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Upstate NY Home Building and Lifestyle Blog

15 Must-Have Features for Your Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose

Wed, Apr 21, 2021 @ 11:04 AM

15 Must-Have Features for Your Custom Home-2

One great thing about building a new custom home is that you don’t have to settle for standard features and finishes. Creating a home that’s uniquely yours is what makes a custom home special. As you’re planning your home, you’re likely to come across certain features that you know you want to include in the plan. It’s not because these things are trendy or ostentatious. It’s because they deliver the kind of comfort and convenience you really want. With that in mind, let’s look at 15 “must-have” features for your custom home that you’ll probably want to consider.


A well-planned mudroom can be a life-saver and prevent clutter from taking over your home. Muddy shoes, coats backpacks, sports equipment and school projects will no longer be scattered throughout the house. Keeping those items organized and contained is easy when you have a mudroom right off the entrance from your garage.

For extra storage, build in a few cubbies or add individual lockers for every family member’s belongings. If you have a dog, the mudroom is a great place to hang leashes and wipe off muddy paws before your pet heads into the house.

First-Floor Master Bedroom with Private Bath and Walk-In Closet

If your home is your castle, a first-floor master suite can become your inner sanctum. When you build a custom home, you can create a private, comfortable space that’s uniquely yours. A seating area at one end of room offers the idea place to unwind at the end of the day or spend a little one-on-one time with your spouse or partner.

Are your current closets overflowing with clothing? Luckily, over-sized walk-in closets are standard in master bedroom suites. When you have plenty of room to store and organize your clothing and shoes, getting ready for work in the morning becomes a much more relaxing experience.

If your new home includes a master bedroom suite, you’ll have your own private bathroom and won’t have to share it with your kids or guests. In fact, you can design your bathroom with your needs in mind, not those of the entire family. Why not splurge on a few upgrades and features that will help you create the master bathroom of your dreams? Custom cabinets, ample storage, soaking tub, a waterproof TV or sound system, a wine chiller, coffee bar and other luxurious features will enhance your enjoyment of your bathroom.

A first-floor master suite can save you some money if you plan to remain in your home after you retire. It makes sense to move your bedroom to the first floor if you’re concerned that mobility issues may one day make climbing the stairs difficult or impossible. Since your bedroom is already on the first floor, you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars to remodel your home.

Gourmet Kitchen with an Over-sized Island

Kitchen Islands are extremely popular—and practical. Here’s a look at an oversized kitchen island in a custom home we recently built on Whiting Road in Rochester. As you can see, the extended island provides plenty of space for food prep and for casual family meals, as well as for entertaining. This particular kitchen is done in a farmhouse style, but with a custom home, you can choose any style that you want.

Cabinet and countertop choices help personalize your new kitchen. Although granite countertops were the top choice for years, solid surface, soapstone, quartz and other countertops materials have become more popular in the past few years. Want to make your kitchen truly stand out? Cover your kitchen island with a live edge slab of wood rather than a more traditional countertop material. The natural edges of the wood will give your island a one-of-a-kind appeal.

When you design your new kitchen, keep in mind both form and function. A beautifully designed kitchen will soon become impractical if the refrigerator is in an inconvenient location or you don’t have enough storage space.

Walk-In Pantry

Including a walk-in pantry in your kitchen adds a whole new dimension of convenience and comfort and keeps clutter at bay. You can use your pantry for larger packages of food items without sacrificing space in your kitchen cabinets. A pantry also provides plenty of room to keep frequently used items at eye level or store oversized appliances (mixers, bread machines, blenders) that you don’t use as often.

Game Room

If you or your kids love gaming, you know that things can get a little loud at times. A dedicated game room can solve that problem. Ask the whole family to help you decorate the space in a fun or funky style that sets the room apart. Depending on space limitations, you could even combine the game room with the ultimate home theater, add both online gaming and arcade-style games, create a climbing wall, or make room for a sports simulator.

Main Floor Dedicated Laundry Room

A laundry room may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re deciding which features to include in your home. Still, a laundry room on the main level can make your life a lot easier. If laundry isn't your favorite activity, a room that's designed specifically for the task can make cleaning your clothes less of a chore. With a dedicated laundry room, you’ll have plenty of space to treat stains before you wash a load, hang clothing that must be air dried, or iron a wrinkled shirt.

