Natelli Homes Blog

10-tips-to-help-you-save-on-building-your-custom-home-potomac-mdSo you've finally done it. You made an investment in your future, purchased a lot of your very own, and are now in the early stages of building your first custom home. A job that, and we know, is both difficult and incredibly stressful.

With that, here are 10 tips to help you get ready for the ride of a lifetime, as you build your custom home.

1. Have an emergency plan in place. Why? Because even in spite of all of your hard work and planning, bad things can still happen. So have a contingency plan in place for some peace of mind.

2. A little bit of research can carry you very far. We're talking books, home and garden TV, talking to experts, and so on. Do it all now, and you'll be prepared for anything.

3. Scout other homes for ideas on what you want. If doing it in person is not in the cards, consider using the Internet to do most of the heavy-lifting. 

4. Hire an architect that you can not only trust, but also rely on to give you what you want. Look at portfolios, and never simply hire the first one that you talk to.

5. Similarly, hire the right company to help you complete the work. A qualified professional who is well-versed in building custom homes will make the whole process run smooth and easy.

6. Speak candidly with all of those helping you. Let them know what you want, what you don't want, and things that are deal-breakers. It's important to getting the most out of the process.

7. Don't be afraid to negotiate payments and costs. It is, after all, your dream home, so pick your battles carefully and save whenever you can.

8. When furnishing or buying supplies, look online for suppliers that offer free shipping. There are many great deals to be had if you're savvy enough.

9. Take discounts and deals whenever possible; buy wholesale instead of retail. Building a custom home from the ground up is expensive. So it's OK to cut costs at first. Worry about larger items a few years down the road.

10. Don't be afraid to pitch-in when needed! The work you complete on your own is like putting money back into your pocket. It's worth it to get your hands dirty from time to time. 

Interested in learning more about how we can help you build your dream home? Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your options.


custom-homes-what-to-expect-for-the-first-steps-great-falls-vaDeciding whether to buy a home or build a custom home is a major decision. It may be easy or difficult to make depending on your situation and what you want and need as a homeowner. If you are still trying to decide or you already have your mind set on custom homes, you should look into the first steps of the process as this will help you prepare for the home building process.

Determine the Size and Style

It is important and necessary to determine the size and style of the home you wish to have built. If you already know exactly what you want style-wise and have a good size in mind, all you have to do is communicate this to a home building company for them to turn it into reality.

Get Help from the Builders

If you are unsure about what you want in your home, you should not be afraid to enlist help from home builders because they have plenty of knowledge and experience that can help with this process.

Review Ideas to Find a Winner

After telling the builders what you want in a home or going through ideas with them, they will create designs for you to look at and analyze. Since building a home is a long process, there is nothing wrong with going through as many designs as you need to until you are pleased with the outcome.

Taking your time with this important process is beneficial in numerous ways. For instance, you and the builders will be happy that you are satisfied with the design and plans, and you will be far less likely to want to make any changes during the construction process, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Contact us to learn more about building a custom home.

whats-trending-with-master-bedrooms-in-custom-homes-potomac-mdWhile the kitchen and bathrooms receive a lot of attention in Maryland or Virginia custom homes, the master bedroom is also trending as one of the most beloved rooms in a home. Whether you are renovating or in the process of building a custom home, it’s important to consider the look and feel of your master bedroom. Many homeowners today see the need for dual master bedrooms, especially with so many long-term guests. According to an article by Freshome, the bedroom is often a private space that is custom designed for your taste. Of course, with a guest master bedroom, you can decorate and design it with a more universal appeal in mind. Freshome points out that a bedroom is a private sanctuary. Your builder can incorporate recessed ceilings, bay or bow windows and other architectural features. Ask your builder about ideas such as an adjoining sitting area, extra-large walk-in closet with organizers and the doorway between the bedroom and master bathroom.

  • Choosing a color palette

One of the decisions for you to make when envisioning a bathroom remodel or a new home is the color palette of your master bedroom. Experts say some of the most popular colors in the past year included gray, soft blacks and whites.

  • Taking a cue from a hotel

Another thing that’s trending with master bedrooms is the glitz and glamour of a hotel. In essence, it’s all about elegance, extravagance and spaciousness. You can ask your builder about having a wall of windows or sliding glass doors that overlook your backyard, but also include hotel-style drapes that you can close for total privacy.

