Author Archives: Open Prairie Custom Homes

The Latest Custom Home Trends

a stylish living room with a dog laying on the floor

Designing a Custom Home

The American dream for most of us is to own our home, no matter the size, that homeownership means you have reached that goal. Then, as we move up the career ladder and our families grow or our lives change, some of us start looking at a custom home. One thing to note if you are considering this is that custom home trends in the area have evolved over the years, with some things staying the same, and some things changing drastically.

When going with a custom home, trends can come from a variety of custom home ideas. Some are necessary, but not everyone has to have the same thing. Other ideas are simply an individual choice and desire. But are things you don’t want to forget or skip regardless of the current custom home trends?

What are must-haves when building a new home?

There are many benefits of custom home building, and the following 10 things are what experts, or those who have previously traveled the custom home process, recommend as a “must-have”:

  • Spray Foam Insulation: One of the biggest custom home trends today is having them built to be more energy efficient. But upgrading that to include spray foam insulation will take your energy efficiency up a few more notches. Yes, it will cost more, but the ROI will pay you back for years. 
  • Wood Flooring: One of the most popular custom home trends is wood flooring. So popular in fact, it is pretty much a staple by most custom home builders. 
  • Built-in Speakers: Custom home trends come and go, but the built-in surround sound and speakers arrived a few years back and don’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon! 
  • Outdoor Kitchens: The outdoor kitchen has been among the popular custom home trends for a few years, but after COVID 19 quarantine, this has become a must-have! We were stuck at home inside 4 walls with nowhere to go. This extension to our home gave us some outdoor pleasure and is probably here to stay. 
  • Pot Filler: For families or homeowner that loves to cook, this may be one of the most popular custom home trends to hit the market. No more carrying a heavy pot filled with water and potatoes from the sink to the stove!
  • Spice Rack: Another of the many custom home trends for the homeowner that loves to cook and wants it all organized. 
  • Stand Alone Bathtub: The master bath has been a custom home trend for ages. But today, we want it full of luxury to pamper ourselves in relaxation. Nothing can do that better than a separate tub that allows us to soak our tired bodies. 
  • Organization: Walk-in closets have long been one of the many custom home trends, but today, we want them organized with specific places for specific things, like shoe shelves and more. 
  • Under Cabinet Lights & Electrical Outlets: Popular among the custom home trends are under cabinet lighting and a lot of electrical outlets. 
  • A Mudroom: A mudroom is great for keeping the shoes and coats, so the kids aren’t tracking mud through the house. And with built-in organization and storage, even better! 

What should you not forget when building a new house?

If this is your first custom home to build, there are a few things you may think are standard, but they aren’t! These may seem small, and your builder may include them, or ask about them, but don’t depend on that! 


These are things that will affect your daily life, so get them right now! Is the light switch by the door when you walk into a room? Do you need a light in the pantry? Do you charge your cell phone by your bed or in the kitchen? Are there ample power outlets inside and outside of the house? Does the garage have enough outlets? Don’t forget your internet connection and outlets for the router and more. 


Decide now where the television will be located and have the electrical outlets and other functions ready. Not just in the den or family room, but will you have a television in the bedrooms or a playroom? The outdoor living area or the garage? 


If there is any member of your family taller than 6ft, this should be a consideration for the showerhead installation. Get it right for the builder now so you don’t have after-market fitting expenses. 


Before the walls go up, get those popular custom home trends installed now like a recessed toiletry compartment and recessed medicine cabinet. These can be built into the stud space so they look natural. 


Undercabinet lighting is one of the most popular custom home trends; another is how pots and pans are stored. They make cabinetry specifically for these big and odd-shaped pieces today. Now is the time to get them while they are building your dream home. 

Should I stay neutral with paint colors?

Definitely stay neutral with the paint! Neutral paint color will connect the rooms throughout your home, especially if you’re going with the popular custom home trends of open concept design plans. Neutral color puts a tad of color in the room, and white baseboard and trims will give the room pop!

What are some of the best ROI additions in custom home builds today? 

Whether this is your forever home of you plan to be selling it in a few years, some of the best custom home additions that you’ll enjoy or will attract more buyers are: 

  • Custom Garage Doors
  • Steel front and back doors
  • Open floor plans
  • Finished basement
  • Stone veneer trim on the exterior

What are some unique home additions to consider or avoid in custom home builds? 

Trends are often to “do your thing”, but should you? Not every homeowner after you will be into the same phase of life as you. Don’t impose your unique home design in a neighborhood where it doesn’t belong. If the homes around you are of a historic nature, this isn’t the place to have a Frank Lloyd Wright-style home built and vice versa. 

a beautiful contemporary kitchen with stainless steel appliances

In Closing – Nothing Last Forever

Nothing lasts forever, including custom home trends. Where the pass-through window was popular in homes during the 70s, today it is the kitchen that easily flows into the outdoor living area. So, what custom home trends will last?

  • Non-Carpeted Flooring
  • Outdoor Spaces and Features Elevated
  • Luxurious Bathrooms
  • The Outdoors Inside the House
  • Sustainability and Technology 
  • Bold Industrial Kitchens

Keep all these things in mind while you are working on your custom home design.

How Often Do Home Design Trends Change?

bedroom with blue and white decor

Keep Your Home Stylish

Whether you are decorating a brand new built home, a new to you preowned home, or refreshing you existing home, you want the latest in home trends design. Even if that means going with an “old school” look, updating is updating. What maybe seen by some as dated home design trends, could be what’s happening today.

What is popular right now in home decor?

Thanks to some popular TV personalities, the minimalist look has been popular in home trends and design. Going with a free-spirited essence of an eclectic mix that included print in different scales with a couple of grounding common solid tones like sculpted furniture that pulled it together. Combining checks with stripes has been fun for the past year or so too. Accent that with a bold and bright colored lamp in bright blues or bold red. 

But the home design trends for the coming years are going to show us the ill choices of the past year or so and the ten years before. What are some of the main home design trends that are on the way out? For the past few years, it has been a “whatever gets your groove” home trend and design. 

Especially over the last few years, with the pandemic and quarantine. We were all just trying to survive being locked up and homeschooling our kids or working from – or both! Let’s review some of what was “the” home design trends before now and what home design trends to avoid going into within the coming year:  

The Modern Farmhouse

Well, the modern farmhouse is headed to pasture in 2022. Why? Because if you live in an apartment in a downtown part of any city, farmhouse and shiplap do not work. You can integrate some rustic pieces you have right now with your new décor, but don’t invest in them anymore. 

