Top Design Must-Haves when building a home

So the big moment is finally here, one of your life-long dreams - the chance to build your very own home. You have dreamed about being able to pick your very own floor-plan, and to personalize all decisions to fit your design taste and life style. Gone are the days of living with that awful paint color that the previous home owner selected, and remodeling an existing space to make it your own.

Having so many decisions to make can be exciting, but also overwhelming. Most home-owners are on a set budget and often wonder where and how is the best way to spend their money. What makes the biggest design impact on your home? What features are more important to invest in than others? How do I design my home to keep the current trends yet keep it timeless? These are all common questions that I am frequently asked. With having overseen the design on hundreds of homes, I wanted to feature a home that I recently helped design with Destination Homes that showcases all the perfect places to invest in building a new home. 

1. Design a traditional exterior: When it comes to the exterior design of your home, it is hard to know what will look good on a large scale, and trying to find the perfect balance between adding personality and keeping it appropriate for the exterior of a house. Right now grays and blue exteriors are in high demand, but I recommend all of the homeowners I work with to design a more traditional exterior. All of you know of a neighborhood where every single home on the street is a brown stucco, with an even darker brown accent with maybe some stone masonry. These neighborhoods quickly set a time stamp on when they were built, and that is the last thing you want to recreate with 2015's version of grays and blues. Study about the architecture of your home, and select colors that are historically accurate to the exterior style. This will not only make it unique but also timeless. Add some fun architectural details and don't be afraid to do a two or three tone color palette to highlight architectural features. 
The Hoffman's went with an English Romantic (tudor) style elevation. I LOVE the brick chimney up the middle the adds so much to the curb appeal and design of their home. 
Main Stucco Color: Discover PPG 1021-3 - Accent Stucco & Horizontal Siding Color: Garlic Clove PPG 18-09 - Trim Color: Ground Coffee PPG 1076-7 - Front Door Color: In the Shadows PPG 1039-6 - Brick Color: Old Baltimore
2. Design a Gourmet Kitchen: The Kitchen is the heart of the home, where most of your time is spent as a family. This is where conversations take place, meals are shared, and life is lived. And this is where to invest to get the greatest return for your dollar!! So YES, go for the built in double ovens, YES put in that beautiful tile backsplash. All of these small details add up and make a huge impact not only on the design of your home, but the value as well.

These are my design must-haves for a well-designed kitchen:
1. Stone Countertops (Go for Quartz over Granite if you can)
2. Tile Backsplash
3. Cabinet hardware
4. Pendant Lights
5. Double-Oven Appliances
6. Stacked Cabinets (to the ceiling)
7. Granite Composite Sinks
The Hoffman's went with a very neutral palette with designing a white kitchen and adding timeless design pieces such as black cabinet hardware and white subway tiles for the backsplash. 
Design Tip: Opt for a wood hood or stainless steel hood to go over your cook-top. This will make your kitchen feel more high end and a focal point for your kitchen. Place your microwave in your island or pantry.
Built-In Double Ovens - These are a must in a gourmet kitchen!
Design your cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling. This not only adds more storage for your kitchen, but also raises the eye to make your kitchen feel larger and more open. Plus then you don't have to stress about what accessories you are going to place above your kitchen cabinets, and gives your kitchen a much more updated and clean design.
Kitchen finishes: Glass style: Seeded glass - Backsplash: White Subway tiles laid offset in brick pattern with white grout - Countertop: Iced White Quartz - Cabinet hardware: Black pulls and knobs - Black Granite Composite Sink - Pendant Lights: Restoration Pendants found here
3. Fireplace Focal Point - Most homes above a certain square footage size are expected to have a fireplace. A fireplace serves as a design feature and focal point in your home, but also adds a warmth to the atmosphere that encourages family bonding and creates memories. It is very hard to recreate the atmosphere a fireplace creates with any other design accessory, and so if you can - include one!! And when you do, this is the place to splurge and put an interesting and fun tile with a substantial mantle. Go larger in scale to give your room a nice balance.
On the Hoffman's fireplace, we did a Craftsman full surround for the mantle and painted it white to match the cabinets and trim. We added a raised hearth with white finish work on the face and sides of the hearth, with a solid slab of Silver Beige Limestone for the hearth seat.

Fireplace tile surround: Hampton Silver Mini Stack
4. Add smart storage to utilize small spaces -  You will never regret investing in built-in storage that makes a small space useful. Great design solutions include cubbies, lockers, bookshelves, and benches. 

Design Tip: Use your finish carpentry guy to build your built-ins. A cabinet company is only needed when you have acutal cabinet doors to close off lockers, otherwise - save yourself a pretty penny and build your cubbies out of MDF and hook-strip.
4. Give your flooring some personality - Leave behind the brown and beige travertine tiles and pick a tile that has some fun pattern. Your tile flooring can be a design feature of its own, especially when its in a room that has minimal design accessories. This is ideal for areas such as mudrooms and bathrooms.
Floor Tile: Luxe Octagon Mosaic - Luxe White Oct 2" with White Dot
5. Invest in your flooring- Flooring is the one design choice that you want to be the most committed, and the most in love with - because this is the one selection that you do not want to be replacing in a few years! Invest in a beautiful wood floor that will go with many styles, as your taste and style will change over the years. Instead of pulling your design style in through your flooring, save that for your artwork and throw pillows, and keep your flooring more timeless. The darker a color and smoother a finish you select, the more it will show dirt and scratches. I always recommend going with a textured, matte finish on a medium dark floor. Laminate woods have came a long way, but nothing can replace the beauty of a real wood floor. Consider investing in an engineered wood flooring or solid wood which will raise the value of your home.
Urban Classics Engineered Wood - Color: Cherry Creek
6. Finish Carpentry Details - Add interest and depth to a room by adding some white wood-work. This can be done through white wall paneling, beadboard, shiplap, and horizontal v-groove panels. I most commonly use MDF hookstrips directly on a smooth drywall finish and then add a few coats of white paint. This is a great and inexpensive way to add a focal point and fun design feature to your design.
6' Board & Batten - MDF hookstrips on smooth drywall with white painted finish. Wall paint color above wainscoting: Navajo White PPG 1101-2 - Trim paint color: Delicate White PPG 1001-1
Grid Wall - scaled per room. MDF hookstrips on smooth drywall with white painted finish.
Carpet selection: Lexmark - Bar Harbor River Rock
Thank you to the Hoffman's for letting me showcase their home! Their home already looks this good without furniture, I can't wait to see it once they move in!! This is a place that you'd definitely want to call home. Make sure to check out more of the fun homes Destination Homes is building in our West Kaysville community, Hill Farms, and also in Daybreak.



  1. Andrea did a great job helping us design our dream home, we couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Thanks Andrea!


  2. Looks really good. Beautiful, bright colors. And this space. Beautifully combines everything :) Maybe you would like a hint to kitchen design aberdeen? ;)

  3. Great home. I bet you consider a lot of things in planning this house.

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  12. Are you kitchen cabinets also painted in PPG delicate white?


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