Custom home

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.

Incorporating Natural Materials into Your Custom Home

Our Bristol home design featuring natural materials

As the world becomes increasingly modernized, homeowners are turning to incorporate natural materials into their homes to add a touch of warmth and natural beauty. From wood and stone to earthy tones and textures, natural materials are a timeless and sustainable option for designing a custom home that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally conscious.

Incorporating these materials into your home can create a welcoming environment, while also providing benefits such as increased energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality.

Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing one, integrating natural materials into the design can add character and personality, while also contributing to the overall functionality of your space.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of natural materials in home design and can help you create a custom home that perfectly blends modern and natural elements. Our experienced team can guide you through the design process and help you choose the perfect materials for your unique vision.

Natural material-led interior design

Natural material interior design is all about bringing the outside world indoors by incorporating elements from nature into a living space. This design style emphasizes the use of natural materials, such as wood, stone, metal, and plant life, to create a harmonious and organic atmosphere.

The focus is on creating a connection to the natural world, with an emphasis on simplicity and sustainability. The use of natural materials in interior design has become increasingly popular in recent years. People have become more environmentally conscious and seek to create a peaceful and relaxing environment within their homes.

How to build a house with natural materials

Using natural materials not only adds a unique aesthetic to your home but also has numerous benefits. With such an array of materials available, there are several ways in which you can incorporate natural materials into your custom home.

  1. Wood: Incorporating wood elements into your custom home can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. From wood flooring and ceiling beams to wood-paneled walls and cabinets, wood can add texture and depth to any room.
  2. Stone: Using natural stone materials, such as granite or marble, can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your custom home. Stone can be used for countertops, flooring, and even accent walls.
  3. Metal: Incorporating metal elements, such as wrought iron, copper, or brass, can add a rustic or industrial feel to your custom home. Metal can be used for light fixtures, stair railings, and decorative accents.
  4. Natural fabrics: Adding natural fabrics, such as linen, wool, or cotton, can create a cozy and comfortable environment in your custom home. Natural fabrics can be used for upholstery, window treatments, and bedding.
  5. Plants: Bringing the outdoors inside with live plants is an easy and cost-effective way to incorporate natural elements into your custom home. Plants not only add visual interest and texture but also improve air quality and create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Benefits of natural materials in the home

Incorporating natural materials into your custom home can offer a range of benefits. First and foremost, natural materials have a unique texture and aesthetic that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

They can bring a sense of calmness and serenity to your home, helping to create a comfortable and peaceful environment. Additionally, natural materials are often more durable and longer-lasting than synthetic materials, making them a smart investment in the long run.

Using natural materials can also be an eco-friendly choice, as they are often sustainable and biodegradable. Many natural materials, such as wood and stone, have a timeless quality that can add value to your home and increase its resale value. Natural materials are also incredibly versatile, as they can be used in a variety of ways throughout your home, from flooring and countertops to furniture and decor.

Our Riverview home design making use of timber panels and shelves.

Costs involved with natural materials

Incorporating natural materials into your custom home design doesn’t necessarily have to be more expensive. While some natural materials such as exotic woods or custom stone can come at a premium cost, there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank.

Materials like bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, and recycled glass countertops are not only cost-effective but also eco-friendly. Using natural materials can also save you money in the long run as they tend to be more durable and require less maintenance.

It’s all about finding a balance between the materials you want to incorporate and your budget. Working with an experienced builder like G.J. Gardner Homes can help you find the perfect balance and create a custom home design that incorporates natural materials within your budget.

Natural materials and custom homebuilders

When it comes to incorporating natural materials into your custom home, choosing a custom home builder is the best option. A custom home builder has the experience and expertise needed to seamlessly integrate natural materials into the design and construction of your home.

Custom home builders can provide valuable advice on the types of natural materials that would work best for your specific needs and budget. They also have access to high-quality natural materials and know how to source them ethically and sustainably.

Furthermore, custom home builders can work with you to create a unique design that complements the natural materials you choose, ensuring that every detail is carefully considered and executed to perfection. This level of customization is not possible with a pre-built home or a standard builder.

Working with a custom home builder to incorporate natural materials into your home ensures that you will get a unique and personalized home that is not only beautiful but also functional and sustainable.

