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26th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Cottage Home Plan, Country House Plan, Stapleton 30-478

This country cottage-style home plan is equally well-suited for construction in a suburban neighborhood, or as vacation retreat with ample room for family and friends. The Stapleton features a ground level owners' suite and three bedrooms plus a bath and bonus room the second floor.
 
Stone veneer bases bring attention to slender wooden posts that support an entry porch with a nostalgic stick-work gable. Craftsman windows, multipaned at the top, accent the front facade, while shake-textured siding draws attention to the upper triangles of the side gables.
 
Family living spaces fill the front of the ground floor, with the foyer at center. The foyer is open to the living room on the left, while an arch to the right leads into the dining room and kitchen. Stairs to the upper floor are opposite the front door.
 
The large country kitchen creates a natural center for day-to-day family living. Kitchen workers can keep tabs on the out front yard, supervise the homework scene at the dining table, and tend to laundry in the nearby utility room.
 
The centrally located bathroom and utility room do double duty, serving as sound buffers for the owners' suite at the rear. Sliders in the bedroom, along with another set in the living room, access a partially covered patio.
 
Three additional bedrooms plus a bathroom, linen closet, and large bonus room are upstairs. 

20th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, European Home Plan, Stevenson 10-502

the Stevenson's custom brick work and stone veneer of the lofty and gently arched entry exude European charm. While this contemporary ranch-style home was designed for construction on a lot with a gentle rear down slope, it could just as easily be built on a flat parcel.

Natural light flows into the vaulted entry through an arched-top, gridded-glass transom that crowns the double-door entry. Even more striking, the rear wall of this home offers more windows than solid walls, and almost all of them are capped by transoms. That makes for an exceptionally bright home.

On the right side of the vaulted entry hall, double doors open into a study, home office, or even a fourth bedroom, if needed. A roomy coat closet is on the left side of the entry, just before a hallway that runs perpendicular to it. The owners' suite anchors the left side, family gathering spaces are straight ahead, and bedrooms are to the right. Storage closets, including a built-in hutch just outside the dining room, line the hallway.

A wide arched opening leads into the vaulted great room. French doors on the far side open onto a large deck that spans most of the rear. Flames dancing in the two-sided gas fireplace can be enjoyed from both the vaulted great room and the dining room.

In the kitchen, counters wrap around three sides of a wide window bay, while a centrally placed cook-top work island adds more work space. A roomy walk-in pantry nestles into a corner next to the naturally bright vaulted sun room. Luxury amenities in the vaulted owners' suite include a sitting room, large walk-in closet, and a plush bathroom with a walk-in shower and private toilet.

12th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman Home Plan, Breckenridge 30-483

The Breckenridge is a contemporary European chateau designed to fulfill for families who enjoy living large. Decorative struts, beams, and shake-textured siding are a treat for the eye, spotlighting gables at four levels. Intricate Craftsman-style windows create a graceful counterpoint, while stone veneer wainscoting adds to the country manor ambiance.

At the core core a lofty vaulted great room is accessed through the vaulted foyer with an equally high ceiling. The wide alcove at the juncture between the two spaces is designed to house a grand piano. Music created here will resonate throughout this home.

In the great room, cabinetry for a home entertainment center flanks the stately fireplace, and windows fill most of the rear wall. Across the room, another fireplace and TV hutch extend the nook that expands the large kitchen. A long conversation bar bounds the kitchen, with wings stretching out in two directions from the sink. The walk-in pantry adds  plentiful storage space.

A den or guest suite is right off the kitchen. A powder room and gracious dining room with built-in hutch and buffet are close by down a short hall.

The luxurious owners' suite features a walk-in closets, private toilet, and a dual walk-in shower. Upstairs, a bridge across the vaulted foyer/great room links two large bedroom suites. The second floor also includes a roomy theater, with soda fountain and conversation bar; and next door is a vaulted exercise room with space for numerous work-out machines, plus a spa. 

6th Mar, 2018
Articles, Blog

Let’s face it. When we sit down and look at a floor plan for our dream home, it’s easy to just think what’s in the design is the best solution. After all, a professional designer was behind the ideas so everything has to be the way it should be. So who needs to second-guess the plan?

“But here’s the thing: You tour homes. You look at floor plans and view room layouts,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs in Eugene, Ore. “What you see may not be the ideal way the room should be put together or the right way to plan where each room goes. You have to evaluate how it all fits together, and then be sure it’s right for you.”

Knowing how to study floor plans and what to look for in a home design can help you figure out what’s good and bad, what works and what doesn’t. Sounds daunting, but lest you think you’re on your own, we’ve got you covered. Here are four tips and tricks to help you review floor plans like a professional home designer.

