top 10 tips

Luxury Custom Homes – What’s Hot & What’s Not in 2017!

By Kev
At Mar 20, 2017
Reunion Resort Trending Home Designs 2017

Contemporary Designs are hot in 2017!

Just because you’ve got a huge budget to call upon, there’s no guarantee your home will be luxurious!
Tasteful and considerate detailing is the key to everything in upscale custom home building.
Central Florida is however a very special place for custom homes, where outdoor living spaces offer a novel perspective.
Add the fact that our finest homes are often just a stone’s throw away from those outrageous theme parks and you have a license to get away with much, much more down here in the Sunshine State!

First Consideration: Are you building a residential home or a vacation investment home?

Does it matter?
Simply put, yes.
Themed rooms are almost an essential tool to lure in precious weeks of occupancy in vacation rental homes.
In a residential home, those over the top themed bedrooms can drive you insane, year in year out.
The more time a person spends time in those rooms, the speed at which costly remodel is needed increases.
Stay charming but neutral in residential homes, but be bold and adaptive in vacation homes in Florida!

What’s Hot in the Disney Parks Area’s Luxury Vacation Homes?

  • Outdoor living spaces allow out of state visitors to make use of the year round Floridian lifestyle.
  • Summer kitchens, gas BBQ grills and creative pools with sun shelves and water features are in.
  • Easy to use Bluetooth sound systems allow guests to connect their smart devices to specific speakers around the home.
  • Simple home automation stops guest confusion, but lowers running costs!  AC turns off when external doors are left open and pool heating is optimized to suit occupancy.
  • Well specified games rooms are big winners, especially if they have a creative theme and lots of choice on offer.  Pool tables are much lower on the food chain with younger gamers!  They want more!
    Garage conversions need to be cool, in every possible sense!  No AC? Forget it.
  • King sized adult beds are expected, all with en suite bathrooms too.
  • Kids bunk rooms with imaginative themes are the norm, so push the ideas hard to stand out from the competition!
  • Home theaters have really moved on to a very high standard.
    Projection screens are still popular in the very large theaters, but think about a smaller seating count and +75″ SMart TV’s for lower maintenance costs and better features.
    Consider using the space saved to create a hybrid games/bar/small theater ambiance.

What’s Not so Hot in the Luxury Vacation Homes Near Disney!

  • Slides are an insurance cost risk in rental homes, but they do attract occupancy, so do your homework!
  • Faux paint effects are a thing of the past as owners experiment with flat finish dry wall and well chosen trim and paint finishes.
  • Elaborate classical trim work and rustic finishes are no longer being selected by owners (or renters!)
  • Wooden floors are beautiful, but the new porcelain and ceramic tiled planking has all of the beauty without those suitcase scratches!
  • Avoid wireless TV Surveillance systems around the home.  They can be illegal and will certainly make your guests anxious!
  • Ensure that bathrooms are tiled to a high specification.  Carpets are a big ‘NO’
  • By all means keep an area locked off for you owner items, but not at the expense of guest storage or convenience!
  • Don’t leave guests without adequate parking spaces!  Divide the number of bedrooms by 2 for a rough guide to driveway spots.

What’s Hot in Luxury Residential Homes

  • Fully integrated Smart Home Automation is adding comfort, security and savings to the top of the ‘New Home’ wish list!
  • Real effect ‘fire’ displays using vapor effects are popular in the luxury custom home sector, great ambient effects without the heat.
  • Super Large TV’s are dropping in price and enable a more spacious layout for living rooms and family areas. (70″ for around $1500 at the time of writing)
  • Advances in durable flooring systems allow indoor and outdoor living areas to integrate beautifully.  (See examples in
  • LED lighting provides a significant cost saving along with adjustable light temperatures for color effects in rooms or on pool decks.
  • Instant boiling water systems such as Insinkerator offer a safe alternative to watching that kettle boil!
  • Hidden & slimline air vents take the ‘ugly’ out of air conditioning.  (See examples on
  • Although the luxury home market is generally moving in a more contemporary direction, there’s still lots of love around for carefully designed traditional features and accents.
    Owners look for the ‘gingerbread’ effect to lift the kerb appeal and create a comfortable ambience after a tough day at the office.  Traditional features can blend well within the right sort of residential home! (some ideas here)

