Before building a custom home, drive around communities with the particular home style that you love and shoot digital photos. Always have a camera available even if you only have a camera phone. You never know when you will see a feature that you want to include in your design.
We recently built a craftsman style home. The above photo was part of our inspiration portfolio. We gathered hundreds of photos of craftsman homes, prairie windows, siding, colors, dormers, floor plans, stone work, fixtures, driveways and craftsman columns that we liked.
Photos will help you zero in on your favorite choices. Here are a few tips to help you gather your inspiration portfolio:
Note Home Locations
One mistake that we made when capturing photos was failing to record the location of our inspiration homes. Since we took photos in various areas of our city, we often wanted to return to a particular house but we didn’t have the location.
Sometimes you will want to go back to get a photo at a different angle or to ask questions. Without the address, you could be out of luck.
Ask Homeowners for Advice
You may want to ask a homeowner questions like the manufacturer of their windows, siding, roof or doors. You might even want to know the name of their architect.
Telling a homeowner that you love their home goes a long way. We found many reliable subcontractors just by asking for references.
Visit Model Homes in New Communities
When you look at home plan books, it is hard to get the feel of room sizes and the flow of rooms. Fireplaces, window seats and bead board which make a craftsman home unique have to be seen in perspective. By walking through model homes, you will discover perfect room sizes, layouts, traffic patterns and conveniences that you might miss from studying plans.
Gather interior floor plans and community brochures. Note features that you want to include in your design. Use your digital camera to record rooms and exteriors that you don’t want to forget.
Take Online Tours of Homes For Sale
Online tours will allow you to look at hundreds of homes in a short period of time. You can visit homes for sale all over the world with the click of your mouse.
You will get a wealth of ideas. Use SnagIt to gather photos and organize your photos in a Google Picasa folder.
Reduce Costs Building Your Dream Home
After only a couple of hours of discussion and handing our builder consultant our inspiration portfolio, he came back with a near perfect design. Without doing a lot of the legwork, we would have paid more billable hours for consulting and design changes. Plus we wouldn’t have gotten our dream home design.
There is not a thing we would change about our finished home. Knowing exactly what you want, will save you from regrets and heartache.
Continue Capturing Photos During Construction
You may only build one custom home in your lifetime. Don’t miss taking photos throughout each building stage.
Make sure to get pictures of wiring, pipes, footers, framing, etc. These photos may help you show housing inspectors that you followed code guidelines. Plus photos can be helpful for adding stereo speakers, lights or wiring after a few years.
Make a Photobook
Friends and family will be curious about the process of building your home. You can compile a photobook of your experience including the inspiration photos for your house and pictures of wonderful subcontractors that helped you build your dream home.