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11th Sep, 2014
Articles, Blog

Selecting the right type of house plan is a big decision for homeowners, whether they are first-time owners or people looking for their second home. With the Internet readily available to most Americans, it isn't any wonder that people are selecting home plans online. The versatility of seeing how the house will look on the inside without traveling to see a display house gives people the perfect view of the interior as they compare home plan designs until they can select the right one for themselves and their families.

The year 2014 has shown some interesting trends in house plan designs. Check out the latest trends that people are adopting when wanting to build their custom dream home.

 

Open Floor Plans, Great Room

Open Floor Plans

Open floor plans still dominate the house plan design. People do not want to have a confined kitchen, living room or dining room space. They want to be able to see into all three spaces at once as the open flow allows for families to interact and mingle while doing other things in the home. Walls are being eliminated as spaces are becoming defined by how the furniture is set into these spaces.

 

Universal Design, Flex Space, Bonus Room

Universal Design

Universal design, also known as flex space design, is a style where the house plans accommodate people while they age. As people are living longer, they want a house that can fit into their current needs no matter what age they are. Universal design elements include spaces that can change as a family grows older. A room may start out as a children's playroom for a young family, morph into a home office when the kids are in college as the spouses work on their careers, and then change to a craft room for elderly adults during their retirement years.

 

Owners' Suite, Master Bedroom Suites

Owners' Suites

Owners' Suites are a must-have for most home plans. Yet during 2014, these suites are no longer located at the top of the house. Instead, this spacious bedroom is located on the first floor when incorporated in a universal design plan. Owners' suites have also increased in size as they have dressing tables, double sinks, walk-in showers and soaking tubs.

 

Outdoor Living Spaces, Extended Outdoor Living, Outdoor living room

Outdoor Living Spaces

While people may be dreaming of their perfect homes, they are also keeping in mind that they don't want to always be cooped up indoors. Outdoor living spaces are taken into consideration when people are selecting house plans, as they want a space where they can have their outdoor deck, patio or porch with seating areas and outdoor kitchens.

11th Sep, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

New Garage Plan, 2 Story Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage with Recreation Room

Garage Plan 20-144

This new two story Craftsman-style garage design can store up to 6 cars or a combination of cars, toys and trailers. The two outer garage doors are both 10' wide and 10' tall while the other two doors under the covered area are both 10' wide and 8' tall. Towards the back of the garage is a service area, laundry room and half bathroom. The u-shaped staircase leads to a vaulted recreation room and generous sized outside balcony.

9th Sep, 2014
Articles, Blog

Custom Home Design Services

With the power of the internet today’s home buyers have more choices than ever. Even with all of the design options available many people are still unable to find a predesigned house plan that fits all of their needs and lifestyle. For many a custom home design is the answer. As professional building designers we have helped thousands of clients create the home of their dreams.

A few years back, our clients Mr. & Mrs. U came to us to help them design a home to not only fit on their narrow, downhill sloping building lot but incorporate their ideas of a smaller home that would feel large. The Feng Shui concepts and built-in features were also very important to our clients.

Over the course of meetings, preliminary drawings, and a few emails we were able to deliver to Mr. & Mrs. U a home plan they were thrilled with.

We were delighted that they took the time to write a review on the popular home idea site Houzz. They wrote: "Rick McAlexander and Kelly Alvord are great house designers who know how to take the client's design and execute them into plans for obtaining permits from the planning department. In our case, this is Eugene, Oregon, but they work with clients nationwide. We have worked with them on multiple occasions, and each time they have delivered with on time, with complete, professional results. They are available throughout the building process for consultation and/or the fleshing out of necessary details. The photos here are of a single family residence that covers 1597 heat sq ft and 2081 sq ft including 2-car attached garage."

We are sharing with you the photos provided to us by the clients.

 

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

Custom House Design Services

9th Sep, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Northbank 30-962

Shingle-fronted gables and Craftsman-style windows add nostalgic charm to the midsized country house plan the Northbank. This home plan has three bedrooms, and a large unfinished bonus room over the garage. For a growing family, it could become a fourth bedroom, a studio, or you name it.

Slender posts highlight a front porch that spans the front façade, and wraps around to the right, where it connects to the garage and a side entrance.

Light washes into the foyer through sidelites that flank the door. An opening on the right goes into a short hallway that opens into the garage. It also runs past a small powder room, an alcove with a built-in desk and/or hutch, and a coat closet.

On the left side of the foyer, an even wider opening leads into the kitchen, which is open to the great room and dining area. You can also reach that window-bright, large space by continuing forward through the foyer and past the stairs.

Light spills into the dining room and great room through windows that fill nearly half of the back wall. An atrium door and wide window on the left add their light, as does the wide kitchen window. The dining area and kitchen are open to each other.

Cupboards, counters, a double sink, and built-in appliances line three sides of the large kitchen. It features a uniquely shaped central work island. An eating bar rims the half-circular end nearest the dining room. The opposite end is rectangular.

Upstairs, a vaulted ceiling expands the Northbank’s owners’ suite. Other amenities here include a roomy walk-in closet, private toilet, and dual vanity.

