Toni's Custom Home Design Tips: Pre-Construction Stage

Toni's Custom Home Design Tips: Pre-Construction Stage

Toni’s Custom Home Design Tips: Pre-Construction Stage

B.L. Rieke's resident interior designer, Toni Rieke, has won many awards for her impeccable taste and sense of style.  Since 1991, she has designed countless homes in numerous styles from yesterday's traditional to today's modern rustic design.  Thanks to Toni, B.L. Rieke has evolved into Kansas City's trendsetter for unique and industry-leading home design.

Being an award-winning interior designer, Toni has a plethora of helpful advice for the new homeowner during each stage of the custom home building process.  For today's segment, she will offer home design tips for home projects in the pre-construction stage.  These tips can be applied to DIY homeowners and to homeowners who have hired an interior designer.

Toni's Pre-Construction Home Design Tips

TIP #1: Start an Inspiration Book full of ideas and photos of things you love.

- These photos can be of anything: styles, color schemes, textures, furniture, fabric, artwork, and more.  Many homeowners also choose to include photos of their favorite vacation spots or of other homes.  Basically, add any photos that inspire you when imagining your dream home!

- It's helpful to subdivide the book into categories based on areas in the home, such as the exterior, kitchen, and bedrooms.  This helps keep everything organized.

- Even if you can't find a photo, draw or write about your design ideas.  Maybe your designer can help bring your unique idea to life!

- Don't worry if you love different or multiple styles--most homeowners do!  Many styles can be combined in different ways to reflect your own unique style.

- Visit Houzz or Pinterest to find or refine your design ideas.

Ultimately, your Inspiration Book will help you or your interior designer determine your color palette and preferred style to base future design selections on.

Home design inspiration book

Home design tips: Fill an inspiration book with home design photos you love!

TIP #2: Create a list of top 10 "must-haves" for your home based on your lifestyle.

- Not every homeowner's lifestyle is the same.  Many lifestyles are family-based, while others are centered around entertaining.  Some are focused on technology, convenience, or simple living.  Whatever your lifestyle may be, you can use your list of must-haves to tailor your home to suite your (and your family's) needs.

- Make sure your list is organized from most important to least important, so if budget or design issues come up, you can still have your top picks.

- Visit Houzz for new "hot item" ideas, such as walk-in closets, gourmet kitchens, pools, and more!

A top 10 list is great for establishing your design priorities and for seriously figuring out what you can and cannot live without in your dream home.  It's also important for

TIP #3: Determine the flexibility of your budget per room or item in your home.

- In your home, which areas/items are you willing to spend more on?  Which areas need to stay within budget?  Establishing an itemized budget for each area/item in the the home can prevent many financial woes in the future.  It also sets up some design guidelines for you as the building process progresses.

- For areas you can splurge on, make room in the budget for that extra spending.

- For areas or items you can't easily change down the line (the kitchen, windows, tile, etc.), you may want to consider spending extra on better quality materials or risk regretting the poorer quality later.

By creating an area and item-specific budget, you (and your designer) will help you splurge where you want and save where you must.


Home design devils are in the details! Figure out what you can't live without and how much you're willing to spend before construction begins.


Check back in the future for more custom home design tips from Toni Rieke!  Next time, she will have home design tips for homeowners in the foundation stage of the custom home building process.

What to be in the know about current trends and cool design ideas?  Follow B.L. Rieke on Facebook and Houzz!  (We're always sharing the latest and greatest custom home designs!)


  1. 07.08.2015 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I have a few ideas of how I want my new home to look but explaining them in words has proven to be difficult. That’s where your tip to start an inspiration book will come in handy. I should create pictures of exactly how I want my new home to look like. It also seems like a good idea to cut out ideas that I want for my new home from magazines to give the builders an idea of how I want my home to be built.

  2. 09.10.2015 at 8:06 pm

    I really like your tip about creating an inspiration book! My husband and I have been looking for a custom home builder for a few weeks now and I think that having a book like that could really help with the design process. There are a few ideas that I have in mind so I will have to get started organizing them. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips, they will definitely help us out in the future.

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