A home in Great Falls, designed by Sutton Yantis and built by Great Falls Construction. © Bob Narod

Build: Checklist

Factors to consider when designing and building a dream home

Going Green—Concern for the environment is growing among U.S. households—and so are energy costs. Because of this, many custom builders are embracing green-building techniques. Features like solar panels, water-saving appliances, insulation to prevent heat loss and the use of renewable or recycled building materials all improve a home’s efficiency.

New Amenities—Today, homeowners like to see features that will enhance their lifestyle through health, entertainment and comfort. Yoga studios, resistance pools and fitness rooms encourage healthy living. Game rooms, theaters and even bowling alleys can be added for easy entertaining, while breezy, screened porches and warm hearths make a home feel cozy and welcoming.

Home Tech—In a world where there’s an app for everything, buyers now expect a custom home to do more and be “smarter.” Nowadays, you can control many features in your home using a phone, including energy usage and climate control, security systems, lighting and even the music playing in each room.

Multi-generational Living—Whether it’s aging parents moving in with their adult children or young adults returning to the nest, multi-generational households are on the rise and custom builders are tailoring homes to this lifestyle. Multi-generational families often build homes that include a traditional mother-in-law suite or a locked-off living space with dedicated kitchenette, full bathroom and living areas to provide a sense of privacy and independence.

Universal Design—As the population ages and baby boomers look to retirement, universal design has become an ever-growing priority for many custom-home buyers and builders. Features such as wider doors, lower countertops and fewer stairs create a home that everyone can enjoy comfortably. Accessibility allows owners to age in place, prolonging their ability to stay in the house independently and increasing value by opening the market to any future buyer, regardless of age, stature or ability.


Source: Maryland Building Industry Association. Architecture: Bill Sutton, Sutton Yantis Associates Architects. Builder: Great Falls Construction. Photo: Bob Narod.