Get in touch

From wood and stone to cork and bamboo, the possibilities are endless when it comes to using natural materials in your home. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of creating a custom home that reflects your style and values. Our team of experts can help you design and build a home that incorporates natural materials in a way that’s both practical and beautiful. So, if you’re ready to start your custom home journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team today.

How to Choose the Right Builder for Your Custom Home

Man building a home

If you’re considering building a custom home, choosing the right builder is crucial to ensuring that your dream home becomes a reality. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand that building a custom home is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to provide the highest level of service and quality to our clients. When choosing a builder, it’s essential to consider their reputation, experience, communication skills, and attention to detail.

G.J. Gardner Homes has been in the industry for over 37 years and has built over 34,000 homes worldwide. Our reputation for excellence has been built on our commitment to quality, transparency, and customer satisfaction. Whether you’re building a starter home or a luxury estate, our team is here to help you every step of the way.

The right home builder

Choosing the right builder for your custom home is a critical decision. It’s essential to find someone who not only has experience in building custom homes but also has a good reputation for delivering high-quality workmanship. The right builder can make all the difference in ensuring your dream home becomes a reality.

With the right builder, you’ll have someone who can guide you through the entire process, from design to construction, and ensure your vision is realized. A skilled builder can also help you stay on budget and manage your expectations, ensuring there are no surprises along the way. Ultimately, choosing the right builder is crucial in ensuring that your custom home is built to your exact specifications and that you can move into a space that perfectly suits your lifestyle and needs.

How to choose a custom home builder

To ensure that your custom home project is a success, it’s essential to choose the right builder who can bring your vision to life. This involves taking a considered approach, here’s what we’ve identified as the key traits of the right builder.

Determine your needs and priorities:

The first step in choosing the right builder for your custom home is determining your needs and priorities. You should start by considering the features you want in your home, your budget, and your timeline. Knowing your priorities will help you choose a builder who can meet your expectations and deliver a home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

Research and compare builders:

Once you have a good idea of what you need and want in your home, you can start researching builders. Look for builders who specialize in custom homes and have experience building homes similar to what you are looking for. Read reviews and testimonials from previous clients and ask for references. You should also compare quotes and ask for a detailed breakdown of costs to ensure you are getting the best value for your money.

Check credentials and reputation:

Before you hire a builder, you should check their credentials and reputation. Make sure they have the necessary licenses and insurance to operate in your area and check their reputation with local industry organizations and regulatory bodies. You should also check their online presence and social media accounts to get a sense of their professionalism and customer service.

Communication and collaboration:

Effective communication and collaboration are essential for a successful custom home build. You should look for a builder who is responsive, transparent, and willing to work with you throughout the entire process. The right builder should be able to listen to your needs and concerns, offer constructive feedback and suggestions, and keep you informed about the progress of your build. Clear communication and collaboration can help ensure your project stays on track and that you are satisfied with the final product.

The G.J. Way

When considering building a custom home, it is important to select a reputable and experienced builder who can bring your vision to life. G.J. Gardner Homes has a proven track record of building high-quality custom homes, with a reputation for exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and customer satisfaction.

One of the reasons why G.J. Gardner Homes stands out from the competition is the fact that they offer a unique and personalized approach to each project. They understand that every homeowner has different needs, preferences, and budgets, and they work closely with clients to ensure that their vision is realized.

G.J. Gardner Homes has also been recognized as one of the top builders in the industry, with numerous awards for design, innovation, and customer service. Their team of experienced professionals includes architects, designers, builders, and project managers who are dedicated to delivering superior results.

In addition to their expertise and reputation, G.J. Gardner Homes also offer a range of benefits that make them the right choice for your custom home project. These include a comprehensive design process, access to a wide range of building materials and finishes, and a commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.

Overall, when it comes to building a custom home, selecting the right builder is crucial to the success of your project. With G.J. Gardner Homes, you can trust that you are working with a builder who is dedicated to delivering exceptional results and ensuring that your vision is brought to life.

standard plan

Get in touch

Choosing the right builder can make all the difference in the success of your project, and we at G.J. Gardner Homes are committed to providing the best possible experience for our clients. With our focus on quality, innovation, and collaboration, we believe that we are the right choice for anyone looking to build a custom home. If you have any questions or are interested in discussing your project with our team, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

10 Reasons for Building a Custom Home

Couple embraces in their new home

Are you considering buying a new home and wondering whether to build or buy an existing property? At G.J. Gardner Homes, we believe that building a custom home is the right choice for many homeowners, and we’re here to share 10 reasons why.

