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Wow, building a house takes a lot of work, huh? There are so many plans, people, permits, and who knows what else involved in this process. While your head is busy with the plan, don't forget about some of these essential features.

Central air conditioning

This may be a given, but it's something you really don't want to forget to include during construction. No matter where in the world you're planning on building, there will be at least a few months out of the year where you're going to want to run the air conditioning. Roughly 60% of U.S. homes have central air conditioning, and your new house should too.

Wood floors

When you're selecting flooring materials for your new home, you should consider hardwood as an option. For many people, hardwood floors are significantly better than carpet or other types of flooring because they can handle stress from kids and pets. Additionally, consumers expect wood decor, furniture, and flooring to last almost 15 years longer than other materials.

Energy efficient windows

You're building a brand new home, and it deserves new and efficient windows. With the large and open floor plan you are probably designing, it's going to cost a little more to heat and cool that puppy. Dual-paned windows are two times as effective compared to single-paned windows at retaining air conditioning and heat. So, you won't have to spend as much to regulate the temperature in your new home. The Rock Father™ himself published a four-part series on total home window replacement back in 2015.

High quality gutters

While gutters are not as aesthetically pleasing as some of these other features, they will be enormously beneficial to your new home. Gutters keep water away from your home to prevent any kind of problems. While most gutters function the same way, you want to get the best ones you can for your new construction. Clogged gutters are the number one cause of water problems in the basement; it would be a shame to spend all that time and money building a brand new home theater in the basement to have it ruined by bad gutters.

Luxurious bathrooms

Luxurious bathrooms are often high priorities for people buying and building homes. They want updated showers, new tile, two sinks, an oversized mirror, and more. You get to choose all of those things for the bathrooms in your new home, so don't forget to make them as fancy as you please. Otherwise, you'll find yourself remodeling later, like The Rock Father™ did.

The Rock Father's remodeled bathroom

Electrical outlets

You have probably already thought about putting electrical outlets throughout the house, but have you thought about where you want to put them? It's your ball game this time around, and you don't have to place the bed in a weird spot so your lamp reaches the outlet when you're putting in the furniture. Think about how you want everything laid out, and install as many outlets as your heart desires. Under the windows, in the bathroom, in the kitchen island, and even in the garage are all convenient places to stick an outlet.

Convenient laundry room

You do laundry a lot, and wouldn't it be nice to have it in a convenient location? You can tuck the washer and dryer in a closet in your bedroom, off the kitchen, on the main floor, or wherever you think you'll want to do laundry for the next several years. You get to decide where it goes, so you don't have to drag your clothes down to the basement every time they need to be washed unless that's what you want to do.

Pet accommodations

More and more people consider their pets to be a part of the family, so it only makes sense to keep them in mind while you're building. A built-in dog wash can be a great feature in your mudroom, and a pet entrance in your front door can be an awesome addition for your furry friend.

You get to do whatever you want in the home you build for yourself, and you're probably designing your heart out. While there are some areas of the house that may be more important than others to you, make sure you remember the entire house when you're designing and building your dream home.

This Hotel Transylvania Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ Magazine, Pollinate Media Group® and Snyder’s-Lance Inc.

With summer in full swing, we've entered the big summer movie season both in theaters and at home. For regular readers, it should be no secret that we're big movie fans, and while the traditional cinema experience can be a cool break from the hot summer temperatures, our family loves going to the drive-in, and we also love showing movies in our backyard theater right here at home. Backyard movies are a great way to bring the neighborhood together, and depending on what you're showing, it can also lend itself to some fun themes. Since Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is arriving in theaters on July 13, here's five essentials for throwing a Hotel Transylvania double-feature to get re-acquainted with how the story of Dracula and Mavis began. You'll be all caught up before Drac's pack sets sail on a monster cruise ship helmed by a Captain who holds a mysterious secret that could threaten them all!

Mattel's Hot Wheels Pop Culture Assortment is an ever-changing collection of vehicles that feature artwork inspired by many fandoms and interests. Unlike the Character Cars, which take design cues for body styles from actual characters, these are traditional, yet highly-detailed vehicles that are emblazoned with colorful art - think along the lines of those custom 70s vans that used their panels as a canvas. For the latest series, it's all about the Wonderful World of Disney, specifically some classic animated films from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The Jungle Book, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan are all being paid tribute with the latest assortment. Check 'em out below!

Everyone dreams of striking oil in their backyard, unearthing priceless artifacts buried underneath their home, or finding a treasure chest full of loot while out on a hike. Unfortunately, getting rich usually doesn't happen this conveniently. Usually. There are times when unexpected wealth sort of falls into your lap out of the blue. For some lucky people, that's exactly what happened after acquiring the contents of a storage unit. One out of 10 Americans utilize offsite storage rentals, and thanks to reality shows such as Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, more and more people are taking their chances on a stranger's storage unit. If you're considering storage hunting as a new hobby, here are some rare, and possibly valuable, items to look for:

The world of Alexa is still somewhat foreign to me as our family does not yet have an Alexa enabled device. For those that do, however, there's some fun new content - particularly if you have kids who are Disney fans. Launched this week, Disney Dailies is a new kids skill for FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa with jokes, fun facts, and all-new sketches set in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ award-winning film ZootopiaDisney Dailies delivers new content every day, building an amazing collection of voice-enabled experiences. Kids will hear knee-slapping jokes with Mickey Mouse and Daisy Duck, learn brain-teasing fun facts that intertwine Disney stories with science, art, and history, and will be treated to a huge suite of all-new sketches and stories that show kids “What’s up?” with their favorite characters. But that's not all...

The year was 1980. Charles Lazarus had been crowned "The Toy King," with his retail empire having grown from its modest beginnings as the Children's Bargain Town into a household name as Toys "R" Us. What started in 1948 as a place to buy baby furniture had evolved into a place that kids across the country would dream of - a rainbow-striped paradise of toys and games stacked floor-to-ceiling. His mascot had become an icon, and Geoffrey the Giraffe would soon start a family of his own, with wife Gigi, son Geoffrey Jr. and daughter Baby Gee entering the fold. Of course, a growing family will often prompt a search for a bigger ride, and for Geoffrey that search led a meeting between The Toy King of the East Coast and The King of the Kustomizers on the West Coast - legendary car builder, George Barris. It was time to build "The Geoffreymobile."

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