7 questions to ask as you choose interior lighting for your design/build new home

There are many lighting choices for your Travars Built custom home in NC. Here’s what to keep in mind to help ensure the lights you choose can be a good fit.

#1 What lighting styles are your favorite? Matte black modern farmhouse? Contemporary chrome?

It’s common to mix and match lighting styles in design/build new homes. You don’t have to pick just one!

Kitchen Open to Living Room | On Your Lot Builder Chapel Hill NC

#2 How much light do you need?

How much natural light is available through windows, skylights, glass doors? How much foliage is around the home? How often will shades be closed?

Chapel Hill New Home Builder | New Homes Chapel Hill NC

#3 Where will the light source be placed?

Make sure the wattage and light bulb size are sufficient for the area you need to light up. Some lighting fixtures are really pretty. But they use tiny little lights. Will the lighting source be sufficient?

#4 What are you lighting up?

Rooms with high ceilings may need more light distribution. Screen porches may block some natural light from entering the rooms behind them.

#5 What do you need the light for?

Craft rooms, homework areas, informal dining areas or other specific designations may require extra lighting. Do you need a spotlight or more subtle lighting?

#6 What materials?

Chrome? Wood? Black metal? Copper? Crystal? It’s no longer an imperative for everything in the room to match. Faucets and doorknobs can be a very different material than lighting. The focus is more on personality and functionality than adhering to a single material.

Chatham County NC Custom Homes | Two Story Kitchen

#7 What is the purpose of the lighting?

Does the entire room need to be lit up, with multiple can lights to boost lighting or would sconces (for reading), under cabinet lights (for food prep) or theater lights (along the floor or steps) be something to think about?

Chatham County On Your Lot Builder | Chatham New Homes

Get Started:

How to Build a Modern Farmhouse in North Carolina

“Modern Farmhouse” conjures a feeling of peaceful countryside living. But in a traditional sense, this popular architectural style adapts the term “farmhouse” loosely.

Looking for modern farmhouse builders? Travars Built Homes can build a custom farmhouse on your lot in North Carolina. Here’s how:


A Modern Farmhouse is actually one of the most adaptable architectural styles, with the flexibility to invoke touches of urban, contemporary, traditional and industrial effects, on a palate that can be easily personalized with your own whimsey – like this:

White and Black Modern Farmhouse Bath | Mebane NC New Homes

Add a touch of Shiplap walls. Hint of cedar. Traditional brick fireplace surround. (Or a wide variety of other outdoorsy touches.)

Brick Fireplace Built Ins | Mebane NC New Homes

Nothing says “Modern Farmhouse” better than white board and batt. Metal roof accents. Black framed windows.

Mebane NC New Homes | White Farmhouse Exterior

Carry that theme inside, with back to back to basics simplicity in white and black kitchens designed for home cooking.

Chatham County NC Custom Homes | Two Story Kitchen

Modern Farmhouse kitchens get a lot of attention, as a great place to combine contemporary and urban appeal, with ample space to create.

Chatham County New Homes | Farmhouse Kitchen

Be clever with black hanging lights when you design your Modern Farmhouse feel. Consider creating a sense of support structure, with cedar wood beams in the ceiling.

Chatham County New Homes | Beam Ceiling

Another mix of architectural styles in Modern Farmhouses is the industrial look of metal to add functionality and style, like sliding barn door accents with black light fixture tie-ins.

Chatham County New Homes | First Floor Owner Suite

Consider the artistry of hand painted look like these faux wood gray framed mirrors, set amongst lantern style lights. Can you name the 3 architectural styles that blend into this small space?

Chapel Hill Modern Farmhouse

Like the look of black framed windows that’s a signature look on many Modern Farmhouse exteriors? Carry that through to the glass in your bathrooms, for a bold, contemporary feel.

Farmhouse Bathroom | NC Homebuilder

Take your time looking at tile choices – what you do with your floors can add a lot of personality to small spaces. See how different a laundry room can look with a black and white pattern like this:

Chapel Hill Modern Farmhouse | NC Homebuilder

Versus a black and white tile floor pattern like this. (Note the open storage spaces, too, that are also a big trend in Modern Farmhouse new homes in NC.

Laundry Mudroom Door to Master Closet | Mebane NC New Homes

Ask your NC custom home builder how many places you can add built-in storage centers, cabinets and closets. You might be surprised at the flexibility you have when you design build your new home with a builder like Travars Built Homes.

