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31st Aug, 2010
Articles, Blog

Will he or won’t he?  With Hurricane Earl threatening the nation’s Eastern Seaboard this Labor Day, there are steps homeowners can take to weatherproof their homes that won’t break the bank.

 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance offers six pieces of essential hurricane-preparation advice, including: 
  • Brace your garage door to prevent more-extensive damage.Will he or won’t he? With Hurricane Earl threatening the nation’s Eastern Seaboard this Labor Day, there are steps homeowners can take to weatherproof their homes that won’t break the bank. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance offers six pieces of essential hurricane-preparation advice, including:
    • Brace your garage door to prevent more-extensive damage. “A lot of people believe that the roof is the most vulnerable part of the house,” says Ray Stone, vice-president of catastrophe operations for Travelers Insurance. “But it’s not. It’s the garage door.” Most garage doors are not reinforced, and when the wind gets into the garage, it creates a positive push at the same time that the wind swirling above the structure creates a negative pull. That push-pull combination can cause the roof to fly off. See the National Weather Service information sheet to learn about kits that you can buy at home-improvement stores to brace your garage doors.
    • Secure your windows and doors. Broken windows can let in wind and rain, and they can also increase the pressure under the roof. Storm shutters provide the best protection, but boarding up windows when a storm is on the way can help, too. Don’t bother taping your windows, though. “Putting masking tape on the windows literally does nothing,” says Stone. Make sure doors have several locking mechanisms so they don’t fly open; deadbolts are best. And it’s important to secure windows and doors at all sides of the home -- not just the one facing the body of water where hurricanes could form -- because hurricanes can swirl in any direction. See the Institute for Business & Home Safety’s for details about how to make your windows and doors more secure.
    • Take inventory. “The last thing you want to be doing after you’ve been affected by a hurricane is to try to remember everything you had in the house,” says Stone. “Having an inventory will make the process of getting through the claim and getting back to normal so much easier.” The Insurance Information Institute’s is a great place to get started. Keep the inventory in a safe place away from your home.
31st Aug, 2010
Blog, Constructed Home Plans

Guest Cottage 30-727

This delightful small house plan, makes a relaxing stay for friends and family. Enter through the double doors to the great room with a wood stove in the corner. Towards the rear of the cottage is a kitchenette, perfect for allowing guest to make there own snacks and lunches if they would like. There is also a full bathroom. Ladders on both sides of the great room access the two storage spaces above.

27th Aug, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Blue River 30-789, Bungalow Home Plan

Blue River 30-789

This two-story Craftsman bungalow would be equally at home in a suburban neighborhood or a retreat setting. Family living areas fill the main floor, where the living room flows into the dining room and on into the kitchen. All of these spaces are naturally bright. A good-sized hobby room and a fully outfitted utility room are nearby.

11th Aug, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Belknap 30-771, Country Style House Plan

Belknap 30-771

Craftsman detailing adds nostalgic charm to this update of a country-style cottage house plan. On the ground floor, spacious formal and informal gathering spaces fill the left wing. A den, utility room, half bath, and luxurious owners' suite are on the right side, along with direct access to the garage. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a study are upstairs.

4th Aug, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Canyonville 30-775, European Style Home Plan

Canyonville 30-775

Windows fill most of the rear wall of the vaulted great room at the heart of this comfortably spacious European house plan. From the kitchen, you can watch TV or converse with family and friends in the great room, or the dining room. Extra rooms include: a guest room and a hobby room on the main floor, and a den and an unfinished bonus room upstairs.

22nd Jul, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Barrett 30-773

A rhapsody of shapes and textures makes this estate-size contemporary chalet home plan a treat for the eye, inside and out. A kitchen, dining area and living room fill the hexagonal great room at its core. Two bedroom suites extend off to the right and left, and more sleeping areas, along with a huge recreation room and a spacious shop, fill the daylight basement below.

22nd Jul, 2010

Wedgewood 30-629

The European feel of this home constructed by Bella Chateau Homes, Inc. is distinct by it's clipped gables, an iron balcony, siding and stone details. In the great room windows fill the living room's rear wall with a wide-hearthed fireplace between them. The nook is completely open to this large space, as is the kitchen to the nook.

Bella Chateau Homes, Inc. is committed to timeless old world design and quality craftsmanship with exceptional detail. Old world design fits their desire to create the ambiance of an European estate or manor in a relaxed, comfortable home.

22nd Jul, 2010
Blog, Builder Profiles

Associated Designs is please to profile this fine home by Taylor Made Homes. Built in Eugene Oregon the photographs below highlight the quality construction to which Joe Taylor provides. Associated Designs provided drafting services on this project, and have assisted Joe's clients with custom home design and plan modification services. Continue to follow this post to watch this homes progress.

Below is Taylor Made Homes, Inc. new construction project.Associated Designs is please to profile this fine home by Taylor Made Homes. Built in Eugene Oregon the photographs below highlight the quality construction to which Joe Taylor provides. Associated Designs provided drafting services on this project, and have assisted Joe's clients with custom home design and plan modification services. Continue to follow this post to watch this homes progress.

