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10 Modern Cottagecore Decor Ideas

You may have noticed a recent design trend across the internet lately called cottagecore. First coined by Gen Z on TikTok, cottagecore has become a leading design style across generations.

This aesthetic tends to focus on natural motifs, vintage design, artisan details and a focus on sustainability. Don’t be fooled by the more extreme expression you’ll find on Gen Z social media, the general premise of cottagecore aesthetics are convenient and versatile to adopt. Whilst it might not be realistic to dedicate your whole home look to rustic and antique furniture, lace curtains and wicker details, there’s plenty of ways to achieve the cottagecore look throughout your home and embody the themes of this design into your future home.

Here’s our top 10 modern cottagecore décor ideas.

What is cottagecore?

Cottagecore is centered on the idea of a slower pace of life that’s connected to the earth and the community. It encourages a return to traditional activities like baking, gardening and crafting and celebrates the lost arts of self-sufficiency, creativity and simple living. It wants to make the cozy lifestyle of a woodside cabin an everyday experience and overall, calls for a more wholesome approach to living that most of us crave in today’s busy world.

10 ideas to incorporate cottagecore into your home

Here are ten cottagecore decor ideas that the average American could introduce into their home:

Sunroom or Conservatory:

Design a sunroom or conservatory with large windows to bring in plenty of natural light and create a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. This space can be used for relaxation, reading, or housing potted plants.

Wraparound Porch:

Incorporate a wraparound porch or veranda, providing a cozy outdoor seating area and a welcoming entrance to your home. Decorate it with wicker furniture, floral cushions, and hanging baskets of flowers.

Cottage Garden:

Plan a cottage garden filled with a variety of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Create winding paths, trellises for climbing plants, and cozy seating nooks amidst the blooms.

Kitchen Herb Garden:

Design a dedicated space in your kitchen or near a window for growing fresh herbs. Use vintage pots or repurposed containers for a rustic touch, making it convenient to gather herbs while cooking.

Window Seat Nook:

Create a window seat nook with plush cushions and soft throws. It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a book, enjoy a cup of tea, and admire the views outside.

Rustic Barn Doors:

Incorporate rustic barn doors in your home, adding a touch of farmhouse charm. They can be used for closets, pantries, or as room dividers, enhancing the cottagecore aesthetic.

Exposed Beams:

If possible, expose the structural beams of your home to showcase the natural beauty of the wood. This adds a rustic and authentic element to the overall design.

An example of exposed ceiling beams.

Cozy Fireplace:

Install a traditional fireplace with a stone or brick surround to create a warm and inviting gathering spot. Adorn the mantel with antique candlesticks, dried flower arrangements, or vintage-inspired artwork.

Vegetable Patch:

Allocate space in your backyard for a vegetable patch. Incorporate raised garden beds or wooden crates for planting a variety of vegetables, allowing you to enjoy the rewards of homegrown produce.

Outdoor Dining Area:

Set up an outdoor dining area with a wooden table and chairs surrounded by lush greenery. Decorate the table with floral tablecloths, vintage crockery, and mason jar lanterns for intimate gatherings and al fresco meals.

A G.J. Gardner outdoor dining area.

Remember, cottagecore decor is all about embracing simplicity, nature, and vintage-inspired elements. Feel free to mix and match these ideas to create a personalized cottagecore style that suits your taste and home.

Get in touch

Incorporating cottagecore elements into your home can create a cozy and enchanting retreat. Embrace the nostalgia and simplicity of this aesthetic by connecting with nature, using vintage decor, and enjoying the charm of handmade crafts. For personalized guidance, reach out to your local office today and embark on your cottagecore journey.

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Custom Home

Man working on a new home build

Building a custom home is an exciting opportunity to bring your home vision to life. So, you can get the most out of this experience, it’s important to know the common pitfalls that can turn building your dream home into a nightmare. Discover our top 10 common mistakes to avoid when building a custom home so you know what to avoid.

From budgeting and planning to selecting the right materials and working with contractors, we’ll cover key areas where mistakes are commonly made. By learning from the experiences of others, you can sidestep these pitfalls for a seamless construction process from start to finish. 

Whether you’re a first-time homebuilder or have previous experience, we want to help you avoid the most common mistakes of custom building for a smooth and successful journey. 

Inadequate planning

Proper planning is the foundation of a successful custom home build. Rushing through the planning phase or neglecting to create a detailed plan can lead to design flaws, budget overruns, and construction delays.

Take the time to carefully consider every aspect of your home before breaking ground. Work closely with architects and designers to ensure your vision aligns with practicality and functionality. Consider factors like room layouts, traffic flow, and future expansion possibilities. Careful planning will help you avoid costly changes or rework later on.

Ignoring the budget

Establishing a realistic budget and sticking to it is crucial when building a custom home. Failing to track expenses or underestimating costs can result in financial strain and compromises on the quality of materials and finishes.

Take the time to research and obtain accurate estimates from contractors and suppliers. Include contingency funds for unexpected expenses. Regularly review your budget throughout the construction process and make adjustments as necessary.

Effective budget management will help you stay on track and ensure that your dream home remains within your financial reach.

Irregular communication

Open and consistent communication with your builder, architects, and subcontractors is vital for a successful custom home build. Poor communication tends to lead to misunderstandings, errors, and delays.

Through regular meetings and check-ins with your construction team, you can both stay across progress, address concerns, and make decisions. Be proactive in asking questions and seeking clarification when needed. Keep documentation of all conversations and agreements to avoid any miscommunication down the line.