 

8th Sep, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Lostine 30-942, Small House Plan

If you’re looking to downsize, but enjoy larger spaces, the Lostine just may be what you’re looking for. The shared living areas fill the entire left wing.

No stairs allows for the aging in place concept. But this contemporary ranch-style house with a side entry garage is also well-suited to singles, first-time home buyers, and small families.

Cultured stone veneer accents the lap siding that frames large front windows, while an eye-catching series of low-pitched gables ascends to merge with the hipped roof. The environmentally conscious  can also cut utility costs by installing solar panels on the roof.

Entering the home, you step directly into a large living room expanded by a rectangular window bay. A gas fireplace fits into cabinetry that lines one wall, next to a wide home entertainment center.  Cabinets or bookshelves (homeowner’s choice) fill in the corners, and light washes in through a slender window above the space.

A hutch provides some separation between the entry and dining area. Otherwise, the living room is open to the dining room and kitchen, which is bounded by an island and eating bar. Counters, appliances and cupboards are situated along two walls of the kitchen. Atrium doors open onto the covered patio. At the rear of the dining room is a short hallway that leads to the owners’ suite. Natural light  beams down through a sun tube into the roomy walk-in closet. The other bedroom is accessed through a hallway near the front door. A coat closet fills the wall that leads to the guest bathroom.

The hallway that leads to the garage and utility room, has coat hooks that line up over a storage bench for foot gear.

 

2nd Sep, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Parkdale 30-684

Two sleek columns lend a classic European look to the ranch style Parkdale house plan that features nearly 3,000 square feet of living space.

Inside the entry, two narrow columns echo their exterior counterparts while bounding the wide passageway that links the entry and great room. Both of these areas, and the dining room, have 10-foot ceilings.

Multipaned windows are along the great room's rear wall. A gas fireplace is set between two banks of windows with transoms above. French doors that lead out onto a covered patio are also capped by a wide transom window. A home entertainment center spans most of one wall. On the other side, two decorative columns create the wide opening to the dining room. This is also a naturally bright space. Glass fills most of one wall, one side is open to the great room, and a third is open to the kitchen. Columns accent that opening too.

There is a raised eating counter that rims the kitchen's open side. Counters run along two walls, creating work and counter space. The central work island adds more of both. Built in appliances, a desk, and a walk-in pantry are nearby.

A washer/dyer, and a freezer, and a mini-bathroom are around the corner, in a walk-through utility/mud room that goes to the garage. Storage closets line the hall to the owners' suite, which fills out the rest of the left wing. In addition to patio access, the suite features two large walk-in closets, a walk-in shower, dual vanity and private toilet. Two bedrooms, a den and a bathroom are in the Parkdales right wing.

1st Sep, 2014
Articles, Blog

Green House Plan, Bungalow House Plan, Home Plan, Greenwood 70-001
Greenwood 70-001

New construction energy standards for Oregon went into effect July 1, 2014 and far exceed the building requirements of the last decade. The U.S. Green Building Council for LEED Certified Spaces ranks Oregon as sixth in the nation, behind other states like Illinois, Maryland and Virginia who have been at the forefront of sustainable building design and transforming communities for years. This update to the Oregon building code is a trend occurring in other states as well. 

By all accounts, U.S. homeowners around the country feel these changes, which affect financial and environmental aspects of a newly constructed home. Adhering to the new standards will result in significantly lower energy consumption and water use, reducing the cost of those resources over the life of the home.

Oregon, like many states, has two codes which govern energy use in home construction. The first is the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC), which sets the minimum standard for construction and is modeled after the International Residential Code. In addition to the ORSC, the state has adopted the Oregon Reach Code based on the 2012 International Green Construction Code, which is voluntary like other green building programs such as Energy Star, LEED, NAHB Green, and ICC700.

Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon, is a thirty-five year veteran in the new home construction business and is an expert in building green homes. He believes it’s a smart investment to build an energy efficient home and he says the new codes are just another step toward progress for the whole industry.

“Every material used from the beginning to end should be reviewed for its impact on the environment. Lumber can be harvested from sustainable forest practices, windows can be of higher energy rating, paint can be VOC free, plumbing systems can use less water, and light bulbs can use less energy,” Rick said.  “Even the land you build on can have a role to play in sustainability of the project, such as proximity to work or ability to harness the land, solar, wind or water as a resource for livability.”

There is no question that sustainable building practices have the attention of builders and buyers alike. While it has been a hot topic for decades, the new construction codes are finally catching up with building standards practiced by most responsible builders over the last few years.

“Probably the most important trend is simple awareness,” Rick said. “Homeowners are more educated than ever about green materials and construction practices. This helps pull the technology through the trades and into the home. Just five years ago maybe one in fifty potential design clients would ask about my knowledge of green building, and now it’s one in five.”