What’s Not in Fashion (probably never was in fashion!) in the Luxury Home Market

  • Animal Stonework in the external grounds (unless it is a worthy monster of a home!)
  • Carpets in bath rooms.  (Anyone that has ever cleaned a bathroom will know exactly why!)
  • Mud swirl ceilings, of any sort.
  • Bidet sets in bathrooms.  Not cool, never was.
  • Latest appliance trends that haven’t stood the test of time (steam ovens, built in coffee makers quickly outdate –  thanks Keurig!)
  • Indoor water features (unless it is a worthy monster of a home!)
  • Faux wall treatments.  We’ve seen some that work beautifully, but it is very rarely done well.
  • Large imposing exterior columns (unless it is a worthy monster of a home!)
  • Outdoor trampolines and other recreational structures
  • Indoor pools (unless it is a worthy monster of a home!)
  • Statement pieces that say the wrong thing!
  • Inadequate storage in bedrooms
  • Rooms that are way to large or way too small for their intended use.
  • Complicated to understand audio and home theater systems

Let the experts take care of your future dream home!

Thankfully, the McNally team can help you turn your hard earned money into a truly beautiful and successful dream home.
Our designers and experts can guide you through each and every step of the way to create a perfect custom home for your needs right here in Central Florida!
Let the experts do the work for you!

You may be interested in remodeling your Windermere area home.
Check out our Keenes Pointe rebuild article following a shocking lightning strike!



Top 10 Tips For A Perfect Luxury Home – Part 3 of 3

By Kev
At Feb 07, 2017

Contemporary luxury bedroom

Perhaps one of the most important yet difficult rooms in a home to design, the living room has to deal with the biggest workload.
Tradeoffs are inevitable;
Lots of natural daylight puts a spring in our step, but can interfere heavily with TV screens.
Nice tall double height ceilings are impressive, but late night chatting can travel up into bedrooms.
Understanding how a family will function in a home will enable the best design.
Placement of the living room in relation to the rest of the home is key to keeping the family connected together, and a surge in open layout designs has been hugely popular.
Looking for ideas on living room design?  Try this blog post on

Sofas, breakfast bars and nooks have pushed the formal dining table out of common use these days, but a great dining room is a pleasure to use on special occasions.
With enough room for elbows and walking around, even the smallest formal dining room can add a little magic to a family occasion or celebration.
Accents tend work very well when based around a table centre piece, a great light fixture and some cool artwork.
If you have room to spare for some accent chairs and cabinet, the dining room will reward your efforts!
Some great dining room designs

Perhaps the most ‘under planned’ room of the home, the bedrooms take care of for at least a third of the day, but often get treated as a ‘box’ with a door on it.
Often bedrooms are designed with ‘Now’ in mind, but people’s needs change rapidly and every effort to ‘future proof’ a bedroom design can pay rewards.
Bedrooms need to be warm, bright and welcoming by day, yet cozy, restful and quiet by night.
Positioning is key for a restful night, away from pool pumps, AC units and other noisier family members.
Consideration should be given to how a bedroom for pre-schooler will cope with that same kid as a college student.
Space for relaxation, study, hobbies and music are the key to success of a great bedroom design.
Enabling the bedroom owner to play a role in design and decor is always a great move (sometimes in moderation!).
Some great visual ideas for bedroom designs.
Design tips for rooms with limited space.

Bathrooms really fall into two distinct categories, defined mainly by lifestyle.
If kids are happy just to have their own shower and privacy, a nicely tiled, relatively simple bathroom can do the trick and at a relatively low cost.
After all, most kids want to spend as little time in that room as possible!
Things get a little more costly when the bathroom begins to serve as an extension of our lifestyle.
If your epitome of luxury, is a glass of wine by candle light, chatting to your partner, then costs are starting to rise already.
The size of the bathroom, the tiling and room for seating and twin vanities soon bump the price up, but it’s your dream home!
Teenagers might not want to take a candlelit bath in your top specification dream bathroom, but they may want to get ready, put their makeup on with their best friend chatting beside them.  That adds a little extra space onto your oldest daughter’s bathroom for sure!
Some great visual ideas for bathroom designs.