Effective communication fosters a collaborative environment and ensures that everyone is on the same page, leading to a smoother construction process.

Overlooking future needs

When building a custom home, it’s essential to consider your future needs, not just your current requirements. Failing to do so can result in a home that becomes impractical or inadequate over time. Think about potential lifestyle changes, such as growing family needs, aging in place, or incorporating a home office.

Plan for these future needs during the design phase. This could involve adding flexible spaces that can adapt to different uses or incorporating universal design principles for accessibility.

We recommend envisioning your long-term needs in the initial planning stages so you can create a home ready for the years to come.

Choosing the wrong builder

The right builder is one of the most important choices you’ll make during the custom home building process. Choosing an inexperienced or unreliable builder can lead to subpar workmanship, cost overruns, and project delays.

Consider their communication style, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines. Reputable builders will have a collaborative approach, guiding you through the construction process while ensuring your vision comes to life within budget and on schedule.

Neglecting energy efficiency

Neglecting energy-efficient features during the custom home build can result in higher utility bills and a less environmentally friendly home. Energy-efficient design elements and materials not only reduces your carbon footprint but saves you money in the long run.

Consider features such as proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, LED lighting, and high-efficiency appliances. Explore options for renewable energy sources like solar panels or geothermal systems. Engage with your builder and design team to identify energy-saving opportunities specific to your location and climate.

Create a home that is comfortable, sustainable, and cost-effective by incorporating energy efficiency into your initial planning.

Forgetting storage space

Insufficient storage can quickly lead to cluttered and disorganized living areas, hindering the functionality and enjoyment of your custom home. It’s crucial to plan for ample storage space during the design phase. Consider your storage needs for items like clothing, kitchenware, and household essentials. Walk-in closets, built-in cabinets, and well-designed kitchen pantries can help keep your spaces tidy and organized.

Think beyond traditional storage solutions and explore creative options. Utilize under-stair storage, built-in bookshelves, or multi-purpose furniture with hidden storage compartments. Customized storage solutions tailored to your specific needs can optimize space utilization and streamline your daily routines.

Sacrificing functionality for aesthetics

While aesthetics are undoubtedly important when building a custom home, it’s crucial not to prioritize them at the expense of functionality. It’s easy to get swept away by the allure of trendy designs or extravagant features that may not serve your practical needs. Your home should balance comfort and functionality with the unique requirements of your lifestyle.

When making design decisions, don’t forget to put functionality of your home first. Think about traffic flow, accessibility, and the specific needs of your household members. Optimize layouts to enhance functionality, such as placing the laundry room near bedrooms or creating a dedicated home office space.

Neglecting permits and regulations

Obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to building codes and regulations is a critical aspect of constructing a custom home. Neglecting these requirements can result in legal issues, construction delays, and costly fines.

Before any construction work begins, familiarize yourself with the local building regulations and any permit requirements. Stay informed about any zoning restrictions or architectural guidelines that may affect your design plans. By following the proper procedures and complying with regulations, you can ensure a smooth and lawful construction process.

Get in touch

If you’re considering building a custom home and want expert guidance throughout the process, don’t hesitate to contact your local G.J. Gardner Homes office. With their experience in custom home building and commitment to delivering high-quality results, we can help you navigate the complexities, offer valuable insights, and bring your vision to life. 

Creating a Functional and Beautiful Outdoor Living Space

With summer on the horizon, functional and beautiful outdoor living spaces are naturally on the mind. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or a space to entertain guests, a well-designed outdoor area will transform your home and lifestyle. From comfortable seating to beautiful landscaping, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a unique and inviting outdoor space for your home.

G.J. Gardner Homes has a wealth of experience in designing homes that balance function with beauty and our outdoor living spaces are no exception. Our focus on customization lets your alfresco area reflect your personal style and preferences, from a built-in BBQ to an outdoor fireplace and even a relaxing spa.

With G.J. Gardner Homes, your outdoor living space will be seamlessly integrated with your home design, making it the perfect place to unwind, entertain or take in the outdoors – whatever your preference.

Our building experience has let us glean the key elements that create a truly efficient and aesthetic outdoor living space. From patios and deck designs to outdoor kitchens, we know how to achieve an outdoor space that works not just on its own but flows from your indoor space.

Designing outdoor living spaces

There are a variety of factors that can impact the functionality and overall look of your outdoor living space. By carefully considering these factors and incorporating them to suit your lifestyle, you can create an outdoor living space that will enhance your overall home.

Get started by thinking about your future outdoor living spaces:

  • Purpose: Consider the intended use of the outdoor living space, whether it is for entertaining, cooking, or relaxation. This will help determine the layout and necessary features.
  • Climate and weather patterns: The climate in your area will influence the choice of materials, plants, and need for shading or shelter from the elements.
  • Indoor-outdoor connectivity: Think about the overall design of your home and how the outdoor space can extend the interior. Features like large glass doors, covered patios, and outdoor kitchens can help blend the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
  • Natural materials: Incorporating natural elements like stone, wood, and plants can create a cohesive and inviting outdoor space. Water features like fountains or pools can also enhance the area’s aesthetic appeal and create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Lighting: Adequate lighting not only ensures the space is functional in the evening, but it can also highlight design elements and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Designing a functional and beautiful outdoor living space requires careful planning and consideration of these important factors. With the help of a custom home builder like G.J. Gardner Homes, homeowners can create an outdoor space tailored to their specific needs and desires while enhancing their home’s overall design and functionality.

