Behind-The-Scenes: Designing Your New Home

Meet Elias & Taryn, soon-to-be newlyweds and owners of a brand-new beautiful Brooks European floor plan in our Hanover Reserve Community (Wilmington, NC)! We are following their home buying and building experience from start to finish to give you a real glimpse into designing your new home.

The first part of the home buying process (and the most fun!) after signing a contract: selecting the personal touches that will make your house a home!

When you choose to build a new home with McKee Homes, you get the exciting and unique opportunity to work with our talented Design Consultants to make your dream home come to life. We have two fully-stocked Design Studios conveniently-located in Fayetteville and Leland, NC, housing a variety of selections available to touch, see and experience, including:

  • Carpet samples
  • Exterior finishes, like stone and siding
  • Lighting and plumbing fixtures
  • Kitchen cabinet options
  • Flooring, including kitchen and bath tile, as well as living area hardwood laminate
  • Countertops and backsplash
  • And much more!

So, what’s the custom design process like for Elias and Taryn (and you, too)?


Once you put a contract on a home, your New Home Sales Consultant will review exterior design features with you, including home, shutter and front door colors, siding (vinyl siding or cement-board siding–per neighborhood), trim, windows, and stone.

Distinctive to the European elevation that Elias and Taryn chose, the castle-like façade of this particular home features a blend of architectural elements including stone for added texture, romantic arches, charming window shutters and graceful, yet grand front porch columns that give, all of which they were able to personalize themselves.

Pictured: Brooks European Floor Plan. Optional feature: Third-car garage.


Once the exterior characteristics of the home are chosen, home buyers will attend a showing at one of our Design Studios. A Design Consultant will offer you drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and light appetizers and give you an in-depth tour of the entire design studio, educating you on the available design selections that come both standard and as upgrades for your specific floor plan. Then, the Design Consultant will guide you through selecting your home customization’s, including but not limited to:

  • Interior paint color
  • Maple cabinets: with a variety of colors and styles to personalize your bathrooms and kitchen
  • Countertops: a selection of granite and quartz colors, standard kitchen sinks (50/50 or 60/40 stainless steel sinks) or sink options to include single basin, apron front stainless steel or white farm house.
  • Cabinet hardware: included in our Autograph series, or an option that can be added to the Heritage Series
  • Kitchen backsplash: a variety of colors and styles that are continually updated to follow current trends
  • Cultured marble: for bathroom countertops
  • Flooring: a variety of laminate, carpet, vinyl, tile or upgraded engineered hardwood (depends on neighborhood included features)
  • Carpet pad: additional options or included carpet pad
  • Lighting: included neighborhood lighting or other options to fit your style
  • Plumbing fixtures: kitchen and baths in a variety of finishes/styles
  • Appliances: Whirlpool packages, or individual Whirlpool or Kitchen Aid Pro appliances

“They were a very fun couple and their Selections were right on trend!” said Lara Jimerson, Senior Design Consultant, of the couple. “Like a white kitchen with quartz and gray marble back splash and gray cabinets in the bathrooms with a tiled master bath.”

“Our experience was amazing. Lara was so helpful in both accommodating our decisions and giving us just the right amount of input to make this our dream home,” said Elias and Taryn. “This is our first home we have ever purchased and the Design Studio was one of the best parts. Lara was so welcoming and willing to help. She even stayed later since we were a little indecisive in making our decisions! She was so patient with us and we highly recommend her and McKee Homes to all future homeowners.”

It’s our experienced Design Consultants job to make the selections appointment both fun and stress-free! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, be sure to check out our 10 Tips for New Home Selections.

Click images below to get a sneak peak into both of our Design Studios before you come: 

Designing Your New Home

Design Studio Fayetteville, NC


Designing Your New Home

Design Studio Leland, NC

To continue to follow Elias and Taryn’s home build, be sure to tune into our Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates!

If you’re interested in learning more about designing your dream home or the home buying process in general, feel free to fill out the form below or call one of our New Home Specialists at 910-672-7296.


2019 Top Home Design Trends

For those wanting to keep up with 2019 top home design trends, McKee Homes has published a list of our eight most popular design studio selections and upgrades. These popular choices, recently made by homebuyers at our design studios, will also be of interest to anyone thinking of remodeling, upgrading or revamping their interior décor this year.

Painted cabinets

top home design trends - painted cabinetsHomebuyers are choosing painted cabinets over stained cabinets to make their kitchens look modern and unique. Light and neutral colors such as white and gray are popular but bold colors such as navy blue are becoming popular as well. These bold colors give kitchens a dramatic high-end luxurious look.

4×16 & Subway Backsplash Tiles

top home design trends - subway tilesCommon 3”x6” Subway tiles have been popular for years but we’re seeing larger Subway tiles and 4”x16” ceramic and glass tile backsplashes gaining ground in the last couple years. When combined with quartz countertops, the larger tiles give kitchens a clean look that’s also low maintenance.

Tile Herringbone Patterns

top home design trends -tile herringbone patternHerringbone pattern in tile is one of those trends that comes back around every so often. While popular over 50 years ago, it wasn’t seen much in new construction for many decades. In the last few years herringbone patters have come back in favor and add a unique modern look to tile on backsplashes and floors.

Quartz Countertops

top home design trends -quartz countertopsQuartz countertops continue to gain in popularity compared to granite. Like granite, quartz countertops are resistant to stains, moisture and bacteria but are lower maintenance because they are less porous and don’t need to be sealed. Quartz also comes in a wider variety of colors than granite and the colors are more uniform.

LED Lighting

top home design trends -LED lightingLED lighting is one of the latest trends for a number of reasons including lower cost, better energy efficiency and increased durability. LED undercounter lighting is very popular now because the lighting range is more controllable, it produces less heat and can last for thousands of hours. LED Smart light bulbs cost more than other LED bulbs but can be set up in zones so lighting in different areas of the home can be controlled by a mobile device such as a phone or tablet or a voice-activated system.

12×24 Tile in Wet Areas

top home design trends -12" x 24" floor tilesOne of the easiest ways to showcase a bathroom is to add 12” x 24” tile flooring. This has become very popular lately as it adds a high-end modern look to any room. Another positive aspect of larger tiles is fewer grout joints to clean.

Frameless Shower Doors

top home design trends -frameless shower doorsAnother popular trend in bathrooms is frameless shower doors. The absence of hard lines and frames adds an elegant open, seamless and contemporary style to any bathroom. Frameless shower doors also make a bathroom look larger than it really is, are easier to clean and are more durable with thicker glass.

Warm Gray Interior Walls

top home design trends - warm gray wall colorsWarm gray paint colors are currently the most popular. They are soft, stylish and neutral and work with almost any type of flooring and furniture. Warm tones are inviting with beige, brown and taupe undertones as opposed to cool grays which have more blue undertones.


Home design trends can be difficult to keep up with. Hopefully this article showcasing the 2019 top home design trends from the McKee Homes Design Studios will help homebuyers and homeowners looking for the latest design trends for their homes. For more info, contact us at 910-692-7296 or visit our McKee Homes Design Studio webpage.