Built In Cabinets Walk In Closet | Mebane NC New Homes

Drop zones are a huge draw for every architectural style of new homes – and a must for a Modern Farmhouse feel. How big do you want it to be? What kind of tuck away access do you want it to have?

Raleigh Custom Homes | Built in Drop Zone

Bathrooms are one of the best places to mix architectural styles to achieve today’s Modern Farmhouse appeal – like this blend of quaint and classic, with a barn style framed mirror, trough sink and chrome faucets.

White and Black Bathrooms | Mebane NC New Homes

Get started here:

How to add stock up space and big pantries to your new home (without adding sq ft)

Customizing stock up space and big pantries starts with analyzing what you want to store – and the places you have to work with – in 2021 new custom homes in Chatham County, North Carolina.

Kitchens with big walk in pantries are high in “must haves.” Get clever when you go custom, with just-right spaces for everything you store, like these creative cubbies, shelves and racks in Travars Built Homes.


Custom built-ins

Chatham County Custom Homes | Kitchen Pantry

Every inch here was designed for a specific purpose. From pull out racks to built ins sized for each item to be placed there, this is what “totally custom” can look like, when you expand your kitchen into the walk in pantry.

Custom shelf height

Your NC custom home builder can use the measurements you give him to build custom shelving at the height you need, to accommodate everything from stock up Costco size packaging to cans and spices in your walk in pantry.

Custom shelf width and depth

Chatham County New Homes | Kitchen Pantry

Shelf width is another important consideration to talk through with your NC custom home builder. How many cans do you want to stack in a row? How big are the bags of rice or flour? How long are the cereal boxes?

Pantries with other built in storage nearby

Chatham County NC Custom Homes | Built In Storage

Avoid overstuffing your pantry or closets, by adding additional cubbies and storage spaces nearby. A drop zone only needs 12-18 inches of depth, and can be designed for whatever you want to put there.

Windows and lighting

Consider inset or spot lighting in addition to the usual ceiling fixture, to light up your closet or pantry. Choose between more shelves or a window to add natural light. Talk with your Chatham County new home builder about the impact on your home’s exterior.

Pantry location

Chatham County Custom Homes | Kitchen Pantry

How much pantry space do you need? A design build custom home builder in NC can create space for a bigger pantry (or second pantry) in a kitchen corner, hallway, mud room, breakfast room or under the stairway.

Secret pantries

Want special storage that’s even more tucked away? A custom design builder can add secret pantries and passageways to your floor plan during the early planning stages.

Butler’s pantry

Chatham County New Homes | Kitchen Wine Bar

A butlers pantry typically reflects the cabinetry and countertops of the kitchen, with a dedicated space all its own for items you want to easily access from eating and gathering areas, like this custom designed butlers pantry and wine bar.

Your design build custom home builder can work with you to create storage space for everything you want to have on hand in your new home.

Get started here:

9 big kitchen island styles

Large kitchen islands are a great place for gatherings: Food. Hobbies. Homeschool. Projects. Here are 9 photos of popular NC 2021 home design trends to help choose your next kitchen island.



Kitchen Island Design Tip #1: Placement

This Chef’s Kitchen designed by Chatham County new home builder Travars Built Homes is designed to provide as much working space as possible, with a massive kitchen island, cabinetry and countertops.

Questions To Ask NC Home Builders

Kitchen Island Design Tip #2: Size

Island kitchen floor plans separate countertop space from the rest of the kitchen, to increase its potential to be used for a variety of purposes.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen | Mebane NC New Homes

Kitchen Island Design Tip #3: Design

This kitchen island was designed to be noticed, with a look all its own as the focal point of the room. The ability to create the look you’d like is a great benefit of working with a creative team in design build custom homes.

Wendell North Carolina New Homes

Kitchen Island Design Tip #4: Style

Your sink choice can make a big difference in the appeal of your kitchen island. Apron sinks (also known as Farmhouse sinks) are especially popular in 2021 new home design trends.

Wendell North Carolina New Homes

Kitchen Island Design Tip #5: Lighting

The pendants you choose for your lighting are especially important over the island. They serve as a punctuation of your architectural style and highlight everything in your design build new home.

2021 home design trends

Kitchen Island Design Tip #6: Seating

Tuck under seating is the choice made most often for big kitchen islands in 2021 home design trends. The ability to place bar stools out of the way when not in use provides a feeling of functionality and great use of space.

2021 home design trends

Kitchen Island Design Tip #7: Purpose

This formal kitchen island exudes elegance in design build custom homes, with a furniture look that draws the living area further into the kitchen – an inviting look of luxury that increases importance.