The White Kitchen

Out with the sober whites and man-made agglomerates we’ve been flocking to the past 10 years. Next year, go with the exotic, rare stones with detailed patterns and breccias, richly veined marbles, and onyxes. If you’re updating your kitchen, the Carrara marble is still timeless, and if you’ve invested in the all-white kitchen, no worries. They aren’t totally out of the picture, just start adding some color, patterns, and textures. 

The Open Floor Plans

If the pandemic quarantine showed us anything, it was that the open concept leaves no privacy when you’re at home 24/7 with the family. Adults need their privacy, and they want their kids secluded when they ground them in their room. With the home trends and designs today, you can start by adding some room dividers and if you can install a door to make privacy, 2022 or even 2023 is the year to do this. 

Single Purpose 

The single-purpose furniture and spaces are going away too; this feeds off the open concept fading into the past. Working on the sofa while everyone is watching TV is a clash. If you’re working from home after the pandemic, and many are now, then you need a place to get away to work. And when your workday is done, ,you need a place to get away. 

Fast Furniture Finished

For a few years now, inexpensive furniture had its certain appeal. We overpaid for stuff we had to put together, but that buzz is declining. We want furniture in our homes that can hold up to the daily function and toil we put it through, without buying wood glue to patch it up! The home trends and designs for the past year has seen more people leaning toward better-made, high-quality pieces that will have a greater purpose and longevity.


We have all decided that after the quarantine life,  less isn’t more. What’s coming in  when there’s a pandemic. The minimalist home design trends for 2022 trend is going by the way, bringing in the collected, eclectic, and layered homes. It is impossible to live life in your home where nothing is left sitting out. Mix the old and new and change your home trends and designs to lacquered items to chalk paint, matte finishes, waxed concretes, items that are crafty and comforting instead of cold and distant. 

And That’s Not All! 

The dark colors, neutral colors, slipcovers, terrazzo tiles, and midcentury modern (again!), are done for in home trends and designs. The farm kitchen and the minimalist, all-white kitchen have been the hottest home design trends in home trends and designs. But like clothing fashion and car styles, things come, and they go – sometimes too fast and other times, not fast enough. 

What is expected in home design trends for the next decade?

We should see a move toward earth tones that are nature-inspired, giving us rich earth tones accented with blues and greens. The brass and gold warm metals will find their way into home trends and designs over the next 10 years.  Will it be the bright gold plate like in the 80s? Probably not, but history does repeat itself. The gray and whitewash flooring is fading, and natural hardwood floors are here to stay. 

living area with blue and white home decor

Closing Comments

What if you’ve updated your home in the past 5 to 10 years and it is comfortable, and still has life to give your family? Do you need to be concerned with home design trends going out of style? Absolutely not. When it comes to home, it should be comfortable, including beads hanging on a door and a fish net methodically placed in a corner with seashells hanging in it.

Do Custom Built Homes Have Good Resale Value?

a residential house under construction

Choosing a Custom-Built Home

Across the country, including here in Weatherford, Texas area, the real estate market is in turmoil. Home prices are outrageous, and many homeowners are considering taking advantage of this situation. Some are choosing to downsize after they sell their current home, and others are considering having a custom home built to fit their needs. 

So, if you have a new custom home that you need to sell, how do you add value to a new build? After all, it is “new” and it is a custom home. What more could be needed? It may be hard to believe and understand, but there are a few things that will increase the value of custom homes, and most won’t take much expense: 

  1. The Front Door: First impressions are everything, so starting at your custom home front door is a must. The front door speaks volumes of what the interior will offer, but that doesn’t mean you need to replace the door. A coat of paint and new hardware can do wonders! 
  2. Redecorate: You took painstaking measures to decorate your custom home, but even after a short time, like 5 years, it is becoming outdated. You don’t need to put a fortune into this endeavor, but fresh paint on the walls and completing any basic maintenance issues will do wonders. 
  3. Double-Glazed Windows: Chances are that if your custom home is less than 10 years old, it has double-glazed windows. If not, or if it is older, then upgrading to double-glazed windows is an investment that you’ll see the most ROI. Buyers are looking for home improvements that are energy efficient today. 
  4. Kitchen makeover: Most custom home kitchens are modern and stylish. However, if you have owned your custom home for 10 years, the kitchen is probably looking lived in and tired. A few small things will increase the value of your home, no need for an expensive renovation. Focus on refacing the cabinet doors and installing new hardware, updating the countertops, and adding more lighting, especially in the cooking area. 
  5. Freshen up the bathrooms: Just like the kitchen, the bathrooms in your custom home are probably looking lived in and tired too, and bathrooms are a key feature for selling a home. Time to update this area with eye-catching and modern fixtures. Replace any broken tile, and new paint, and update the lighting. 
  6. Garden and landscaping: A custom home should have a well-designed, well-kept garden and landscaping to get the asking price you expect. Like the front door, first impressions are everything and your gardens and landscaping speak volumes. Keep the yard mowed, remove any overgrown plants, trim the trees, and clear all the pathways. Adding a deck to the back, with an umbrella and matching patio furniture will make buyers want to stay. 

What upgrades are worth it in a new home?

If you’re planning to purchase a custom home, you probably already know the process of  Custom Home Builds will require a lot of attention to detail on your part, after all, it is customizing for your taste and needs!  There are many options for every aspect of this home that you’ll need to choose, and it can be difficult to make the right choice. 