The Mandalay uses indoor-outdoor connectivity to create an engaging entertainment space.

Outdoor living space design ideas

When it comes to designing an outdoor space, homeowners are often overwhelmed with choices. To help inspire you, here are some of our favorite outdoor living space design ideas to consider.

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is a fantastic addition to any outdoor living space. It allows for cooking and dining outdoors, which is perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a family dinner in the fresh air. The outdoor kitchen can be designed to include everything from a grill and sink to a refrigerator and storage. It’s important to choose durable and weather-resistant materials such as stainless steel or stone and include proper ventilation and lighting for safety.

Fire Pit

A fire pit is an excellent addition to an outdoor living space, providing a warm and cozy atmosphere for cooler evenings. It also adds a natural focal point to the area, creating a space for gathering and conversation. With an endless range of styles and sizes, you’re sure to find a fire pit to light up your outdoor space with ease.

Water Feature

Water features are a great way to add a soothing and tranquil element to an outdoor living space. From fountains and waterfalls to peaceful ponds, water features can be added in a range of sizes and styles to suit any aesthetic as well as the maintenance you want to commit. Beyond just their beautiful look, water features can also attract wildlife and create a retreat-like atmosphere for relaxation.

Outdoor Dining Area

An outdoor dining area will transform family mealtimes, as outdoor meals let you connect over food whilst taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery. With a variety of materials to choose from such as wood, stone, or concrete, and the option of an overhead structure, your alfresco dining area can be catered to your style preference and climate. 

Outdoor Living Room

Extend your main living space outdoors through outdoor living space. Through comfortable and inviting design choices, an outdoor living room can rival the relaxation of the inside, offering fresh breezes, sunshine, and nature. Adding an overhead structure such as a covered patio or pergola lets you add features such as a fireplace or television to make it even more functional. 

Vertical Garden

An outdoor space is the perfect opportunity to embrace nature at every chance you get. A vertical garden is a unique way to enhance the greenery of this space on the walls of your home or overhead structure. It’s a great option if your outdoor space lacks the footage to include a sizeable grassy backyard. A vertical garden is achieved by installing a trellis or vertical garden structure and can host a wide range of plants from flowers and herbs to succulents. These plant walls are extremely versatile and functional as well. You can use them to create a sense of privacy or even as a feature wall to highlight a specific area. 

Outdoor Shower

Refresh any outdoor living space with the addition of an outdoor shower, providing a convenient way to rinse off after a swim or a day of gardening. You can design an outdoor shower with features such as a rain showerhead or built-in bench. Don’t forget to consider privacy and proper drainage when designing an outdoor shower.

Custom outdoor living spaces

Opting for a custom outdoor living space allows homeowners to design a unique space tailored to their specific needs and preferences. With the help of a custom home builder like G.J. Gardner Homes, homeowners can collaborate with a team of experts to create a space that meets their requirements, from selecting the right materials to incorporating the desired features and amenities. This ensures that the outdoor space is not only beautiful but also functional and efficient. 

Custom features tend to increase the overall value of a property as well, making it a worthwhile investment for homeowners now and in the future. 

Get in touch

Designing an outdoor living space is a fun and exciting process that lets you make the most of the outdoors. G.J. Gardner Homes’ considered approach to planning and design ensures each outdoor space is both beautiful and functional. Get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more about our home designs today. 

The Importance of a Detailed Budget when Building a Custom Home


When building a custom home, it’s important to have a detailed budget in place to avoid any unexpected costs and keep your project on track. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand that building a custom home is a significant investment and want to help our clients make informed design decisions.

Planning is a crucial step in home buying as it allows potential buyers to determine their priorities and what they can realistically afford. A detailed budget is essential to any building project, especially for a custom home build.

By planning out their finances, buyers can navigate the complex process of home buying and minimize the potential financial or emotional stress that comes with going over budget. It provides a clear understanding of the costs involved and ensures that the project stays within financial boundaries.

A detailed budget helps to keep everyone involved in the project on the same page and across the financial expectations and goals. It also offers a more accurate timeline of the project and helps identify areas where costs can be minimized. When it comes to building a custom home, our detailed budget processes provide a successful and stress-free building experience.

What does a detailed budget for a custom home build look like?

Budgets, put simply, are financial plans that outline the cost of building a custom home, including all expenses related to materials, labor, permits, and fees. In the context of custom building, budgets are a roadmap to help homeowners make informed decisions and stay on track throughout the building process.

When creating a custom home-building budget, it’s important to consider the cost of materials and labor for your local area. Building costs can vary significantly from state to state, and even from city to city. It’s also important to consider the size and complexity of your home, as well as any additional features or upgrades that you want to include.

Ideally, a detailed budget should also include the funds to cover any unexpected expenses during the building process. This cushion minimizes the effect of going over budget for unforeseen issues or changes for a smoother building journey.

We work with our clients to create a detailed budget tailored to specific needs and design preferences. G.J. Gardner Homes operates through a fixed price scheme that avoids hidden costs, so everything is laid out and explained upfront. Our team of professionals has the expertise and experience necessary to provide accurate cost estimates and help homeowners make informed decisions about their custom home-building projects.

How to budget when building a home:

Creating a budget for your custom home is a critical step in the building process. It allows you to establish financial boundaries and ensure that you can afford the home you desire without any unexpected expenses.

