Must Have Design Features for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home - featured image

(Updated 3/22/2022)

Planning and designing your new custom home should include features and details that will make your home more livable as well as an extension of your personal style. The planning stage is the perfect time to ensure that your new home has all the features you truly desire. As your custom builder, Lakeshore Custom Homes can guide you through the entire custom home design process. Here are a few popular design trends and ideas to ponder as you create your wish list.


Living in Traverse City or Northern Michigan means four-season weather conditions. You’ll want your dream home to be accommodating regardless of the season. Suppose you plan to live year-round in Northern Michigan. In that case, consider an attached garage with a breezeway or an entrance that leads into a mudroom. This option is convenient for hanging damp clothes and shedding wet or muddy shoes before tracking in a mess to the rest of the house. Often this design consideration sets the stage for the rest of the floor plan.

Storm doors with a screen option allow summer breezes to flow through while offering protection in harsher weather. And, of course, having a closet or coat room nearby is very convenient to accommodate your seasonal wardrobe changes.

Open Floor Plans

Nothing beats an open floor plan to add the feel of spaciousness, no matter the size of the home. Popular designs include large windows to let in light and to appreciate the beauty of your setting. Often this area becomes the central feature of the house and sets the stage for the rest of your design ideas.


Lighting is often overlooked, and adding the required wiring and fixtures later can be a nuisance. Homeowners in Northern Michigan need to consider how seasonal changes in natural and ambient lighting will affect each room and plan accordingly.

Be sure to think about how trees and landscaping can change the available light with the change of seasons. Sometimes flipping the blueprint or changing the house’s orientation on the land can make a significant impact.

Custom Built-ins

Custom built-ins are a popular feature among luxury custom homes. These can include built-in bookcases, entertainment centers, and closet organizers. They provide additional storage space while creating a unique design element in the house.

Laundry Rooms

No one ever complained about having too big of a laundry room. However, with all our area’s outdoor recreation opportunities, you’ll likely need to accommodate extra laundry and storage for extra gear and clothing.


Like laundry, extra closet space for storing your wardrobe is super desirable. Walk-in closets are great as they can be designed to arrange easier access and provide better lighting making for a much more functional space. Consider finishing the interior with genuine cedar. Cedar naturally repels moths, and other insects, is low maintenance, and provides a natural fresh scent!

Spa-Like Bathrooms

Luxurious bathrooms that provide a spa-like experience are becoming more popular. Features can include heated floors, large soaking tubs, rain showers, steam rooms, and multiple showerheads.


Sometimes living in Northern Michigan means your closest grocery store might not be so convenient. However, having extra room to store staples can make country living more enjoyable. Walk-in pantries also give you more space to store kitchen gadgets that might otherwise take up counter space.

Wine Rooms and Wine Closets

Whether you prefer one of the Grand Traverse region’s wineries or perhaps something from another part of the world, climate-controlled wine storage is highly desirable. Besides protecting your investment, a well-designed wine room can accent your home beautifully. They can be designed to fit any size or shape, with features such as temperature control and custom lighting to showcase the wine collection.


There’s something special about a home bar. Perhaps you entertain frequently, and a bar makes a great place to congregate, or maybe you’ve always wanted a place where everybody knows your name. With Northern Michigan having so many great breweries, a built-in tap system is a perfect way to enjoy the local flavor.

Home Theater or Audio Room

Are you a film buff or an audiophile? If so, a dedicated home theater or audio room should be in your plans. Special design considerations such as dimensions, wall construction, insulation, floor and ceiling materials, wiring, lighting, seating, and other details make for an ideal acoustic environment. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying your favorite film or musical recording!

Home Office

Traverse City or Northern Michigan is a popular choice for those who can work remotely. Consider having additional electric outlets and a dedicated Internet router or network cable. Lighting is critical for reducing eye strain so consider both windows and lighting fixtures in your plans.

Luxury Garages

Why build a dream home and then have an ordinary garage? Luxury garages are one of the hottest trends these days. Well-lit with fully finished walls and ceilings, epoxy floors, plenty of storage, extra electrical outlets, and extra room for all your toys and maybe even a convertible for cruising down M22. With creature comforts like this, your garage becomes a natural extension of your home. When designing your perfect garage, heating, and cooling, televisions, sound systems, wet bars, and bathrooms are often asked for features.

Secret Rooms

You may want a private space for a home office, a humidor, or a safe room. Either way, a secret room can be a unique addition to your home.

Outdoor Spaces

There has been a shift toward more open patio or deck areas to enjoy the outdoors that Northern Michigan offers. Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular. This can include outdoor kitchens, fire pits, swimming pools, and hot tubs. Homeowners can also add landscaping and features such as outdoor speakers, TV screens, and water features.

COVID-19 Home Building Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed more focus on the home and amenities that can help make your time at home even more enjoyable.

With moviegoers deterred from attending theaters and theater closures, many new film releases are now being streamed. Subsequently, larger, more luxurious home theater rooms are in demand.

The same applies to home fitness rooms, as traditional gyms and fitness clubs face restrictions. The upside is that a home gym can save you travel time as well as time saved, not waiting for a machine to become available. Plus, a home gym no longer means working out alone or being isolated. Streaming fitness services like Peloton are popular. Planet Fitness is even streaming “Home Work-Ins,” and dozens of other services are available, including yoga, dance, and strength classes.

Working from home is now mainstream and upgrading your Internet and home networking are vital. You can add network cables throughout the house to facilitate additional WIFI routers. These can easily be added to new construction and will reduce clutter. More and more, Smart Home features are in demand.

With less time dining out, the kitchens, pantries, and dining areas have more focus. Larger pantries and more spacious kitchens make it easier for more cooks in the kitchen and dining spaces that are more open and flexible.

Touchless technology has experienced an increase in popularity due to the public’s desire to minimize the transmission of germs and viruses. Touchless bath and kitchen fixtures are also more popular, and more styles and options are available than ever before. Motion-activated faucets, touchless toilets, and automatic doors are a few examples.

With more family members at home at the same time, privacy is more valued, and bedrooms and dens can offer a needed quiet space or retreat. Simple additions like additional furniture, like a recliner and reading light, can add a more comfortable touch to these spaces.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

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