Set your priorities and focus on the things that will give you the value-add to your custom home while you live in it and when you get ready to sell it. Things that experts recommend you focus on are: 

  • Kitchen: Today, the kitchen is any home’s focal point, it is where families spend most of their time. It is also the first thing a home buyer will inspect. Upgrades for a kitchen can get expensive, so choose the upgrades wisely for the custom home build now and then do the other upgrades later. Right now, a kitchen island, under-counter LED lighting, and taller cabinets are the best upgrades.  
  • A deeper basement: Even a one-foot higher ceiling in the base will make a lot of difference in not feeling cramped. This is easier to be done now during the build of custom homes and you can worry about finishing it out later. 
  • Roughed-in plumbing: With an unfinished basement in your custom home, consider having a bathroom plumbing roughed in now. Then later, you can finish out the bathroom. 
  • Lights, lights, and more lighting: Any new construction home will come with lighting, but with a custom build, now is the time to have even more lighting installed. There is no such thing as too much lighting, especially in the bathrooms and kitchen. 
  • Energy efficiency: It is hard to imagine that with the Cost of Building Custom Homes today, they wouldn’t have energy-efficient upgrades, but if it doesn’t know, is the time to request them. From energy-efficient appliances, HVAC systems, windows, and more. What you’ll spend now is going to save you money well into the future with utility bills. 
  • A bigger garage: This can depend on the footprint of the house but choosing a floor plan that allows you to have a 3-car garage is one of the best home improvements you can make. By requesting a wider garage, you’ll have an easier time getting your vehicles in and out as well as have ample room for bikes, gardening supplies, and extra storage.
  • Storage options: Storage isn’t just in the garage, especially in a custom home.  Homebuyers like storage, so making sure you have that designed into your home build will benefit you now and whenever you sell, future buyers will be attracted. 
  • Carpet padding: Going with wood flooring is all the rage right now, but with a custom home build, you’re overpaying for that wood floor. Go with the standard flooring, including carpeting, and have the padding upgraded. You can update to wood flooring later, but for now, your feet will love you. 

What is the best way to build a house for resale value?

Here are 5 things that experts advise to do when you’re having your custom home built that will give the most resale value later: 

  • The Lot:  Choosing the right one is important for safety, security, future value, and making sure of the subdivision. 
  • Luxury Elements: Worth the investment upfront! 
  • Accessibility: Making sure it is easy to get and out of the subdivision, close to major thoroughfares and highways.
  • Energy Efficiency: You can’t go overboard here! 
  • Adaptability: Make sure the house is adaptable to future needs and future buyers. 

How long do you have to live in a new build before you can sell it?

It is recommended to reside in the house for at least five years and no less than two years to avoid capital gains tax. 

What home improvements do not add value?

There are 5 things that experts recommend not to get with your custom home build, one we mentioned earlier was wood flooring. The other 4 are: 

  • Light fixtures – wait to upgrade with better-looking ones found online!
  • Master bedroom – the bump-out doesn’t really give you as much more square footage, but the builder is going to charge you for it. 
  • Marble countertops – an incredibly porous material that chips and stains easily may not be the way to go for a custom home with children.
  • Crown molding – this is nothing more than for aesthetics and you can do your own upgrade much cheaper than the builder will charge you. 
desk covered in plans and construction tools

In Closing 

Before you choose a Custom Home, make sure you’re going to be able to profit later. Do new builds go up in value? The good news to this question, currently, is yes! Your custom home will sell for 29% more than an existing home.

Are Floor Plans Public Record?

close-up of house floor plans

After a year of quarantine, we realized we could work from home and were made to home school the kids. But the basic floor plans that most home builders offer aren’t set up for that lifestyle. And with that, custom floor plans have become a hot commodity for homebuyers. 

We need the floor plans of our homes to accommodate many different things. Especially when we start a family, as the kids get older, or as our family grows and leaves the nest. We’re working from home now, or many people started a business, and privacy is needed.  So, just who designs house floor plans? 

Well, anyone can really, it depends on how detailed you need the custom floor plans. Start with the general contractor that will build your home and they will direct you to either an architect or a draftsman, or maybe an engineer. 

If custom floor plans require certain design aspects, engineering, or technical type of comprehensive services, you need to hire an architect. An architect will offer specialties with these things that can give you confidence in custom floor plans that are going to be doable in a sound way. 

The difference between an architect and a draftsman is primarily their education and the scope of their duties. A draftsman will usually work for an architect as the architect is the functional design person and the draftsman translates their vision into a blueprint for the construction crew and engineers to follow. 

What is the importance of having a floor plan?

Custom floor plans show the layout of the various areas and rooms and how they are positioned throughout the house. This is a bird’s-eye view of the design. What is the importance of putting labels in a floor plan? While custom floor plans make it easier to check that each designated space is going to work as intended, the labeling tells the construction and engineer crew how to layout the floor plan. 

It is important for each of the parties involved in custom floor plans to know how to read floor plans before the build starts. This enables changes to be made before it becomes reality. And it is important they each know how to read the custom floor plans to assure the rooms are built in the correct position as the blueprints indicate. 

Can you get floor plans from the city?

What are some ways how to get floor plans of a house that already exists?

There are times that an existing home is having work done, a termite job, adding a room, or adding electrical and plumbing aspects, and having the blueprint or floor plan is needed. 

Contacting the local governing offices, like the city or count, is usually the first place to start. Every home, custom floor plans or mass-produced floor plans, should be on file with the local governing offices.  This would be where the building permits are obtained, which will usually require the mass-produced or custom floor plans to be filed to get the permit. 

Sometimes, the homeowner will have a copy of the blueprint or custom floor plans if they requested a copy from the architect, draftsman, or general contractor.  If the local governing office doesn’t have them, contacting the general contractor direct is another option. 

Do floor plans and interior design need to work together? 

If you’re not familiar with the how and who of custom floor plans is done, you may think that one person does it all, and you would be right and wrong.  Some interior designers that have furthered their education and training will do both, and others will “stay in their lane” as it is referred to. 

An interior designer typically has a four-year degree. They have spent hours studying colors, designs, styles, and the conventions of space and using their space planning skills that can allow them to know how to design floor plans.  But their focus is on the decorative elements after the actual custom floor plans are built.

What is the difference between open floor plans vs traditional ones? 

A traditional floor plan is a closed floor plan, where each room or designated area is separate from the other rooms. They will have walls that enclose them along with individual doors. 

With an open floor plan, there are no walls between the rooms or different areas. A kitchen, dining, and den or living room are one large area. The kitchen may be defined by an open bar/counter, and the dining area may have specific lighting where a table is placed. But there aren’t any walls that define them as their individual rooms. 

When It Comes Down to It …. How do I make a floor plan?

Maybe you don’t want an architect or interior designer telling you how to design your home and you can’t find anything you like from the different custom floor plans you’ve looked at. So, you want to do it yourself – here are some considerations to keep in mind: 

Your Lifestyle: Your new home should reflect how you live. It should be comfortable and convenient, from the size and style of the kitchen to how you entertain. Are you an open floor plan kind of person or do you prefer the walled room that defines the areas, making the dining room more intimate for conversations and the bedroom private and secluded? 