Below is Taylor Made Homes, Inc. new construction project. It's a 3 bed 2.5 bath home with a 2-car garage and covered porches located in downtown Eugene, in the South Eugene School District. Available now and scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2010.

Contact: Joe Taylor - Taylor Made Homes - 541-338-0738 or by email at:

13th Jul, 2010
Blog, Newsletters
Garage Plan 20-020

From now until August 20th, all Garage Plan packages are 15% off AND free ground shipping to anywhere in the Continental United States!! Just use promotional code FSGP10 when placing your order. To view all of our garage plans click here.

Want to receive updates when new plans are added to the site and our latest news? Follow Associated Designs on Facebook and Twitter!

View the Crestview design under construction now on the Home Plan Blog. We are excited and appreciate the homeowner sharing the construction experience with us. Built one of our designs? We'd love to see your photographs too! Send your photos to

8th Jul, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Gladstone 30-786, Cottage Home Plan

Gladstone 30-786

In the linked gathering spaces that form the core of this contemporary, cottage home plan, windows fill most of the rear wall. In the kitchen, cabinets and counters wraps around three sides of a central work island with a flush eating counter fronting the dining area. Owners' suite amenities include a deep walk-in closet and a luxurious bathroom.

2nd Jul, 2010
Blog, Constructed Home Plans

Brookside 30-613  

Naturally bright contemporary country house plan with craftsman accents. The great room with gas fireplace is completely open to the kitchen and nook. This plan also features spacious main-floor owners' suite; two bedrooms, baths and bonus room upstairs.

Photo courtesy of: Future B Homes, Eugene, OR

23rd Jun, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Oakshire 30-770

Oakshire 30-770

Linked gathering spaces, awash with natural light, fill the core of this single-level shingle-style home plan with plenty of room to spread out. Standing at the kitchen sink or cook-top range, you can keep an eye on the gathering areas, both inside and out. Warmth and flames from the two-sided fireplace can be enjoyed from both the den and the great room.

3rd Jun, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Glendale 30-750, Country Home Plan

Glendale 30-750

Painted wooden shutters give this country-style home plan a nostalgic look, but at its core it has the expansive openness contemporary families want. The great room has a two-story ceiling, is richly windowed at the rear, and is totally open to the kitchen and nook. A den or home office is right inside the entry, and a screened porch is at the rear.

27th May, 2010
Blog, New Home Plans

Alsea 30-756, Country Style Home Plan

Alsea 30-756

Designed for a rear down slope, this country-style home is larger than it appears from the front. Spacious family living areas fill the ground floor. Bedrooms and a huge bonus room are upstairs, and an unfinished daylight basement is below. Covered decks are on levels one and two, and a covered patio is at basement level.

24th May, 2010

We'd like to share a blog post from featuring cost to build information on Clearheart house plan.

Cost to Build a House in Alabama

Carl, what will a 2,400 Ranch with 800 sq ft of non living area cost to build per sq. ft. in Birmingham AL.?
Thanks, Barry
Hi Barry,
800 sq ft of non living space is a big area that will add considerable construction cost unless you utilize an area in an unfinished basement or attic.

Since you are interested in a ranch (one level) if you build it with a basement, you will have a huge area of non living expandable space.

That’s one advantage to ranch houses, huge basements. It’s also one disadvantage as basements aren’t cheap.

On my web site page "How to Read House Plans " I have a tip in the second paragraph that tells you that one level construction costs more per sq ft than 2 story construction, one of the reasons being the cost of a large foundation.

If your (potential) lot has enough of a slope and you can afford it, you could build a walkout basement, which would be an ideal solution.

Here’s a 2400 sq ft country home plan from Associated Designs with almost 400 sq ft of non living (bonus room) in the attic area over the garage.

Stairways near the utility room lead down to the basement and up to a large bonus room over an exceptionally deep garage.

It has an old-fashioned wrap-around porch that fronts this otherwise modern country home plan. The vaulted dining room has a central apex, giving it a gazebo-like feeling. Windows fill most of the family room s rear wall, and from the kitchen sink you have a clear view of both the family room and the scenery beyond.

The Clearheart 10-410

Living Area: 2234 sq ft 76'0" x 56'4"
1st Floor: 2234 sq ft
Bonus Room: 489 sq ft
Garage: 755 sq ft
Floors: 2
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Garage: 3 bays, 755 sq ft

I calculated the cost to build this attractive home in Birmingham, AL by using the “Cost to Build Calculator” found on my “Getting Started” page.

I used Quality Class 6 throughout except for the foundation.

Total cost as of May, 2010 including the General Contractor’s markup of $45,708 = $370,341 = $166 per sq ft.

For an owner builder, subtract the General Contractor’s markup and it drops to $145 per sq ft.

This is a rather expensive house to build due to being a one story, full basement, and many corners.

Keep in mind, that this only a rough estimate. Read "Cost Estimating" for more information.
Good luck,


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