From design flexibility to energy efficiency, building a custom home allows you to create a living space that perfectly fits your lifestyle and needs. With our team of experienced builders and designers, we work with you every step of the way to ensure your new home is everything you’ve envisioned and more.

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade to a larger home, building a custom home is an exciting and rewarding experience.

Why build a custom home?

A custom home is a type of home that is designed and built to the exact specifications of the homeowner. Unlike traditional homes, which have a predetermined floor plan and design, a custom home offers complete flexibility, allowing homeowners to create a living space that perfectly fits their unique needs.

Custom homes are becoming increasingly popular because they offer many benefits over traditional homes. They allow homeowners to have full control over the design and layout of their homes, which ensures that every aspect of the home is tailored to their specific needs and tastes. With all these advantages and more, it’s no wonder that custom homes are becoming a popular choice for homeowners who want a truly unique and personalized living space.

Benefits of building a custom home

From greater flexibility in design to greater control over the building process, there are plenty of benefits to building a custom home. For G.J. Gardner Homes and our approach to home building, custom homes offer a unique home-building journey that is guaranteed to achieve your dream home.

Here are our top 10 reasons why building a custom home is the right choice.

1. Extensive selection of customizable home designs to choose from: G.J. Gardner Homes offers a wide range of customizable home designs to suit different needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a small, cozy home or a large, luxurious mansion, there’s a design that can be tailored to your liking.

2. Experienced and knowledgeable builders and designers to guide you through the process: The builders and designers at G.J. Gardner Homes have extensive experience and knowledge in the construction industry. They are well-equipped to guide you through every step of the process, from selecting the design and choosing the materials to finalizing the finishing touches.

3. Use high-quality materials and fixtures to ensure a durable and long-lasting home: G.J. Gardner Homes uses only the highest quality materials and fixtures to ensure that every home is built to last. This means that homeowners can expect a sturdy and durable home that can withstand the test of time.

4. Ability to modify existing designs or create a completely custom design from scratch: G.J. Gardner Homes offers the flexibility to modify existing designs or create a completely custom design from scratch. This allows homeowners to have full control over the design and layout of their homes.

5. Flexible floor plans that can be adjusted to meet your needs and preferences: G.J. Gardner Homes offers flexible floor plans that can be adjusted to meet the unique needs and preferences of each homeowner. This ensures that every home is tailored to the specific lifestyle of the homeowner.

6. Access to a network of trusted suppliers and contractors: G.J. Gardner Homes has a vast network of trusted suppliers and contractors. This ensures that the materials and labor used in the construction of your home are of the highest quality.

7. Energy-efficient building practices to reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy bills: G.J. Gardner Homes uses energy-efficient building practices to reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy bills. This includes the use of insulation, double-glazed windows, and energy-efficient appliances.

8. Ability to incorporate the latest smart home technologies for added convenience and efficiency: G.J. Gardner Homes offers the ability to incorporate the latest smart home technologies for added convenience and efficiency. This includes features such as automated lighting, temperature control, and security systems.

9. A collaborative approach that involves the homeowner in the decision-making process: G.J. Gardner Homes takes a collaborative approach to build custom homes, involving the homeowner in every step of the decision-making process. This ensures that the final product is precisely what the homeowner envisioned.

10. Comprehensive warranty and after-sales service to ensure your complete satisfaction with your new home: G.J. Gardner Homes offers a comprehensive warranty and after-sales service to ensure your complete satisfaction with your new home. This gives homeowners peace of mind, knowing that any issues or concerns will be addressed in a timely and efficient manner.

Building a custom home can be a wise investment for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to create a home that truly meets their needs. With the help of an experienced builder like G.J. Gardner Homes, you can navigate the process with confidence and create the home of your dreams.

Is building a custom home worth it?

Building a home is a major investment, both in terms of time and money. It’s natural to wonder if customizing is worth the effort and expense, especially when there are so many existing homes on the market. However, there are many factors that make building a custom home well worth the investment.

One of the biggest benefits of building a custom home is the ability to create a home that suits you and your family. From the layout of the rooms to the finishes and features, every aspect of the home can be tailored to you. This means you won’t have to compromise on important features or settle for a home that doesn’t quite meet your needs.

Long-term, a custom home also has the potential for increased home value. A well-designed and well-built custom home can retain its value better than a standard spec home or an older existing home. This can be especially important if you plan to sell the home in the future.

