Wiring ClosetWhen you design your own home, you can customize not just the placement of rooms and look of the architecture, but also the function of the home. Custom homes that are well-designed not only look good, but make your life more comfortable and productive due to the built-in efficiencies.

One of the things we did in both this house and the last custom home, was to specify the kind of wiring we needed and have it installed when installation is easy — before the walls go up.

Among other things, every room in our home is wired for ethernet. Take your laptop anywhere you want and you can plug in and access the internet, data on the server, and networked printers. Not good enough? Too lazy to plug in the machine? WiFi is everywhere.

And all the wiring in the house runs to a single, central wiring closet to make it easy to manage and access.

There are some great online sources for all your wiring and cable needs. Optimization-World.com has a huge array of supplies when you're building or setting up your systems. They have myriad cat 5 and 6 cables, coax, and firewire cables to chose from. We learned the hard way — during a torrential Florida thunder storm — how important a quality surge suppressors is. (Suffice it to say we ended up needed a new TV, VHS player, modem, motherboard — you get the picture.)

Move your house into the 21st century by making smart building decisions that are upgradable.