Our Favorite Must Haves When Building Your Colorado Custom Home


When building your Colorado custom home, we go through a design process that helps us to get to the heart of what you are trying to achieve.

After we sort through the basics of size, layout, and budget, we start to have fun with figuring out your “Must Haves.” Must Haves are a huge part of what sets a custom home apart. They are the little things that personalize your new home to your lifestyle and needs.

How To Figure Out Your Custom Home Must Haves

It all starts with a little daydreaming…Have you always wanted an outdoor shower? Would a centralized vacuum make household chores that much easier? 

Get started making a list, both of what you want and of questions for your design team. And collect reference images for your design team. We bring years of collective design and building experience to the table, to help bring your vision to life. No idea is “too much,” and being able to clearly communicate what you are looking for allows us to do our best job for you.

Here’s a roundup of our favorite, custom home features…Feel free to add them to your list!

Custom Home Features To Make Your Life Easier


Hidden Litter Boxes

Our furry friends are our most trusted companions, but that doesn’t mean their needs have to take precedence over our own. Built-in, hidden litter boxes can be a great addition to your floor plan. Think of it as a fancy closet with an integrated exhaust system, easy-to-clean finishes, and a private place for your favorite feline to take care of business. It can also be a great way to store all of their food, supplies, and other essentials.

Built In Dog Crates

Crate training is a wonderful way to keep your dog and your favorite household items safe while you are away. Although functional, most ready-made options are cumbersome and unattractive. A built in crate saves space and creates better flow in a room. Our favorite way to integrate crates is through our custom cabinet and millwork packages. 

Centralized Vacuum System

When building a custom home, it’s pretty easy to include a centralized vacuum in the mechanical systems. We simply include the duct work in the HVAC systems we are already installing.

A central vacuum is a large collection container, usually located in your garage, basement or mechanical room, connected to outlets in each room, where a vacuum hose can plug in for temporary use. Costs range between $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the square footage, number of desired outlets, and brand. This is a great addition to a home with kids or pets. 

Curated Kitchen Organization

Your kitchen can be as organized as you want! “A place for everything, and everything in its place” just got a whole lot easier! Think of drawers with outlets for charging devices, multi-tiered spice drawer organizers, and much more. This is where Pinterest or Houzz can be your best friend. 

Once you inventory all of the kitchen items you have or want, bring the list to your designer. Then it’s their job to create a home for each item. Think of tall cabinets with outlets to charge your Dyson, or a well-appointed bank of drawers for your extensive linen collection. Must Haves are personal and related to your stuff and your lifestyle. That’s the beauty of them. 

The Perfect Mudroom

Colorado Custom Home mudroom

From our clients’ perspectives, mudrooms have become a central part of living. Whether you are a family of four, or active empty nesters, custom mudrooms are a great idea. Think of the space as a staging zone for everyday living. It’s a place to separate your outdoor wear, pet supplies, seasonal accessories, and more. Whether you’re organizing your recreational activities, like gardening or hiking, or making sure your kids are ready to go to school, it makes your day flow smoother and the rest of your house less cluttered.

From Spa Bath to Wellness Room

We often hear about creating a “spa like” master bath, but did you know that you can also integrate elements to enhance your health and speed recovery time from sports? Do you want heated tile floors and towel warmers? Infrared saunas, steam rooms, cold plunges, and freestanding soaking tubs are just a few of the features that we are starting to see in master baths. We’ve built an ice tub for a client-athlete who regularly ices his entire body. 

Adding an electrical outlet inside your vanity cabinet can make hair dryers and curling irons ready to use and easier to put away. Lastly, there’s always the option of a bidet. You may not think you need it, but it doesn’t hurt to have an outlet installed near your toilet so you are ready to add that element if you change your mind.

Outdoor Entertainment Area

Don’t forget to include your outdoor entertainment area in your Must Haves.  If BBQ’s and alfresco dinners bring you joy, let’s make sure to create that space at your custom home. Some clients go as far as building an outdoor kitchenette that can house everything from a prep sink and an under-counter fridge, to a smoker and built in grill. 

You may want an outdoor shower that doubles as a dog wash, to compliment your hot tub or pool. All of these elements are best integrated during the planning phase, so it’s better to plan for them up front.

There are no “Must Haves” too wacky or too big when building your custom home with R.G. Cowan Design.

Allow yourself space to dream, and we’ll make it happen.





Picture of Ryan Cowan

Ryan Cowan:
Owner I Operator

RG COWAN DESIGN BUILD crafts dynamic custom homes in Grand Junction, Redlands, Palisade, Appleton, and Fruita, Colorado

We believe that good design is born of inspiration, iteration, and collaboration. It is born out of a process of idea making with a goal of creating beautiful spaces for people. It happens through the interaction with our clients, our collaborators, and our consultants, while always respecting constraints and the natural world. The process is Fluid, founded in the spirit of engagement, while adapting to the needs of a changing world. We think, we design, we build.

These buidling resources will help you navigate the process of building a custom home in and around Grand Junction, Colorado.