Pre-loved and historic homes offer charm and tradition, but they provide very little flexibility without the expenditure of significant amounts of time and money. Building a custom home from the ground up, however, allows for personalization in every inch of space from the get-go. There are many advantages of working with a design-build firm on a custom home instead of purchasing a pre-built house. However, in addition to traditional benefits, building from foundation to finishes offers a number of emotional benefits. From the ability to choose a lot near nature to establishing adequate storage, the positive psychological effects of building your custom house are endless. Follow below to learn more about seven emotional benefits of building a custom home from the ground up. We will also outline why to build your custom home with design-build company Element Homes today.
Existing homes might only be available in already developed residential areas. However, a custom home can be built anywhere with the proper permitting and zoning. This allows homeowners to choose the perfect landscape and location for their build. The beauty of natural landscapes is invigorating, inspiring and important for maintaining mental and emotional health. Kirstin Weir explains in her article “Nurtured by nature” for the National Psychological Association. Weir quotes Dr. Lisa Nisbet -- a psychologist at the Canadian Trent University in Ontario. Nisbet notes that “‘there is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well-being.’”
Dr. Nisbet -- who studies connections between nature and humans -- notes that “‘you can boost your mood just by walking in nature." You can do so "even in urban nature,’” but especially in a home environment. The sense of connection people “‘have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.’” Thus, simply having a few to nature outside your home might improve mood and limit feelings of loneliness. As such, access to nature is one of many emotional benefits of building a custom home from the ground up.
In many states, sellers are required to disclose certain types of damage. They are also required to offer buyers the opportunity to conduct their own inspections before closing. However, even after health and safety inspections, some damage can go unnoticed and unreported. In these cases, hidden damage from flooding, mold, fire and other causes can arise after purchase. This can cause the new homeowners stress, financial difficulty and potential illness. Problems with the foundation, heavy metals in wallpaper and paint and worn roofs are common. Mold in crawl spaces and wiring issues are also often found in older homes. Karen Ziga elaborates in her article “Is There Hidden Mold in Your Home?” for This Old House. She writes that “at least 50 percent of homes have water damage.”
Financial expenditure associated with repairing undisclosed damage is not the only cost incurred when an older home is purchased. In her article “6 Things to Do If You Bought a House with Problems Not Disclosed” for Homelight, Evette Zalvino explains. She writes that “discovering that you bought a house with problems not disclosed can sour the joy of being a new homeowner.” Designing a custom home from foundation to finishings eliminates the chance of discovering preexisting damage. It also eschews unmitigated structural issues or toxic chemicals in building materials, paint or other elements of the house. A brand new home offers peace of mind, saves money and ensures a healthier space for all residents. This sense of security represents one of many emotional benefits of building a custom home from start to finish.
Whether you love crisp and contemporary spaces or warm and eclectic interiors, designing a custom home from the ground up allows for continuous personalization. From the home’s art collection to the variety of textures and colors throughout, each space represents the homeowner’s unique character and aesthetic. Decades of research have shown that personal spaces encourage a sense of well-being and limit stress reactions. Historically, people of all cultures have referenced philosophy and psychology when creating their homes. Certain colors and materials in Feng Shui -- for instance -- elicit feelings of safety and security while others boost productivity and creativity. In addition to affecting our emotions and behavior, studies have shown that beautiful, personalized spaces have an impact on our mental health. In their article “Home as a Healing Space” for Psychology Today, Dr. Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D. and Dr. Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D. explain the benefits of specialized interior design for emotional well-being.
Personalization Offers Psychological Comfort
Drs. Sreenivasan and Weinberger begin by outlining the impact of personalized interior design on our psychology. The pair notes that “certain images are primeval—deeply embedded in our collective memories formed through the generations.” They write that different colors, intensity and direction of light, shapes of furniture and textures of finishings can all affect our mental health. Some images, scents, colors and shapes evoke similar reactions in most people -- based in our “collective consciousness” and evolutionary experiences. However, Weinberger and Sreenivasan emphasize the importance of focusing on one’s own personal reactions above all else. The doctors write that your home's personalized interior design "should reflect your unique psychology” in order to serve as a true oasis. In fact, “decorating to make your home a psychological comfort zone is not a luxury; it is cored to your well-being.” As such, building a custom home from the ground up can support a sense of self at home.
Each home should reflect the unique needs of the family that occupies it -- from the size of the kitchen to the number of bedrooms. While it is difficult to alter the layout of a preexisting home, with a new construction, homeowners can edit to their heart’s content. Some families will need a mudroom off the kitchen while others will prefer a deck. Certain homeowners love the flexibility and fun of an open floor plan while others prefer privacy and coziness in each space. Designing a layout to specifications that work for your family eliminates inefficiency and makes the space more comfortable. It also makes it more easily traversable and better suited to the way your family functions.
