Custom Building Trends

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Hello Design Lovers, today we are discussing custom building trends. In my opinion, not all design and building features are equal when it comes to bang for your buck. But some are totally worth it and add beauty and functionality to a home. We get asked time and time again to incorporate these features into our client’s homes, so let’s get right to it.

Statement Fireplace

The first custom building trend that is so worth it is Statement Fireplaces. These fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes; in my home, we have a beautiful double-height fireplace with a tapered, swooping shape. We actually created this shape by framing it in wood and then drywalling over it. It turned out beautifully and honestly wasn’t crazy expensive to create. For our mantle, we actually had our trim carpenter build this out of two separate pieces of 6” cove molding, which is usually used for crown molding, but I loved the shape they created together, so we used them to create our mantle and surround.

Custom Building Trends - statement fireplace

Now the next statement fireplace I want to discuss is at one of our custom design-build projects. It is nearing completion; it’s totally different than mine but absolutely stunning! Fair warning… it is a construction site, and not everything is finished, so keep that in mind…

Let’s talk about this gorgeous Statement Stone fireplace. It is an absolute show-stopper. We used a natural stone in a soft neutral mix and over-grouted it with a white mortar.

Custom Building Trends - statement fireplace

Our clients wanted a raised hearth to sit by the fire, so we designed the hearth, mantle, and surround, then had everything custom fabricated in a limestone pre-cast. Pay no attention to the hole above the mantle; it is to house the AV equipment and will be covered upon completion.

Architectural Ceilings

The next custom building trend is architectural ceilings. This could be cathedral vaults, barrel vaults, coffered ceilings, groin vaults, or, honestly, a slew of other architectural ceiling designs. We used several beautiful ceiling designs in our client’s home, so let’s look at a few of them.

Barrel arched kitchen ceilings

First, we designed this kitchen to have these three breathtaking barrel vaults. These ceilings are absolute showstoppers; you can see them as soon as you enter the home.

We lined them with antique whitewashed bricks and accented them with oak beams that house channel LED lighting. The way the light casts onto the arches is so beautiful. These arches are one of my absolute favorite features that we designed and built in this home, and they are well worth the time and money they took to create.

Now, in the primary bedroom of this project, we did these unique vaulted ceilings. It’s a symmetrical pyramid vault that we clad in tongue and groove paneling, and the effect is so cool and unique.

Custom Building Trends - symmetrical pyramid vault bedroom ceiling

I love how the vault frames the beautiful windows and gives this room a unique feel. This type of pyramid vault with Tongue and Groove paneling takes a lot of effort and precision to create, but it is totally worth it when you see the finished product!

Built-In Seating

Built-in seating is a very popular custom building trend in 2023. It can come in the form of a banquette in a kitchen or breakfast room, a sweet little window seat for reading, or even bench seating in a mudroom or laundry area. We love built-in seating for its functionality and charm. It’s a great way to add detail to a space that’s just as useful as it is beautiful. I want to first speak about banquette seating.

Built in breakfast nook with wrap around seating

We created this wrap-around banquette in our client’s home, creating their breakfast nook area. A 60” round table will be right in the center below the pendant. We clad the walls in this nook area in tongue and groove paneling and created this sweet little swoop detail on the front of the banquette as well as on the built-in shelves.

This banquette will get an upholstered cushion that will add to the charm of this area. Now let’s look at a few more built-in seating examples that we incorporated into this home that are totally worth the effort.

Built-In Niches and Shelving

I love adding thoughtful built-in shelving and niches to all of our projects. They are such a fun custom building trend right now because you can be so creative with them. These decorative details are usually fairly inexpensive to create and add so much bang for your buck. We added these beautiful white oak built-ins flanking the fireplace. We also backed them with white oak panels to create that vertical interest in the back.

These built-ins are the perfect place to style with decorative accessories and family mementos and add a layer of texture and symmetry to the fireplace wall.

Custom Building Trends - built in shelving on either side of the fireplace

We have a few more oak built-ins that we’ll be styling as plate racks. We’ll add sweet little brass plate rods in the front. Then our client can display her collection of antique plates and silver platters that she’s been collecting for years.

custom built in shelving

These are the built-in shelving that we have in our kitchen area at my home. We executed these a bit differently than the built-ins at our client’s home, but I love these as well!

They’re simple floating shelves with a thick apron at the front that we painted them color of our kitchen cabinetry that’s on the other side of the room. I love the generous size of each niche and how I can style a rotating variety of objects and personal mementos.

Windows That WOW!

For our final custom building trend that’s totally worth the time and money, let’s talk about my very favorite architectural detail in a home, and that’s: Windows That WOW! The window and door package is one of the very first things we specify when designing a custom home.

Windows help set the architectural tone of a home and add beauty and natural light to the interior spaces of a home. We use many window sizes and custom configurations, but I want to share a few of my favorites with you.

First, let’s quickly break down the types of windows that you can choose from. (kitchen window) First, we have casement windows.

Custom Building Trends - casement window with crank handle

These are my personal preferences as they have a clean look inside and outside. They feature one sash hinged on the side and generally open outward with a small crank handle that turns away at the bottom of the window.

Custom Building Trends - single hung windows
Next, we have single and double-hung windows.

These windows are more traditional and slide up or down to open.

I love seeing these types of windows on classic home styles like Federal, Colonial, and Victorian architecture.

Thirdly we have a whole slew of fixed or direct set windows. These windows come in all shapes and sizes, but they are stationary, meaning they don’t open at all. I want to show you this stunning wall of fixed windows and French doors that are in our great room. I personally love how they let in streams of light all day. It really opens our interior to the beautiful natural setting of our property.

We painted the muntin bars of our windows and doors Kendall Charcoal, and I love how doing that creates a clearer sight line to the outdoors.

fixed windows and French doors

If we had kept these white like the rest of the trim, the focus would have shifted to the grid patterns. By painting them a dark color, they seem to disappear, making the view out the back even more dramatic.

Custom Building Trends - oval fixed window in kitchen
In the kitchen at our client’s home, we used a fixed window for the sweet little oval window over the beverage bar.

All of these beautiful window configurations add so much personality and detail to this home and are 1000% worth the money and time they took to design and install.

Each one of these custom-building elements can make a huge impact on a home. Please let me know in the comments which of these elements is your favorite. If you’re planning a new build or construction project, make sure you think through the elements we covered today very carefully. They really can make such an impact on the beauty and functionality of your home.

Make sure to check out the complete Custom Building Trends youtube video. It takes you through all of these worthy design elements.

As always, thank you for reading, and remember, good design is for everyone. So create a home that inspires you and fall in love with where you live, one room at a time.

XO, Ashley

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