custom floor plan designs laid on the desk

Blueprints – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 4)

You have made the first few important decisions… You have chosen your lot, you know which style of home you are building, and you have a layout for the home. Your ideas are now laid out on paper and you are the proud owner of a Preliminary Blueprint.


This early set of blueprints will lay out basic room and wall locations. Your custom home builder and/or home designer will now go over more specific home layout requirements such as:

  • electrical and plumbing locations
  • window sizes and type
  • kitchen layout
  • appliance locations
  • aesthetics details
  • exterior materials such as landscaping, roof, etc.

The Preliminary Blueprint will go back and forth with changes until you are satisfied with the result. Once those items have been confirmed, the custom home builder or designer will then complete the Final Blueprints.


After the Blueprint are Done

What’s next? Your custom home builder will now price out the project based on your choices and specifications.

[Tweet “Specifications are the standard your custom home builder uses to price out materials/products and describes how the building will be constructed #Yeg #ShPk”]


Then you sign a contract and give a deposit. After that, it’s time for your home builder to get things started. First item on the list is to apply for permits. Keep in mind timing for approval can vary from city to city. For example, permits issued in Sherwood Park are usually quicker than those issued in Edmonton.
Be sure to discuss with your custom home builder the expected amount of time for permits to be issued. With a timeline established, you will be able to determine which decisions need to be made next.

Next… The Selection Process.

Canterbury Homes - Black Logo

whiteboard of thought flow for home layout

Layout – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 3)

You now know your location and you have decided on a bungalow or two story… What’s next? Layout.

There have been numerous innovative ideas that have been drawn on a napkin – I can speak from personal experience as my own logo for Canterbury Homes Inc. came to life while I was doodling on a scrap piece of paper. Before putting pen to paper, ask yourself, “How will each space relate to one another?”


Things to Consider with Layout

  • Do I want an office in full view of visitors or do I want it to be hidden away where I can close the door and tackle paperwork when I have a block of time to deal with it?
  • Do we need a formal dining room? Or is a larger eating area enough for everyday meal time while allowing flexibility for larger groups when hosting?
  • Bedroom locations: is it important that all bedrooms be close together or is privacy more of a concern? Should each bedroom have direct access to a bathroom or are shared facilities within proximity good enough?
  • Where does everyone unload their items of the day such as knapsacks, winter boots, keys, etc.?
  • Laundry: where would it be best located to avoid long distance travels and allow for enough storage?


  • Where do we want to watch TV as a family? How much seating will we require?
  • Besides storage, transition areas such as hallways are greatly underestimated. Allow a generous 4 feet of space or more when possible.


Areas such as a great room look very large on paper. However, you need space to transition from one area to another. This will reduce usable living space by 4 feet. With that in mind, will your furniture fit comfortably or is it pushed tight up against a wall to allow for space to walk?

[Tweet “Designing the layout of your home is a critical part of the custom home building process #yeg #shpk”]

Next Step: Draw a Bubble Diagram

After you have answered many layout questions, start by drawing a bubble diagram:

  • place circles in relation to how they will be located to another space, i.e. draw the “kitchen” circle beside the “eating area” circle
  • use the circle size to indicate the room sizes in relation to one another, i.e. the “master bedroom” circle will usually be larger than the “main bathroom” circle
  • use colors to separate functionality of those rooms, i.e. purple to represent public spaces, blue for private spaces, and green for hallways/transitions

Keep in mind that this is just an exercise to get you thinking, but it will be a useful tool when meeting the person who will be drawing your blueprints. You will have a better start because of the amount of thought you have put into it and will ensure that you are starting off on the same page.

More than likely the scale will be off; perhaps the circles won’t line up exactly to fit onto your lot as you had planned. However, this is where compromise will lead to creative solutions that make your new home unique, while giving you the custom home you were looking for.
To get the result you want, put in the time and look at how your family lives in your existing space. What could be improved? Get input from everyone who will be living in that space. Start your bubble diagram. You will be glad you did.

Canterbury Homes - Black Logo

cherry tree outside house

Bungalow vs Two Storey – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 2)

With websites, such as Houzz, to fill your heads with ideas, are they helping or confusing you?

When considering a custom built home, what is your inspiration?

    • Kitchen
    • Design style
    • Color scheme

My suggestion would be to start with function.

