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31st Oct, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Southwest Home Plan, Santa Rosa 30-800


A bright tile roof caps the smooth stucco of the Southwestern-style Santa Rosa house plan. Designed for construction on a sloped building lot, this home has three levels. Gathering spaces are on the main floor, and bedrooms are above. A roomy two-car garage and two large storage areas are on the ground floor.

A welcoming arched opening leads from the garage on the right to the handsome railed staircase leading to the main floor. A wider arch, opening onto the entry porch, frames the front door, along with a windowed bench to the door's left. Inside, art niches on both sides of the door trim the short passageway into the foyer.

From the foyer to the right is a den or home office. Straight ahead, an arch marks the passageway that leads to a spacious dining room, windowed on three sides. That hallway also runs past an utility room, then onto access a covered patio with skylights. Sliding glass doors in the dining room open to the patio as well.

To the left of the foyer is an arched opening which leads into a foyer extension with a coat closet and a bench for shoe removal. The next arch opens into the living room, which features a corner fireplace and recessed home entertainment center. This space is open to a gourmet kitchen, and also offers access to a side deck.

Upstairs, owners' suite features include a railed balcony, a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a shower, spa tub, dual vanity and private toilet. Each of the other two bedrooms share a jack-n-jill bathroom.

28th Oct, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Home Plan, Contemporary House Plan, Quail Ridge 31-060

Clean lines and prairie-style influences create a contemporary look to the Quail Ridge home plan. Walking into the foyer you can choose to walk through the set of French doors to the den on the left or proceed straight to the vaulted great room. The four panel sliding glass door at the rear of the great room extends the living area to the covered patio. The left side of the main floor also contains the owners' suite - which features a luxurious bathroom with walk-in shower, soaking tub, and walk-in closet and is linked to a secondary suite with its own walk-in closet and curbless shower. Upstairs are two additional bedrooms with a jack-n-jill style bathroom, and loft.

24th Oct, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

European House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, Southwick 30-482

The European exterior is a composition of rough, earthy texture of stone veneer here runs a complementary counterpoint to the classical columns, graceful arches and ethereal neo-Gothic windows. These elements, along with the wrought iron balcony railing, blend to give the estate-size Southwick a pleasant French flavor.

Entering through the vaulted porch, you stand in a naturally bright foyer. Windows surround the door on the sides and top. Double doors on the left open into a vaulted den that also function as a library, study, or home office.

Directly ahead, ornamental columns flank a wide, arched opening that leads into an open living room. A gas fireplace is centered along the left wall, and custom cabinets fill that wall on both sides. Wide windows span most of the rear, offering a great view while letting in plenty of natural light. Another column-rimmed, arched opening is across the room from the fireplace. This one links the living room to the dining area and kitchen.

French doors are centered in the half-octagonal window bay that expands the dining area, offering easy access to a large, partially covered patio. This entire space is open to the large kitchen. Kitchen amenities include: a built-in hutch and desk, corner display shelves, and a large work island/eating bar.

The vaulted master suite features a luxurious bathroom, large walk-in closet, and direct access to a vaulted, covered patio ideal for a hot tub. Two additional bedrooms are upstairs, along with a vaulted loft, a two-section bathroom, and a bonus room with a gas fireplace, home entertainment center and balcony.

17th Oct, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Contemporary House Plan, Home Plan, Norwich 30-175

Intriguing angles, combined with arched windows and brick detailing, draws one to the Norwich. Cedar shakes, corner quoins and small sections of lap siding contribute to the visual appeal to this contemporary house plan. This single-level plan can be adapted for wheelchair accessibility.

Standing in the entry, you face towards the kitchen, living room and dining room. The vaulted living room is stunning with its richly glassed rear wall. An entertainment center is on one side of the fireplace while cabinets, shelves and a small sink are on the other side.

A raised eating bar lends partial separation between the kitchen and a dining room, and French doors open to access a partially covered patio brightened by skylights. Kitchen features include: a walk-in pantry, built-in appliances, and a work island.

The small powder room and large utility room are mere steps away. Linked to the garage, the utility room serves as a mudroom.

Angled walls and a coffered ceiling frame the luxurious master suite. Its gas fireplace can be enjoyed from either the spa tub or the bed/sitting area. Light flows through glass blocks illuminating the tub, and the large closet provides ample storage space.

A dramatic arched window graces the other bedroom, which is vaulted and has access to a two-section bathroom.

French doors open into a room concealed by a 6-foot-high partition that bounds the living room. With tall windows opening towards the front, this space could serve as a den, home office or even a third bedroom.

10th Oct, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Cottage House Plan, Home Plan, St. Clair 30-383

The three-bedroom St. Clair cottage house plan is much larger than it looks from the curb. It's about twice as deep as it is wide and offers nearly 1700 square feet of living space, a covered porch, patio and two-car garage.

