The Ultimate 6 Cool Things to Include When Building a House

When designing your custom home you want to make your house work for you, with all the features you need to make your life as pleasant and easy as possible. From smart home features to storage there are so many cool things to include when building a house.

Working with a custom home builder like Fortress Home, Chicago, makes a huge difference in knowing that all your ideas will be completed just as you imagined them, making your dream home a reality. Contact us to discuss all your cool ideas for building a house today: [email protected] or +773-770-8607

Our favorite cool things to include when building a house

With over 20 years of experience building custom homes, we've come across some crazy ideas here at Fortress Home, but we've also seen some really innovative and thoughtful ideas that would benefit most homes. Here are some of our favorites.

1 - Super storage

While most people don't think of storage as being particularly cool, we think it can be! Especially when it's in an innovative place and helps you save space.

  • Understairs drawers - we think this is a fantastic idea for giving you extra space storage. While under-stair cupboards are a well-known feature (Harry Potter anyone?) we think drawers make an even better idea. If your stairs are near the front door you can use them to store shoes and boots. Or if they are near the living room the drawers can be used for kids' toys and books.
  • Pantry or larder cupboards - while pantries aren't a new idea we think it's time they made a comeback. With a huge resurgence in home-cooking and gardening, pantries are the perfect place to store your jars of homemade jam or vegetables that don't need to be refrigerated. Another alternative is a larder cupboard, one large, specially designed cupboard for all your dry kitchen goods.
  • Recessed bathroom cabinets - did you know that you can fit small recessed cupboards in the space between wall studs? These storage areas will be the perfect size for toiletries and medicines, which don't require deep shelves, and they will give your bathroom a cleaner look.

2 - Smart home features

If you haven't heard of smart homes yet, now is the time to get connected. With smart home appliances being developed for the whole house you'll want to ensure your home is smart wired for any devices that aren't wireless.

Here are some smart appliances you might want to consider.

Smart fridge

Different smart fridges have different features. One of our favorites is a camera inside the fridge so you can check on the contents directly from the grocery store, so you don't end up with 5 pints of milk two days before you go on vacation.

Smart stove

While many stoves have timers wouldn't it be useful to set the oven to pre-heat when you're running late getting home from work? With a smart stove, you can do just that from an app on your phone.

Smart thermostats

With a smart thermostat, you can program it so it knows when you're at home and adjusts the temperature accordingly. You can also control your home's temperature from your smartphone, all of which can save you money in heating and cooling bills.

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Smart lighting

Smart lighting can also save you money by dimming lights at certain times of day or night. You can even program it to get darker towards bedtime and gradually get brighter in the morning, which can really help with both falling asleep and waking up naturally.

Wireless charging

Most phones these days can charge wirelessly, which is very handy if you're forever losing cables. You can now install wireless charging panels directly into your home, on side tables, counters, or nightstands.


Home security systems have come a long way from the days of a single unit where you need to punch in a code to stop the alarm from going off. You can now control your home's security from a smartphone app and even get a smart doorbell to see who is at your door, even when you're not at home.

3 - Green home benefits

With all the extra electricity being used by your smart home now is a great time to make your house greener! From installing LED lightbulbs and high-efficiency insulation to getting your own solar panels there has never been a better time to go green.

All these energy-efficient measures will save you money in the future through reduced utility bills and a home that requires less heating and cooling.

4 - Lighting for living

Lighting is so important in a home and can help create relaxing or lively atmospheres.

  • Natural light - adding natural light as a feature in your home can save you money on lighting, and even heating if done right, and can make your house brighter and more welcoming on a sunny day. You can use skylights or sun tunnels to add more natural light to your dream home.
  • Cabinet lights - if you're a keen cook your kitchen will be the heart of your home and one way to give this room extra light is with under cabinet lighting. This is really useful for giving you an extra bit of light while reading a recipe or assembling your meal. And recessed lights like this give a cleaner more minimalist feel to a kitchen.
  • Outdoor lighting - if you're lucky enough to have a big outdoor living space don't forget to light it thoughtfully. You'll thank us for it later, as your afternoon bbq turns into a relaxed evening drinking wine outside and discussing the day's events.

5 - Outlets galore

You might not think of outlets as cool things to include when building a house but extra electrical outlets are always useful. Adding them in unexpected places, like the drawers of bedside tables or under kitchen cabinets can be really useful. And if you have a beautiful outdoor living area, don't forget to put a few outlets there too.

6 - Unusual room ideas

We all have ideas about where rooms traditionally go but do they always make sense in our day-to-day life? Here are some ideas for re-imagining your floor plan, or even adding a bit of magic to it.

Upstairs laundry room

Laundry rooms are downstairs, next to the kitchen, aren't they? But what if they don't have to be. We bet that most of your dirty laundry comes from upstairs and goes back upstairs when cleaned. So why not put your laundry room upstairs, near to the bedrooms. Maybe you can even get your family to put their dirty laundry directly into the laundry room.

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Downstairs master bedroom

We don't like to think about getting older, but if you're building a dream home to last you past retirement you might want to consider putting a master bedroom and master bathroom downstairs for when the stairs seem too much. If you have the space you can have both an upstairs and downstairs master, which is great for when you have guests too, as they can have their own private guest suite away from your room.

Your own secret room

This idea may not be the most serious but we certainly think it's the most magical! Why not incorporate a secret room somewhere in your house, with a bookcase for a doorway? Behind the hidden doorway, you could have an office, a games room, or even a secret library and reading room.

Fortress Home is a residential construction company with over 20 years of experience on the Chicago IL housing market.

Frequently asked questions

What are some small things that get forgotten when building a house?

Two things that we always suggest to our customers, when building their dream homes are storage and outlets!

Built-in storage, closets, cupboards, and pantries are not only great features when it comes to selling a house but they also make a home much more pleasant to live in. They help reduce clutter and can even aid with a minimalist style, as you need less furniture to store all your belongings in.

Another feature of new houses that many people forget is power outlets. Think carefully about everywhere you might need them and then add a couple more. You can also get outlets with built-in USB ports so you can charge all your devices, whether they come with a standard plug or not.

What are some features to consider when building a new home in 2021?

The latest features that we should all be considering when building a new house are all to do with technology and energy efficiency. With smart home technologies and integrated wiring, you'll ensure your house is ready for whatever the future may bring.

All these smart technologies require power, and with energy prices rising there's never been a better time to make your new home energy efficient.

Make sure you use the most efficient insulation and double, or even triple glaze your windows. You can even install some solar panels on the roof so your smart home can become a little more self-sufficient when it comes to electricity.

What are some things to keep in mind when building a house?

Our top piece of advice when you're building your own house is to plan for the future, not just the present.

So many people build a house for where they are in life right now, but when you're building your dream home you might as well try and make it future-proof by ensuring you have enough rooms for any future children, or for elderly parents to move in. That way your perfect home will be perfect for the long haul, not just for a few more years.

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What is the main asset of a construction company? Everything is simple. This is not an investment, not funds in the company's account. These are those unique houses, apartments, and buildings that have already been built and put into operation by the company. In different architectural styles, other concepts, and various tasks assigned to the general contractor. That is the asset in Fortress Home, with over 300 homes from more than 20 years of operation that delight their families.

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