The meaning of “custom home” lies on a spectrum: from truly custom (all design choices are yours) to not custom at all (design and selection decisions are predetermined). Many tract builders have a semi custom phase, which means you’ll have a limited set of floor plans and choices for each finish (i.e. six countertop options, five cabinet colors, and 20 tile options.) This is a great option if you want to add some individual character while still getting a great value.
A tract builder can often build the same size house for a lower cost than a custom home builder. That’s because tract builders have purchasing power due to their high volume for both materials and land, as well as a systemized approach to high-volume construction. This always means less flexibility across the board, but also means money savings for you. Just be wise in the amount of upgrades you choose and where you spend your money. To catch up on my custom home progress, Click Here.
My sister just moved into her new semi custom home and boy did her builder have some great options to choose from. In the matter of 2 days her and I selected all her finishes and paint colors. My sister has great style and definitely knows what she likes, but like many of us out there, has a difficult time putting it all together. So that’s where I came in. We stuck with one interior wall color throughout. Changing paint colors can become pretty pricey and in the end all she may add later are a few variations. She opted out on lighting packages and instead ordered her own fixtures. The builder will mark up the prices on lighting. This is an easy one to do yourself and will save you money. She did upgrade her tile and counter tops and a few window casings. These are areas that are much harder to change out or required some specific skills. These areas for her were worth the extra cost.
If you are like my sister and struggle to see the full picture but have an eye for what you want, I would suggest hiring a designer to consult you through this process so you end up with good flow throughout your home. Otherwise you can bribe your design loving sister or friend into helping out for the day. In the end mistakes cost much more then expert advice to begin with.
Semi Custom Design Finishes
So here are the semi custom design finishes my sister and I selected for her brand new home! Let’s start outside shall we. This particular development phase offered seven different floor plans. My sister ended up choosing this craftsman style exterior painted Cyber space by Sherwin Williams. This deep gray hue ends up looking more blue as an exterior paint than indoors.
Walking inside, Her beautiful wood floors stand out right away. She selected a medium toned wood floor by Heirloom called Norwich. It carries the perfect amount of dark and light tones throughout the main floor. The brass semi flush mount tops off the entry way. Keep in mind I took these photos before the final cleaning. Lots of dry wall dust still lingering about.
Her kitchen features a 10 ft island covered in New Carrara quartz. Quartz is a more durable alternative to real marble without sacrificing any beauty. They cut her slab with a 6cm thickness for an extra wow factor. The island color is Dovetail gray by sherwin Williams.
I absolutely love the backsplash. It is called Ambient White Tetra and it carries that horizontal hex shape with such movement and sparkle. I like a classic subway, but this backsplash definitely sets her kitchen apart from the masses. Dare to do something different! My sister knew she wanted this backsplash the moment she saw it.
The kitchen is topped of with a beautiful farm sink, a chrome faucet fit for a pro, gorgeous brass hardware, and this modern brass fixture above her dining nook. She ordered three amazing brass pendants to hang above her island, but they wont be here till march. I cant wait to share them with you.
The living room extends off the kitchen and captivates the beauty of Utah. The mountain views are to die for in her home. Each window is cased out framing that gorgeous view. We created benches below the windows to provide additional seating and storage. White painted shiplap and a box mantel finish off the living room look.
The mudroom features a woven porcelain tile with gray and brown neutrals. Its the perfect tile to hide dust and dirt from incoming shoes. The tile is called Exhibition Fray. The built in cubbies make the perfect drop zone and are painted Dovetail Gray by Sherwin Williams.
Moving upstairs we transitioned to carpet. Carpet is comfort to her and comfort is key when it comes to designing your home. The carpet is called Wilshire Heights- Sweet innocence by Mohawk.
The upstairs features 3 bedrooms, a laundry room, a loft (play room), a hallway bathroom, and the master suite. The hallway bathroom vanity is painted in the same color as the exterior- Cyber space by Sherwin Williams. I told you it looks different inside! The floor tile is so fun and mimics the texture of snake skin. The ceramic tile is called Digital Art in gray.
Moving to the master bathroom, we selected a gray porcelain tile. The tile is called AZ Varese Cehere and its designed to look like concrete. We originally selected a carrara porcelain tile for the shower and bath walls, but the sample that was shown in the design center turned out to be much different then the actual product. A word to the wise, photograph everything when making your selections. That way if there is a dispute later, you have proof to back up your argument. The builder actually installed the marble ceramic tile and my sister about flipped when she saw it. To her it was way to crazy and chaotic. When she presented her the photograph that we took in the deign center, everyone agreed that the sample was not an accurate representation of what the product actually looked like. The builder agreed to rip it out and replace it with a new selection at the builders expense. I sure hope they also replaced that sample with a new one!
After seeing the busy marble tile, my sister decided to go in a much simpler direction and selected a white 4×16 porcelain tile with a gray grout to match the floor. The shower floor showcases a small Calcutta hex marble tile and all the bath fixtures are polished nickel. The vanity is a flat panel cherry wood cabinet stained in Sand Dollar. This wood tone brings some warmth to the space.
The master closet is still in the works. If you’ve been following my Instagram stories, you know all about this project. My sister and I put some blood, sweat, and curse words into this project, but I know in the end it will really make it functional and organized. We are waiting on a few organizational pieces that are on back order, but you can count on a full post when it’s complete. Well worth the time and savings if you have the patience!
That completes the design finishes for this semi custom home. In the end, spend your money on the upgrades that you know you can’t or won’t do yourself. This way you will end up with a home you love, not a project that will never get done. I’ll be sharing more designs in my sisters home in the future. Perks of having a design savvy sister who is project motivated! Until then, be sure to subscribe to my blog for more custom home updates, design tips, diy projects, recipes, and more.
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