When someone says “luxury home,” many people picture an enormous home with ten bedrooms, a six-car garage, opulent features, a grand foyer, original masterpieces hanging on the walls, fountains dotting the lawn, and a 10-foot wall surrounding the property.

While this may be a luxury home to some people—and it most likely has the price tag to go with it—true luxury, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Determining What Luxury Means to You

A luxury home should embody a person’s dreams, address their comfort, and be inspirational to both look at and live in. This means luxury is personal, not just a laundry list of features or finishes someone else has deemed high-end or desirable. Perhaps your idea of a dream home does include some of these things, perhaps it doesn’t. The key is to determine what you value when it comes to your home.

Most people do not build a luxury home as their first residence. Instead, they have lived in a variety of apartments, condos, or homes, each with positive and negative attributes, allowing them to decide what they would love to have in their forever home and what they never want to live with again. They have also had time to visit or read about other people’s homes and determine what they might like to see in their custom home.

As you consider building your dream home, think about where you have lived before, homes you have stayed in while on vacation, and features you have read about. Make a list of what you liked most, even if some items on your list aren’t upscale or opulent.

Personalizing Common Luxury Home Features

Luxury means different things to different people. Include the common luxury features you love, then tweak them to your own personal taste.

Location – Think about your personal priorities with regard to “where” you will build. Are you comfortable with longer commutes to enjoy a larger “estate-sized” property, or do you want to be conveniently located to shopping and other urban amenities? Gated communities can be great but often come with a set of design guidelines which might restrict what you want to do. The same can be said for flood zones, which might require your home to be elevated as opposed to being closer to the ground. Consider this fact and how it relates to your vision of the outside of your dream home.

Gourmet kitchen – Marble countertops, intricate backsplashes, and high-end appliances with names such as Viking, Miele, and Thermador are often found in the kitchens of high-end homes, and they may be on your list as well. But don’t stop there when it comes to creating the kitchen of your dreams. If you love to bake, add a custom baking station to your wish list, with drawers designed to neatly store all of your baking accessories and room for your commercial-grade mixer. Or include a wood-fired pizza oven for your weekly Friday pizza and movie nights. Don’t like to cook at all? Make your kitchen a cozy gathering place to eat your takeout with comfortable seating instead of miles of counter space.

Outdoor living – Outdoor living spaces in custom homes are more than just a deck with a table and chairs. They have full kitchens, fireplaces, sectionals, and of course, large-screen TVs. However, if your idea of luxury is spending time unplugged, skip the giant screen and focus on unique lighting that allows for nighttime reading, or design the space to focus on the view of the ocean or your meditation garden.

Technology – Technology can make our lives much easier, but only if we want it to. Everything from lighting and window treatments to thermostats and entertainment systems can all be operated from a tablet or smartphone today. But that doesn’t mean your home has to include all of this technology. If the thought of your blinds opening by themselves or your lights dimming on their own is a little too space-age for you, leave the technology to someone else. Your home will not be any less luxurious.

Your daily routine – Consider your current and future lifestyle. What size closets do you need? Are they separate his and hers? Do you need a large shower or a tub…or both? Think about personal spaces like hobby rooms, painting studios, libraries, and theater rooms…the list can be very long. Often the architect will bring up ideas you haven’t even considered. Pretty much anything is possible, so ask!

Finding an Architect to Design Your Luxurious Vision

Finding the right person to design your luxury home can be challenging, especially if your vision does not follow the traditional definition of luxury. The architect you select should get to know you and put you first in the design process rather than focusing on what is currently trendy or stylish. They should combine your wish list with their expertise to create a home that takes advantage of the amenities of the lot and geographical location, is assembled with technical correctness to meet all zoning and building codes, and stays within your budget.

Blueprint for Success

Building your personal luxury home is generally a once-in-a-lifetime event. Stay true to your vision and work with a professional who will do the same to end up with a home you love to live in.