5 Essential Upgrades When Building Your Custom Home

In Custom Homes, Residential by Steven Gage

When embarking on the journey of building a custom home, the allure of personalizing every detail to your preference is undeniable. However, not all upgrades are worth the investment, both financially and practically. NorthStar Custom Homes, a seasoned expert in crafting award-winning homes throughout Colorado, shares invaluable insights into the upgrades that may not always add the desired value to your custom home. With over 20 years of experience, NorthStar Custom Homes prioritizes craftsmanship, enduring value, and a deep connection with each client’s vision.

Marble Countertops: Aesthetic Appeal vs. Practicality

Marble countertops have surged in popularity thanks to their luxurious appearance. Despite their beauty, marble is not the most durable or low-maintenance option. Vulnerable to staining from common household items like red wine, grease, and acidic substances, marble countertops require meticulous care. Alternatives like quartzite offer a similar aesthetic with enhanced durability, making them a more practical choice for busy households. In high-traffic areas, the elegance of marble might be overshadowed by its fragility. Regular sealing and careful use are imperative to maintain its pristine condition. When considering costs, marble can significantly increase your budget, whereas materials like quartzite provide a cost-effective yet equally elegant alternative.

Ice Makers: Convenience at a Cost

Custom homes often feature lavish kitchens and wet bars, making ice makers a common luxury addition. However, the potential for leaks and malfunctions with standalone ice makers can lead to significant damage, especially if unnoticed over extended periods. Weighing the convenience against the risks and maintenance may lead some homeowners to reconsider this upgrade. Common issues include water damage to cabinetry and floors, which can be costly to repair. Alternatives, such as high-quality freezers with built-in ice makers, offer reliability without the added risk of leaks, potentially saving homeowners from unforeseen expenses and inconvenience.

Crown Molding: Trendy vs. Timeless Design

Once a hallmark of custom home elegance, crown molding has seen a decline in popularity. Modern design trends favor clean, simple lines over elaborate trim work. While crown molding can add character to a space, it may not align with current design preferences, and the additional cost may not reflect in the home’s value or aesthetic appeal. The history of crown molding reveals its cyclical nature in home design, suggesting that what falls out of favor might return with changing trends. For those still drawn to its classic charm, choosing a simpler profile or painting it to match the walls can integrate crown molding into a more contemporary setting without overwhelming the space.

High-End Fixtures and Hardware: A Balance of Style and Budget

Upgrading to designer fixtures and hardware for kitchens, bathrooms, and doors can significantly inflate a home building budget. Often, similar quality and style can be achieved at a fraction of the cost through careful selection and comparison shopping. NorthStar Custom Homes encourages exploring various suppliers and online options to find aesthetically pleasing, high-quality alternatives that don’t break the bank. The allure of brand names can be tempting, but the true value lies in the quality of craftsmanship and materials, not just the label. Savvy homeowners can achieve a luxurious look without compromising on quality or budget by researching and choosing wisely.

Expensive Flooring: Luxury vs. Practicality

Flooring is another area where costs can quickly escalate, particularly with genuine hardwood floors. Innovations in materials like luxury vinyl planking (LVP) and engineered hardwood offer durability, water resistance, and the aesthetic of real wood at a more reasonable price point. These alternatives can provide the desired look and feel without the hefty price tag associated with traditional hardwood. When considering the total lifecycle costs, including installation, maintenance, and longevity, materials like LVP and engineered hardwood emerge as smart choices for both budget and functionality. Furthermore, the environmental impact of flooring choices is an essential consideration for many homeowners today, with sustainable options increasingly available that do not sacrifice style or durability.

Additional Considerations in Custom Home Building

  • Smart Home Technology: The integration of smart home technology can offer convenience and efficiency, potentially increasing a home’s value. However, homeowners should also consider the rapid pace of technological advancements, which can render some systems obsolete quickly, and privacy concerns associated with connected devices.
  • Energy Efficiency: Investing in energy-efficient upgrades such as high-performance windows, insulation, and HVAC systems can lead to significant savings on utility bills and reduce the home’s environmental footprint. These choices reflect a commitment to sustainability and comfort.
  • Outdoor Living Spaces: The trend towards seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces continues to grow. Thoughtful design of outdoor kitchens, patios, and landscaping can extend the functional living area of a home, enhancing enjoyment and potentially increasing property value.
  • Lighting Design: A well-considered lighting plan can transform the ambiance of a home. Incorporating a mix of task, ambient, and accent lighting can enhance the functionality of each space while creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.


Building a custom home is a unique opportunity to create a space that truly reflects personal style and needs. By carefully considering each upgrade, homeowners can achieve a balance of luxury, functionality, and cost-effectiveness. NorthStar Custom Homes stands ready to guide clients through this journey, ensuring that every choice adds lasting value and satisfaction. For those dreaming of a custom home in Colorado, NorthStar Custom Homes offers unparalleled expertise and a commitment to excellence that transforms visions into reality. Let the journey begin with a partnership that cherishes beauty, functionality, and personal touch in every project.