Get in touch

Building a custom home is a unique and exciting experience that offers numerous benefits. From personalized design to high-quality construction, building a custom home can provide a level of satisfaction that can’t be matched by buying an existing home. If you’re considering building a custom home, G.J. Gardner Homes can help.

Our experienced team of professionals can guide you through the process and create a home that truly meets your needs and reflects your style. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build the custom home of your dreams.

Designing a Custom Home on a Tight Budget

Custom homes allow buyers to completely personalize their future homes, with every detail being handpicked. But how do you achieve the unrivaled experience of a custom home without a lavish budget?

A home is usually the most significant purchase an American can make. Still, many of us are building on a budget. The overall cost of designing and building a custom home can vary dramatically. Design choices will have you either saving or splurging.

G.J. Gardner Homes’ customization capabilities offer home buyers the unique opportunity to not just make sure the home reflects their preferences but the price tag does as well. Our clients are empowered to design according to their budget through our wide range of custom fixtures, plans, and details.

What is the cost of building a custom home?

One of the significant benefits of custom home builds is total flexibility, which extends to everything from colorways to costs. The final figure will drastically vary regarding the average cost of building a custom home. A standard 1,200-square-foot home can cost anywhere from $140,000 to $700,000, with Forbes’ most recent home building study claiming an average of $300,000.

This final cost depends on many factors, like labor and land, but when it comes to materials and design features, it’s up to you to name your price through your choices. We have another blog post discussing custom home pricing in more detail, which may help.

The cost of a custom home is an excellent investment you can make in your living arrangements by perfectly personalizing the space to your lifestyle. With a custom home design, you avoid excess costs in the future by starting out with the ideal floor plan, size, and style for your taste. G.J. Gardner Homes offer the ease of fixed prices that are decided by your customization choices before we even break land.

The process of designing a custom home

With decades of building experience, G.J. Gardner Homes has developed a unique approach to custom builds. When working with your local G.J. team, you are supported by unparalleled home building and design expertise, as well as our masterfully crafted home plans. Homes are universal, so G.J. Gardner Homes don’t seek to reinvent the wheel through our processes and make our clients carry the costs. Instead, we draw on our famed frameworks and patterns and adapt them to match your brief.

For new home builders, you can decide how custom you want your home to be. You’re free to choose from G.J. Gardner Homes’ existing home plans, make changes and tweaks to the original design, or go straight to the drawing board and start anew. When making edits to an existing house plan, you avoid overspending on consultation fees for draftspeople, building designers, and potentially architects.

By building custom with G.J., you can still design a home that’s individualized and in line with your preferences without overspending on the architects’ and designers’ fully bespoke home costs. Our custom home design process wants to make your money work harder and lets you invest in features that will make a real difference to your family rather than fees.

How to design a custom home on a budget

So, if you’re designing on a tight budget, here are a few of our custom home-building mistakes to avoid to keep you under budget.

1. Strategically Splurge

Home designs shouldn’t be a matter of all or nothing. In fact, strategic splurging is the best way to get the most out of your money long term. This involves spending big on specific areas to make the most difference in your daily life. Ultimately, skimping on the most crucial home elements will have you paying even more, to replace damages or wear and tear. Where to spend more will depend on your lifestyle, from the kitchen floor to the bathroom fixtures. In turn, elements of your home that are likely to receive less use daily are the best places to save.

2. Home Plan: Stories, Shape, and Size

Size and shape are some of the most deciding factors regarding home budgets. Of course, bigger homes over multiple stories demand more materials to complete and more specialist constructors. These requirements naturally end up costing more.

Tight budgets don’t demand tiny homes but require effective use of space. Building a home that matches your lifestyle without excess spaces that’ll go unused can be a great design choice for those on small budgets. G.J. Gardner Homes’ small home plans prove that square footage doesn’t decide how spacious your home feels.

Regarding stories, keeping your home on one level is often more affordable than extending it to a second. Even if the house ends up being the duplicate square footage, building a home that’s one story tends to be kinder on tight budgets. A single-story home is simpler to build and requires less expertise to build the structure.

3. Materials

One of the most effective areas to save when designing a custom home on a tight budget is the materials you use. G.J. Gardner Homes offer our clients plenty of choices regarding the materials for your home, working with a diverse range of suppliers.