Chapel Hill Modern Farmhouse | White Kitchen

Kitchen Island Design Tip #8: Color

This kitchen island blends beautifully into extended gathering areas with its muted tones that create a sense of comfortable informality. It’s one of the most requested styles in island kitchen floor plans.

Chatham County New Homes | Kitchen Open to Living Room

Kitchen Island Design Tip #9: Surface

The surface material you choose for your kitchen island can be just about anything in a design build custom home. Granite. Quartz. Marble. Tile. Wood. Recycled glass. Cement. There are a lot of possibilities to explore in 2021 home design trends.

2021 home design trends

Get started here:

Wendell North Carolina New Homes | Built In Storage Benches

Chatham County new home checklist – Built in storage ideas for every room

Built in bookcases, open shelving, cubbies, kitchen pantries

Get ideas for custom home built in bookcases, open shelving, cubbies, kitchen pantries, and storage spaces for every room from Chatham County new home builder Travars Built Homes:

Chatham County New Home Storage Idea #1: Built in Bookcases Alongside a Fireplace

Built in bookshelves next to the fireplace are a popular choice in new homes by custom builders in Chatham County and across central NC. [Get floor plan ideas here.]

Bookcases can be set into the wall with open shelving, cabinets, specialty trim, and other features. Nearly all fireplace surround bookcases are built with a standard height between shelves (similar to when you buy a furniture bookcase). Just give us a picture – we can build it! Travars Built Homes can space shelves at custom heights that you ask for at one of your meetings with the builder on site. It’s part of our standard design/build process!

Chatham County New Home Storage Idea #2: Open Shelves Above a Kitchen Serving Bar

Looking for something more unique in your built-ins? Ask your new home builder how much flexibility you can have for touches like this throughout your home – and what materials they offer for open shelving, such as the Cedar above this kitchen bar and master bedroom beam ceiling.

Chatham County New Home Storage Idea #3: Built In Drop Zone by the Garage

Drop zones with shelves, cubbies, cabinets, and drawers are a very popular addition to new Chatham County homes. We can build them anywhere in your home, with the most common choices between the garage and laundry room or kitchen. This drop zone has a built in bench, shoe cubbies, and bead board trim. Send us a link to a look you like – we can build that, too.

Chatham County New Home Storage Idea #4: Large Pantry with Custom Shelving

A U-shaped pantry is great for “at a glance” storage. A U-shaped pantry requires more depth (and less width) than an L-shaped pantry – so ask your builder what can fit into your floor plan. Adding more pantry shelving at different widths and heights is a popular request.

In this example, one wall of shelving is designed with thin shelves for spices and specialty items, while the other two walls are deeper for cans, boxes, and paper goods:

Chatham County New Home Storage Idea #5: Built in Benches

Add hidden storage to your breakfast room, mudroom, hallway, or nook with built in benches.

Wendell North Carolina New Homes | Built In Storage Benches

Chatham County New Home Builders

At Travars Built Homes, our design build capabilities offer you the opportunity to modify your floor plan to fit your lifestyle. Let us know if you want to plan for extra storage spaces after building your home.

We can modify your floor plan with things like a prepared alcove with the dimensions you’ll need later on.

In this Chatham County custom home, the upstairs loft includes a stretch of half wall (instead of more open railing) designed to accommodate future storage built-ins:

Contact Travars Build Homes for new home pricing in Chatham County, NC – and the surrounding areas within about an hour of Chapel Hill, NC.

5 Home offices that work for you

What you build into your home office can be a game changer. Here are 6 ways to empower the structure you need for efficiency and convenience.

#1 Home Office Design: Professional Office with everything built in

Take care of business with a home office designed for everything that needs to get done: Built ins. Interactive spaces. Windows and lighting. Oak hardwood flooring.

Built In Bookcase Walls | Mebane NC New Homes

#2 Home Office Design: Sunny side out

Don’t want to feel locked down while you work? Add walls of windows to your home office, to let the sunshine in and allow you to see everything happening outside! Building a custom home means you can add as many windows as you want, depending on the plan and the builder.

North Carolina New Homes | Custom Home Builder

#3 Home Office Design: Private bathroom

Build an en-suite home office with your own private bathroom attached, for the ultimate personal space as you work. This office also has a massive walk in closet for storing business supplies and files.

North Carolina New Homes | Custom Home Builder

#4 Home Office Design: Library

Wall to wall built in bookcases with furniture cabinetry like this can enable your home office to organize books, manuals, and other necessities so you can find everything at a glance. A ceiling fan enables you to further control your environment.

