Home Design Mistakes - #1 - Single Purpose Rooms

Home Builder with Garabedian Properties

Over the years, builders, designers and architects witness patterns develop as they work with families in designing and building custom homes.  These patterns combined with the feedback we receive from the hundreds of families we work with, helps give us insight into the "dos" and "don'ts" of designing a custom home. 

We call these "don'ts" Home Design Mistakes or HDMs.

The builder and architect are tremendous resources in guiding families through this process and helping them learn from those who have gone before them.  This series will focus on some of the most common HDMs families have made when designing and building their custom homes.

Our first HDM is the single purpose room.

Single Purpose Rooms

Over the past decade, we have seen families seek to add more and more rooms to their homes.  The comments we hear are they have specific needs and feel a dedicated room must be created for each task/need.

This has led to media rooms, libraries, music rooms, craft rooms, wine cellars, catering pantries, balconies, etc... 

As rooms are added the homes grew in size.  Every new room needed a closet and an access halway.  As the hallways got longer, the need to add bathrooms became ever more pressing.  These rooms were a driving factor on homes growing in size over the years.

This desire for more and more rooms soon created the odd situation that almost every family who came to us to build a home was seeking out the same room count.  This was regardless of their family size or lifestyles.  They had it in their mind that they needed to have these dedicated spaces/rooms.

What We Saw

Here are some of the single purpose rooms/spaces we have had requested;

Walk behind wet bars;

Balconies off of the upstairs children's game room;

Isolated craft/wrapping rooms;


Formal living rooms;


and wine cellars.

These are all spaces that had some appealing characteristics; however, in many cases they were used very infrequently.  Adding a room on a plan is easy, paying for those added rooms is not always as simple.

The Hidden Costs Of HDMs

These spaces come with hidden costs that homeowners may not realize until it is too late.  Property taxes, insurance, utilities and cleaning are some of the more obvious. 

Other hidden costs include the need to furnish and decorate these spaces as they are often "new" rooms to the family's existing lifestyle.

The HDM Remedy

If you are able to find ways to make spaces serve more than one purpose, you can not only keep the construction costs down, you can also help keep your cost of ownership lower as well.

What we are seeing are families combining spaces so they can be converted to other uses with time or used for a dual purpose.  Some of the more common dual purpose spaces we are seeing include;

Butler's pantries are combined with wine cellars and bars to create wine stations.

Media rooms are combined with game rooms to allow for an assortment of activities, not just watching movies in the dark.

Secondary bedrooms are being expanded to allow for craft stations or exercise rooms.

Formal living rooms are being combined with libraries/studies.

Balconies are being omitted in favor of larger covered patios.

Guest baths are being located as to allow them to serves as powder baths as well.

When In Doubt

When in doubt ask your builder, designer and/or architect on how you can find ways to combine spaces to maximize value in your home while still preserving the function you seek.  There is very little if any significant financial interest in them encouraging you to design and build an over sized home.

In some cases, not helping you avoid a HDM can be a detriment as you may get so far out of hand that you may choose not to proceed with the project.

Your paying for the architect and builders expertise, use it.  Just as you would seek council from your doctor or accountant, ask your builder how he/she would combine spaces to allow for a more cozy intimate home that served all your families needs.

Thank You

Architects and builders have participated in the creation of hundreds of homes.  Let their experience help your family avoid the common mistakes that we see in this industry.

If you have questions on how a professional builder can help your family design and build your new home, please feel free to call us at               817-748-2669         817-748-2669, email us at mike@garabedianproperties.com or visit www.garabedianproperties.com.

We are a full service firm serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  We offer professional contracting services for custom homes, fine estates and premium remodeling.  Our remodeling division offers remodeling, kitchen and bath updates, room additions, insurance repairs and roof replacement.

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Thank you for allowing the Garabedian Family to share our thoughts with your family.

Comments (3)

Drick Ward Property Management / Broker Assoc
NEPTUNE REALTY - Virginia Beach, VA
"RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation

Good points.  I think another helpful addition to rooms is dual closets for more bedrooms.  It enables the room to serve dual purpose (craft/wrapping or extra bedroom) and also makes the room more suitable for kids to share a room.  I've never heard anyone complain about too many closets.  Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences.

Nov 20, 2010 05:11 PM
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Very well thought out.  It must come from experience.  It is best if people understand the problems when they create a new environment.

Nov 20, 2010 05:25 PM
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips - Eureka, CA
Realtor and Broker/Owner

Good Morning Mike, you make an excellent point in your post, thanks for sharing it.

Nov 20, 2010 06:20 PM