5 Things to consider when building a custom home!


As a designer, and one who is currently in the final stages just before breaking ground on our new home, I have found a few things to be helpful when starting this process. It can be such an overwhelming process (yes, even for a designer like me!) and any insight or knowledge you bring to the table can make your project and decisions that much easier! If you are building, Good Luck!….I know a great designer that would love to help!

1. Set your budget. Going into a meeting with an architect with no budget in mind is no good. You can easily take a 3,000 sq ft house and make it a 6,000 sq ft house if you don’t have an idea or max amount of what you want to spend. And tell your architect and designer this budget. They are not there to spend it all and then some, but rather guide you in the right direction on where is is BEST spent.

2. Do your homework. Gather your ideas, magazine clippings, pinterest posts, etc. Basically anything that will give your architect a better idea of what you want. It will help explain the depth of details you may want in your house vs. you trying to explain them. Lots of things can get lost in translation, so I always tell clients that on our first meeting, bring these items that help tell the story of how you want your house to feel.

3. Interview your builders. See how the dynamics are between the two of you. Do you feel comfortable? Does he/she come to the table with some creative ideas? Remember, most houses take 4-12 months….which is a long time to be in a “relationship” with someone whom you don’t see eye to eye. It is key that you trust your builder as well as your designer. They are essentially taking all your ideas and adding a creative edge to them, making your dream home a reality.

4. After you have selected your builder, meet with them. I even tell clients to meet with your builder before your architect. The builder knows what is more expensive vs. less when building. Like a ranch has a larger footprint, so can be more costly than your standard 2 story. Or that a rear elevation that has a straight foundation is less expensive vs. one with many angles that jet out. Or do you want a full masonry and stone home vs. masonry and siding combo. Big price difference in both. Your builder and designer can guide and educate you on what may be more expensive and cost effective decisions when building.

5. And don’t forget about bringing in your designer early on in the project. This is a big misconception that I think many people have. Designers work from the plan on up, before you even break ground. From meeting with the clients and looking over the plans adding creative input to selecting every last flooring, finish, fixture, paint color etc. Having a great team in place when building your home is key to a successful and smooth project!

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Megan Dunkmann
My diverse background in traveling, arts and the desire for all new trends, lends me the opportunity to have the ability create one of a kind spaces for my clients. Armed with a degree in Interior Design and over 9+ years experience, I have designed all environments from high-end residential homes to commercial spaces throughout the St. Louis area, from restaurants, healthcare facilities to common areas at private high-rise condominiums. Design is a passion I carry with me everyday and through my creativity I am able to pass that along to my clients in their spaces.