Building an energy efficient home doesn’t require sacrifices in design or styling. For example, this two-story Bungalow house plan, known as the Greenwood Plan 70-001, was created by Associated Designs for a suburban neighborhood or a retreat setting. The plan seamlessly integrates green building features designed to meet the Energy Star Benchmark Home Standards. Rick’s team of designers has deep experience in the trade and they consider every part of a house plan as integral to the overall goal of sustainability, from insulation to roofing, electrical systems to plumbing fixtures, windows and door materials, storm water management and landscaping, roof overhangs and passive solar orientation.

Every trade involved in building homes from the foundation to landscaping have tools, products and techniques available to ‘green up’ their role in the construction process. While many across the country are adept at using best practices to create a sustainable living environment, the industry nationwide is gaining in awareness and experience, with more contractors than ever coming on board.

“Every step, from recycling the foundation forms between jobs to using drought tolerant plants, adds up to a significant overall improvement of the home’s sustainability,” Rick added. “By focusing on the types of materials like fewer chemicals, locally sourced products, environmental stewardship of suppliers, and using green products on the inside and out, the environment will be safer and the global impact will be reduced.”

Whether the homeowner is in Oregon or Mississippi, they now have choices in building methods that have an impact on the whole planet. And, with states updating building codes that require more energy efficient construction the housing industry will continue to gain more experience in sustainable building practices, offering U.S. homeowners more opportunities than ever to go green.

As seen on Newswire

26th Aug, 2014

Prairie Style House Plan, Prairie Style Floor Plan, Brookhill 30-963

The prairie-style house plan the Brookhill is perfect for those who love to entertain. Generous gathering spaces fill the main floor, illuminated with an ambundance of natural light. The sliding glass door in the dining room expands the left side of the home with the addition of the covered patio. Closed in on three sides the covered patio can be enjoyed into some of the cooler seasons. The bedrooms and utility room are all up stairs.

Below is a brief tour of this beautiful home. 

Prairie Style House Plan, Brookhill 30-963, Entry

The Foyer

Prairie Style House Plan, Brookhill 30-963, Great Room

Great Room

Prairie Style House Plan, Brookhill 30-963, Kitchen and Dining Room

Dining Room

Prairie Style House Plan, Brookhill 30-963, Kitchen

Kitchen

Prairie Style House Plan, Brookhill 30-963, Owners Suite

Owners' Suite

Go here to view all the available photos.

Photos courtesy of Future B Homes.

25th Aug, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Vacation Home Plan, Cabin Plan, Craftsman House Plan, Cedar View 50-012

The Cedar View is a charming and delightfully unusual Craftsman-style vacation cabin. To begin with, you can't help but notice the intriguing interplay of textures and shapes.

Shake shingles contrast with smooth upright posts, decorative corbels, and a stone veneer chimney. Satiny half-round windows nestle under triangular gables on three sides.

Two sets of French doors open onto a covered porch and deck that face the street and wrap around to  most of the left side. Another four French doors accesses this side as well, for a total of eight French doors!

All eight French doors open into the bright, open two-story great room, washing this space in natural light. And more light spills down through the two large half-rounds high on the walls. A masonry fireplace adds color and warmth when needed.

This space is open to the kitchen, where a raised and curved eating bar and a lower ceiling mark the boundary. It's a long galley kitchen with a built-in desk in the nook. Standing at the kitchen sink, you look into the great room.

Laundry appliances are close at hand, hidden behind pocket doors. Just inside the back door, an entry bench fits into an alcove. Boot storage is below with coat hooks above. A coat closet is located under the stairway leading to the loft and upper bathroom.

Two bedrooms, or a studio and a bedroom, are on the main level. The larger room is vaulted and has a pass-through closet that leads to the bathroom.

This plan is well-suited for use as a vacation retreat, or a year round home for a single person or small family.

18th Aug, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Ranch House Plan, Featured Design of the Week, Cortland 10-195

Lots of outdoor living space is one of the most notable features of the country-style ranch Cortland house design.

An amazing long stretch of covered porch and deck wraps around the home. Beginning at the front steps, it flows around the right side, across the back, and links to the owners’ suite. Along the way, double doors in the family room and dining room offer access. Skylights provide the rear deck with sunlight.

Stepping into the vaulted entry, you find yourself in a naturally lit space that is open to three interconnected living areas. Soft light spills in through sidelights, while brighter light washes down from the dormer overhead.

Nearly encircling the living room, a wide octagonal window bay creates a bright and cheerful environment for entertainment or relaxation. This spacious living area flows comfortably into the dining room, where double doors open onto the covered porch.

A vaulted ceiling helps distinguish the line between the family room and the flat-ceilinged dining area. French doors and a skylight brighten the whole area. A home entertainment center is in the back corner, next to an energy-efficient woodstove.

The kitchen is large, and also very bright. Bay windows create an expansive nook, while a smaller bay serves as a backdrop for a gently curved, J-shaped buffet. Standing at the kitchen sink, you look into the great room across an eating bar.

Bedrooms and utilities fill the left side of the home. The pass-through utility room is outfitted with cabinets, a deep sink, folding counter, sewing area, and storage closet.

Owners’ suite features in the Cortland include: a spa tub, walk-in shower, dual vanity, large walk-in closet, and private toilet.

 

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