  • Start by listing all the features you want in your home. Be specific about the materials, finishes, and fixtures you desire. Once you have a comprehensive list, research the costs of each item and factor in any labor costs associated with installation.
  • Consider the cost of the land and any site preparation required, such as excavation, grading, and landscaping. You will also need to factor in the cost of permits and any professional services, such as architectural or engineering fees.
  • Factor in a contingency budget for any unexpected expenses or changes in the building process. This additional money should be 10% to 20% of the overall budget.
  • Categorize each cost by phases of construction, such as design, site preparation, foundation, framing, roofing, and finishes. This helps to ensure that you have accounted for all expenses in each phase and avoid any surprises.

Why is it important to make a detailed budget when building a custom home?

A detailed budget provides clarity on the cost of the entire project, from start to finish, and helps to keep expenses under control. Without a clear understanding of the expenses involved, you can end up overspending and experiencing unnecessary financial strain. It is important to consider factors such as the resale value of the home, energy efficiency, and long-term maintenance costs when making these decisions.


What should I do if I go over budget building a new home?

If you find yourself over budget during the building of your new home, the first step is to review your budget and identify where you may have overspent. From there, you can adjust your spending and prioritize your remaining expenses to ensure that the most important elements of your home are completed first. Our team can work with your budget to find any cost-saving measures that can be taken without sacrificing the quality of your home. 

Got any tips to stay on budget when building a new home?

Start by creating a detailed budget and sticking to it. Plan and prioritize your expenses, opting for cost-effective options wherever possible. Our builders can guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions as well as regularly review your budget throughout the project to ensure you are staying on track. 

Where should I cut when budgeting during a home build?

It’s important to prioritize where to cut costs when building a home. Consider cutting back on unnecessary features or amenities, opting for standard materials instead of custom or luxury options, and being flexible with the design to avoid costly changes. 

When building a home, what is the average amount that people go over their budget?

According to recent surveys, people building a new home in the United States typically go over their budget by around 10-20%. If you’ve overspent, you aren’t alone!

Get in touch

At GJ Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of a detailed budget and are here to assist you every step of the way. Contact our friendly team to learn more about how we can help bring your dream home to life within your budget.

Designing a Multigenerational Home: How to Create a Custom Home that Accommodates Different Family Needs

The number of multigenerational households in the United States is on the rise, with approximately 64 million Americans living in such households. This living change comes down to a variety of factors, including financial reasons, cultural values, and changing family dynamics.

Custom homes offer you the most optimal opportunity to make your home ready for multiple-generation living with popular and practical design solutions. A multi-generational home takes careful planning and consideration to accommodate each family member.

It’s essential to create spaces that are comfortable, functional, and supportive of all generations, from young children to aging parents. A considered approach to designing helps ensure that it meets the needs of all family members while also providing a comfortable and enjoyable living environment.

Whether you’re designing a new home or renovating an existing one, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical tips for creating a multi-generational home that meets the needs of all family members.

What is a multigenerational home?

Multigenerational homes are residences that can accommodate different generations of family members living together, typically parents and their adult children, along with grandparents or other extended family members.

This living arrangement lets families enjoy the benefits of living together, such as shared expenses and childcare responsibilities, and even emotional support.

A multi-generational home requires careful consideration of the needs and preferences of each family member.

Elderly family members may require features such as grab bars in the bathroom and wider doorways to accommodate mobility aids. Young children may benefit from a designated play area, while adult children may prefer a private living space. Shared spaces such as kitchens, dining areas, and living rooms, instead, should be designed with everyone’s needs in mind.

Designing a multi-generational home

A multigenerational home design requires a thoughtful and collaborative approach to meet the needs of the whole family.

By working with a custom home builder like G.J. Gardner Homes, families can ensure that their home achieves a comfortable and harmonious living environment no matter what the future holds.

There’s an array of layouts multigenerational homes can take, from a single-family home with separate living areas for each generation to a larger home with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas designed to accommodate everyone. Some families also choose to add separate living quarters, such as a mother-in-law suite or guest house, to an existing home to accommodate multiple generations. Working with a custom home builder like G.J. Gardner Homes ensures that the design meets the specific requirements of each generation while maintaining a cohesive and functional layout.

Multi-generational home plans

G.J. Gardner Homes offer a variety of multigenerational home plans that can be tailored to fit any family. Here are some examples of multigenerational home plans:

A dual-key home includes two separate living spaces under the same roof, each with its own entrance. It’s perfect for families who want to live together while maintaining some degree of privacy.

An attached home involves building a second dwelling attached to the main house, typically with a shared wall. This option allows for more independence while keeping family members together.

Granny flats are small, self-contained living spaces located on the same property as the main house. It is ideal for elderly parents or adult children who want their own space but still want to be close to family.

A two-story home consists of building a two-story home with separate living spaces on each floor. It allows for multiple generations to live under the same roof while still maintaining their own space and privacy.

These are just a few examples of multigenerational home plans, but our team of experienced builders can work with you to design a custom home for your family.

Get in touch

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we’re committed to providing our clients with exceptional service and quality craftsmanship. Home designs should be able to keep up with the natural change of families and deliver a custom home to support multigenerational lifestyles. Contact our friendly team today to get started on designing your dream family home today.