Christmas, Halloween and hobbies place an unexpected burden on your storage needs.
So do seasonal clothing and equipment.
Be sure to plan ahead and build in as much storage space as possible, but equally don’t go crazy.  More space = more clutter!

Automation, (the internet of things), home security and lighting control are all hot topics at the home design shows.
Although technology is changing rapidly, the infrastructure is thankfully stable.  In other words, what you commit to now, probably won’t need a major rewire of your home in 10 years time.
Cat5 cabling, WiFi and Bluetooth are industry standards for the ‘bells and whistles’ of Hi-Tech gadgetry.
Technology is always changing though, and the best advice appears to be to tread lightly, keep costs and complexity to a minimum, but design your automation needs around the lifestyle of your family.
View this great youtube video Intro to Home Automation 2016

Top 10 Tips For A Perfect Luxury Home – Part 1 of 3 can be found by following this link!
Top 10 Tips For A Perfect Luxury Home – Part 2 of 3 can be found by following this link!
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Top 10 Tips For a Perfect Luxury Home – Part 2 of 3

By Kev
At Jan 18, 2017

Designer Kitchen Reunion Resort Florida

Whenever you walk into a magnificent room, there’s usually one, maybe two signature accents that define that room as being special.
Often inexpensive, rarely small, those accents add to the ambiance, without overpowering the whole landscape of a living space.
From simple sheets of mirrored glass, to a magnificent occasional table or vase, a carefully placed accessory can have the same effect as a well chosen tie or piece of jewelry.
Accents offer the opportunity to add a statement into a living space and should never be used to ‘fill a void’.
Check out Trulia’s 2017 Design Trends

Light neutral and natural tones are often highly recommended by realtors as a ‘safe bet’.
They help sell homes, mainly because they offer the least distraction to a buyer, but for a family home, it can often pay to become a little bolder!
For some inspiration, don’t get too hung up on any one article on what’s trending!  After an hour of research you will soon discover that EVERY color is trending according to the experts.
Our advice is to just do a simple Google Image search for ‘Best Home Decor‘ and pick out the images that suit your needs best.
After all, your family will be living there!

We mentioned jewelry in our accents section.
From an exterior perspective, lighting is the jewelry hero of modern architecture.
With fabulous and diverse designs, sophisticated control systems all coupled with incredibly low energy lamps, there has never been a better opportunity to illuminate our homes with care and consideration to our neighbors and the environment.
Advances in energy efficient, directional lighting have increased the opportunity for owners to create welcoming, secure homes, without polluting the air and skies.
Internal lights share those same advancements, keeping heat gain to a minimum, with controllability that we could only have dreamed of 10 years ago.
Auto sensors, color temperature for mood lights and even remote access from a smart phone all add to the magic of a dream home.
Best of all, we’ve practically seen the end of blown fuses, broken filaments and high energy costs from our home’s lighting systems!
For inspiration, check out the Google Image search for luxury lighting ideas.

Did we mention jewelry before?
OK, our last mention goes to windows.  Often viewed as the eyes of a home, windows keep us warm, dry, insulated from the elements and of course bathed in natural light.
What we often forget, is that they also provide an architect with a huge opportunity to reveal the form of the home from the outside.
A great architect can use windows to reveal subtle details of a home, without forgoing privacy.
Night time is however, the time to use those impressive panes of sealed glass to their full, as they transmit or reflect the available light around them.
As with lighting, technology has advanced, keeping insulation to the highest levels, but preventing solar gain from overloading air conditioning systems.
Investing in great windows is always a great choice.
For inspiration, Google Images search for luxury windows ideas.

