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modern_home_remote_controlBuilding a custom home today involves much more than specialized floor plans. Homeowners have endless options for special features and unique touches that can turn a home into a personal oasis.

“Most people who build a custom home prefer to be able to influence the design, appliances, fixtures and décor selections rather than buying a replicated product,” Kevin M. Stuckey, managing partner at Stuckey Builders LLC, explained.

Stuckey and other members of the Custom Builders Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association cite several hot trends in today’s market.

Functionality over Formality
James D. McVaugh, founder and president of McVaugh Custom Homes Inc., said homebuyers tend to prefer functionality over formal living spaces.

“This is particularly true with ‘great rooms’ — where dining, kitchen and living rooms all blend in an L-shape configuration with a high ceiling,” he explained. “We are also seeing kitchen islands getting bigger and designed in new shapes like the letter ‘T’ which seats more people and allows for easier conversations.”

Amanda Pallotta, associate designer and of sister companies Contour Interior Design LLC and Capital Builders & Designers LLC, explained that clients tailor their homes to fit their lifestyle.

“Separate playrooms, theaters and home offices are all integral spaces that are consistently requested by clients,” she said. “It is very important to design for all members of the family so each individual living in the house can be comfortable. In order to achieve this higher standard of livability, the spaces need to be multifunctional.”

The Great Outdoors
Functional living spaces often incorporate patios and backyards, McVaugh said. “With our favorable weather, we are incorporating outdoor sliding pocket door systems that when open, literally blend the inside with the outside. Outside areas now offer fire pits, water features, summer kitchens and the newest evolution away from giant pools to smaller splash pools.”

Stuckey agrees, saying that outdoor living spaces are one of the most requested upgrades for his clients. People enjoy being outside, but they have to be comfortable to really enjoy it,” he said.

Getting Technical
New homes are built to keep up with the times, the builders agreed. Clients want to control their lights, fireplace, garage door, home temperature, security system and music all from their smartphones.