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February 24, 2023
How to Design Your Dream Custom-Built Home

There are many advantages to designing your own home. Gone are the builder-basic styles, layouts that don’t work for your family, and exteriors you can’t tell apart from your neighbors’. To help with your planning, check out these pro tips:

Find the Right Property

There are no limits to what you can create with a custom-built home, but the size and quality of your lot do impose restrictions. While you don’t need to have everything decided when you purchase the property, make sure you have a general idea of what you need — your architect or contractor can help with this. Also, double check zoning laws, so you don’t wind up not being able to build your dream three-stories on a residential street that only allows bungalows.  

A residential construction site using ICF blocks

Built in Pismo Beach, California, the Bluff House took advantage of Nudura ICF's design flexibility.

Consider Your Lifestyle

What kind of lifestyle do you want? What’s important to you? From bigger elements like smart home automation and sustainability, to smaller considerations like storage and organization, think of these when designing the layout and built-in elements. For example, if you hate shoveling, now is the time to make sure you have the shortest driveway possible.

Build for the Future

Your needs and wants right now are at the top of your mind, but a custom home is a significant investment in time, money, and energy. It’s also likely you want this to be your forever home, so it’s a smart idea to build for tomorrow.

Think about how your family will evolve and what your future needs might be. Consider using building materials that are designed to last, like Nudura insulated concrete forms (ICFs). This alternative to wood framing is a greener option and offers disaster resilience against high winds and fire. The superior insulation also means more comfortable, uniform indoor temperatures and less money spent on heating and cooling your home.

Avoid the Fantasy Trap

It’s okay to indulge on the outdoor fireplace or luxury bathroom tiles that you’ve been envisioning, but to keep your budget in check, focus on the priorities and items that will give you the best value for your dollar. Invest in features that will improve your everyday living and boost your property value, like energy-efficient construction or a finished basement.

Find more inspiration and ideas for designing your new home by checking out these modern ICF house plans or looking at our residential applications gallery featuring custom ICF homes across North America.

Bill Zarillo House

Watertown, CT

Looking to construct a new home, Bill Zarillo, owner of Zarillo Building Innovations, had some unique needs that contributed to his building material selection. The three biggest necessities for his structure were energy efficiency, accessibility, and weather resiliency. These factors all turned him to insulated concrete forms (ICFs) from Nudura, in combination with other waterproofing solutions from Tremco Sealants.

A residential construction site using ICF blocks
Completed construction of a home built with ICF. The home has solar panels on the roof and overlooks a body of water.
Youtube Video Thumbnail: Bill Zarillo House


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