Your Space: How big of a house do you really need? Here in Texas, we’re known for everything is as big as Texas, but not everyone needs that big of a home. However, you don’t want to outgrow the house too fast either. Are there children now or plan to have children, is there a possibility of elderly parents or grandparents moving in with you one day? It doesn’t hurt to buy a little bigger than you need, or where you can easily add on if necessary. 

Your Changing Needs: What your needs are today for your home may not be the same later. Is this a step on the way to something bigger later, or is this yours forever home? If this is your forever home, make sure it is one you can live in comfortably as you age, like a single floor. 

The Cost: Money isn’t an easy subject, but it is a reality. From the cost to build to the cost of living in the house.  Custom floor plans often have vaulted ceilings and big windows, and maybe your personally designed home will have these features too. But you need to keep in mind the cost to cool and heat these high ceilings and the windows can be a great source of energy loss. The same goes with having a multi-level home, heating, and cooling multiple floors will cost more than a single floor. 

construction hat and tools on top of floor plans

Choosing a Location

Whether you go with a builder’s custom floor plans or design your own, if you aren’t in the right location, you’re not going to feel at home. Do you want to be remote and away from everything or do you prefer an established neighborhood? If you’re going remote, make sure you’ll be able to get the utilities you need for a comfortable lifestyle. 

How can I design my own house?

close-up of floor plans on a tablet

Why create a custom floor plan?

As life develops, there can be several reasons why a basic “cookie cutter” floor plan doesn’t work for us anymore. It could be the size of the family has increased, or there has been a life event that resulted in disabilities of a family member, like needing wheelchair accessibility. With these things, we look for a home builder that will work with custom floor plans

Can I design my own house without an architect?

It depends. If the project at hand is redesigning the interior of an existing house that requires removing structural elements, moving plumbing, or adding to a roof surface, hiring an architect is beneficial. There are specifics when building a custom home, the custom floor plans are just a part of the equation. 

While custom floor plans are an option, it must be determined if the desired plot of land can adapt to the intended structure and accommodate the custom floor plans and unique requests of the homeowner. With the right architect that specializes in custom homes, it allows the homeowner to focus on the big picture and end results of their dream home. 

Custom home building is a complex process that requires a lot of coordination and adapting, involving several parties. The architect will be your trusted representative, using their experience, knowledge, and skills through the entire process of designing and building your custom home.  

Yes, this is your home with one of many unique custom floor plans to be designed. But without an experienced person on your side, there is a good chance this dream home won’t turn out right, and you’ve lost the dream you had envisioned. So, no, you don’t have to have an architect, but for all they can do for you, why not? 

Should I use a stock or custom floor plan?

You have the dream of custom floor plans for your next home, but you’ve realized that there is a lot of energy and time required to achieve that. So, maybe online stock house plans are the way to go? 

Yes and no. Buying a stock plan is the easier route, but there are 5 crucial things you should know before going that way: 


Floor plan companies sell floor plans, that’s the crux of their business. The more they can sell, the better! That is why their plans are designed so that they answer to a wide range of potential buyers. These floor plans are designed with general use in mind. They are a baseline to start with and then you can put in the work to make it your own. 


Stock floor plans have unrealistic room sizes for most people. The rooms tend to be too small; the closets, garage, and hallways aren’t always in a functional layout and size. If stock floor plans are the way you’re going, check the dimensions and measure the existing furniture. That California king size bed may not fit in the master bedroom. 


Thoughtful, well-designed custom floor plans anticipate the needs a family may have now and in the future. With a stock plan, minor changes can be made, but you won’t have extensive customization for specific needs.


Realize upfront that stock floor plans are generic, and while the company can make a complimentary tweak here and there. But big changes, like moving a wall, that will cost, sometimes more than the original stock floor plan itself. 


Like any industry, stock floor plan companies have some less-than-honest business too. Most are a reputable organization but do your research to make sure you’re working with a reputable company. 

How can I design my own house floor plans?

Custom home floor plans can be drawn in 2D by hand or with 3D design software that maps out the architectural features. Whichever way you decide, these tips will guide you in creating the right floor plan for you:

  1. Select the area and the type of floor plan you desire. Is this a single-story or multi-story home? 
  2. Get the dimensions you have for creating a floor plan. This includes the square feet of the entire space. You need this before you can draw the walls or add features. 
  3. If you’re going with 2D by hand, work in pencil, using light markings that are erasable. Using graph paper will help guide you with more precise designing. 
  4. Draw your custom floor plans to scale for an accurate representation of the finished design. Make sure you have converted the measurement ratios properly before drafting the custom floor plans.
  5. Mark features with the correct abbreviations, markings, and symbols. There are common industry images and shorthands that your architect and builder will be accustomed to reading. The exterior walls are marked with dark, thick lines and the interior walls are thinner lines. Windows are marked with double line sets and arcs designate door swing direction. 
  6. Include the allocated space features and furniture layouts, including bookshelves, couches, phone jacks, HVAC unit, wiring and plumbing. 
  7. Determine window direction, keeping natural light in mind. North, East, West, South is important as to how a room looks at certain times of day and the time of year. 
  8. Elevation is essential in custom floor plans and typically coincides with the floor plan designing. Elevation shows you the front or side views and provides a perspective of where your built-ins and appliances are going to be located. 

What makes a good floor plan?

Good custom floor plans have the following key characteristics:

  • Flexibility and Versatility: Make sure the floor plan -can fit a home office or child’s bedroom in the future for you or any future owner. 
  • Ideal Layout: Make sure the bedrooms aren’t close to the entertaining spaces and the bathroom shouldn’t face the common areas like the dining room or living room. Most custom floor plans have the kitchen open to the den and/or dining/living rooms so the cook can interact with visitors or what the kids. 
  • Size matters: Whenever designing the rooms or hallways, many people can fit in there comfortably at one time and have room to move about, with furniture and any activity. 
  • Your Lifestyle and Priorities: Custom floor plans should consider the level and type of entertaining that will take place. You want to have a flow between the kitchen to the living room to the deck. Do you work from home? Design the floor plan for ample natural light and quiet.  Create a floor plan that doesn’t require climbing stairs to get from the bedrooms to the laundry room. 
  • Balance Architectural Details with Practical Considerations: Think about safety for kids, your cleaning routine, the cooling, and heating costs when it comes to high ceilings and multiple floors. 

