Monday, May 25, 2015


Let's discuss what "custom made" means.

Full Definition of CUSTOM-MADE

: made to fit the needs or requirements of a particular person
:  made to individual specifications
If you are "customizing" something to fit your unique style, then there shouldn't be 12 houses with the same "custom" characteristics on your street.
Let's take coffered ceilings for example:
They are very popular in higher end homes right now.
That means that while coffered ceilings are nice, they are by no means unique.
Similar to how tray ceilings were popular in the 90's, they are no longer considered "custom" and have become a standard for most builders.  Coffered ceilings are not a standard for most builders, but a costly upgrade. Do not confuse "upgrade" with "custom" or "unique".
You're not done adding character once you pay for the upgraded coffered ceilings.
In order to get your new home to have "character" and "custom" features, you still have a long way to go. We'll talk more about that later.
Don't get me wrong. I love me some coffered ceilings! I really, really thought that I wanted them in my office and the dining room of the new house. 
I'm talking, I was ready to sell my eggs if I needed to. Then I realized that nearly all newly built homes have these ceilings and I didn't love them so much anymore. Even more, I realized that every home that I have absolutely fallen head over heals in love with, did NOT have coffered ceilings!
I know.
How is that even true??!?
When I went to New Orleans last March, I fell for many homes, and those home owners practically had to kick me out, but NONE of them had coffered ceilings.
They actually had quite flat ceilings, but with unique moldings.
Like these..
I die!!

Or even very simple details like this:
Then, I smacked myself on the forehead.
 "duh!! Don't you even know YOURSELF at all?!?"
This was a very important lesson for me.
I had to ask myself who I was thinking about?
Myself or my neighbors?
Lesson learned: it is way too easy to fall into the Joneses trap when you are building a home or doing anything in your home for that matter. I mean, if this stubborn girl who "knows what she wants" didn't even know she had fallen in, imagine how easy it is for everyone else to trip and land smack dab in the middle of all the Joneses!
If you're building a "custom" home, make sure you are paying attention to your gut and not just going with whatever seems standard for the neighborhood. It's difficult not to compare and then feel obligated to follow suit, but what may come out of choosing to do something different will actually be "custom" and you'll love your house even more because you listened to yourself and paid for what you really wanted.
I am not saying that coffered ceilings are "so last year!!"
I'm saying that if you want them, try putting your own spin on them so that they are more unique.
These coffered panels have at least one additional detail that makes them a little more unique:
This style has one extra panel inside each coffer.
OOOH! A more contemporary version with squares in the center!
Or just start with a different shape in the center!

Just try mixing it up a little so that you set your coffers apart from the others.
The character that you add makes your home unique from the makes it YOURS.
 Whatever sort of character that may be... whether it be a certain style of lighting, elements from a certain design style, like Craftsman or Shaker for example, or even architectural salvage from a certain period, it's important to add as many of those details as possible so that your new home is chalk full of unique character from the beginning. 
Like, why do all of our door knobs need to match?
If you really think about it crazier to freak out about all the finishes matching or is it crazier to NOT freak out and just do what you want??
I know what my answer is.
Do you?
Thankfully, it seems that people are moving away from this phenomenon.
I have told many clients that a girl should never have to decide between two fabulous things.
Take them both and never apologize.
When your home truly reflects your life and what you love, no one will even notice whether or not your door knobs and faucets all match. If they do, it will be more like a pleasant surprise.
Some simple ideas on adding character to a newly built home that I have mentioned in previous posts:

1. Leave space in your kitchen design for a unique piece of furniture or family heirloom. Maybe instead of an island you can use an old farm table or workbench or even a roll top desk!

2. Molding, molding molding!! There is no such thing as too much! Unless you're a minimalist...then just forget I ever said that. Try putting ceiling medallions and panel molding on your Christmas list. 

3. Search for antique or vintage light fixtures that are unique instead of going to big box stores. 
If I can tell where you got it...or venture a guess.....I am immediately less interested. Lighting should bring about a reaction that is similar to this: "OMG!!! I love that! Where did you get that ?!?" 
AND it's even better when you have a story to go along with it.
None of us need to live inside a Restoration Hardware catalog.
4. Life is full of interesting contrast. Add some to your home. If you have a space that is all new everything, you need to add something that is older than dirt. The contrast will instantly add interest.
Where there are very straight lines, add something curvy.
If all of your frames on the wall are matching, make one colored, or draw a big red heart on top of the picture of you and the hubs.

5. If you find yourself following a rule just because you're supposed to, stop it!
That never leads to anything great or anything worth talking about.
 What would you do in your home if you could just run wild?
What is actually holding you back?

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