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Building a Home

Must Haves when Building a Custom Home

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written by:

Carrie Barker


When you google the phrase, ‘must haves when building a custom home’, you’ll find lists of what *other* people consider to be must haves in their own homes. However, these lists might not include things that you consider must haves in your own dream home.

A must have for one person may be something that you don’t even care about … so you shouldn’t be adding it to your list of where to splurge.

This is YOUR house and it should reflect YOUR wants and needs (not what others think you *should* include in your home)

In this blog post, I will share a lengthy list of what other people considered to be must haves in their homes. Keep in mind that this list is just to get the wheels in your head turning. Ultimately your list of must haves in YOUR future home is up to YOU and what your family is NOT willing to give up.


As I mentioned above, what other people consider a non-negotiable (i.e. a must have) in their future dream home might not even be a thought for you.

It kinda irks me when someone tells you that you *must* include something in your home. That’s NOT true! This is your house and you can do whatever you want.

With that said, take what you want from the lists you find online (as well as my curated list below) and leave the rest (i.e. whatever is NOT important to YOU).

This is YOUR house … use these ideas to get you started in creating your own list of what you and your family are not willing to give up in your future home :).


  • Large mudroom with plenty of storage
  • First floor primary suite
  • Second floor primary suite
  • Large bedrooms
  • Large bedroom closets
  • 3 car garage
  • Dedicated laundry room on main level
  • Dedicated laundry room on second level
  • Dedicated home office
  • Walk-in closets
  • Custom kitchen cabinets
  • Walk-in pantry
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Built-in shelving 
  • Guest suite
  • Playroom
  • Teen room
  • Coffee bar in kitchen
  • Built-in speakers throughout home
  • Double kitchen islands
  • Energy-efficient features
  • Accessible features (and Aging in Place
  • Window seats
  • Extensive trim work 
  • Wine storage
  • Smart technology home
  • Heated floors
  • Tons of storage
  • Linen closets in bathrooms 
  • Separate ice maker in kitchen
  • Beverage fridge in pantry or kitchen


All of the ideas listed above are great ‘must haves’ for somebody, but that doesn’t mean they are must haves for your family … and that’s OK!

Just because one person considers something a must have in their home doesn’t mean you need to incorporate it in your house … especially if it’s not something you even care about (e.g. wine storage or large bedrooms).

Use the list above to get your wheels turning, but ultimately your list of must haves in your future home is up to YOU! I encourage you to grab a piece of paper (or open up a fresh Google Doc) and start creating a list of your own must haves when building a custom home.

If you want to dive deeper in preparing for a successful home build, download my *FREE* ‘Custom Home Build Prep Guide’ to learn the five crucial steps to build your home with less stress, more confidence, and a strategic plan to stay on budget :). 

  1. Adrienne Morgan says:

    I will add what I’ve heard from my clients: a dog wash, a gun room/safe room, a freestanding tub in the master, a coat closet by the front door (builders often leave this out), and gas lanterns out front.

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I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

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