Some of the best materials for custom homes on a budget include:

  • Concrete sheets
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Metals
  • Stone veneer
  • Bamboo

Our G.J. Gardner Homes designers can work with you and your budget to find the perfect solution for your home so you can stay within budget.

4. Location and Land

The cost of living differs from coastline to coastline, so the location will majorly contribute to the final price of your custom home. Not only will certain cities demand higher spending than others, but where you choose to build in that city will also affect the labor costs. Finding a block with easy access for building can majorly impact the prices as well.

Although this is a step in the initial planning stages, where and what type of land you choose to build on significantly impacts the final costs. Considering the impact location and land choice can have let you allocate more to the design features and avoids excess spending on making an unfit plot work.

How To: Maximize Storage in a Custom Home

When building a custom home, it’s easy to find yourself totally immersed in the design and style process while selecting your finishes; where you get to realize your dream and customize the home you’ve always wanted . However, there are some equally important but maybe less glamorous aspects to designing your home that should be considered that can have an impact on both how your home meets your needs while adding value to your investment. Namely, ensuring you have adequate storage.

So, how can you maximize your storage capacity? Hear more from the home building experts at G.J. Gardner Homes.

What Will Influence my Home’s Storage Capacity?

There are a few constraints that will have a marked impact on your storage capacity.


One of the most significant factors to influence a home build, your budget will ultimately determine a lot of the choices you make when designing a custom home. This includes your storage capacity.

Lot Size

It stands to reason that the more square footage you have available to build your custom home within, the more options for storage space you will have. If building on a smaller lot, you may need to get a little more creative!

Living Requirements

Your family size and living requirements will be a factor in overall storage capacity as well. More people often equates to more stuff, so big families may find themselves requiring more designated storage space.

Let’s dive into some recommendations specific to some key areas of the house.

Living Areas

Maximizing your storage space in family and dining rooms can be a big ask. These rooms serve the function of being a place to relax, connect and spend time with loved ones, which doesn’t always leave you with spare space for storage.

Our top living area storage tips:

  1. These rooms are largely multipurpose in nature, which gives you the unique opportunity to design storage in line with how you see yourself using them. For example, for a room with a fireplace centerpiece; consider adding recessed shelving and built-in cabinetry on both sides beside it to display your cherished memories, photographs and achievements, as well as being functional storage.
  2. Consider multi-purpose furniture, such as a storage ottoman. This gives you the best of both worlds!
An example of recessed cabinetry, used to display household decor.


We are completely aware of the fact that a home’s front door and entryways often accumulate household stuff – shoes, keys, bags; the list goes on. Instead of tripping over these late at night, we suggest getting a little smarter with your entryway, whether it be the front, back or garage entry.

Our top entryway storage tips:

  1. Where space permits, consider adding a mudroom that can serve as a storage hub. The benefits of having a mudroom stretches beyond just storage, but it’s hard to deny that this is a key part of their appeal. Add coat racks, a cabinet for shoes and a bench with underseat storage, all neatly tucked away in a separate room.
  2. Where a mudroom is not possible, a wall-mounted rack for shoes, coats and hats along with a storage bench can keep things off the floor and out of the way.

Bedrooms, offices and flex spaces

Well-considered bedrooms, office and flex spaces are absolutely key to having enough storage in a custom home. This is especially true for growing families as children inevitably grow up and require more storage space with time. While furniture will be a huge factor here, your custom home build should also be considerate of growing storage needs!

Our top bedroom, office and flex room storage tips:

  1. Lean on your inbuilt closets as your main storage space. They won’t take up valuable floor space which comes at a premium in a bedroom.
  2. If you have the room, a walk in closet will provide you with more space than any other option.
  3. If you’re still struggling, under-bed storage and other furniture with built-in storage could help you out of a tight spot!


The kitchen can be famously hard to maintain control over. Counter space often ends up in high demand once dinner prep has started, you‘ve added some new appliances and you’ve just prepared an afternoon snack for the kids.

Our top kitchen storage tips:

  1. Consider adding a butler’s pantry to your kitchen. A butler’s pantry is a walk-in pantry or recessed serving area which often includes additional bench space, the less-used kitchen appliances and can even include additional sinks. This additional space maximizes kitchen storage and allows your main kitchen to be a tidy communal space.
  2. Think creatively about whether you can use overhead storage. Whether this is through floor-to-ceiling cabinetry or through hanging pots and pans above you, it’s possible to take advantage of free space above you in this way.
Some well-considered overhead kitchen storage solutions.


