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Turning A Tract Home Into a Custom Home

Written by on Thursday, 18 November 2010 6:00 pm

For many, building their own home is just a dream. Financing the construction, buying the land, and overseeing the project are too overwhelming. So instead, many buyers purchase tract housing. Making that tract house look like a custom home is easier than you might think.

Debbie Kaplan loves her remodeled tract house. When you step inside it, you immediately feel like you're in a custom home. Amenities such as a smart coffeemaker that is plumbed so you never have to fill it, heated floors, a built-in trash compactor, a pantry, an over-the-stove pot filler, and a surround sound audio system that Kaplan controls with her iPod.

"There is nothing that we did that we would want to change,"

"Generally, the first thing is opening up the floor plan and creating a great room," says Design Consultant, Steven Mark of Marrokal Design & Remodeling.

He says in the past homes had more compartmentalized living areas. The floor plans were more confined and less flowing.

"We had smaller kitchens, small formal dining rooms, small living rooms, and small family living rooms--that people generally didn't use," says Mark.

The San Diego design-build firm is changing that. Homeowners are opting to open up the areas, making the house seem larger, and bringing the family together.

"Now, we open that up and have the living, the dining, and the cooking all together so the family can be altogether and share the space.

"When you're redesigning your house you can do all kinds of things," says John Davies, Dir. of Design for Marrokal Design & Remodeling. He says in some of the tract homes the kitchen may be on one side of the house and after their remodel it's in a completely new location.

Another sign of a custom home is utilizing the space outside. So for instance, if you have a master bedroom that is adjacent to a large backyard, many homeowners choose to open up that space.

"Quite often we'll create covered living spaces outdoors," says Mark.

In good climates, homeowners use those areas, that often attached to the house, just like indoor living areas. "People can have outdoor furniture, people can eat outside, have fireplaces, even have television sets. I find that my clients use those spaces a lot," says Mark.

Making a tract house into a custom home makes it feel more like yours. "It feels really good to come home," says homeowner, Pat Jones.

She bought her home in the eighties and remodeled it to suit her needs. Today, the home looks and feels like a custom home instead of a cookie-cutter house.

But, like many homeowners, she contemplated remodeling or selling her home in order to get what she wanted.

"When we actually went out and looked a little bit, we finally realized we'd probably be buying a fixer-upper even if we paying $800 to $1 million--everything still needed to be upgraded.

So if you're wanting a custom home but find your budget is more suitable for tract housing, know that some easy remodeling projects can change the look and feel of your home drastically.

"What was important to us was to be able to use all the space in our home. We're pretty much locked in here on a 60 x 120 foot lot. So we knew there wasn't room for a lot of expansion," says Jones.

"It's important for people to have a home that is special and custom designed to complement their way of life," says Mark.

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  About the author, Phoebe Chongchua

Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.