[Tweet “Any home that looks beautiful but does not satisfy the needs of its occupants is nothing short of an expensive disappointment. #Yeg #ShPk”]

The “pretty” part of your home will come farther down the road… There are many details to consider prior to aesthetics.

In the previous article, I spoke about choosing your lot. Did you decide to tear down an existing home in a mature neighborhood (infill lot) or are you building in a new subdivision? Your custom home builder will help weigh in on your decision.


As a Custom Home Builder, Do You Want a Bungalow or Two Story?

Let’s tackle the first option, an infill lot: you have decided you love a neighborhood and can see yourself and your family building memories on that very street. Prior to even starting a set of blueprints, the decision needs to be made: will it be a bungalow or two story?


Most infills are on smaller lots as homes used to be much smaller in comparison to what we build today. A bungalow requires a much larger footprint in comparison to a two story, which allows the square footage to be distributed over two floors.


The debate between a bungalow and two story will be based on many factors:

  • personal preference
  • your age
  • number of occupants
  • occupants’ mobility (i.e. more or less stairs)
  • lot size
  • cost, etc.

A two story allows for private spaces such as bedrooms to be located one floor away from public spaces such as the kitchen and family room – a great option when having a young family and wanting to keep noise and distractions at bay.


A bungalow can be a costlier option due to a larger foundation and larger roof. However, it allows for simplicity of access from one space to another without the interruption of stairs.

Also, without having a second floor to support, the single-story home has the bonus option of an open floor plan. A bungalow will also allow a family to evolve from young children all the way to retirement.

The second option of a new subdivision will have the same considerations. However, usually the lot size is not an issue as most subdivisions will have an inventory of lot sizes to choose from.

Now that you know your location and, after collaborating with your custom home builder, you are confident in your decision with a bungalow or two-story option… What’s next?
Are you getting the hang of decision making? Let us prepare you for the next step of your home building journey. Next, read Part 3 – Layout.

Canterbury Homes Logo - black square

possibilities flow chart

Location, Location, Location – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 1)

You have looked at many homes and exhausted the Real Estate section in your local Sherwood Park newspaper. After a long search, many homes do not fit your list of “must haves.” You are now considering having your home custom built. So, when building your dream home, what you need to know? Where do you start?

Home Build Process – Important Things to Consider…

As mentioned in numerous real estate articles: location, location, location – finding your new lot is no different.
A few items to consider:

  • a specific school zone
  • mature trees
  • walk-out lot
  • a view
  • walking distance to work/amenities
  • price

[Tweet “Families weigh in: neighbourhood quality, schools as top considerations after $ #Yeg #ShPk”]

Your first task is to organize those items into a priority list. What can’t you live without and what is negotiable? Most situations will have some level of compromise. The next item on your list is whether you want to tear down an existing home in a mature area or live in an entirely new subdivision such as Meadowhawk Sherwood Park?


Option A: A Teardown or Infill Lot

There are things to think about when considering a teardown lot, the most obvious is that you are beginning your new custom home building journey with the demolition of the existing home.



Some other factors include:

  • restrictions regarding mature trees
  • existing neighbors
  • extra surveying
  • usually a smaller lot size
  • cost unknowns due to the age of servicing
  • overhead power lines
  • tight working conditions

On the contrary, the benefit of having mature trees and an already established, character neighbourhood is something to weigh out.

Option B: A New Subdivision

Significant factors of a new lot are items such as location. Most new subdivisions are farther away from the city core.


Other considerations are subdivision guidelines (Architectural guidelines that are in place to maintain the property value of your home and to provide a cohesiveness to the neighbourhoods.) such as:

  • the quantity of stone/brick that is to be used on the home’s exterior
  • roof materials
  • repetition of exterior colors and products
  • driveway materials
  • fencing
  • and lastly, living in a new subdivision will likely take several years to complete.

The benefit is everything is new – the roads and fences look pristine, larger lot sizes, new servicing, and as a bonus, you will become an integral part of the development of your new subdivision by adding to its beauty when landscaping and finishing your home.

Both options have their challenges and benefits – a priority list will help to narrow down the process  of weighing in on one side or the other.

Ask your friends and colleagues to weigh in on what has been a successful custom building process for them?

Canterbury Homes - Black Logo