1Building or buying a home is an exciting time in the life of a family. A home will likely be your family’s biggest and most important investment, so it is crucial to think carefully about your needs now, and the needs of your family in the future. When you build a custom home with Coastal Signature Homes, we help our clients design each detail according to their family’s needs and specifications, but the essential tips we give our custom clients apply to home buyers as well.

Open Concept Floor Plans

Open Concept Floor plans continue to be a desired home layout because they optimize sight lines to maximize views, provide great traffic flow for entertaining, and create a bright, relaxed atmosphere. For families, the additional advantage of open concepts is that you can keep an eye on your kids as they are playing, doing homework, or watching television while you attend to other tasks.

With that said, it is important to also have your individual zones, because as much as you love your family, there IS such as a thing as too much togetherness.  I always encourage our clients to consider space for a dedicated playroom (rooms over garages are great for this), a study, or an enlarged master suite with sitting area. Often called flex spaces, these rooms can transform and serve different functions as your children grow.

Here is one of my favorite plans that Coastal Signature builds. The combined kitchen, dining and living area is fantastic for families and opens directly onto the screen porch. The study off the master suite could easily be a nursery for a newborn, and then transition into an adults only study or TV room. The stairs lead to a bonus room and bath over the garage which can be a playroom now and an overflow entertaining space or bedroom when the children leave for a nest of their own. 


Kitchen Size and Layout 

3When designing or looking for the ideal kitchen space you must consider your family. While the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a minimum of 36” between a kitchen island and a perimeter counter, we encourage our family clients (or even our two-cook household clients) to increase that minimum to 48” in order to have room for multiple people to work in the kitchen.  You’ll need ample space for help in the kitchen, for chores to be completed, (raise ‘em up right!) and for memories to be made while you bake holiday cookies together. Make sure the island has ample seating for your family, too. It will serve as a great spot for homework, casual, quick meals, and maybe even an unexpected deep conversation or two with your teenager. (Take them when and where you can get them!)  

Plates and cups in drawers versus wall cabinets make for easy access setting the table, and drawers are also useful for storing healthy snacks kids can grab on the go. One of my secret weapons for families with small children is a cabinet stack of three or four drawers. The shallower drawers include clear plastic bins inside that hold sippy cup valves and straws, and their coordinating lids. The deeper drawers hold the cups. Lastly, I highly recommend quartz material for countertops because the manmade material is highly durable for hard working family kitchens. It can be costly, but is well worth the peace of mind. 


Bunks and Bonus Rooms

4Rooms over the garage are inexpensive square footage and ideal for growing families. They are the rumpus rooms of the Lowcountry. Ideal for playrooms, video gaming, sleepovers, and family movie nights these spaces can easily be overflow bedrooms, office spaces, entertainment or even, (gulp), apartments if you have a late bloomer that needs a little bit more time at home. It’s always fun to tuck bunks into the low rooflines of these rooms or add in a dormer, taking advantage of every space you can carve out for your family’s use.  


Mudrooms and Laundry Rooms:

These spaces just might be the key to parental sanity. I always recommend a mudroom cubby system near the garage side back door to contain the childhood clutter that breeds overnight if left uncontained  These systems, often a combination of seating, and opened and closed storage, can be made on site by trim carpenters or purchased from retailers like Pottery Barn. 

If you have opportunity to design an oversized laundry, or combine spaces to create one in a home you purchase, you will not regret it. A well designed laundry room can be also utilized as a craft area, a hobby space, or a secondary study area. I also like to incorporate rolling canvas laundry carts which enable parents and kids alike to easily wheel their laundry into the room for cleaning, or into their rooms to be put away, fingers crossed, neatly folded. (Teach those life skills!)


Bonus Points:

We don’t forget about the furry children either.  Cutting cat doors into laundry cabinet doors for litter box access, or creating a dog cubby under stairs is a great way to give the family pet a space of their own too. 


Leah England is the Chief Relationship Officer of Coastal Signature Homes.

To learn more about what Coastal Signature Homes can design and build for you, visit: www.coastalsignaturehomes.com