How do I make a floor plan?

We just covered the things you should consider. But there are several mistakes to avoid with floor plans for your custom home too. A few that experts warn are: 

1. Don’t Overlook Your Current Lifestyle

You may think a private library in your master suite is ideal, but do you spend that much time reading?  

2. Research Research Research

Besides knowing the number of bathrooms and bedrooms you need, what other elements are important to you and your family? 

3. Too Large, Too Small Floor Plan 

Seeing custom home plans on paper can be deceiving. What looks like may be plenty of room may end up being shoulder to shoulder with everyone. A large chef kitchen seems ideal, but how much do you cook? 

4. Hidden Costs

If you’re designing with floor-to-ceiling windows, remember that beauty comes with higher cooling and heating costs in the long run. Same goes for sliding doors and skylights, and windows that face due west. 

5. Room Placement

Bathroom and bedroom placement should get serious consideration. Do you really want a bathroom right off the kitchen? Think before placing bedrooms near a busy roadway. 

6. What About Your Furniture?

If you’re keeping the entertainment center you currently have, will it fit where you’re planning to place it in your new home? 

7. Layout and Location Match

Great custom floor plans on paper don’t always match the terrain. Which room do you want to have the best view? 

rolls of paper floor plans

In Conclusion

After some consideration and research, you decide you need to get some floor plan assistance. If you’re unsure, this is the best thing you can do for this project. So, how much for custom floor plans?

The cost for having a draftsperson design a blueprint for custom floor plans averages around $1800 with range running between $900 and $3,000. The going rate can be as little as $50/per hour and as much as $130 per hour. For budget purpose, you can expect custom floor plans for a 3-bedroom house to take 10 hours minimum.

Is building a custom home more expensive?

close-up of hands on top of building plans

The Custom Home Design Process

It is said that the American dream is to own your own home. To own a home that meets all your dreams, needs, wants, and wishes, you should have the attention of a custom home builder.  But where do you start when building a custom home?

Having a custom home built requires more planning and involvement by the homeowner. There are several steps in the process, and nothing is pre-designed, pre-planned, or pre-selected like it is with mass production homebuilding. A custom home builder can assist you with the process, bringing your dreams and ideas together with the actual elements and reality. 

So, where do you start? Before construction starts, you’ll need the design ideas and elements that you have envisioned for your perfect dream home. Start by collecting photos and tear sheets. Look at model homes and finished homes, both custom-built and production-built.

Spend some time with an interior designer and a custom home builder, too. Outline your preferences in architectural style, design elements, and your family’s lifestyle with room functions that fit and product features you want. 

What does a custom home builder do? 

There is a sheer complexity of a custom home builder’s job that most people aren’t aware of.  Building a house from scratch requires experience, knowledge, and talent not found in everyone. Those within the industry refer to a custom home builder as an orchestra conductor, a ship captain, or a military general. 

The custom home builder is responsible for coordinating a number of other professionals to take a two-dimensional drawing and create a finished home. This position must supervise anyone and everything that is involved in the process. It is on their shoulders that the job is finished on time and on budget while meeting the homeowner’s dreams and vision. 

What is included in a custom-built home?

The benefits of a custom-built home are many, and so are the steps required! The following are eight steps you can expect to go through: 

Meet with a Custom Home Builder

The goal at this time is to talk about your dreams and visions, must-haves, and wants, and what is possible. It is here that the direction of your home design and features are designed. The custom home builder will have many questions that will help them understand your budget and more.

Visit the Home Site

Next, you and the custom home builder will visit the land where your home is to be built. You’ll discuss how your home will sit on the site. Most custom home builders have a checklist they will walk through with you, taking detailed notes so they can provide you with a preliminary idea of the cost of the design and build.

Floor Plan and Options

Next, you and the custom home builder will discuss the various floor plan design and options, choosing any non-standard options from what the custom home builder typically offers. If the build site is not within a development, the builder will have a geotechnical firm perform soil testing. 

Meet the Design Team

After that is the meeting with a design team or interior designer. They’ll work with you in choosing all the finishes for your new home. 

Pre-Construction Meeting

With all the necessities in place, including the engineering reports, final plans, and your finish selection, it is time to review it all. Now is the time to make any changes! This doesn’t mean changes can’t be made as the process moves along, but each change could cost more money and delay the finish date. 


If you don’t have your own financing in place, most custom home builders have lenders they recommend. Your builder will typically require this to be in place before they break ground. 

The Construction Process

Home construction can take up to six months in Texas. Weather is always a factor, unforeseen things like availability and cost of construction materials can cause delays. The key phases of custom home building are:

  • Permits and Site Prep
  • Foundation Poured
  • Frame and Mechanicals 
  • Drywall, Millwork, Paint
  • Finished Surfaces like counters, flooring, and tile
  • Paving and Landscaping

Throughout the building process, the custom home builder is required to have certain inspections. Any problems found with these inspections can cause delays.

Walk-Thru and Home Warranty

Your custom home is now complete, and it is time to do a final walk-thru with the custom home builder. Any issues and problems need to be discussed and a plan of action for corrections. 

How much are custom home plans?

A custom home builder will often have a draftsman to draw up custom home plans. This part can cost up to $130 per hour with an average total cost of around $1,800 to $2,000. A set of drafted plans for an average three-bedroom home can take up to 10 hours to design. The larger the home and the more elaborate, the longer it can take. 

How much does it cost to design a custom home?

As the homeowner, you have your dreams and visions, needs, and wants for your custom home. Builders will usually have an architect working with them. The architect and an engineer are needed to make sure the things you have in mind are possible and meet all safety requirements. 

Having an architect to design a home based on your needs and wants can cost up to $10,000. This cost will not include any other services needed to make your dream home come to life, nor any required construction documents.

 What is the difference between a custom home vs production home? 

Where a custom home builder is a person that creates a home with a one-of-a-kind style, a production home builder builds a home within a community from a predetermined library of floor plans. A production home will have limits with colors and finishes. 

What is the difference between a custom home vs spec home? 

A spec home is financed and owned by a home builder, and not necessarily a custom home builder. It is sold to home buyers who will make choices and decisions that will make it different from the homes around them, yet all are built by the same builder. 

Can you finance a custom home?