Creating the right floor plan for your lifestyle is actually fairly important from a psychological perspective. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis explains in “How Your Home's Color, Layout, and Cleanliness Can Affect Your Mental Health” for House Beautiful. Andriotis notes that “we are products of our environment” and when our environment does not respond to our needs, we become discouraged and disorganized. The layout of a home also influences the airflow, heating and cooling and accessibility of each space. Poor ventilation and lack of accessibility can be frustrating, affecting quality of life over time. Designing your custom home from the ground up with a design-build firm prevents you and your family from having to adjust. You are saved from altering your way of life to match the prior homeowner’s preferences and lifestyle. Instead, building a custom home from start to finish with a design-build company like Element Homes ensures the space responds to your needs.
As lives progress and families grow, the amount of stuff we accumulate increases too. Traditional homes -- especially those built before the modern period -- have little built-in storage and homeowners struggle to stash away all their things. In fact -- notes a recent article from The Gazette -- Americans spend nearly $38 billion each year on self storage, with one in eleven Americans spending almost $100 per month on external storage.
Recent surveys have found that organizational stress is a common source of discomfort for a majority of Americans. In her recent 2020 article entitled “The Cost of Clutter in Your Life” for Very Well Mind, Elizabeth Scott, MS references a 2015 survey. The survey was conducted by the National Association for Professional Organizers five years ago. It found that more than a third of respondents “were overwhelmed by their clutter —and don’t know where to begin cleaning.” Fewer than 10% of respondents said “their homes are clutter-free.” A 2017 study recorded an increase in those overwhelmed by clutter. Lisa Belkin elaborates in her article “Survey Reveals Lack Of Sleep As A Major Cause Of Stress Among Americans” for The Huffington Post. Belkin wrote that worrying one’s “home isn’t clean or organized enough” was the fifth most common stress trigger. In fact, 47% of respondents reported concern over clutter.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. explains how messiness affects us in her article “5 Reasons Why Clutter Disrupts Mental Health” for Psychology Today. Dr. Whitbourne writes that a cluttered home can lead to “low subjective well-being,” “unhealthier eating” and “poorer mental health.” It can also cause “less efficient visual processing” and “less efficient thinking.” She notes that “living in clutter impedes your identification with your home." Your home should always "be a retreat from the outside world and a place to feel pride,” not a source of stress. Not only does organization function “as a housekeeping tool, but as an essential process for maintaining your happiness.” Designing a custom home from the ground up with a company like Element Homes ensures the homeowner can integrate lots of storage.
Last year -- due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- more Americans began working remotely from home than had ever previously been recorded. Many did not expect this transition, and thus struggled to accommodate their work needs at home. As such, today’s buyers are in search of homes with established work spaces. Sadly, they have been met by a significant shortage of houses able to fulfill this request. A May 2020 NAR survey found that “13% of NAR members who responded have clients who have changed what home features are important.”
The most common change was the request for a home office. In fact, "6% of respondents report[ed] that as a new desired feature requested by homebuyers.” Having adequate, built-in space to work is one of many emotional benefits of building a custom home. Building a custom home from scratch with a design-build company like Element Homes ensures a home office will be waiting for you each morning.
Interest in conscious consumerism -- from cosmetics and clothes to home decor and construction -- has swept the US over the last year. Americans have expressed a desire to be more sustainable and to create spaces that support both their health and the health of the planet. In a recent article for Forbes, writer James Ellsmoor reported findings from a Southern Cross University study. The study indicated that “93% of all surveyed indicated a general concern for the environment.” The study also found that “77% of people want to learn how to live more sustainably.” In an article for Barron's, Dinara Bekmagambetova reports on a 2020 research poll. The poll found that “nearly 70% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada think it is important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly.” Unfortunately, adapting to a sustainable, energy efficient lifestyle can be difficult. It can also be expensive and complicated when purchasing an older home that needing a number of upgrades and retrofits.
However, building a custom home from the ground up with companies like Element Homes allows homeowners to choose energy efficient appliances. It also offers eco-friendly building materials and responsibly sourced finishings. As a bonus, custom homeowners will likely save money in the long run. Energy efficiency at home protects the planet by reducing our consumption of finite natural resources and by cutting emissions. Happily, it also saves money. The Consumer Federation of America noted in 2018 that “a typical household saves approximately $500 per year...as a result of efficiency standards.” Energy Star light bulbs, efficient appliances and appropriate ventilation and insulation can all reduce energy use and cost in a custom home.
In addition to saving money and limiting one’s carbon footprint, transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle can have major mental health benefits. The article “Mental Health Benefits of Going Green: Why It Feels So Good” published by the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association” explains how. The ANZMHA notes that conscious consumerism and eco-friendly behavior “gives you a sense of purpose." In doing so, it creates a "deeper connection with nature and stimulating positive emotions, resulting in a lighter and happier mood.” Biophilic home design also reinforces mindfulness and fosters appreciation for our homes. As such, going green is one of many emotional benefits of building a custom home.
As a full-service, design-build firm, Element Homes offers prospective homeowners the opportunity to build their own custom home from the ground up. Each space by Element Homes is crafted from foundation to finishings. Every home is designed with the expertise of master builders and the guidance of a practiced interior design team. Element Homes works with homeowners from the very beginning. The company helps clients choose land for the build, secure permits and design the perfect layout for their homes. As such, each client is ensured their vision will be kept intact. With Element Homes, clients can build a beautiful custom home that will support their lifestyle and their overall well-being.
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