What Puts The “Custom” In Custom Homes Today?

Posted on | October 27, 2012 | No Comments

A regular contributor to the NC Design Blog, today Winston-Salem interior designer June Delugas of June Delugas Interiors, provides us with an Insider’s view of the changes that have taken place in custom homes.

At the recent 2012 Winston-Salem Parade of Homes, I decided to interview a few of our noted area builders. I wanted to ask about the differences between homes in this year’s Showcase and those from years past, as it relates to home styles. Sam Morgan, of Morgan Builders, Inc. and Don Hamrick of Custom Homes by Hamrick were gracious enough to share their insights with me. The responses were both enlightening and very interesting.

Images Courtesy of June Delugas Interiors ©

Six or Seven years ago, the homes being built were all about the size. Sam and Don are premier builders in Winston-Salem. The two confirmed what I have seen as a designer – there is a trend away from the construction of the larger sized homes we so often saw in years past. Both builders have been conducting their own surveys, and are keeping track of what homeowners are calling for today. They agree that today, homeowners, in general, are forgoing expansive square footage, and are opting for additional custom features instead.

So, what are customers requesting? The amenities on their list today include things such as Italian granite, stone and marble. Instead of mass produced cabinets, they are calling for custom built cabinetry. We are seeing patinas on the cabinets in both laundry rooms and baths – in colors such as light blues and greens, grayish whites, darker grays, and blue greens.

Both builders indicated that a warmer white is the most popular color for kitchens this year. I find the vast differences from year to year to be very interesting. As a designer, what I see homeowners calling for most is what I would call a Hamptons styled open kitchen, with cabinetry in soft blues, greens and grays. Today, glazed cabinets are losing their appeal with the public. Homeowners want clean, transitional, almost modern lines mixed with traditional. Some may even call it beachy. You won’t find interest in heavy curvy dark iron décor any longer, unless it is a mountain retreat.

Other interesting features that women in particular are asking for include very large pantries that might accommodate a desk for them – with internet access, and also large laundry rooms, as well as drop zones. A drop zone is a custom built hall tree with cubbies and hooks or a closet tall dresser that a man could empty his pockets onto.

Most homeowners today are hiring professional interior designers to help with the entire custom home building process since they are asking for more and more unique features. They feel that with a modest extra investment, they will make less costly mistakes. The designer’s ability to create the desired look, provide access to products not available to the public, coordinate selections throughout the home, and troubleshoot unforeseen issues removes that burden from homeowners during the planning and construction phase.

As veteran builders, Sam Morgan and Don Hamrick will agree that customization requires true attention to detail. There is no substitute for quality materials and outstanding craftsmanship.

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