  • Using natural materials

Whether it’s the bedroom or the kitchen, more people are using eco-friendly and natural materials. For flooring, consider bamboo floors. One idea is to use a brick accent wall where the headboard would go. Natural materials and natural tones create a restful area. Also trending is the rustic look, especially for people with Maryland or Virginia country homes or homes with an Adirondack influence.

At Natelli Homes, we take pride in building beautiful custom homes such as the four-square home, cottage design and modern split-levels. We can also renovate your home to include a second master bedroom to accommodating aging parents or young adult children. For more information on our custom homes and architectural services, please contact us.

c6c3736e-fe3b-4efc-c04c-379807d83c77-thumbOur home is our castle, but making it appear that way without cleaning out our wallets is tough.

So while home remodeling projects are a priority for many homeowners looking to make their house a home, some shy away for fear of unwanted debt. But this doesn't have to be the case.

Looking for some easy ways to make your home your castle without breaking the bank? Then read on!

Here are 5 easy home renovations you can do that cost less than $100.

1. Entryway Pizazz: If the front of your home is lacking true curb appeal, try sprucing it up. Apply some new paint to your door (think bright and welcoming), buy some simple flower planters for a flanked, tasteful entry, and throw down a welcome mat. It's that easy.

2. Apply Furniture Covers: For those who are looking for nominal yet financially sound ways of adding a new look to their living areas, consider covered chairs and couches in new material. Vibrant colors and fabrics can turn shabby into chic in a hurry.

3. Bulbs Burning Bright: Under lit is underwhelming. Whereas over lit is too dramatic. So find the middle ground. Install some track lighting instead of using traditional overhead lights, and change out incandescent bulbs for highly efficient fluorescent. Not only will you save money, your home will feel more welcoming and relaxing.

4. Bathroom Luxury: It's 2015, what does your bathroom look like? Change out those old, drab switch plates for new and fancy styles. Follow our lighting advice from above. Replace old toilet seats and simple bathroom hardware, and throw down some new bath mats and rugs. Top it off with some new, clean paint and enjoy your bathroom once again.

5. Drapes Add Special Flair: Take a walk around your home and count the windows where the drapes have lived for a year or more. Now head to your home improvement store and do some pricing. A simple drapery change, like adding a valance or swag, or even changing curtains all together, will add creative flair and whimsy to those windows we have forgotten.

Interested in discussing how we can help you with your home improvement process? Feel free to contact us to discuss your options.

home-additions-expand-vertically-with-a-second-floor-chevy-chase-mdWhen it comes to home additions, the main choices are to expand vertically with a second floor or to extend a home horizontally by adding rooms. Another common way of describing a second floor addition is to call it “building up,” vs. building out. With the trend of multi-generational households in Maryland or Virginia, either approach can work as long as there is at least one master bedroom on the main floor. If you have active children, teenagers or young adults living at home, they may welcome a second floor addition as a getaway. By enlisting the help of an experienced builder, you can stay in your beloved Metro D.C. neighborhood without sacrificing on space as your family grows. If your home is on a narrow lot, you may need to build up instead of out. An article by HGTV suggests homeowners consider the pros of cons of either type of home addition.

  • Different ways to build up

Adding a second floor is the main way to expand the living space if you are planning of build up. Other ideas, according to HGTV, include adding large dormers in a pitched roof or adding space above an existing garage, or porch.

  • What to expect

When adding a second floor, your builder will most likely strengthen the existing foundation so it can support the new weight. Your builder or contractor will make sure the architectural plans meet the local guidelines such as the allowable height for houses. A new stairwell may eat up some of the living space on the lower level. Also, expect your contractor to demolish some of the walls in order to accommodate for structural supports and new lines for plumbing and electricity.

  • Ways to use a second floor

Having a second floor is exciting for any size family. Many homeowners like to have a game room, media room or home theater on the second floor. Other ideas include having several bedrooms, a bathroom and a loft area. A major consideration is whether to make most of the space on the second floor “livable” or to use some of the space as a two-story foyer for the drama. Other design details include the style of railing and flooring choices.

