new home or remodel project.


We had some great responses to our topics in 2013.  Here is the 'Best of" for 2013.  


Enjoy.  Be safe. See you in 2014.


Subscribe to HER Home at Thought of the Day here

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Decade of Change | Design Trends | General

The Top Seven Apps for Home Builders

by Greg Dodge 26. September 2013 12:36



There seems to be an app for pretty much anything these days, and the home building industry is certainly no exception. New apps for home builders are constantly being released, and home builders across the nation are finding their jobs can be so much easier and more productive with the right apps for their business. Here is a look at seven of the most popular and useful apps for home builders right now.



This is a construction project management powerhouse, and even better is the fact that it is free. You can access the projects you have created and have the ability to manage and share data with others. One of the more helpful aspects of the app is that you can enter some daily log notes to help you track your progress. You can also view, share, and save photos of your projects right in the app so that you have everything together, right where you need it. A directory in Procore can store all of your contact data too. Create punch list items for all the projects you have going as well as keep all of your time card entries stored here.  This handy app can really help you get and stay organized.


Get or read more about this app


iQuick Contract Maker<empty>iQuick Contract Maker

While this app may not be free, it is worth the $2.99 it costs because of how much easier it can make your life. Contracts of all kinds can be made with this app, and when you’re ready, you can easily email them out to everyone involved in the transaction.


Get or read more about this app


OnSite PlanRoom<empty>OnSite PlanRoom

Tired of toting around paper home plans under your arm? Carry them around in your phone or tablet instead with this plan library. You can easily view PDF plans and construction documents here as well

as preview specs, correspondence, and other related items. Share documents, exchange comments, and more with others with the image and document sharing capabilities of this great app.


Get or read more about this app


Carpenter's Helper<empty>Carpenter's Helper

Even though math is important for someone that builds homes, you don’t necessarily have to a math genius with the help of this app. Use a standard calculator to run equations and convert units. Easily input triangular measurements so that you can calculate roof pitch, rafter lengths, stair lengths, and more.  The app only needs two basic measurements inputted in to automatically calculate the remaining numbers for you.


Get or read more about this app





Graphisoft SE created this free app specifically for 3D purposes. Any device you put this on instantly transforms into a 3D communication and presentation tool. After users upload one of these drawings, it is easy to explore architectural design in a building modeling environment.


Get or read more about this app


Home Builder Pro Calcs<empty>Home Builder Pro Calcs

If you need quick, easy calculations done, this is the app for you. This is especially true if you specifically need to do cost estimates, hours, and take-off quantities. More than 270 home-improvement calculations and unit conversions are in the app all there ready to use.


Get or read more about this app


Home Inspection<empty>Home Inspection

One thing that can really be a pain for a contractor is dealing with the home inspection. This app helps to make it easier as it provides users with an organized, step-by-step and room-by-room visual inspection of single-family homes. The app helps to identify visible flaws and defects so that they are taken care of before closing.


Get or read more about this app


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Software Apps | home builders

The fallacy of comparing “cost per square foot” when evaluating potential builders for your new home.

by Greg Dodge 5. August 2013 15:05



It may come as a surprise to you that there is no universal method for calculating a home’s square footage.  Discrepancies occur when including (or omitting) porches and screened-in decks, lower levels, attic spaces and garages.  Should the square footage occupied by a staircase be counted once or twice, since it occupies space on both levels? 

Then there’s the question of where the measurement is taken from.  Some homes may only include the space inside the walls.  More often, the calculation is based on taking measurements from outside of the exterior wall framing (which adds the square footage represented in the wall thickness.)  Further increasing square footage calculations, some homes are measured from outside of exterior finish materials.  If the home has brick siding, for example, measuring to the outside of the brick may add 50 or even 100 square feet to the home’s overall size.  This is one reason homes should not be compared solely on the basis of cost-per-square-foot.

Different builders calculate square footage differently.  Homesite costs differ.  The quality of materials used differs by builder, as does the costs charged by the builders’ sub-contractors such as electricians, plumbers and painters.

Design also has a huge bearing on cost.  These 2 homes have exactly the same floorplan, and square footage, but the cost to build is very different.


Design Basics home plan #43055 Design Basics home plan #43056
1719 sq. ft., 3-bedroom 1719 sq. ft., 3-bedroom


Finally, what’s included in one builder’s bid will vary from what’s included in another builder’s bid.  It’s virtually impossible to get an “apples for apples” comparison between two builders, and even if you could control most variables by having the home design finalized and all products selected, there’s still differences in quality and customer service to be considered.