How to Design a Custom Home that Maximizes Space and Natural Light

One of the most transformative factors to consider when designing your dream home is maximizing space and natural light. A custom home can make a huge difference in your quality of life, with an elevated space that’s been completely tailored to your preferences and land block.

Natural light is an essential part of your custom home to consider, making spaces feel more inviting. Through considered design choices, you can maximize natural light in your home. Every inch counts when it comes to creating a functional and comfortable living space that will enhance the feeling of natural light.

Here are some of the best ways to maximize space and natural light in your custom home design. Whether you’re planning a large family home or a compact urban dwelling, our tips and insights will help you create a space that is both beautiful and functional.

How to maximize space in custom home design

To maximize space in a custom home design, there are several strategies that can be employed. Our central approach is to create an open floor plan that blends different living areas together, creating a sense of spaciousness and flow. We do this by limiting the use of walls or incorporating half walls, columns, or other visual elements to create separation while maintaining an open feel.

Built-in storage solutions provide another way to maximize space, through the addition of shelving, cabinets, and bookcases. These can be customized to fit the unique needs of each room and keep clutter at bay, making the space feel larger and more open.

The final area we target is the scale and proportion of furnishings and decor. Choosing pieces appropriately sized for the space will ensure that the area doesn’t feel cramped or cluttered. Additionally, selecting furniture that’s multi-purpose, such as a storage ottoman or a sofa bed, can help maximize space while providing additional utility.

How to maximize light in custom home design

Maximizing natural light in a custom home design can make a significant difference in the overall ambiance and feel of a space. Proper lighting can make a small room feel bigger, more inviting, and energizing. If you’re looking to make the most of natural light in your custom home design, talk to our team about these design tips. 

The location of your home and the placement of windows significantly impact the amount of natural light that enters your home. By considering your home’s orientation, we can ensure your custom home design takes advantage of the sun’s path.

The right window styles and sizes help you make the most out of home orientation. Larger windows and glass doors allow for more natural light to enter a space, so your room can maximize the feeling of light. In our design process, we consider different window styles to help achieve more light and architectural interest in your custom home design.

Once you’ve made design choices to keep your home flooded with light, opt for light-reflecting materials in your interior home design. Light-reflecting materials, such as light-colored walls, shiny floors, and mirrored surfaces, can help to bounce light around a room and increase the overall brightness.

The Florence uses grand windows to improve its natural lighting.

Why it’s important to live in a spacious and natural light-filled home

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we know your home is not just a place to live, but also a sanctuary to relax and recharge. That’s why we take a holistic approach to our home designs, taking into account the natural factors that impact how a home feel. A home that’s designed with space and light in mind not only looks and feels better but supports your mental and physical well-being as well.

Living in a spacious home can provide many benefits. It can help reduce stress levels by giving you enough room to move around freely and providing a sense of openness. Enough space also helps keep your home organized and clutter-free for a calm living environment, which can help reduce anxiety.

Natural light is another crucial factor to consider when designing a home. Plenty of light doesn’t just look beautiful, it’s been linked to many health benefits, including improved mood, better sleep quality, and increased productivity. A home that emphasizes natural light reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day, letting you rely on nature instead.

Get in touch

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of creating a home that is both spacious and filled with natural light. Our experienced design team works with you to create a home that reflects your lifestyle whilst being a joy to live in. Contact us today to learn more about our custom home design services and our design approach.

Creating a Sustainable Home: Incorporating Green Building Practices in a Custom Home Build

G.J. Gardner's Bristol home design

As the world is becoming more conscious of the impact of human activity on the environment, sustainable living is no longer just a trend but a necessity. And what better way to start than in your own home? Building a custom home with sustainable materials and energy-efficient design can significantly reduce your carbon footprint while enhancing your quality of life.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of sustainability and the impact it can have on the planet, as well as your lifestyle and finances. Incorporating green building practices in your custom home build can not only lower your energy bills but also increase the value of your home. We believe that sustainable living is not just about saving the planet but also about creating a healthier and more comfortable home for you and your family. By choosing eco-friendly materials, such as recycled or locally sourced ones, and implementing passive solar design, you can create a home that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Our team of experts can help you navigate the complex world of green building and guide you through the process of incorporating sustainable practices in your custom home build. From energy-efficient lighting and appliances to water-saving fixtures and insulation, we can help you choose the right solutions for your needs and budget.

Our favorite green building practices

Solar Power

One of the most effective and popular ways to incorporate green building practices into a custom home is by using solar power. By installing solar panels, homeowners can harness the sun’s energy to power their homes, reducing their reliance on traditional electricity sources. Solar panels are a long-term investment that can significantly reduce energy bills and are environmentally friendly.

Energy-Efficient Windows

Installing energy-efficient windows is another effective way to incorporate green building practices into a custom home. These windows are designed to prevent heat transfer, keeping the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They can help homeowners save money on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

Water-Saving Features

Installing water-saving features such as low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads can also be an effective way to incorporate green building practices into a custom home. These features can help homeowners save money on their water bills and reduce water waste.

Efficient HVAC System

A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a crucial component of any custom home. Choosing an efficient HVAC system can significantly reduce energy usage and costs. An Energy Star-rated system is a good choice, as it has been tested and proven to be energy efficient.

Green Roof

A green roof is another effective and innovative way to incorporate green building practices into a custom home. This involves planting vegetation on the roof of the home, which provides insulation, reduces stormwater runoff, and improves air quality. A green roof is an eco-friendly addition that can also add aesthetic value to a home.