Other features that can make a second floor addition even more thrilling include balconies. Your contractor can build a balcony off an upstairs master bedroom suite, game room or other space. Having spectacular views from the second floor can raise the value of your home.

At Natelli Homes, we take pride on giving our Maryland and Virginia clients our full attention and giving our clients a variety of options. For more information on home additions and our architectural and remodeling services, please contact us.

d03eeea1-2fde-46b8-dce4-4088675abff8-thumbTrends in bathroom remodeling will make the bathroom a more livable space in the New Year for people who want to extend their time pampering and primping. Bathrooms are becoming a retreat for relaxing as well as entertaining with remote-controlled TVs and other electronics. According to an article by Elle Décor, the bathroom of the New Year will be outfitted the same way the rest of the home is outfitted with everything from furniture and music to textiles, art and refrigerators. In-floor or radiant heating can make the space more comfortable so you aren’t anxious to get ready and hurry out of the bathroom. Homeowners in Maryland or Virginia can rely on the expertise of a builder offering architectural design services related to the bathroom and other areas of the home.

  • A clean, minimalist vibe

Even though a modern bathroom may have all the toys and gadgets that are found in other parts of the home, the most popular design look is modern and sleek. Framed mirrors can add some style to a bathroom without making too dramatic of a statement. Other modern features include built-in handles on bathroom cabinetry instead of pulls and knobs.

  • Individual spaces

Another consideration with bathroom remodeling is who will be using the space. Design experts say the trend is to have more individual spaces in bathrooms. Your bathroom can have different zones such as wet and dry zones. There may be designated dressing areas, private water closets and an area for applying makeup.

  • A place to linger

Because the bathroom is a place to linger in the New Year, more people may choose steam showers and soaking tubs. According to an article by Huffington Post, everything in the bathroom will be upgraded in the New Year. Experts expect a move away from tubs with shower surrounds. Bowl-shaped sinks will also be passé.

Other bathroom trends in the New Years may include the appearance of more Quartz countertops, backsplashes that make a statement and take up the entire wall instead of just a small space. Also, the bathroom of today may come with a seating area. For parents taking care of small children at bath time, a seating area can be practical and more comfortable.

At Natelli Homes, we can help you remodel your bathroom, kitchen or other spaces in the New Year in your Maryland or Virginia home. For more information on our architectural and remodeling services, please contact us.

6bccd565-592d-4e9d-e867-ff095d2db089-thumbHomeowners who want to build custom homes on their small lots in the Maryland and Virginia area often gravitate to modern-day versions of the American Four Square. Prairie architecture pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright is making a reappearance as homeowners desire the luxury of a new construction home but the space offered by the four-square design. According to a recent report by the National Association of Home Builders, custom home building recorded growth this year. Many homebuyers today want homes that have the character of the past. The American Four Square or Prairie Box was popular in the mid-1890s to the late 1930s as a reaction to the ornate Victorian style.

Going beyond four rooms

The old four-square homes typically had four large boxy rooms to each floor. Today’s four-square custom homes may open to a foyer with a dining room on one side and an office on the other side. The middle of the home often has a stair hall that leads up to the second level as well as breakfast room and open kitchen. The other section of the main floor often has a covered terrace and family room. On the upper level, homeowners may have two smaller bedrooms on one side and a master suite with walk-in closets on the other side. Going beyond the “four squares,” custom homes today may include a mudroom on the lower level and an upstairs loft and additional bedroom over the garage.

Enjoying the outdoors

Being outside was important to people who owned an American Four Square before the advent of air-conditioning. Today, custom homes often come with covered flagstone porches and other outdoor amenities. While most four square homes are built on smaller lots, it’s also fun to build a Four Square custom home on a larger lot to allow for an outdoor kitchen area, pool, gazebo, gardens and other landscaping.

Some of the popular interior characteristics and materials used in custom homes with historical character include solid hardwood flooring and solid staircases. Coffered beamed ceilings may be constructed in the family room on the main level.

Natelli Homes Architectural Design and Construction Services is an experienced builder who builds an enhanced version of the basic four square as well as other custom homes. For more information about having an American Four Square home built for your family in the Washington DC area as well as Northern Virginia and Maryland, please contact us.

ca5cdc8d-aa08-4b8b-a114-1cc1478a2f3dWhat more could you ask for in terms of building your dream? A custom home that is built exactly to the highest level quality, is truly one-of-a-kind, and exceeds the standards of used homes may not be as difficult as you think to attain. 