Financing custom home building often requires construction loans. Custom home financing has three transactions involved: 

  • The land 
  • The house construction
  • The mortgage of the finished house

Often, you can find a bank or lender that will give you a package deal. Sometimes, you may need one to three different loans.

close-up of tools on top of building plans

When It Is All Built

Is building a custom home worth it? If this is going to be your forever home, or your home for the unforeseen future, yes. What could be better than a home that is built around your family instead of a home that your family adapts to?  If you’re not planning to stay in that home for long, consider a production home or spec home.

How to Choose a Floor Plan for a New House

rolls of architectural floor plans on a table

The Benefits of Custom Floor Plans

As more and more families are wanting to move out of the city, many are choosing acreage. This gives the kids a chance to get a little “country life,” and not having neighbors right under your bathroom window is an attraction for the adults. What can make it even better? Choosing a builder that offers custom floor plans.

Some home builders can use your floor plans to build you a house, making changes as recommended by their architects, draftsmen, and engineers. Others prefer you choose from their assortment of floor plan ideas, though they offer modifications that will make it your own design. What if you don’t have custom floor plans of your own, but you have basic ideas of what you want? Do you know where to design floor plans at? 

Who designs house floor plans?

If you’re not sure where to find floor plans, custom home building contactors typically have at least one architect they work with, and some will have several they can call upon for custom floor plans, each one having a different flair and style. In fact, even though you may be moving “out”, there could still be laws and regulations on how and what you build. Some HOAs and local governments require your custom floor plans to be signed off by a licensed architect. 

What exactly is an architect’s responsibility? 

An architect has several responsibilities and functions within a company. They work with creating and overseeing the design, drafting the custom floor plans, and overseeing the engineering part of the build. In addition to overseeing the design of custom floor plans, they determine the materials to be used and design the lighting for a home.

They take all of those aspects into account to create one-of-a-kind custom floor plans. They oversee all of this for home builders with one or a few floor plans as well. It is usually the architect within a home building organization that submits the plans for permits to build homes with standardized or custom floor plans. For a home buyer looking at acreage outside of the big city, or even in the city, it’s usually good to start with a local architect. 

An architect typically has a 5-year bachelor’s degree and will have completed a minimum of a 3-year internship before taking the architect licensing test. An architect is often responsible for training draftspersons.

What is a draftsperson’s responsibility in custom floor plans? 

We know now that it is the architect who knows how to design floor plans and bring the builder’s or the client’s vision to life. The draftsperson’s primary responsibility is to prepare the technical designs for the custom floor plans. They are not required to have any certain level of education or licensing by the state or local governments. 

A custom home builder and architect may have their own requirements, like certification in a completed program. Or they may require a certain level of on-the-job experience. There are 2-year degrees available for draftspersons, but designing and engineering are not included as they are with architectural degrees.

What types of floor plans are the basics? 

A basic floor plan in the architectural world is a 2D graph drawing. The basics of the property layout form an aerial view to scale. The architectural drawing shows the room arrangement and how the architect envisions the occupants moving about from room to room. 

These are five common home designs that builders offer, all with their own “design, style, and touch” that makes it theirs. 

  • Colonial Style Floor Plans.
  • Contemporary Modern Floor Plans.
  • Conventional Ranch Style Floor Plans.
  • European Style Floor Plans.
  • Traditional Floor Plans.

Within each of these floor plans, a builder and their architect will usually design a feature that is their “calling card”. If a homeowner has their own custom floor plans, they will often blend these together. 

Can floor plans be copyrighted?

Yes! Suppose you visit a builder’s selection of custom floor plans homes, and there you find your dream house. You can take that floor plan to an independent builder to see if they can copy the floor plans – the cost to build may be cheaper by doing this. 

However, don’t go any further than that, because you’ll both be breaking the law. Even if you change the custom floor plans a little bit, it is still considered copyright infringement. Copyright is how an architect can ensure that the designs they create and the builder they work with to construct are paid properly for their creations. 

floor plans being viewed on a tablet

In Closing 

Owning a home is a wonderful feeling for anyone. Having a home built from custom home plans can take things to an entirely different level. There is something special about a custom floor plan because you know there won’t be another one 100% like yours. If you have any more questions about custom floor plans, you can reach out to our team today by calling at (817) 736-6323.

Understanding the Open Floor Plan

Open interior space with a kitchen counter, stools, and light blue sofa.

Is an open floor plan better?

We see the lofts of New York City and Seattle on television, but is that the only place where open floor plans exist? Can a newly built home have an open floor? And if you aren’t entirely familiar, exactly what does “open floor plan” mean? The name pretty much tells it all, and is basically saying, “There are no hallways.” But let’s discuss this in more detail.

Typically, open floor plans are homes with a large common area, considered the ‘great room’ in which all the common areas are located. These common areas include the kitchen, dining room, and living room, the areas everyone in the house uses. The areas where privacy is needed, like the bathrooms and bedrooms, have doors. 

Why does everyone want an open floor plan?

As home designs have changed, home builders began designing them with the open concept. Then homeowners with existing smaller homes wanted to find ways to open up their homes. By eliminating walls between certain rooms, they were able to combine commonly used spaces, creating the “open floor plans” of the newer homes. 

Why is that so important today? When designers worked with homeowners on creating the best home for them, open floor plans were a key element. Gone are the days that the wife/mother does all the cooking and calls her family and guests to the dining room. Many meals are cooked together by the family and their guests. The kitchen is the heart of the home, even when entertaining. 

Open floor plans allow a family to carry on with their individual activities, like crafting, homework, or viewing television shows all in the same general area and still have that coexistance. It makes entertaining easier too with the kitchen opened into the great room (versus the old style living room and dining room).

What would an alternative to an open floor plan be?

Maybe you have an older home, but as the kids have grown up and left, you’re finding that it isn’t as convenient for just the two of you. Yet, you don’t want to lose the original details like the built-ins, exposed beams, and wood floors that drew you to this home. 

An alternative would be using the barn door look that is so popular today! Instead of tearing down connecting walls to create those open floor plans, make a modest change and replace one or two interior doorways with barn doors. These are the new pocket doors and provide a decorative and effective way to gain that openness that an open floor plan offers without tearing out walls. 

What is the difference between an open floor plan vs closed? 