Incorporating these green building practices into a custom home build can have significant long-term benefits for both the homeowner and the environment. They can save money on energy and water bills, reduce their carbon footprint, and create a sustainable living space.

Why incorporate green building practices?

Green building practices offer numerous benefits that go beyond environmental sustainability. By incorporating these practices into your custom home build, you can enjoy a range of advantages that contribute to a healthier, more comfortable, and cost-effective living space. There are many benefits to incorporating green building practices into a custom home build, including:

  • Environmental Benefits: Green building practices have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the carbon footprint and conserving natural resources. This includes reducing energy consumption, water usage, and waste production, as well as using sustainable and non-toxic materials.
  • Health Benefits: Green buildings provide a healthier living environment for occupants by improving indoor air quality, reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, and providing more natural lighting and ventilation.
  • Cost Savings: Green buildings can result in significant cost savings over time by reducing energy and water bills, as well as maintenance and repair costs. Green homes may also have higher resale value and can attract potential buyers who value sustainable living.
  • Increased Comfort: Green building practices can enhance the comfort and livability of a home by providing better insulation, more efficient heating and cooling, and improved acoustics.
  • Positive Reputation: Building a sustainable home can reflect positively on the homeowner, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility and social awareness.

Get in touch

From cost savings to improved health and comfort, a sustainable home is a worthwhile investment that will continue to benefit you in the long run. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we are committed to building homes that are not only beautiful and functional but also environmentally conscious. Our team of experienced builders and designers can work with you to create a custom home that reflects your unique style while incorporating the latest green building practices. Contact us today to start your journey towards building a sustainable dream home.

The Key Benefits of Building an ADU on Your Property

House plan sketch

Given today’s unique living conditions, it’s no surprise that more homeowners are looking for ways to increase a property’s value, floorplan area, and even extra income. Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on your property lets you achieve just that.

An ADU is a small, self-contained living unit, built on the same lot as an existing home. With various designs available, an ADU can serve as a rental unit, a guest house, or even a home office. By building on the existing space available, you add another livable area to your property without the expense and hassle of purchasing a new home or relocating.

This additional space has been found to increase the value of your property and provide a significant source of rental income. According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, an ADU can increase a property’s value by up to 25%.

Whether you are a homeowner looking to generate rental income or a family looking to add an independent living space, an ADU could be the perfect solution. G.J. Gardner Homes is here to explore building an ADU, and how it can help you maximize the benefits of an existing property.

What is an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is like its name suggests: an extra unit built on the land of an existing home. You will find them in the form of a granny flat, carriage house, or even a tiny home. ADUs come in a versatile range of designs to accommodate a wide range of needs, from housing for aging parents to investment property.

The growing design range of ADUs lets you customize the property depending on the specific needs of the homeowner and the unit’s intended function. Fortunately, ADUs can be designed as standalone units with their own entrance and kitchen, or they can be connected to the primary residence via a shared wall or other common area.

The building process of the ADU will come down to the difficulty of the design but in most cases, it’s a convenient and efficient build. G.J. Gardner Homes’ team makes building an ADU a seamless and stress-free experience.

Why should you put an ADU on your property?

ADUs have grown significantly in popularity in recent years, as they become more accessible, convenient, and lucrative.

This year has seen more municipalities relax their regulations around ADUs, making the process even more available for homeowners across the country. The rising prevalence of ADUs lets more American reap its significant range of benefits.

Most notably, ADUs offer an affordable way to add living space to your property without the need for expensive and time-consuming renovations. This living space can be used by the homeowners as an extra bedroom, office, or play area, or rented to tenants and gain the major advantages that come with each.

Additional rental income:

Building an ADU on your property is a fantastic way to generate extra income. Renting out the ADU lets you earn additional monthly income, which can help cover mortgage payments, bills, and other expenses.

Increased property value: 

An ADU can add value to your property, making it more attractive to potential buyers. By increasing the overall square footage of your home and amenities, your property grows more valuable in the real estate market.

Enhanced privacy: 

An ADU can provide a separate living space for family members or guests, allowing for greater privacy and independence. This additional space offers a perfectly private home office, art studio, or guest house.


An ADU can provide a flexible living space that can be adapted to a variety of needs. Whether it’s for aging parents, adult children, or guests, an ADU can be designed to meet the unique needs of each individual.

Sustainable living: 

Building an ADU can also promote sustainable living. Through a smaller living space, you can reduce your carbon footprint for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Through their range of designs, ADUs can be customized to include energy-efficient features, such as solar panels and high-performance windows as well. 

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Building an ADU is a smart investment for your home now and in the future. Whether you’re looking to generate income or add extra living space, an ADU is a versatile and affordable solution you can customize to your unique needs.

If you’re interested in building an ADU on your property, the friendly and experienced team at G.J. Gardner Homes is here to help. With years of expertise in custom home building, we can guide you through the design and construction process to create an ADU that meets your unique needs and enhances the value of your property. Contact us today to learn more about how we can bring your vision to life.

Your Guide to the Modern Farmhouse Style

An interior picture of the Summit 4160 home design

The modern farmhouse style has taken the design world by storm in recent years, capturing the hearts of homeowners and designers alike. This trend is a beautiful fusion of rustic charm and contemporary elegance, offering a warm and inviting feel that has become increasingly popular across the globe. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we have embraced this movement by incorporating modern farmhouse elements into our home designs. We understand that finding the perfect balance between rustic charm and modern convenience is essential, and the modern farmhouse style can achieve just that.

