Custom Home Designs

If you’re considering a custom home design, it’s first important to understand the different ways you, the buyer, can build a home.

Common New Build Terms

There’s a lot of jargon getting around, and you may have come across the terms spec home, standard plan and custom or semi custom home. There’s a lot of talk about the difference between these three approaches, and which one is best. At the end of the day, the avenue you choose will be based on your desired level of involvement with the design/build, budget and timeframe.

Spec home

A home design pre chosen for a particular lot with limited or no customization or input on the buyer end. Spec homes can come as a House and Land Package or often as a completed product ready to move into.

Standard plan

A home design chosen from a collection of G.J. Gardner plans. It is a ‘tried and tested’ home design that is intended to be a robust, proven product. You may be allowed limited personalization e.g. choosing fixtures, fittings and colors. You will have little if any involvement in the design.

Custom or semi-custom home

If you want to customize a standard plan, for example adding additional rooms, this would be called a custom or semi custom home. It all depends on how involved you get. The term ‘custom home’ can also be used to describe a home designed and built from scratch.

What does ‘custom home design’ really mean?

Whether it’s a custom, semi custom or fully custom design you and your builder or new home consultant will have significant input in the design. You will therefore spend more on consultation fees from draftspeople, building designers and potentially architects.

It’s important to note that the phrase ‘custom home design’ is complex, and means different things to different people. This is because these days no one ever really starts from scratch, and for good reason. Reinventing the wheel is likely to lead to a home design that just doesn’t work, has wasted space and poor solar gain. Most architects/designers and custom home builders have a series of frameworks and patterns that they work from, based on the brief and input you provide.

There are of course boutique architects/designers that will design you a truly unique, full custom home design. But for the everyday American family, this isn’t the reality.

A better way – the G.J. Plan

At G.J. Gardner Homes, our new home consultants will introduce you to the concept of a G.J. Plan. This option gives you the proven functionality and practicality of an off the shelf plan, while allowing you some of the flexibility that comes with a custom home design.

Starting with a G.J. Plan means choosing a home design and working with a new home consultant to tailor it to your needs (think lot size, position and shape) and tastes.

Experience and expertise

We believe a G.J. Plan is the best option for the majority of buyers, because you’re starting with a solid foundation. This is due to the amount of expertise that is required to deliver our home designs:

  • Our building designers work in a team with 3D designers, collaborating in fully interactive 3D. This means that the home designs are created in extreme detail with great care given to all aspects, from your open plan entertaining area right down to the ensuite toilet roll holder!
  • The designs have had hundreds of hours of professional input to maximize space, light, usability and importantly buildability.
  • Many of our home designs are updated yearly based on both local and global building design trends.

Make your money work harder

With a G.J. Plan, all of the hard work is done, and you can spend your hard earned dollars on choosing the ‘fun’ stuff features, fittings and finishes. You will also have a variety of facade options to choose from, such as Traditional, Urban and Hamptons.

This selection process is also likely to be easier and faster than starting a fully custom home design from scratch. That means it’s likely to be more affordable. This is because your new home consultant will help you narrow down your choices more quickly.

Get inspired

Browsing home designs is also an opportunity for you to be inspired. Sometimes it’s difficult to put your finger on what exactly you want in a home until you see it. Our home designs have been carefully crafted to offer a range of options that appeal to a variety of household sizes, locations and tastes.

Customize your new home with a G.J. Plan

When you think about it, every home is customized to some degree. When you’re choosing a home design from a catalogue or list, you’re still going to find ways to make it yours even if it’s as simple as choosing the colour of the walls. It’s completely up to you as to how much input you want.

Customizing a home with your local G.J. Gardner office is an exciting process. There are also select G.J. offices that will work with you on a new design ‘from scratch’, if you’re looking for something truly 100% custom.

Contact your local G.J. builder to learn more about the service they provide.

Custom Home FAQs

  • How much does it cost to build a custom home?

    The costs of customizing a home will vary, depending on whether you decide to go customize a ‘standard plan’ or a fully custom home design. The build costs are inherently more expensive for fully custom home.

  • What types of things can I customize in a G.J. Plan?

    The easy things to start with are paint colors and tiles, which can often be changed at no cost within certain ranges. From there, appliances and bathroom fixtures are next on most people’s list—there may be a cost for customizing these elements. Things like facades and room sizes can also be changed within reason to personal requirements or taste. Again, there may be a cost involved.

  • How does finance differ between a spec home, custom homes and standard build or G.J. Plan?

    When looking to finance your home, both custom homes and standard plans/a G.J. Plan will require a construction loan, which will make payments to the builder in stages. With a spec home, you may pay one lump on completion in which case the finance requirements may be a little simpler however there are usually additional costs associated with the builder financing the build.

  • How long does it take to customize an existing home design?

    It could be just a few hours or it could be weeks depending on the magnitude of the changes.

  • What questions should I ask when customizing an existing home design?

    You should always ask your new home consultant, “What am I compromising by making this change?”

    Remember that the floorplan you are looking at is a tried and tested design. By making changes, you may actually be detracting from another part of the home, impacting things like solar gain, space efficiency, acoustics, and liveability.

Get in Touch

Contact Us