Movement Matters

A home needs to have an easy flow – and by that we mean there has to be a reason for a wall to be where it is. Similarly, a home shouldn’t have dead ends. The reason is simple: movement matters.

“Natural flow can be as simple as counting how many steps between the kitchen and dining room,” said McAlexander. “If the dining room is a fair distance from the kitchen, there’s something wrong with the home design. How you move from room to room, and move within a room, matters.”

In other words, when looking at a floor plan, try to envision moving through the design. A house with a great room, for example, should have all the essential gathering spaces connected: living room, dining room, and kitchen. If a wall or fireplace blocks the movement between rooms, then it’s not really a great room.

A good rule of thumb in this case is to compare the new home with your current home. Are there elements of your existing home that you like or don’t like? If that utility room in your current house is in the perfect spot – right next to the garage and yet out of sight – then be sure the home you’re considering has a similar setup.

Outdoor Living

Not everyone thinks to consider the outdoor space in a home design. But a living space isn’t limited to the living room. When you entertain friends and family, you use the living room, dining room, kitchen, and even the backyard. If there’s a patio or a porch, they have to be built with functionality in mind.

For example, let’s say you decide to tour a beautiful country cottage with a cute front porch and a backyard patio with pergola for soft shade. The backyard patio has ample space with plenty of room for outdoor furniture, a grill, and maybe a few well-placed potted plants. In your mind’s eye, you can picture fun summer barbecues with yard games.

In comparison, the front porch is small and simple. Granted, it has curb appeal but other than that, it serves no function. A porch that can be a useful living space needs to be at least 8-feet deep. But the space in this design is not large enough for patio furniture let alone a party, so you are left with a front porch that isn’t a porch at all.

“Take time to consider how much outdoor living space you will need,” said McAlexander. “In most cases, if there’s something about your current home’s outdoor area that you like, be sure your new home has those same qualities. You want to have an equally comfortable exterior when compared to the interior.”

Natural Light

This is a home design tip that is as important as the size of your kitchen. A home without ample light can be a cave – dark, dreary, and unpleasant. Each room in a home needs to have windows because natural light can make all the difference in how your home feels.

“Let’s compare it to a medieval castle,” said McAlexander. “A castle has great spaces and lots of room, but the windows are small and limited. Each room becomes a cave when the sun goes down. A home you’re touring shouldn’t have rooms that make you feel like you are in a cave. Yes, you want ample space but you also want ample natural light.”

Insufficient daylight is usually the result of too few windows, or windows on only one wall. A great room similarly needs to have large windows or it will be a not-so-great room. Natural light adds depth and power to a home, so when you study a floor plan or tour a home, don’t forget to look out the windows.

Labeled Spaces

This final tip to studying floor plans is all about flexibility. Many floor plans online have labeled spaces telling you where the kitchen is or what this room near the dining room is supposed to be. The labels are there to offer some insight into how the designer saw the space being used. But spaces aren’t limited to what the label says.

In other words, don’t be trapped by labels. If you need a home office, and the floor plan includes a space labeled “formal dining room” that you won’t use, then turn it into what you need. A space can serve more than one purpose.  

“Remember that the home you are touring or the floor plan you are looking at is open to interpretation, specifically your interpretation,” said McAlexander. “You can decide how that extra room should be used.”

As seen on Newswire
5th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Southwest House Plan, Home Plan, Solano 11-005

Looking at the Solano's tile roof, stucco walls and generously windowed exterior makes you think of sunshine. High arched windows are featured on every exterior wall of this contemporary Mediterranean style home, capturing light from every possible angle.

In the front, stucco columns with arched openings separate the driveway from a the entry courtyard. Stately columns flank the lofty gabled entryway. Viewed from the rear, the this design is equally attractive. The exterior of the hexagonal great room, graced by high arched multi paned windows on three sides, offers panoramic views. A patio adds to the effect, wrapping around the entire rear of the home.

The spacious country kitchen is open to the vaulted great room, separated by an eating bar between. Other features include generous counter and cupboard space, a walk-in pantry, built in range and oven.

At the juncture of kitchen and great room, an open stairwell spirals up to a wide vaulted loft that is open to the great room at the rear and the entryway in front. It has a sloping ceiling with storage access on two sides. 

Bedrooms are located at opposite ends of the house plan. The luxurious owners' suite features two walk in closets, spa tub, skylights, shower, private toilet and twin vanities. The other two bedrooms each have their own bathroom. Utilities are convenient to these bedrooms as well as the garage.

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