Here are just a few of the advantages of building a custom home.


If you want a home that is exactly you, a custom home is the route to go. They stand out in a crowd, march to the beat of their own drum, and are architecturally unique. You can include and exclude any features you want.

Range of Materials

Because a custom home is built to your specifications, you can choose to design it in any way you see fit. This includes the facade. You can have it crafted as log cabin, a brick townhouse, or even a New Mexico pueblo-style if you'd like. The sky's the limit.

Energy Conscious

Older, used homes either have to be upgraded to meet current green standards, which can be very expensive, or it's simply not possible to complete in their current state. With a custom home, however, you can start from scratch with things like solar panels, insulation, water-saving features, and recycled building materials, all of which lead to less of an ecological footprint and greater efficiency savings.

Lifestyle Amenities

Searching for a home that includes all of the aspects your lifestyle needs can be a nightmare. But with a custom home, you can have all of the amenities you are looking for from the very beginning. Breezy, screened-in sun porch? Yep. Fitness swimming pool? Sure. Home theater? Absolutely. You can have anything you want.

Intragenerational Living

With a custom home you can design your needs right into your lifestyle. With more and more families living together longer, children moving back home, and elders moving in with children, a custom home is the perfect way to tailor your home to fit your lifestyle. 


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edf4c001-9f6a-44e8-a590-3635d1ac1641You've been planning it for what seems like years. You have all of the current home design magazines. You visit websites for the latest and greatest architectural design ideas. You've been saving and have finally amassed the budget. But you really aren't ready to add that addition until you answer the following questions.

1. If you were starting new, how would you design your house?

Don't get mired in the details, simply think about a clean slate. What would you do differently? Oftentimes people can't see the forest for the trees, and in this case your house may be causing you not to be able to truly visualize your dream addition. Remove the obvious to find exaltation. 

2. How much value will your new addition add to your home?

It should be on your mind the moment you considered the addition. Even if you are planning on living in your current home for a very long time, the idea of a resale should always be considered (not to mention refinance or lines of credit). Don't consider it as if your new addition will be profitable, you just need to keep in mind a realistic payback amount.

3. Have you gone over all of the zoning restrictions? 

Depending on where you live, the township, municipality, city, etc., will have limitations on your building rights. There may be restrictions on the distance from the street your addition can be. A limit on how much of your lot can be covered with impermeable materials (like concrete and and structures), and so on. Inquire at your area's building department before beginning construction.

4. Will the addition fit well with your current design scheme?

You've probably planned it, but have you considered how your fresh addition will look when it's attached to your existing home? Adding an addition requires finesse (and the help from professionals) to make it look a part of the house, and not like it was tacked on. Not to mention the interior issues of utilities, heating, and windows, as well as a fluid design that makes sense aesthetically. 

5. How much are you planning to spend?

The only real way to get an accurate cost budget is to talk to a professional in the field. A large addition can be quite pricey, so you'll want to have at the very least an estimate as to the overall budget you'll need. Click here to get 2014s cost versus value report for your area. 

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rsz natelli3Unless you're one of the few who can pay cash for remodeling or building your custom home, you're going to need a loan, such as a mortgage, to finance your purchase. Lenders look at your income, financial obligations, and payment history to decide whether to loan you money and under what terms. They make their determinations by looking at your credit report, which you also can view.

By law, you're entitled to get a free report each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion once a year. Some websites offer to give you the document without cost but only if you sign up for paid financial services. To get your report without obligation, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. After answering a few questions to verify your identity, you can download your report immediately.

Check that everything on it is correct especially the names of merchants, amounts you owe, transactions, payment terms, and payment histories. If you find any accounts or charges you don't remember opening or making, then you may be the victim of fraud. Whatever problems you discover, report them immediately to the merchant and reporting credit bureau. They are legally obligated to fix any problems.

Bankruptcies, foreclosures, and late and missed payments raise warning signs for lenders, who may use these issues to deny you the loan or make terms more stringent. You can't do anything about these listing, if they're correct. But you can come up with explanations for them when lenders ask about them.

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