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  • Writer's pictureCedar Creek Custom Homes

Designing a Home You Can Afford

Tis the season for home design. If you're looking to build a home in the Spring, you are likely working with your architect or looking for blueprints right now. Designing a home that will fit within your budget can be easier said than done. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up with a set of blueprints that are too extravagant for your bank account. (Continued below)

Custom Home Design Priest River Idaho

Being transparent with your budget helps everyone stay on the same page.

We always encourage potential clients to be open and honest about what their budget is for their new home. Keeping your bottom line a secret can lead to wasted money if the architect spends time putting together a design that was unaffordable from the beginning.

You may want to obtain a preliminary estimate before you even start designing your dream home. That way you can get a handle on square footage and overall design features before spending precious time and money to put together a layout. With a few general details including location, foundations style, size, and level of finish, we can give you a rough ballpark cost to build. Visit our website for further details at and fill out the quick quote form to get started.

Of course, this is a preliminary step, and doesn't replace a full blown estimate which can take up to a month to put together. A thorough estimate takes time and effort on both the builder's part and the clients. Clients should expect to make some early selections to help facilitate an accurate quote for contractual purposes. If your contractor provides a full estimate for contract purposes in less than a week's time, I would certainly question its validity.

Square footage is not the only aspect of the plan that affects your bottom line. For example, here are two homes that are the exact same square footage, and one will be significantly more expensive to build than the other. Can you pick which one is most economically designed? (Continued below)

The home on the left would be the most economical design between these two examples. Why? The roofline is quite basic. The trusses themselves would much less costly than the steep and complex rooflines for the home on the right.

The number of doors and windows are also a major part of the building budget. The home on the right is adorned with gorgeous windows from top to bottom, but it will certainly add to the overall cost.

The two story wall of windows also creates what we would call a "tall wall" for framing purposes. These tall walls often require engineered material rather than standard dimensional lumber, and some even require a crane to lift them into place.

In our experience, it is more economical to build up rather than out. An 1,800 square foot two storey home is more economical to build than an 1,800 square foot bungalow. This is due to the cost of the concrete foundation. The two storey version only requires a 900 square foot foundation, where as the bungalow version requires twice as much foundation.

Open to below areas, while beautiful, are also an inefficient use of space. Extra tall walls lead to more costs in framing, windows, insulation, drywall, and paint without adding any extra usable square footage.

If you are working within a specific budget for your new home, which most people are, we would encourage you to work closely with your builder during the design phase. They can be a wealth of information when it comes to designing a home that will fit within your budget. If you don't have a builder who can help with this process, connect with us at If we can't help, we'd be happy to refer you to someone who can.

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