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Building A Better Home

Five design ideas to consider when building a custom home.

By Shawn King
Photography by Pete Grady

In Real Estate, the tired cliché of location, location, location is losing its value to the point that one wonders whether it even covers the cost of the ink to print it. Obviously, we acknowledge that location is important, but if you’re already a homeowner in Eagle, which boasts the highest square footage value for single family residences in Idaho (the average home sold for $129 a SF in December according to MLS data) what features will make your home exceptional in a crowd of great homes. Here are our five “design ideas” in a Custom Home:

  1. Guest Suite. We choose to call it a guest suite because you may not like your Mother-in-law, but to give longer-term guests their own private entry and all the amenities, such as a mini-kitchen, private entry, and a bathroom is indispensable for family visits, business associates, and other guests. The entry opens into the main courtyard area so guests can come and go as they please without interrupting the privacy and flow of your home. This allows you the luxury of being gracious while maintaining your distance.
  2. Hidden Pantry/Closets. Typically associated with haunted mansions and Saturday morning cartoons, the hidden room adds privacy, security, and a resell factor. You feel as if you’re being let in on a closely-guarded secret when a homeowner reveals the wine cellar or in this case, the hidden butler’s pantry. The premise behind the hidden room is discovering the unexpected with a pleasant outcome, a type of architectural miegakure which was a Japanese promenade garden that took followers through a series of conceal and reveal landscapes. It’s a statement about detail, and we can’t help but admire the author when it’s so easy to fall into a utilitarian trap while building a home.
  3. Polymer Epoxy Coated Garage. The benefits of polymer other than turning your otherwise unremarkable garage into a vehicle show room, is durability–particularly with stains. Liquids can be easily wiped off the surface which is far less porous than concrete. Frequently, material chips are mixed in the polymer to give it a unique look and texture or to give it traction. The process involves either sanding the concrete or acid etching to open it up for better adhesion then following up with layers of sealant and epoxy till it all cures.
  4. The Unique Kitchen. Ok, we admit that the unique kitchen as a design idea is somewhat of a given, but to illustrate the point, imagine a wonderful custom home without a unique kitchen. Imagine laminate counters and linoleum flooring; a simple tile backsplash and white appliances—it’s simply wrong. It’s laughably wrong, not because were pretentious, but because it’s just out of place. This kitchen is a prime example of what custom looks like. Stone accents, fantastic millwork, genre-appropriate appliances, and little conveniences like a faucet over the oven combine to give this kitchen that luxury feeling. Granite, hardwood, and a large arc island round out the offering to make us appreciate the room more like an exhibit than where we prepare food. Did we mention the hidden pantry?
  5. Great Builder. One of the difficulties of building a custom home is using vision to create a plan that captures the buyer’s ideas. Few builders do this is as well as Doug Atwood at Legacy Homes. Many builders will have their plans and their ideas so what comes out is a compromise between the client’s desires and the builder’s paradigm. Doug, a co-founder of Legacy has done a great job of optimizing client ideas, throwing in a few of their own, and settling on a unique property that doesn’t look like glorified spec housing. A nice compliment to this vision is a business acumen, and as the other owner of Legacy, Nate Sampson has a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University which he picked up while working in DC for the Bush administration. Combine these two attributes, and Legacy should be on your short list for Custom Builder interviews.

This home was built by Legacy Homes and is currently listed with Greg Boss at 43 Degrees North Real Estate. Visit http://tours.tourfactory.com/tours/tour.asp?t=1071375 to see the home tour.