An open floor plan vs traditional or closed floor plan is when each area becomes a room with walls and a door that separates them from each other. Open floor plans do not have walls separating certain areas into their own rooms. There are seven key things that each of these offer, or don’t offer: 

  • Aesthetics: Open floor plans are considered a modern style, like those we mentioned earlier on television shows. Because it is one big open area, the decorative style blends between the areas, there is no distinction. Open floor plans tend to have better natural lighting, while closed floor plans allow each room to be individual in color, style, and theme. There may still be an interior design throughout, but each room will have its own specific details. 
  • Space: With open floor plans, the flow is open, moving between areas of kitchen to living room to dining room isn’t hindered by walls. Perfect for a household that entertains a lot, and when it comes to decorating and designing, there is more flexibility. Closed floor plans have walls between each specific room and can make them feel cramped and smaller. It also makes them feel more cozy. 
  • Safety: With open floor plans, if you care for an elderly or handicapped person, or even small children, you have a better view of what they are doing. You can be cooking and still have an eye on what those you care for are doing. 
  • Privacy: With open floor plans, there is little to no privacy. The only privacy is in the bedrooms and bathroom, and that may be minimal. 
  • Smells: The aroma of cooking dinner will permeate throughout open floor plans. In a traditional floor plan, the odors aren’t as strong and less offensive to those that don’t care for certain foods. They can open a window in their walled off room. 
  • Cleanliness: This can be a big issue for roommates. A closed floor plan allows each roommate to be a mess whereas with open floor plans, each roommate has to live with the other’s clutter. However, cleaning open floor plans is much easier and quicker! 
  • Resale Value: As a homeowner, this is always a concern. Will an open floor plan home go out of style? Is it just a passing phase? Maybe – who knows what the future holds, but right now open floor plans are appealing to most potential homebuyers, depending on where you’re located, the architectural style of your home and the area. If you’re planning on selling in the next five years, open floor plans will likely still be the way to go. 

So, how to decorate an open floor plan?

It can be challenging to decorate open floor plans. With the view from the front door to the back door being all in one, you need to identify each area, yet with a cohesive design. Here are a few tips that can help: 


Repeating accent colors throughout the open floor plans will give a consistent color, yet each area will have a different shade with its own lighting. 


Bold or subtle colors, patterns, and textures all add interest to a home’s interior. They are important and with open floor plans, you have a bigger space to consider. From pillows and rugs to window treatments, they all will have an impact. While you want cohesiveness, that doesn’t mean each area can’t have its own style. Repeat the colors, repeat the patterns, it doesn’t have to get boring. 


Consistent flooring is one of the best ways to unite open floor plans. Yet, for the rooms that are walled off like bathrooms, go with a funky tile. 


Open floor plans aren’t the place to get creative. Keep the trim and walls one color as much as possible, especially if there is one long wall through several areas. Test different colors with the lighting in the area to see what color will work best for all areas. 


Rugs are the best way to add style while defining each area of open floor plans. With a dining area that is completely open to the main living area, a large rug in each area can define that space. 


While each area needs to be consistent all the way through, each needs to be identified too. Choose something that will pull the view to identify the room. Open floor plans can feel cold, fabric and leather can add softness and warmth. When it comes to furniture, remember open floor plans are wall-less! 

How does an open floor plan for the kitchen and living room work? 

As we have said, in open floor plans, cohesion is important, yet, when it comes to the kitchen, there are some boundaries. A kitchen is where we bring out our creative flow, but sometimes that creativeness doesn’t work in the living room. Take the features of the kitchen and soften them for the adjacent living room.

Open space with a dining table, chairs and a kitchen counter.

In Closing – Is there a downside to an open floor plan?

While it looks like a wonderful way to live on television, open floor plans aren’t for everyone! Things to consider before you go that route would: 

  • The Costs – not just the remodeling part, but life after with cooling and heating a larger, open space. 
  • The Noise – with no interior walls, there is no privacy, or quiet time.
  • The Upkeep – no matter how small the clutter is will look larger in open floor plans.

If you’re interested in decorating with an open floor plan, contact the team at Open Prairie Custom Homes by calling (817) 736-6323 today.

What is real estate development?

level and plans

Custom built real estate properties

Here in Texas, real estate development is always happening. Our state is diversified enough that a slow economy in general is usually carried on through with other markets. We are a fortunate state, which is why we have so many real estate development companies here, and they are still coming into The Lone Star State. 

Many of us really don’t under what real estate development do though. Real estate developers buy land and finance real estate deals. They  build projects or hire builders to build projects. A real estate development is something that a person, or a team, has created from their imagination, then they orchestrate the developing process and control that process until it has reached completion. A real estate developer is a risk taker, somebody that has the financial means to risk buying property, developing it, and able to survive until it sells. 

Let’s look a little into how real estate development works and why real estate development is important to an area. To begin in real estate development, it is pretty basic  4 step process: 

  • Basic Knowledge: You don’t need to spend money on something like real estate development without some basic knowledge. Before you put your money into a project, learn about real estate’s ins and outs. This doesn’t mean you need a college degree or a real estate license, but those wouldn’t hurt. 
  • Build Your Team: You can do this on your own, but it is so much easier to have a team. A team of people you can trust that would include architects and engineers, legal counsel, dayworkers, finishers, and even other real estate developers. That later is especially helpful if this is your first time to get into real estate development. 
  • Find a Project: Now you need to find a project, one that will meet your criteria and something that you team is capable of handling as a team. You could join in with another existing project if you’re just starting out in real estate development to gain some experience or find your own project or property. 
  • The Financing: Unless you’re going to bank roll this project on your own, you’ll need to acquire capital from others for a real estate development budget. Typically those others are investors which can gives you more opportunities. You should consider taking on a partner with experience when working with an investor if this is your first time in real estate development. 

Now that you have these basics covered, why is real estate development important to the economy? Yes, many people see a real estate development as something that is taking away the land and open spaces, which it often does. Longtime residents in a small area outside of a big city will frown upon real estate development because not only will change the landscape, but it generates more population and with population comes traffic. The ecosystem and natural habitats are changed too. 

The good side of real estate developments is essential for a community to succeed. This happens because more jobs are created, a curb appeal for the area is created, and a community is formed and united. 

A downside and upside combination is the real estate value is increased, including existing home values. That increase means higher taxes – the downside.  That increase means a homeowner or landowner can sell their property for more money – the upside. So yes, there is a trick to finding that perfect balance between the growth of today and maintaining the character of yesteryear. 

What good real estate development can cause a community today? 