North Carolina New Homes | Custom Home Builder

#5 Home Office Design: Window Treatments

There are a huge variety of window treatments that can be applied to your home office, like what you see here. This can provide an open feeling that makes your office space feel more spacious and inviting.

North Carolina New Homes | Custom Home Builder

Get started with these floor plans from our library – tell us what you are looking for so we can send plans from our vast resources, even beyond these favorites.

What is a multigenerational home?

Multigenerational homes (sometimes called multi-gen homes, homes with a mother in law suite, or apartment within a home) are designed for families to live together within one single home family dwelling that has an extended guest suite intended for long term stays.

Multigenerational homes are one of the most common reasons why homebuyers choose to build a custom home.

New Home Builder Apex NC

Multi-gen homes can spread out the cost of living so that the combined living space is more affordable than having two separate homes.

Site costs for one home are less expensive than site costs for two homes, with one clearing, one footing, one septic system, and one foundation.

The size of the footprint impacts build costs, so multi-gen homes built with living space on additional floors are typically more cost effective than homes with everyone on one level.

Some multigenerational homes have a kitchenette in the secondary living quarters, for increased independence.

Other families choose to design a larger kitchen around expanded usage, with elements such as dual ovens, a huge island or even two islands for more prep space, and special arrangements such as a microwave below the counter for easier use and aging-in-place future accessibility. Learn more about making changes to your floor plan, here.

White and Black Farmhouse Kitchen | Mebane NC New Homes

Dual master suites give equal prominence to two large bedroom suites with ensuite private bathrooms, big closets and occasionally other private amenities such as a personal sitting area or attached office or laundry room.

The location of dual master suites can vary, with the most common arrangements being one on the main floor and one on the second floor, one in the basement, or both on the main floor. Get floor plans with dual master bedrooms, here.

Chatham County NC Custom Homes | Vaulted Ceiling Master Bedroom

Because schedules and lifestyles can vary within shared living arrangements, building in special features that add to privacy is a very good reason to build a custom home, so that you have the opportunity to include features such as sound dampening between walls or from one floor to another. Solid core door options can also lessen sound travel.

A private entrance so you can come and go without interrupting the main flow of the house is another way to increase that feeling of having your own space.

Depending on the plan and your homesite, you may include an exterior door with a small stoop or porch or another door from the garage to your private hallway.


Travars Built Homes can be built in custom home neighborhoods or countryside locations within about an hour of Chapel Hill. We work closely with you to:

Consider choices for cost effective floor plans that fit your lifestyle and budget

Modify your layout to add multi-gen, accessible or other custom changes

Build your new home with high quality materials, craftsmanship and passion for home building

Offer a wide array of selections, options and upgrades

Wendell North Carolina New Homes

How long does it take to build a custom home?

North Carolina new home building timeline

A typical timeline to build a custom home by Travars Built Homes is about 6-9 months, once the project is underway. We divide your home build timeline into two stages – pre-construction and construction.

Available Homes | Chatham County New Home Builder

What are the key phases of a pre-construction timeline? 

Before we break ground on your new home, we’ll work with you through:  

  • Floor Plan Selection
  • Floor Plan Customization and Design
  • Build Permitting
  • Pre-Construction Prep

Here’s how the overall timeline for your new home build project works:

During the Plan Selection Phase, we help you find a new home floor plan that suits your lifestyle, budget, and home site. Start with some popular floor plans from a variety of architects on our site. Tell us what you’re looking for, if you want something different! The floor plan selection phase usually takes 2-4 weeks.

During Floor Plan Customization and Design, we help modify your floor plan. What are some common changes we make? Here are the kinds of changes we can make to your plan as part of our design phase – at no extra cost to you:

  • Making a master shower larger
  • Separating sinks and vanities
  • Opening up the kitchen or adding an island
  • Adding a mother in law suite or small apartment in the home
  • Turning a front facing garage to a side load
Modern Farmhouse | Chatham County New Homes

Our in house design team works closely with you and your budget. This phase usually takes 2-6 weeks.

Wendell North Carolina New Homes | Dark Cabinetry Master Bath

Next, we submit for Build Permits. We’ll do your site assessment in conjunction with your floor plan footprint, water hookup, and setback requirements for your lot – taking things like the slope of your lot and the length of your driveway into consideration. The permit phase usually takes 5-7 weeks.

Upon county approval, we break ground onsite by clearing and prepping for your home’s footing and foundation. Once your footers are in the ground, the typical build time is about 6-9 months.  