In this guide, we will take you through the key features of the modern farmhouse style, from exterior design elements to interior finishes. Through key design decisions, you can create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere in your home, while also maintaining a stylish and contemporary feel.

Whether you are building a new home or renovating your existing one, our guide will provide you with the inspiration and ideas you need to bring the modern farmhouse style to life.

What is the Modern Farmhouse style?

Modern farmhouse style is a design aesthetic that has been around for decades but has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years. It blends the rustic and charming elements of traditional farmhouses with the clean lines and modern conveniences of contemporary design. This style is all about creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere with a touch of sophistication.

One of the key elements of the modern farmhouse style is the use of natural materials and white foundations. Wood, stone, and metal are all commonly used to add warmth and texture to the space which is contrasted against the use of white or neutral color palettes to create a fresh and airy feel. In terms of architecture, modern farmhouse homes typically have a traditional gabled roofline, large front porches, and plenty of windows to let in natural light. This style also emphasizes the importance of outdoor living spaces, with features like screened-in porches and outdoor kitchens.

Overall, the modern farmhouse style is a perfect blend of the traditional and the modern. It is a style that prioritizes comfort, simplicity, and practicality, while still offering a touch of elegance and sophistication. Whether you are looking to build a new home or give your current home a fresh new look, the modern farmhouse style is a timeless choice that will never go out of style.

The Regatta 1965 design draws inspiration from Modern farmhouse style.

The farmhouse exterior

The exterior of a modern farmhouse is as important as the interior in creating an overall modern farmhouse style. It is the first thing people see when they arrive at your property, so it is crucial to ensure it is inviting and on-theme. Here are some elements to consider when designing your modern farmhouse exterior:

  1. Colors: Neutral colors are a defining feature of the modern farmhouse style, with white being the most popular choice for the exterior. However, shades of gray, beige, and cream can also be used to achieve a similar look. Accents of black, green, and red can be used to add contrast and make the house stand out.
  2. Materials: Natural materials such as wood, stone, and metal are key features of the modern farmhouse style. Incorporating wood elements into the exterior, such as wood shiplap or wood beams, can add warmth and texture to the design. Stone and brick accents on the exterior also add a traditional and rustic feel to the modern farmhouse aesthetic.
  3. Roofing: A metal roof is a staple of modern farmhouse design, but asphalt shingles can also be used to achieve the same look. The color of the roofing can be matched to the exterior color scheme for a cohesive design.
  4. Windows: Black-framed windows are a popular choice for the modern farmhouse style, providing a contrast to the white or neutral exterior color. Large windows are also a key feature, as they allow natural light to flood the interior of the house and provide views of the surrounding landscape.
  5. Porches: A covered porch is a traditional element of farmhouse design and can add to the charm and character of the house. A front porch provides a welcoming entrance, while a back porch can be used for outdoor living and entertaining.

The modern farmhouse façade reflects the style and personality of the homeowner. By incorporating natural materials, neutral colors, and traditional farmhouse elements, a modern farmhouse exterior can provide a warm and inviting welcome to all who visit.

The farmhouse interior

The farmhouse interior style takes these key features of the façade inside, with an emphasis on creating a cozy, welcoming, and functional living space. This home style is all about practicality and simplicity, while also incorporating elements of nature and rustic charm. Here are some key features of modern farmhouse interiors:

  1. Natural materials: Wood, stone, and other natural materials are commonly used in modern farmhouse interiors. These elements create a warm and inviting atmosphere and add to the overall charm of the space.
  2. Neutral color palette: Farmhouse interiors typically feature a neutral color palette, with shades of white, beige, gray, and brown. This creates a calming and relaxing atmosphere and allows the natural materials and textures to shine.
  3. Rustic finishes: Distressed wood, vintage metals, and rough-hewn stone are often used to give the space a rustic and aged look. These finishes add character and warmth to the space.
  4. Vintage decor: Vintage and antique pieces are often used to decorate modern farmhouse interiors. This includes old signs, weathered furniture, and repurposed items. These items add a sense of history and nostalgia to the space and also serve as functional pieces.

At its core, the farmhouse interior style is a perfect blend of functionality, simplicity, and rustic charm. It creates a warm and inviting space that is perfect for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with loved ones. Whether you’re looking to create a modern farmhouse or a more traditional space, there are plenty of design elements to choose from that will help you achieve the farmhouse look and feel that you desire.

Benefits of contemporary farmhouse homes

The contemporary farmhouse style is an increasingly popular choice among homeowners for its blend of modern and traditional design elements. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a contemporary farmhouse style for your home:

  1. Versatility: Contemporary farmhouse style is a versatile design style that can be adapted to suit different tastes and preferences. Whether you prefer a rustic, industrial, or minimalist aesthetic, a contemporary farmhouse can be customized to fit your vision.
  2. Comfort: With its cozy and inviting design, the modern farmhouse style creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is perfect for entertaining guests or just relaxing with your family.
  3. Functionality: A contemporary farmhouse style prioritizes functionality and practicality. The use of natural materials and simple, clean lines creates a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to maintain and keep organized.
  4. Timelessness: The modern farmhouse style is a timeless design that has been around for generations. By incorporating classic design elements with modern touches, a contemporary farmhouse home will never go out of style and will retain its appeal for years to come.