Craftsman-style detailing gives the home a pleasantly familiar look and sense of nostalgia. Examples include the signature Craftsman windows, tapered columns atop stone veneer bases, and a cross-gabled roof. Novel tapered side trim on windows and the garage door echoes the shape of the columns.

The interior floor plan is modern day. Entering the foyer brightened by sidelights and a transom to the right, arched openings lead into the living room, then two equal-sized bedrooms and a bathroom on the left. A step-in coat closet is straight ahead.

Light flows into the living room through windows on two sides. Another arch defines the living room into the dining room, which in turn is open to the kitchen. Pocket doors on the left side of the dining room reveal a large study alcove with built-in shelves and a desk. This makes an ideal location for a library and the family computer.

Counters and cupboards line two sides of the large kitchen, while an island with a raised eating bar provides additional work and storage space. Other kitchen amenities include a step-in pantry, and sliding glass doors, which access a partially covered curved patio. Laundry appliances are nearby in a passthrough that connects to the garage.

Features in the master suite include a large walk-in closet and luxurious bathroom with dual vanity, shower and graceful claw foot tub.

3rd Oct, 2016
Articles, Blog

Picture yourself standing in a great hall in a medieval castle. The ceiling soars above you as in a cathedral with a chandelier’s lights twinkling. Your eyes are drawn to the living area and immense stone fireplace, the long dining table in the far corner. The large windows on the left spill natural light into the high-ceilinged room that has likely entertained guests in huge banquets and balls. Your imagination goes wild as you consider all the ways this great room can be utilized for your family and your lifestyle.

Your home could be just like this castle – filled with light and space and greatness.

The concept of a great room is actually nothing new. It began in the castles of Europe, and fell by the way side in the 1900s as living rooms and family rooms were built as separate spaces in houses. In the 1990s, developers across America were getting few demands for great rooms. Now, however, the demand for great rooms has risen to epic proportions. It has, in fact, become the biggest trend in housing development in the last few years, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In Associated Designs’ 2016 Home from the Heart Survey, 86% of respondents wanted a great room in their dream home.

“The idea of a great room is fairly simple,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs. “It’s a large, multipurpose room that’s centralized in the design of the home. There are no walls separating the living room, family room and kitchen. It simply flows.”

A family room is where you and your family gather with friends, watch TV, relax and play games. The living room’s purpose is more formal. A great room, in a sense, combines the good of each of those rooms into one centralized, gathering space. Builders in a 2013 NAHB survey, described great rooms as some combination of family room, living room, dining room and kitchen, but it is not confined to just those rooms and can include a study area or a kitchen nook.

But a home with a great room doesn’t necessarily mean the square footage is high. While most homes with great rooms are more than 2,000 square feet, according to the NAHB, the concept of a centralized, multipurpose room can be utilized in smaller homes, too.

“It’s not reserved for mansions,” said McAlexander. “The great room is about allowing movement in a house so that you aren’t confining living rooms and family rooms and kitchens to specific spaces. They are all connected in some way.” 

There are two basic iterations of the great room: a true great room in which one large room contains the kitchen, living room, family room and dining room with no separation, and an open living style great room that provides some separation.

A true great room, like the one in Associated Designs’ Stratford 30-615 design, blends several rooms into one large space, each connected to the other. In the Stratford design, the kitchen, dining room and vaulted living room flow together in one expansive gathering space with a fireplace, wood box and window seat.

Great Room, Stratford 30-615, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan Great Room, Stratford 30-615, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan
Stratford's Great Room 

“A true great room can be a combination of several types of spaces, and that’s what this design does,” said McAlexander. “You have a centralized living space where everything happens.”

The open living style great room takes the grandness of the room and redefines it with slight separation. It’s still a great room, as all the rooms flow together, but there are clear delineations for each area’s purpose. The kitchen, for example, may be clearly marked by a curved countertop as in the Heartington 10-550 design. And while a true great room has vaulted ceilings, an open living style usually doesn’t. The bright and spacious living area in the Heartington is balanced by, and open to, the comfortably large kitchen and nook, but each space is set apart from the other.

Great Room, Heartington 10-550, Ranch House Plan, Home Plan Great Room, Heartington 10-550, Ranch House Plan, Home Plan
Heartington's Great Room

“It’s still open and flowing, and you aren’t confined to putting a singular purpose onto one area of the great room,” said McAlexander. “But some areas are clearly allocated a purpose. It allows for freedom of movement while still providing some order.”

Every man’s home is his castle, or so the saying goes, which means a great room can be utilized and designed in any way that suits your family, your lifestyle or your personality. As more and more homes are designed with great rooms, there will be countless versions and countless ways in which they will be used. In the end, that’s the beauty of the great room – a gathering space of infinite possibilities. 

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