Today, the experienced and even the novice real estate developers are attuned to sustainability. With that in mind, they are all learning, researching, and striving more ways to create real estate development with sustainability as the focus.  Sounds good, right? 

designs for real estate properties

What is sustainable real estate development? 

Everything is going “green” these days, including real estate development. Today, a real estate developer is “greenhabbing,” aka flipping properties that have an emphasis on sustainable materials and practices. 

Sustainable real estate development is the method of integrating design techniques, building materials, and construction technologies that are environmentally-friendly into the construction process. Sustainable real estate development is finding and utilizing ways that will decrease the footprint of the homes and structures within the development. The goal is not only to help the Earth, but it will help homeowners reduce their expenses too?

What is the difference between real estate development vs construction? They’re both have something to do with constructing and real estate right? Yes, they do, but they are in different arenas within the real estate realm, just as a realtor is in a different arena altogether. 

A real estate developer buys a project or property and the works with architects, designers, engineers, and others to develop it.  A developer will hire a general contractor that does the construction part of the project or property. Call (817) 736-6323 today for your custom built home needs in Weatherford and Aledo, TX.

What is the most energy efficient house exterior?

energy efficient home frame

Making a more energy efficient home

All across the country, energy efficient homes are in high demand. What is energy efficient housing? Homes built today have stricter guidelines and standards to meet the government and the buyer’s demand for greater energy efficiency. The factors that considered important for energy efficient home builders to include are: 

  • Cost-effective: Energy efficient homes needs to be airtight and well insulated. High-efficiency heating and cooling system that keeps the utility bills low are a must and low-flow showerheads, toilets and other water accessories that lowers water consumption. 
  • Comfort and Healthy: Energy efficient homes are cool in the summer, warm in the winter without drafts. A great ventilation system that provide excellent air quality that isn’t too dry or too humid. Programmable thermostats are a must. 
  • Value Add: An energy efficient home features fixtures that are energy efficient and contribute to the resale value. Newer doors and windows with appliances and lighting that are high-efficiency that look good and save money. Solar panels are a value add that has a long-term ROI for current resident and future buyers.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Energy efficient homes feature elements that work together for lower energy consumption that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the carbon footprint.

What is the most energy efficient home?

Energy efficient home plans for hot climates and cold climates will vary, but they need the same things too.  The Zero Home is a single-family smart home, certified as net-zero energy-efficient in Climate Zone 5. This means that any energy consumed by the occupants comes from renewable resources. This includes things like: 

  • The start of energy efficient homes like this will have 2×6 studs instead of 2×4, allowing more space for insulation. Because the studs are conduits drawing warm air inside during the summer and cold air inside during the winter, the 2×6 studs are on 24 inch centers. 
  • The exterior is wrapped in breathable, water-resistant DuPont Tyvek for a moisture and vapor barrier along with Dow EnergyComplete sealant at each framing point of wood-on-wood to create an air-proof and moisture-proof gasket. 
  • Continuing to make energy efficient homes, they will have spray foam insulation is applied to the exterior walls inside with blown-insulation next. 
  • The air conditioner and furnace are 95 percent efficient each, meaning only 5 percent of the energy to cool and heat is lost. Because the house is well insulated and sealed, the units operate in standby mode, only on when temps are at extreme. 
  • The system is an energy recovery ventilator that combines a heat exchanger and ventilation system that replaces the indoor air with fresh outdoor air, eliminating the need to open windows for fresh air.
  • These types of energy efficient homes  windows are sealed closed, dual-pane, with argon gas between the glass layers.  
  • Prewarmed water is pumped into a tankless water heater from 40-gallon natural gas tank, boosting the water temperature 104 degrees, consuming energy only when activated. 

Other factors for energy efficient homes like the Zero Home will include solar panels and a programmable thermostat that include security system too. All of that and the lighting are all controlled by cell phone and the garage is equipped with charging stating for your electric car. 

How can I make my house more energy efficient?

Follow the line of ideas that the Zero Home has! Yes, that is not possible for everyone, in fact, very few of us can afford those measures, and you already have a home, so, what are 10 ways to save energy?

  • Adjust daily behavior and routine: Energy efficient homes can be created by turning things off when they’re not in use, including appliances, lights, televisions, etc. Hang clothes to dry instead of using the clothes dryer and wash dishes by hand. 
  • Replace the light bulbs: Change out your traditional incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs and save up to 80% on energy costs. Yes, they cost more, but they last longer mean you won’t need to replace as often. 
  • Smart power strips: Energy efficient homes can use smart power strips that turn off the phantom electric mongers, saving you as much as 75%. 
  • Smart Thermostat: Anyone wanting to mimic energy efficient homes need to install a programmable smart thermostat that can be set for automatic off and on. This will reduce the time the cooling and heating is turned on, eliminating energy waste. 
  • Energy efficient appliances: You don’t have to go out and get all new appliances right away, but as you replace them go with the most energy efficient models you can afford. This will cut back on the 13% power use in your home and save you up to 25% in operating costs. 
  • Water heating expense reduction: Heating water is a huge energy consumption, so energy efficient homes choose an energy efficient water heater when replacing their current water heater. Other methods to help cost is to use less hot water and turn the thermostat down on the water heater. 
  • Energy efficient windows: A lot of energy is wasted through the windows, as much as 25%. Replace your windows with double pane windows to minimize that loss. 
  • HVAC system upgrade: Heating your home takes as much as 40% of your home energy use and in northern climates, eve more. Upgrade your HVAC system to an energy star rated system will save you money over time. 
  • Weatherizing: Weatherizing you home by sealing air leaks will reduce your cooling and heating expenses. Areas to check the sealing are doors, windows, and vents. 
  • Insulation: Energy efficient homes are well insulated which lowers utility bills by retaining cold during the summer and hot during the winter. The higher the R-Value, the better the temperature conserving.
Inside an energy efficient home

What are the energy efficient home pros and cons? 

The Pros: 

  • Saves money.
  • Helps the environment, reduces cO2 emissions.
  • Slows global warming.
  • It easy to do.

The Cons: 

  • Expensive to start with energy efficient appliances, solar panels.
  • Purchasing and switching to renewable energy is expensive.
  • Lifestyle change.

We have provided several energy efficient home ideas that you can do today, and several that you can do over time as well.  Step by step, each of us that can do a little more will add to a big difference. Call (817) 736-6323 today for your energy efficient custom built home in Weatherford and Aledo, TX.