Perhaps the worst candidate for attracting clutter, your garage can actually be a storage lifesaver if designed well. Key to this is the fact that garages are generally larger in size when compared to other internal rooms of the house, allowing you to stretch your space further in your custom build.

Our top garage storage tips:

  1. Make use of heavy-duty shelving that can be installed around the perimeter. With heavy-duty shelves you can store pretty much anything, you’re just limited by size rather than weight or aesthetics.
  2. Consider the height of your ceiling and whether that will be a missed opportunity. Detached garages or sheds may give you more scope to go upwards, with custom shelving that reaches up to the ceiling.
  3. Garages are extremely versatile spaces. If you have a double garage, consider moving one of your cars elsewhere to really maximize the free space inside!

With a custom home, the possibilities are endless. G.J. Gardner’s experience in custom home building and smart storage solutions gives us unique insight into how exciting and rewarding an experience they can be! Contact us today to hear more about our custom home expertise, and how we can help you to realize your dream home.

How to Build a Custom Home: Our 8-Step Guide

Person holds new house keys

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming home to a space that is yours and has been completely customized to your tastes. From selecting land to drawing up home plans and watching the build take shape, a custom home build is truly a rewarding process, that not everyone gets the joy of experiencing.

But for those lucky enough to be considering a custom home build, it’s important to fully understand the building process and the steps involved in making your dream a reality. In this article, our expert new home consultants delve into the general stages you can expect to encounter on your custom home-building journey. As these stages are meant to be a guide only, please ask your custom home builder if there are any additional items to be aware of.

Step One: Preparation is Key

As the saying goes, preparation is key and the same applies to the custom home-building process. Before contacting a home builder, it is important to break down your budget and building time frames to determine if this avenue of home building is suitable for you.

Types of custom home budget costs to consider include:

  • Land cost
  • Local taxes, permits, and fees
  • Home builder and construction costs
  • Landscaping costs
  • Home furnishing costs
  • Mortgage and loan payments
  • Initial down payment
  • Padding (money set aside for unexpected costs during the build)

This budget breakdown can assist in determining the realistic size of your new home, locations, and land you can afford. On top of this, you should determine the desired timeframe for your custom home build and if you have any restraints. This could include finding and buying your land, end-of-home leases, school, new family members, and more.

If you are still researching the type of custom home build you are looking for, our Custom Home Designs page details the different levels of custom home builds and is a great guide for beginning your home build process. 

Step Two: Choosing A Custom Home Builder

Before deciding to embark on the custom home building journey and rushing into a decision, it is important to conduct research into home builders and find a reputable one that meets your needs. Whether you have an existing plot of land you’re building on or need help finding it, are looking to customize a standard plan or make some changes to an existing home design, different home builders offer different types of services.

Research online first by investigating the home builder’s experience, custom home expertise and previous completed projects to get a better idea of their capabilities and expected outcomes for your custom home build. This can set your expectations going into initial consultations with your chosen builder later and glean insight into the parameters for your custom build project.

For example, at G.J. Gardner Homes, our expert custom home builders and new home consultants are readily available in-house. This saves you the trouble of putting together a custom home-building team with a range of third-party contractors. Simply attend an initial consultation to determine the degree of customization required and the team can provide design plans, assist with permits and other building needs including helping you locate your land to build on.

Step Three: Design Your Dream Home

After selecting your home builder and securing your land, it is time to start drawing up your dream home design and future floor plan. For your first consultation with your home builder, it is important to bring to the meeting a list of wants and needs with a level of importance in mind.

Consider the following:

  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Garage size
  • Room arrangements and preferred floor plan layouts
  • Overall size of the home
  • How many stories are in the home
  • Budget
  • Architectural and interior design style
  • Negotiable inclusions (e.g. pool, covered patio, fireplaces, wine cellar, media room)

Alternatively, if you don’t want to start your home design from scratch, it is likely your builder will have existing home design plans to choose from and further customize.

Following this first meeting, the home builder will draw up your custom home design plans into a floor plan along with an estimated price of the complete custom home build called a purchase agreement. Upon review of these documents, you can provide feedback, edits, and changes to the floor plan and materials used to reduce costs if needed or add new features to the home.

