Designing a luxury home in an area known for its chilly weather means factoring in some unique considerations. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures each bring their own challenges to homeowners, causing everything from drafty rooms to burst pipes. Here are three main areas to take into account when designing your dream home so you can prevent future headaches and keep your family warm all year round.

A Guide to Cold Climate Home Design

1. Consider Snow

Choose design elements that best complement the weather. When selecting roofing materials, consider if you want the snow to stay on the roof and melt slow or have the snow fall off on its own. If using metal remember that falling snow can cause plant damage in plant beds and will freeze into a block of ice when it falls on your deck. Minimize or leave out openings in your roof design; these can attract snow piles, which may cause leaks once they start to melt. 

Give careful consideration to roof valleys and how they intersect. Snow can pile up in these intersections and cause ice dams.

Covered walkways leading up to your home keep your family and guests safe and dry in snowy conditions. Design walkways with harder materials like concrete, and avoid gravel to help make shoveling easy. Side buildings or uncovered walkways should have enough space between them and the house so snow sliding off the roof doesn't pile up on them. Another popular upgrade in luxury homes is a heated driveway and walkway system, which can melt snow efficiently and save you the hassle of keeping these areas clear for cars and guests. 

2. Choose a Home Site Facing the Sun

luxury home

The sun provides natural heat and energy, keeping your family warm and lowering heating costs. Consider installing solar panels as a renewable energy source if your home site has an abundance of natural sunlight. When designing windows, make sure they are south-facing to gather maximum amounts of the sun's light and warmth. Adding shades to your windows will keep the sun out when desired and your home cooler in warmer months. 

3. Pick the Right Insulation

Insulation comes in a variety of different types, so consult your home builder for advice on which is best. Your designer may suggest special framing options for your home design to leave adequate room for insulation and air space to move heated air out of your attic into a heat exchanger to remove and reuse the heat. 

The best way to avoid roof problems from snow is to keep the roof cold and not let heat from the inside melt the roof snow. Today there are numerous recess light penetrations in the ceiling. It is very difficult penetrations to stop heat from escaping and melting the roof. This will necessitate the need for gutter heat which is expensive to install and operate. Insulating the underside of the roof sheeting with a combination of 2 types of foam that total around 12". You will not need to insulate your ceiling in this case which means easy access to change wiring and other things in the attic. This insulation is popular on ski hills and other locations that don't want heat to get to the roofing and melt snow.


When you're ready to design the perfect luxury home for your family, contact the experts at Landmark Builders in Whitefish, MT. With over 40 years of professional home building and design experience throughout Kalispell and the state, they'll work with you to create the custom home of your dreams. To get the planning process started, visit their website, or call (406) 253-3839 for more information.