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The Top 12 Features to Include in Your Toronto Custom Home

Like any blank slate project, building a custom home is both exhilarating and daunting. It’s exhilarating because you have a ground zero from which to build the house of your dreams, and it’s daunting for the same reason. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it on your own. Experienced and well-reputed Toronto custom home builders have ample experience to help you execute your detailed vision. Here are some of our favourite must-have luxury home features in recent and upcoming builds. Keep an eye out for green and modern trends, as these are common themes for 2024.

Minimalist bedroom with wood flooring and natural light

1. All Electric Consumption

Why burn gas? Your home doesn't have to use hydrocarbons at all. Efficient systems like air source heat pump furnaces and hot water tanks run on electricity and provide viable alternatives to their gas-burning counterparts. Many homes are not having natural gas lines installed. These systems only work well when installed in concert with well-insulated and air-tight envelopes, which are common focuses for energy-efficient homes.

2. Outdoor Living Space

After Toronto’s bitter winter comes summer months of warm and sunny weather, and you and your loved ones will want a way to enjoy this season to its fullest. If your lot accommodates it, consider adding a patio with an outdoor dining area. A full outdoor kitchen, comfortable seating, and an outdoor fire feature may also be great options for outdoor dining and entertaining. Best of all, patios are among buyers' most wanted home features, so you can rest assured that the addition will contribute to your home’s value at resale.

Secluded back deck of home with sliding glass doors

3. Windows to the World 

Large windows are another great way to stay in touch with the changing seasons. In a modern world where most jobs require desk work, these architectural choices have the opportunity to keep us connected to nature and anchor our daily routines. Adding large sliding or bi-folding glass doors can seamlessly blend outdoor living space with the comfort of your home. Additionally, adding extra natural light and long views will give your home a feeling of spaciousness and elegance. Thoughtfully-designed homes that make the most of your available light will boost your mood and help your spaces glow. Stay comfortable by spending up for triple-glazed windows. Apart from saving on heating and cooling costs, triple-glazed windows' interior surface temperature is much warmer in winter than even the best double-glazed units. The result is significantly improved comfort in rooms with lots of glazing.

Floor-to-ceiling windows with black framing in living area

4. Semi-Open Floor Plan with Options

While fully open-concept floor plans remain common, we find many clients are opting to create some private spaces where they can escape behind closed doors. Such a balance allows multi-purpose use for the spaces in your home -- a convenience that has only grown in importance post-COVID-19 as more people spend more time at home. With the right floor plan, you can have togetherness with a multi-purpose kitchen island or two, and common living space, and more secluded offerings that might also multitask. Could your home office double as a sunroom? Can you combine your home gym and office? We are including more luxury home gyms, theatres, and offices (often two-home offices or double desk offices), in current designs for both renovations and new custom homes.

5. Energy Efficiency in Your Custom Home

Sustainability and green building practices influence everything from the fixtures selected for installation to the types of thermostats installed to the building of the house itself. All of this helps to reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool the house, and choosing the right fixtures can also reduce the amount of water used. We build our homes with energy-efficient standards beyond the current building codes.

We are finding more clients interested in building very tight and well-insulated homes with energy-efficient heating systems. Such a home is much more comfortable and, as a bonus, it costs less to operate, consuming fewer resources. Pre-construction is the best time for planning green features. We'd love to talk more about energy-efficient construction options for your custom home.

6. Custom Stairways

Stairways are statements. Because of the interesting angles they introduce, they should be highlighted rather than hidden behind full walls. For example, demarcating stairways with fully transparent glass walls gives them a unique floating look and visually expands your home’s square footage, while using half walls that follow the lines of the staircases can add depth and interest. No matter what you choose to do, think through your options and know that a custom stairway is a perfect way to add creativity to your home.

Contemporary floating stairs with custom glass siding

7. Custom Built-ins

Custom built-ins are a desirable feature for almost any area of your home. Because they’re made to exactly accommodate your personal storage needs, they are highly practical and serve to keep your home free of clutter. They keep background storage items minimal and can also draw your eye by making artistic statements with your cabinet doors. Consider using custom built-ins in your entryway, kitchen, bathrooms, basement, living room, kids’ playrooms, and beyond. 

Built-in vertical shelving with books

8. Soaker Tub

We all want an easy way to relax in our own homes, and one of the best ways to do this is with a soaker tub. It’s a practical and inviting way to treat yourself, adding a touch of glamour and spa-like elegance to your routine. Bonus points: having a soaker tub will remind you to relax when you’ve forgotten you need to.

9. Creative Lighting

Lighting sets the ambiance of your space. It has the ability to make it intimate and romantic, fresh and airy, or dynamic and spunky. Consult with your architect and builder to discover creative ways to use LED light fixtures to illuminate every workspace, provide moody options, and set the tone you’re looking for.

Luxury bathroom leading into bedroom with custom led lighting

10. Home Automation

With technological advances, home automation is becoming more prevalent and is a desirable option in the modern home. Controlling your lighting, window coverings, heating and cooling, audio/visual, and alarm remotely makes for easy access to manage your home.

11. Engineered Oak

Flooring is notorious for changing with the times. Just a few years ago, 90% of the hardwood we installed in luxury residential projects in Toronto was site finished 4” plank solid hardwood. Today 7” engineered white oak is the standard due to consumer preference. We are also seeing a lot of herringbone and chevron patterns installed. These patterns date back hundreds of years and have seen many resurgences in popularity over the years.Light oak flooring and modern minimalist cabinetry

12. Accessibility

Many people are building homes to live in forever. Accessibility is easier to build in the first time than add later, so considering future mobility needs during construction makes sense. Elevators have become popular in medium-sized homes where they used to be relegated to very large homes. Elevators in-house are a savvy addition if you want to be able to get to your 2nd-floor bedroom down the road. Other unassuming elements like extra-wide doorways and wide hallways for wheelchairs, walk-in showers, and easy-to-operate light switches, handles, and plumbing are wise additions for future accessibility.

SevernWoods would be honoured to execute your luxury custom home or renovate your whole home vision in Toronto. Let’s talk!

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