Adding a few personal touches to the décor can turn the room into a cozy place to tackle the week’s laundry. If you have enough room, add a comfortable chair, a laundry sorting table or counter, a colorful painting, and a shelf or cabinet large enough to hold all of your laundry supplies.

mudroom and laundry room

Luxurious Shower Room

You don’t have to settle for a boring bathroom with a custom home. The trend these days is toward spacious and luxurious showers that look and feel elegant. You may want to install multiple showerheads for added warmth in your shower or choose an invigorating steam shower with a sound system.

Thanks to smart technology, you can even control your shower with your phone. Before you get out of bed, you can turn on the shower and set it to the desired temperature with just a few swipes. Other features that can upgrade your shower room include built-in seating and cubby storage, stylish grab bars, dimmable overhead lights, rainforest showerheads or curbless entrances.

Bi-Fold Moving Glass Wall System

Another building trend that has really taken off is the blurring of the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Adding a bi-folding glass wall system allows you to open the interior of your home to the outside so that you can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine without even leaving the comfort of your family room. In the colder months, these well-insulated panels allow plenty of natural light into your home.

Outdoor Kitchen

Building an outdoor kitchen expands your outdoor entertaining capabilities and makes cooking outdoors more comfortable and convenient. You’re no longer be limited to a simple grill on your deck or patio but can create an outdoor kitchen and dining area that includes a built-in grill, refrigerator, counter space, and even a sink for cleaning up. An outdoor kitchen is an excellent addition to your outdoor living space.

Floor-to-Ceiling Fireplace

There is nothing quite like a warm and inviting fire on a cold Rochester evening. Luckily, you don’t have to settle for an unimaginative fireplace in your custom home. A floor-to-ceiling fireplace offers a dramatic focal point for a family room, whether you have a fire blazing or not. A wood-burning fireplace isn’t the only option. Adding a natural gas fireplace to your home means that you can turn the fire on or off at your discretion and don’t have to worry about cleaning the fireplace to remove ashes.

Custom Built-In Shelves

You don’t have to settle for ugly, out-of-the-box shelves that don’t complement your home’s design when you build a custom home. Your builder can build shelving for your kitchen, family room, or study that fit the style of the room, whether it’s traditional, rustic, contemporary or a combination of styles.

The shelving is attractive, doesn’t encroach on your living space, and becomes part of the room itself. Adding built-in shelves and cabinets will help you maximize storage without detracting from the visual appeal of your home.

Freestanding Tub

Some homeowners have to choose between a shower or a tub in their bathroom, but there’s no reason you have to make that decision. With a custom home, you can have both! Nothing makes a long, leisurely soak more pleasant than an elegant, freestanding tub, particularly if it features spa jets or chromatherapy lights. Freestanding tubs are available in a variety of shapes and finishes and add visual interest to your master bathroom.

Wine Cellar

If you enjoy collecting, sampling, and sharing fine wines with your friends, why not take your hobby to the next level with a wine cellar of your own? You can include a small (closet-sized) wine cellar in your custom home design or ask your builder to create a larger cellar that includes a wine-tasting room with its own décor and atmosphere.

If you’d like dedicated wine storage but don’t need a wine cellar, consider adding a wine chiller to your kitchen. Chillers fit under the counter and keep your wine collection at the perfect temperature.

Central Vacuum System

Who says you have to push or drag a vacuum cleaner around your house in order to keep it clean? When you install a central vacuum system in your new home, you can simply plug in the powerhead in the wall inlet in any room and start vacuuming. There’s no need to drag a heavy vacuum cleaner from room to room, empty dust containers, or deal with tangled cords.

Heated Floors

One of the most indulgent luxuries you can install in your home is one you’ll never see. Putting in heated flooring in your kitchen or master bathroom is an indulgence that is an absolute delight in a cold-weather climate like Rochester. If you hate stepping out of the shower onto a cold floor or dislike standing on a freezing cold kitchen floor to make dinner, you’ll want to make room in your budget for heated floors.

We can help you choose features and amenities that will help you turn your new house into a comfortable, luxurious home that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Interested in learning more about our custom home building process? Take a look at our website or give us a call.

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