Kitchens sell houses.
OK, so you’re building, not selling a house, but this Trulia article makes a perfect point.
People LOVE kitchens, mainly due to the fact that food is such a fundamental and social part of our lives.
Kitchens enable us to take care of those that we love, but demonstrate our creativity to those around us when we cook.
A well designed kitchen, whatever the size, is always the most popular venue for party goers.
Great kitchens tend to have a few important traits; good cabinets that suit the rest of the home, impressive but not costly counter tops, uncluttered surfaces, a few very well chosen accents and great lighting and extraction.
Nice kitchens sell houses because people love nice kitchens.
It’s always worth that extra effort to get this room just perfect!

Part 1 of 3 of our Top Tips For a Perfect Custom Home is right here!
Part 3 of 3 will be coming in March 2017!
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Top 10 Tips For A Perfect Luxury Home – Part 1 of 3

By Kev
At Dec 26, 2016

Reunion Resort Luxury Home Theater

How often have you walked a home, only to think to yourself; that it simply lacks character?
Homes can be finished to the highest possible level, with the finest natural materials, but that cliche that ‘money can’t buy taste’ is perhaps one of the most uttered phrases in the real estate world.

So, what exactly is character?  How can an owner and builder work together to create a home with ambiance, style and charisma?
We take a closer look, calling upon some great resources from within the custom home industry!

Influenced by a desire to shake off the errors of victorian urban life, eminent Swiss architect Le Corbusier defined a home as a ‘Machine For Living In’.
For many year’s that concept seemed too ‘cold and heartless’.
Today however, the idea of a home being designed as a perfect machine, for living sleeping and most importantly enjoyment, is a fundamental of modern architecture.
Break out areas, entertainment nooks and optimized views are all possible, in any home, given adequate consideration by the prospective owners, the builder and the architect.
Understanding how a family will actually use a home, is the key to a successful design!

‘Wish lists’, ‘must haves’ and function, are the essential starting points of a great custom home, and along with the home’s environment and the location a great architect can begin shaping your dreams.
Owners will be delighted if the fundamentals are considered to the full, and that’s the number one aim of any custom home builder.
With a family of 5, a lot of compromise will be inevitable.  Not everyone gets their way, but a great builder becomes a fabulous mediator throughout the preliminary design process.
The location of the home has the most profound effect on design.
Floor layouts, materials and structure, are all dependent on the precise location of the home.
Harsh winters would dictate that a flat top modern design would be a difficult process in such a snow laden territory.
Dream views over a valley side, will determine the placement of rooms more than any other factor.
Climates will determine if a home needs a mud room from the garage, or a pool bathroom from the lanai.
That may seem obvious, but errors from the start of a project become very expensive to correct if overlooked.
Some great luxury home designs if you are stuck for ideas.  (Our in house design team will custom design your dream home!)

Spaces serve so much more purpose than just rooms.  Spaces connect the whole home together, making it so much more than a collection of ‘boxes with doors and windows’.
Beautiful natural light over a stairway can transform an entrance hall into the most impressive centerpiece of a luxury home.
The appeal of a breakfast table is elevated by access onto a landscaped lanai, with hints of shared materials and form.
A cozy, peaceful corner bathed in natural light can become the perfect place for study.
The recent popularism of Feng Shui has heightened the awareness of ‘space’ within a home’s design and the relationship between doorways, windows, light and furnishings is a cornerstone of this ancient Chinese art form.
For owners and builders, the concept of balancing the key features of a home is without doubt one of the most powerful ways to build in a wow factor!
A quick look at how Feng Shui can ease the design process!

While tastes differ, one thing should always be constant; the interplay between harmony and contrast.
Furniture selections should form a strong tie to the tastes of its users and to the architectural style of the home.
Balancing the conflict between harmony and contrast is one of the greatest challenges to home decor and it requires an artful eye and creative imagination.
Thankfully, Central Florida is blessed with some of the finest interior designers in the USA, should you want to top off your own ideas with some great advice.
Check out Zillow’s 2017 home design trends

Part 2 of 3 can be read by following this link!
Part 3 of 3 can be read by following this link!
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