Beware of comparing two homes solely on the basis of cost per square foot!

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Four Things You Can Do to Make Your Porch More Alluring

by Greg Dodge 24. July 2013 12:39



There are numerous benefits to having a front or back porch, and if you’re lucky enough to have both, that’s even all the better. A front porch gives you the advantage of curb appeal by highlighting your entryway. It can add an element of graceful style to your home, and it is one of the first things that a visitor or passerby will see. Back porches offer the bonus of a private space to relax or entertain, and will add to the beauty of your backyard. A nice front or back porch will increase the value of your home and any porch can be made more alluring with certain touch-ups or additions.



Add a Porch Covering:

Although a porch can be a nice feature on its own, if you don’t have a covering, it will be exposed to the sun and rain, and will be damaged over time. This also leaves you, your guests, and your entryway with no protection either. A covering is an investment that will save you from having to rebuild your porch prematurely, and will also make it a more enjoyable space for everyone.  


Install a Railing:

Having a railing on your porch can significantly impact its appearance and give it a finishing touch that complements the other design elements of your home. A railing provides privacy without obstructing your view and will give your porch a more secure feel. This is especially important if you are going to have children playing on or around the porch.


Change your Décor:

The furniture you use to decorate your porch has a large impact on its look and attractiveness. Since these accessories are kept outdoors, it is likely that they will need to be replaced more often than your other furniture. Adding a rug can make the space appear larger and give it a cozier experience. The seating that you choose will also greatly affect the feel of your porch and should be considered carefully. 


Add Finishing Touches:

Adding ceiling fans can keep you comfortable during warmer weather, and light fixtures or lamps, will provide both decorative and useful elements to your porch. Hanging plants, or sheer curtains, can add a nice touch to the space, and offer you more privacy without completely blocking t

he outside view and light. Finally, you will want to keep your yard maintained, especially around the porch as this reflects on the area as a whole.  


Looking for homes plans designed with great porches? Craftsman style homes are famous for their large beautiful front porches.


Design Trends | Destressing | Patio | Porch

Driveways That Dazzle

by Greg Dodge 5. July 2013 08:09

Driveways That Dazzle

There are many aspects to a house that are important to really plan when you are making your house plans. However, most people don’t really consider the driveway and the overall feel it will give to a house. When trying to make a great first impression, the overall appearance of the home is what makes it, and that includes the driveway. Here are some things that will help liven up your driveway or help you to think of what you would like to do when building your home.


There are several ways that plants of many varieties can be utilized in improving the overall appeal of the driveway. For instance, many people like to line the entire pathway with plants including rosebushes, tall or topiary bushes, and even trees. These can add the perfect accents to make a great pathway leading up to the home.

Another way to add plants is right down the middle of the driveway

so that the tire tracks are made out of cement but there is still variety and color down the middle. These types of plants are usually a lot smaller because there shouldn’t be any scraping against the bottom of the car when driving over this area.

Back To Basics

The best way to dazzle up a driveway is to build it out of a material other than concrete. There are cobblestone pavers and even concrete pavers that can add a different look with the textures and colors that can be added. This will also give a classier feel to the entire driveway.

The Difference In The Details

Great driveway design is mostly based on the experience at arriving. Whether your drive way is long or short, you can wind around and make it look longer and more artistic. Even if it is a shorter driveway, you can always have a small bend that will make it look longer.

A short landscaping wall is another way to really add an interesting look to the landscaping. This is because the wall provides a look of differing depths, making it more interesting to look at. Adding plants on top of the fence makes the entire presentation even more impressive.

The thing that makes the best impression on an entrance to a driveway or property in general is fences and gates. A fancy gate really makes an impression when someone pulls up to your property.

A fence also makes a great impression to those just driving past your home.


During the winter, many homeowners are familiar with the act of shoveling off snow and clearing it in order to pull in and out. Technology has advanced enough that people are finding effective ways to lay heating systems under and inside the driveway in order to make this chore easier. Instead of breaking your back you can go ahead and just flip a switch. This will result in more time in the mornings as well as a perfectly cleared driveway. This way you can show off that driveway you’ve put so much thought into.

For more information on how you can design your custom home with the perfect driveway, contact us today.