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17th Jun, 2008
Articles, Blog

By Craig Thornburrow

If you are considering a large construction project, whether it be a brand new home or an addition to a home that you already have, hiring building contractors is something that you may have to look into. Hiring building contractors is not the simplest thing to do, but it certainly is not complicated. As a matter of fact, if you know just what you are looking for then the hiring process should be rather simple.By Craig Thornburrow

If you are considering a large construction project, whether it be a brand new home or an addition to a home that you already have, hiring building contractors is something that you may have to look into. Hiring building contractors is not the simplest thing to do, but it certainly is not complicated. As a matter of fact, if you know just what you are looking for then the hiring process should be rather simple. To help you in your endeavors to get your project done right and by the right people, read on for a few things that you should take into consideration when looking into building contractors.

Consider the Amount of Experience a Contractor Has

Even if you are in the business of giving a chance to newbies in the industry, doing so when it comes to general building contractors can be a huge disaster. Everybody has to learn somewhere-that is the truth; what is also true is that many times the learning experience can result in disaster, and if you don't want that disaster to be your new addition or construction, you should probably think twice about hiring a novice.

Make sure that your prospective building contractors have a proven track record of success. Good references and even photographs of work that they have done are a small thing to ask for, and can easily ensure that you don't get into a bigger project than you can handle. Also make sure that your contractor is properly insured and licensed in your city, county and state.

Consider Building Contractors Who Can Work With Your Budget

However reputable and honest your prospective building contractors may seem, if you can not fit them into your budget, you simply cannot fit them into your budget. Many building contractors may be more than happy to make some exceptions to fit your budget, perhaps by cutting a few corners or getting supplies that are a bit more affordable than the ones that you originally requested.

Some contractors will be willing to meet your financial needs, whereas others will not. If the building contractors that you have shortlisted are not affordable, there are always more out there that will be.

Make Sure That You and Your Contractor are On the Same Page

Even if your contractor is affordable and reputable, things may not work out. Why? Let's call it creative differences. Some people cannot work well together, and you must be able to work with them to make sure that the job gets done right. If not, all of the afford ability and experience in the world won't do you any good-your project stands the chance of failing and failure can be expensive.

Whether your project is big or small, hiring building contractors can be a bigger job than the construction project itself. It doesn't have to be though. Find someone reputable, honest, and affordable and you are already ahead of the game. Also make sure that when you are talking that you feel like your building contractor understands exactly what you are looking for.

Craig Thornburrow is an acknowledged expert in his field. You can get more free advice on building contractors and specialist building contractors at

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13th Jun, 2008
Blog, New Home Plans

Prichard 30-701, Ranch Home Plan

Prichard 30-701

An old fashioned porch welcomes family and friends to this contemporary version of the traditional country-style ranch house. Inside, three vaulted, interconnected gathering spaces flow together at the heart of the home, expanding the entire space front to back. Closets line one entire wall in the owners' suite, and its bathroom has a double vanity.

10th Jun, 2008
Blog, Home Plan Series

Castor 30-450Palmyra 10-169Summerfield 30-611

The Cape Cod sytle house plan is one of America's oldest and most popular styles. This style is commonly found in coastal communities and gives the feeling of warmth and comfort, and will remain as popular today as in years to come. To view other Cape Cod style house plans click here.

6th Jun, 2008
Blog, New Home Plans

Brookfield 30-646, Country Home Plan

Brookfield 30-646

This large, American country farmhouse home plan update offers 5,000 square feet of living space. Natural light washes into vaulted great room through rear windows and 8 dormers. Roomy kitchen has two large work islands with raised eating & conversation bars.

3rd Jun, 2008
Blog, New Home Plans

Allenspark 30-700

Allenspark 30-700

Natural light washes into vaulted gathering spaces through wide windows and sliding glass doors that offer easy access the covered patio of this cottage home plan. A raised eating bar forms a visually open boundary between the dining room and a large kitchen generously supplied with counter space. Upstairs, the recreation room has a wet bar and small bathroom.

3rd Jun, 2008
Blog, Constructed Home Plans

Adkins 30-197
Adkins 30-197Steven W Johnson Construction Inc., Home Builder, General ContractorAdkins 30-197

Adkins 30-197

Shutters, multipaned windows, and a full front porch create a warm welcome to this country house plan. The living room featuring a fireplace, flows into the dining room then to an open kitchen. A front-facing den, open to the entry, could be used as home office.

This post has photos of the completed house plan in comments section!

2nd Jun, 2008
Announcements, Blog

Home from the Heart Results
Heartington 10-550

Heartington 10-550

In reflective or visionary moments, maybe you've considered the possibility of designing and building a home perfectly suited to your lives.

That's exactly what the staff at Associated Designs invited readers to do several months ago when we published the 2008 Home from the Heart survey. Readers like you, from all over the United States and Canada, accepted our invitation. Now we'd like to share the tallied results of that survey along with some comparisons to ten years ago.

More than half want a one-story home between 2000 and 3500 square feet. When it comes to exterior styling, the ranch-style home continues its long run as the most popular exterior style. Ten years ago the size preferences were about the same, but country-style homes were the most desired.

One Missouri reader wrote, "The ideal home for me would be a ranch-style home that is very open, with no stairs." Her preference is echoed by many. More than 60% now prefer an informal great room, where living, dining and kitchen areas flow together, while only 5% want those rooms separated. But about a quarter did ask for a combination of formal spaces and great room. Times have changed a great deal in this respect; ten years ago only half opted for the great room concept, and the other half wanted separated living, dining and family rooms.

Features that have stayed about the same over the years are the number of bedrooms (3+), the number of bathrooms (2-3), and a strong desire for the owners' suite to be well isolated from other bedrooms. More than 50% then, as now, also wanted a computer center, and around 70% still prefer their utility room adjacent to the kitchen. As for big contrasts, the desire for a fireplace or woodstove has dropped from nearly 100% to 72%.

Two Oklahoma women from different towns asked for something we hadn't listed on our survey. Both wanted the laundry room to double as a mudroom "for dogs and grandkids." As usual, we always learn a lot from our readers!

To view statistics click here. To view previous Home from the Heart survey results click here.

29th May, 2008
Blog, Home Plan Series

Arnett 30-419McKinley 10-181Brookport 30-692

Vacation home plans come in as many styles and sizes as there are environments to situate them on. Whether you are searching for a beach house, lake house, or a cabin in the woods we have over 85 designs to choose from for your perfect piece of paradise. To view all of our vacation plans click here.

28th May, 2008
Blog, Constructed Home Plans

Front Exterior


Lansford 30-314

This colonial home plan blends love of tradition with a contemporary floor plan. Family living areas are open to kitchen and span most of the richly windowed rear. Luxury master suite amenities include spa tub, over-sized shower, and walk-in closet. To view plan details click here.

The Lansford house plan built by Steven W. Johnson Construction Inc. in Eugene, OR. Steven W Johnson Construction, Inc., Home Builder, Home Construction"We are the Builder 4 U"


Steven W. Johnson Construction, Inc. is a fully licensed and bonded company and has been a member of the Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lane County Home Builders Association, and has participated regularly in the Eugene area Street of Dreams annual home shows and the annual July Tour of Homes in Lane County.

27th May, 2008
Blog, New Home Plans

Brookport 30-692, Craftsman Home Plan

Brookport 30-692

Inside and out, this large Craftsman house plan is a pleasure to behold. The vaulted living room is awash in natural light. Water splashing in its centrally placed water feature can be enjoyed from the living room, dining room and gourmet kitchen. Fireplaces add charm to the living room, family room and owners' suite.

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