Posted: 8.22

Pet-Friendly Areas Trending in Custom Home Design

custom designed homesThere’s a new trend in custom designed homes, and it’s all about those furry friends.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans own pets, and this year those pet owners are expected to spend a total of 60 billion dollars on their animal companions. Designers are cashing in on their customers’ need to pamper their pets by creating custom luxury homes with pets in mind.

Many dog owners, for instance, are beginning to consider their pets’ needs when they design or remodel their homes. Some request whole spaces for their pets like playrooms, showers and baths, and others install cabinets specifically for pet bowls and food.

Pets want to feel safe and peaceful, and a good home design can contribute to their emotional well-being, especially if they have a place to retreat to when they get overwhelmed. Many people requesting these new homes consider this just as important as creating spaces for children.

Several custom luxury home builders will debut homes featuring luxury pet-suite additions in early 2015. The homes range from 3,000 to 7,000 square feet, with up to 170 square feet dedicated to the animal of the house.

These additions include baths with paw-friendly steps, hand-held sprayers and leash hooks, as well as comfortable beds and plenty of cabinets for pet toys, treats and care supplies.

Some of these pet-friendly custom built homes even have French doors that open into puppy runs equipped with outdoor cleaning stations.

In 2008, a different design firm constructed Pacific Palisades resident Pam Fillo’s vision for a pet friendly breakfast nook. The room featured custom window seats with three separate nooks for her dogs, equipped with comfortable dog beds.

But for many people, these changes to their custom designed homes aren’t just cute ways to make pets happy. They can actually save pet owners a lot of money and trouble, especially since designing a home for your specific needs can reduce wear and tear. For instance, pet owners who don’t want to trip over their dog bowls all the time can install custom feeding stations in their cabinets.

One such cabinet designed by Shannon Ggem includes a water spigot that feeds down to a waterproof shelf. It also includes a charging station for electronics and a drawer specifically sized for a 15-pound bag of dog food. Before plumbing and counter top installation, the cabinet costs about $500.

Other designers are using creative new techniques to disguise pet doors. A Los Angeles architect actually installed a dog door in a laundry room so that dogs could pass through an exterior door hidden under an ironing cabinet. Homeowners can also consider electronic pet doors, which unlock with a microchip on their pet’s collar. These usually cost about $250 to wire into custom designed homes.

These costs may seem high, but custom homes built to modern codes are actually up to 17% more energy efficient, and eco-friendly green buildings pay 30% less in utility expenses, so you could always build a green custom home and put the money you’re not spending on utilities toward your pet’s happiness.

Talk to custom homes builders in your area if you’d like to build a custom home with your own pet in mind.

Posted: 7.10

How Building a Custom Home Could Save You Money

custom homes plansDid you know that if you build a custom home, you could boost your house’s energy efficiency by 17%? This is because newer homes follow current building codes that have now become more eco-friendly.

In recent years, there has been much talk about global warming and the increase of pollution into the atmosphere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims that the changes in climate are due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as gas and oil. These are what often give our homes energy, and lead to carbon dioxide emissions, which is also considered a greenhouse gas. As these gases enter the atmosphere, they start to affect the climate.

This is critical for Americans to understand, because residential homes in the U.S. account for about 20% of these emissions, and buildings, about 38%.
Consequently, by considering custom homes plans that include green homes designs, you could be saving yourself and the environment from harmful atmospheric gas. You will also save money.
Here are a few things you can add into your custom homes plans to make your house eco-friendly.

Kitchen
When you build your kitchen, keep in mind that it is a high area of traffic, so finding durable materials will be essential. In terms of appliances, the EPA estimates that the U.S. could save about $18 billion annually if every U.S. home was fitted with a water-efficient appliance. So, you should be looking for appliances that have an ENERGY STARĀ® sticker on them. This confirms that the product will minimize water and energy usage.

Bathroom
According to the EPA, toilets use up most of the water in a house, consuming about 30% of all home water usage. While more traditional toilets often guzzle 3.5 gallons for each flush, newer composting toilets decrease water consumption significantly, reducing water usage by 20% to 60%. You can also purchase water-efficient shower heads and faucets that cut down the amount of unnecessary water being used.

Heating and Cooling
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that more than half of the average U.S. home’s energy bill is devoured by heating and cooling. Once again, consider installing a unit that has an ENERGY STARĀ® label will give you the best chance at reducing your heating and cooling costs by up to 30%.

Because of the energy and cost savings that green-built homes offer, research predicts that over the next five years, there will be a 900% increase in demand for these types of homes. With green homes plans, you may have to shell out a few more dollars than you expected, but it will save you money in the long run.