How long does it take to build a custom home?

What are the key phases of the home build?

  • Excavation: Grading, clearing and site preparation
  • Foundation, damp proofing
  • Framing
  • Windows and doors
  • Roofing
  • Rough mechanics, electrical and plumbing
  • Siding, exterior paint
  • Insulation
  • Drywall, paint primer
  • Interior trim, flooring
  • Cabinets, counter tops
  • Trim outs/ fixture installs
  • Final paint
  • Final punch work and clean up
  • Move in day!

Our build process at Travars Built Homes is outlined in your personal online portal that keeps you informed about everything happening in your home. You will also have the option to meet with your builder on site at all key points during the build, to talk about what’s happening now – and what’s next. 

Want to know more about the custom home construction process? Reach out with your questions.

What is Design/Build: Working with a Custom Home Builder

Next month, a panel discussion led by Furniture, Lighting & Decor Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey brings together four experts to talk about leveraging expertise among architects, builders, and designers when building custom homes.

During the panel, “Common Ground: Finding Synergy Among Architects, Builders and Designers,” Phil Travars and Andrew Travars of Travars Built Homes will be talking about the ins and outs of working with a design/build custom home builder in North Carolina.

“Having a clear understanding of the thought process around building a custom home can help everything go smoothly, from design through construction,” said Phil Travars, Owner and Builder at Travars Built Homes. “It’s a great opportunity to talk directly with experts from across the industry.”

About 75,000 people from across the country and internationally are expected to attend the bi-annual Furniture Mart event represented by more than 100 countries, for architects, designers, furnishings buyers and others looking for the latest information and products for homes.

The Travars brothers were asked to participate in the event to share their thought leadership about home building and designing together with CIRCLE Design Studio, LLC Principal Architect John Dorlini and Principal/Owner Theresa A.C. Dorlini.

How to Build a Custom Home | New Home Builders

Topics about the custom home build process are expected to include:

  • How designers and builders work together compose a custom home.
  • How creativity can create excitement through different points of view.
  • What to look out for when choosing a custom home on a budget.
  • What to think about as you integrate designs for furniture, lighting, fixtures and finishes into your new home.

“This is a great opportunity to bounce around ideas for your new home, if you’re considering a custom build,” said Andrew Travars, Builder and Designer at Travars Built Homes. “We put a lot into making each home unique – this panel will help explain what it takes to create through design/build.”

How to Build a Custom Home | New Home Builders

Travars Built Homes builds new custom homes in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham and the surrounding region. Get information about building a custom home:

Modern Farmhouse | Chatham County New Homes

How to Modify a Floor Plan

Looking for a builder who can change your floor plan

See 3 examples of how Travars Built Homes can modify the Blufton Way, a floor plan by Frank Betz, with some popular floor plan characteristics. Ask us for more information about design-build custom homes in Durham, NC.

Option 1: Looking for ways to open your floor plan? Create a vaulted ceiling in the family room.

How to Modify a Floor Plan | Custom Homes Durham NC
The Bluffton Way floor plan by Frank Betz.

The Bluffton Way is an open floor plan with 2669 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a main floor master, huge kitchen, and open family room.

The modification you see in the rendition above indicates the possibility of going from a flat 12′ ceiling to a vaulted 18′ ceiling with a open rail overlook.

Adding ceiling beams to the family room vault ceiling can provide even more eye appeal and personality.

Chatham County New Homes | Beam Ceiling

Option 2: Need another garage stall for a shop, hobby area, or third car – but don’t want to change the front exterior of your floor plan? Consider a carriage garage.

How to Modify a Floor Plan | Custom Homes Durham NC

The Bluffton Way floor plan by Frank Betz.

What is a Carriage Garage?

A carriage style garage floor plan has a third stall set to the side, apart from the main garage. (Attaching a traditional third stall to the existing garage would push the front elevation out another 10-14 feet.)

Option 3: Need a spacious place to gather? Add a cost effective bonus room, game room, theater, kids playroom, homeschool, or flex room.

How to Modify a Floor Plan | Custom Homes Durham NC
The Bluffton Way floor plan by Frank Betz.

One of the most cost effective ways to add square footage to your floor plan is to eliminate the 2 story great room and add a huge bonus room above it. The ceiling in the great room can still feel spacious – simply add a few steps into the bonus room to keep your 11’+ ceiling height.

Chapel Hill Modern Farmhouse | Bonus Room

Get information about building a custom home with Travars Built Homes – including more ways to modify your plan in Durham, NC.