Whether you are looking to build a new home or renovate an existing one, the contemporary farmhouse style is an excellent choice. With its versatility, comfort, functionality, and timelessness, a modern farmhouse home will provide you with a beautiful and functional space that you can enjoy for years to come.

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Whether you are looking to build a new home or renovate an existing one, the contemporary farmhouse style is an excellent choice. With its versatility, comfort, functionality, and timelessness, a modern farmhouse home will provide you with a beautiful and functional space that you can enjoy for years to come.

The Cost of Building an ADU vs. a New Property

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners looking to add living space or rental income to their property. While some may assume that building an ADU is more cost-effective than constructing a brand-new property, it’s important to take into account various factors that can impact the overall cost of both options.

However, there’s a different set of costs associated with building an ADU compared to a new property, as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option. Whether you’re a homeowner considering an ADU or a new build, understanding the cost implications of each choice can help you make an informed decision that meets your needs and budget.

What is an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary residential unit that can be built on the same property as a primary residence. Also known as a granny flat, backyard cottage, or mother-in-law suite, an ADU is typically smaller than the main house and has its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and living space. ADUs are gaining popularity as they provide homeowners with additional living space and rental income, while also helping to address the shortage of affordable housing in many cities.

ADUs come in a variety of styles and configurations, from detached units to those attached to the main house. They can be used as a rental unit, a guest house, a home office, or as a separate living space for aging parents or adult children. ADUs can be designed to complement the architecture of the main house or to stand out as a distinct and modern addition to the property.

How much does an ADU cost to build?

ADUs are increasingly popular among homeowners who want to increase the value of their property, provide extra space for family members, or generate rental income. However, the cost of building an ADU varies depending on the location.

In the United States, the cost of building an ADU can range from $175,000 to $400,000, or more. The cost depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of the unit, the type of construction, and the location. For example, building an ADU in a high-cost city like San Francisco or New York City will be significantly more expensive than building in a more affordable location like Texas or the Midwest.

The cost of building an ADU can also vary based on the type of unit. A detached ADU, which is a separate structure from the primary home, will generally be more expensive than an attached ADU, which is connected to the primary home. Additionally, a custom-designed ADU will be more expensive than a prefabricated or modular unit.

When considering the cost of building an ADU, it is important to factor in additional expenses such as permits, site preparation, and utilities. The cost of utilities can vary depending on the location and the type of ADU. Some homeowners may choose to install solar panels or other energy-efficient features to help offset these costs over time.

How much does a new property cost to build?

Building a new property can be an expensive endeavor. The cost of constructing a new property depends on various factors such as the location, the size, the design, and the materials used.

Building a new property can be a significant investment, and the cost will depend on several factors. The location, size, design, and finishes all contribute to the final cost. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of building a new home in the United States ranges from $150,000 to $450,000, with a median cost of around $320,000. However, this again can vary widely based on location, with homes in high-cost areas like California and New York being significantly more expensive.

In addition, the cost of labor and materials can also vary depending on the region, with some areas having higher construction costs due to local regulations and building codes. Other factors that can affect the cost of a new home include site preparation, permits, and the complexity of the design.

What impacts the cost of building

When considering building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), it’s essential to understand the factors that contribute to the cost. Here are some significant factors that can impact the final cost of building an ADU:

  • Size and layout: The size and layout of your ADU will directly impact the cost of construction. Larger units require more materials and labor, which can drive up the cost.
  • Design and style: ADUs come in many shapes and styles. A more complex design can increase the cost of construction as it will require more time and labor.
  • Location: The cost of construction can vary depending on the location of the property. If you’re building an ADU in a high-cost area, expect to pay more for materials and labor.
  • Foundation: The type of foundation you choose for your ADU can also impact the cost. A slab foundation is generally less expensive than a full basement or crawlspace.
  • Plumbing and electrical: Plumbing and electrical costs can vary depending on the type of fixtures and appliances you want to install.
  • Permits and fees: Building an ADU requires various permits and fees, including construction permits, inspection fees, and impact fees.
  • Labor costs: The cost of labor can vary significantly depending on the location and complexity of the project. It’s essential to work with a reputable contractor who can provide an accurate estimate of labor costs.

By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about the cost of building an ADU. Working with a reputable builder who specializes in ADUs can help you manage costs and ensure that your project stays within your budget.

ADUs Vs house extension

When it comes to expanding your living space, you have several options available, including building an ADU or extending your house. Ultimately, the choice between building an ADU or extending your home will depend on your personal preferences and overall goals.

Building an ADU provides an opportunity to create a completely separate living space with its own entrance and amenities. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re looking to generate rental income, accommodate guests or family members, or simply have more privacy.

On the other hand, extending your home can provide a seamless expansion of your existing living space. This option may be more ideal if you’re looking to increase the size of your home while maintaining the same overall layout and aesthetic. Extending your home can also be a better option if you have specific design or architectural preferences that you’d like to incorporate into your expanded space.

Regarding costs, ADUs, and home extensions are priced in a similar range. The average cost of building a house extension in America ranges from $20,000 to $75,000 or more, depending on the size and complexity of the project. This is significantly higher than the cost of building an ADU, which can range from $50,000 to $200,000 or more, depending on location, size, and amenities.

Should you build an ADU or new property?

If you’re stuck in deciding between building an ADU or a new property, don’t hesitate to contact the G.J. Gardner Homes team. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can guide you through the process, helping you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences. With our expertise and commitment to quality, we are dedicated to bringing your dream home to life.