Step Four: Obtain Financing

Upon the completion of the home floor plan and cost estimations, it is time to consider how you will finance your home build. This could be through a construction loan, cash, or a combination. It is recommended if you are planning to secure financing through a third party, you speak to your local lender or mortgage broker to explore the most suitable options available to you.

Step Five: Finishes & Fixtures

Arguably the best part of the design process, it’s now time to select your preferred finishes and fixtures. This includes countertops, flooring, hardware, lighting, windows, trim, cabinetry and more. Your new home consultant should walk you through the options available depending on the level of customization desired.

Step Six: Construction Starts

Once the final floor plan and purchase agreement are signed and settled, the construction and building phase can begin. This tends to happen in stages but, you can expect the following:

  • Site clearing and preparation
  • Foundations, framing, and roof
  • Utility installation
  • Insulation and drywall
  • Flooring, lighting, paint and millwork
  • Fixtures and appliances
  • Finish work such as final paint, wall coverings, trim
  • Landscaping

This is such an exciting time in your custom home build journey as you can see your plans come to life in physical form!

Step Seven: Final Walk-Through

After the custom home build has been completed, you will do a final walk-through. This is an opportunity to inspect the home and ask questions before the official closing of the home. In addition, during this walk-through, you will go through each room of the home and do a final check.

Step Eight: Closing The Home

Following your final walk-through and closing your home builder will hand over the keys to your new home and you will take possession of the property.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we specialize in custom home builds with extensive and proven experience in creating tailored home solutions for customers across the country. If you are considering a completely custom home design or a semi-custom home, our team is here to help. Benefit from our stress-free build process honed with decades of building experience.

Want to learn more? Contact our home design experts today by visiting our website.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Custom Home?

If you have been wondering how much it costs to build a custom home, then you have come to the right place!

Custom homes come with the luxury of hand-picked materials, layouts, and styles, to guarantee you match your taste and lifestyle. From floor plan edits to changes to finishes, custom homes allow you to turn your dream home into a reality.

What does it cost to build a custom home?

The short answer: According to the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the median price for a custom-built home is around $424,000. The average cost for a built home on the market is 417,700. building a custom home costs slightly more than buying a built home.

However, The total cost of a custom home depends on several variables.

What affects the cost of custom-built homes?

The price of a custom home will depend on how much you customize your home. The more you customize the more the home is going to cost. Let’s break down the main factors that determine the price.


Custom homes allow you to decide what materials will work best. Many materials you see are flooring, finishes, and structural elements. These can vary majorly in the home building industry and cause final project prices to vary.

Finishes and features like marble, stonework, and other rare raw materials increase the costs. They are often higher ticket purchases and they require more care and expertise to install.

Your choice of materials is an opportunity to keep costs down or increase them.


Some builders allow you to choose pre-designed, semi-custom, and fully customizable homes. All three of these build types have varying time frames. A general rule of thumb is that having a longer build process may increase labor costs.

When you build standard and semi-custom homes each design has a set timeline. For example, at G.J. We developed our home designs with decades of home crafting, allowing us to offer set timelines.

When you choose a fully custom home, your timeline varies significantly depending on how much of your build process you have finished. Having land ready to go and having an idea of what you want makes the process much faster. Other factors like size and finishes also make a world of difference.


The price of your home will simply reflect its size. Bigger homes require more materials and labor than smaller homes. In conclusion, the cost to build a custom home will depend on the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas you’re looking to build and the overall square footage.


The price of everything varies dramatically across the country, and homes are no exception. The final cost will depend on your state, proximity to urban centers, and access to materials and labor.

The range of factors that can impact the final price of a custom home just shows the endless possibilities you have when customizing. While it may cost more, a custom home also comes with ample benefits.

Why build a custom home with G.J. Gardner Homes

G.J. Gardner Homes are distinguished for their experience and expertise we make it easier to get everything you want in a home without all the extra costs and mistakes.

With standard plans, semi-custom and fully custom packages on offer, you can find a home-building journey that works with your preferences and goals.

Our homes are the product of hundreds of hours of professional input as we’re committed to creating spaces that are a joy to live in. Experience every detail of your home before it’s built with our 3d planning available during the design phase. With no detail missed, G.J. Gardner Homes is ready to ensure your custom home is everything you imagined.

Get in Touch

Are you looking to discover more about the custom home-building experience? Our friendly G.J. Gardner Homes team is here to help. If you don’t know where to start, have land already, or are anywhere in between, our new home consultants are ready to work with you. Find your nearest showroom here.