Avoiding McMansions: Custom Home Design Ideas, not Crass


Avoiding McMansions: Custom Home Design Ideas, not Crass

A popular blog gives a tongue-in-cheek tour of poor design and architecture on residences throughout America. It points out the faults in over-ambitious custom home designs so that you need not make those same mistakes in your own plans for your dream home. The old saying, “You can’t argue about taste,” is true, but trust some basic design and planning rules to help deliver a beautiful, comfortable custom home.

Build A Relationship With Your Designer

Skillful designers and architects strive not only to make their clients happy, but to guide them to make choices everyone will enjoy for many years. Your home design ideas need to spring from you, from your heart, not from a Pinterest page or the neighbor’s floor plans. Before turning your dreams over to a home designer or architect, make certain you are comfortable with the relationship. You have to confide your budget limitations, no-go items, and other parameters to this person, so a good working relationship is essential. You may be talking about a full basement in an area prone to flooding, for example, but if the designer is too timid to point out building code limitations, you will waste time and effort.

  • Back To Basics: To be happy with your custom home, be happy with your home’s designer.

Design With an Eraser

Looking at some of Texas’ less estimable examples at the McMansion blog, you see what happens when nobody takes an eraser to house plans. The architect or home designer you choose must be brave enough to point out when exuberance becomes excess:

  • • Mismatched windows
  • • Gaudy, not glamorous, decor
  • • Eyebrow windows
  • • Ham-handed asymmetry
  • • Poor use of scale and proportion
  • • Badly juxtaposed repetitive elements

Look at your plans and think, what can you eliminate and make a more powerful statement?

• Back to Basics: Reduce visual clutter and rely on tried-and-true techniques of symmetry, balance, and proportion

Square the Footage

Good home design ideas begin with realistic expectations. Though an excellent project planner can help with residential spaces from 900 to 10,000 square feet, this does not mean every design must sprawl across the maximum space a lot will allow. Begin by determining your square footage needs, and stop adding for the sake of conspicuous consumption, say the experts at SFGate. Square the footage you desire with the footage you need. Consider these median numbers for one of the most important private spaces in your new custom home:

  1. Master bedroom suites — A comfortable 22’x20′ room allows for a king bed, sitting area, his-and-hers dressers, and a bit of elbow room, without wasted space or invitations to clutter
  2. Walk-in closet — Seven feet wide allows parallel rows of hanging clothes, with space to move comfortably
  3. Master bathroom — Consider beginning with the smaller size, like 100 square feet, and see if you can fit all your required comforts

Experts at Houston Plans & Permits can walk you through your design choices, helping you to control scale so your home feels comfortable, not colossal.

• Back to Basics: The more square footage you have, the more cubic footage you have to heat and cool.

Keeping Up With Design Trends

Some Houston-area folks opting for custom homes want to ensure they are building within the averages, so their home will resell easily. Fortunately, the U.S. Census Bureau collects data on homes built and sold. In 2016, for example:

  • Average built home square footage — 2,422 square feet
  • Median lot size — 9,076 square feet
  • New homes with four bedrooms — 45 percent, or 336,000 of 738,000 homes
  • Most (671,000 of 738,000 homes) had outdoor features like porches, decks or patios

Balance and careful proportions can make any-sized home feel perfect.

  • Back to Basics: Your custom home can be median-sized and still pack a pow from thoughtful design.

By partnering with the expert designers and planners at Houston Plans & Permits, you can realize your dream home without it becoming an outsized nightmare.

Ready To Get Started?