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1st Dec, 2014
Articles, Blog

Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Carrington 30-360

Today’s homeowners are smartly maximizing the additional space of their bonus rooms to accommodate a range of contemporary activities, making it a highly functional room which looks great and offers something for the whole family.

The idea of a bonus room is actually a newer phenomenon and unique to the American culture. Prior to the 80’s, it was common for families to convert a garage in a single-level ranch home into a “rec room”. Parents imagined a spot where the family could play board games and listen to records on the console stereo system.

Since then, the average home size has grown from about 1650 square feet in the 70’s to over 2600 square feet today. The original recreation room idea has now evolved into a common requirement for a family-sized home.

Rick McAlexander of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon has designed thousands of homes over the last 30 years. He’s seen the bonus room become one of the most highly requested features of a new home. According to Rick, by using a loft truss in the construction of the home, he can create efficient space in the attic over the garage that can become an extra room at an affordable cost. An attic truss has a steeper roof, which adds additional head room.

The truss system is a great multitasker. It provides a lightweight, very strong roof while offering additional volume for bonus living space. This additional space can be left unfinished to be completed as a family’s budget and lifestyle create the opportunity to spread out, or it can be completed at the same time as the rest of the house. Good insulation and energy efficient windows create a comfortable place for friends and family to enjoy.

“Taking advantage of the extra space trusses can provide will result in the traditional bonus room with a sloped ceiling,” says Rick. “This is a great opportunity to incorporate built-ins, storage closets and other functional spaces that take advantage of the slopes,” he states.

A classic Craftsman style home, like Associated Designs’ Carrington 30-360 plan, is a perfect example of how to add bonus space to a smaller footprint. The main house lives large at 2049 square feet, while the extra bonus space is a few steps up and over the garage, adding another 350 feet to the overall plan. And, this plan calls for a window on every wall, ensuring loads of natural light that prevent the space from feeling like an attic.

Today’s savvy decorators know how to incorporate many elements that create a contemporary living space with fresh styling. Built-in cabinetry under the eaves includes a counter top, drawers and cubes for a crafting environment where projects can sit until completed. A finished crawl-space storage closet keeps seasonal clothing or extra linens fresh and ready for quick use. Library shelving under the eaves provides a wealth of space for books and keepsakes.

A kitchenette can include a wet sink and counter with microwave, with wine cooler and compact refrigerator. Add a built-in day bed and the bonus room becomes a gracious spot for overnight guests.

Maximizing every part of the bonus room with tricks of the building trade ensures the room is well used and enjoyed by all.

As Seen on Newswire

24th Nov, 2014
Articles, Blog

Veterans Houseing Project, Morrison 30-973, Cottage House plan, Home Plan

Soldiers make great sacrifices to protect the rights and freedoms of all people in our great nation. Their daily dedication and fortitude is something that we are all proud of as we welcome these veterans home for the transition into a civilian lifestyle. Unfortunately, the transition can be difficult for many veterans, as they cannot find affordable housing for themselves and their families while trying to find new employment opportunities. Such rough beginnings can put a strain on relationships and stress on these individuals while trying to create a stable life for their families.

Associated Designs is eager to announce that we have teamed up with the Veterans' Housing Project to help provide the necessary housing opportunities to returning veterans. The Veteran's Housing Project allows veterans to become self-sufficient and financially stable by providing them safe, secure and affordable housing for two years. During this time period, veterans can adjust to their new lifestyles and find work or enroll in school to complete their degree. Veterans can focus more on the other important aspects of their lives, such as providing a safe and healthy environment for their children and spouses, without struggling to make ends meet.

The City of Eugene, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Lane County Homebuilders Association, and St. Vincent DePaul are the founders of the Veterans’ Housing Project, and are graciously supported by businesses such as Seneca Sawmill Company and Neil Kelly, The Home Depot Foundation and Northwest Community Credit Union along with other businesses, service providers and individuals. Associated Designs has contributed the house design to the project for the construction of this years’ home.

Associated Designs would like to continue to help this worthwhile project by pledging to donate 10% of direct plan sales, and 5% of plan revision services from now through the end of the year.

The cottage style Morrison 30-973 house plan offers simple, elegant living. With an open floor plan concept, all the living spaces are located on the ground level. This plan offers plenty of room for growing families or retirees looking to minimize their responsibilities while still having plenty of room for visiting family and friends. The Morrison design is an ideal home plan for people looking to live in a relaxing suburban setting or quiet rural property. To view the plan visit

Help make a difference in the life of a returning soldier. By purchasing an Associated Designs home plan not only will you be getting a great home for yourself and your family to enjoy for years to come; you will be helping another family get a start on their new life. Every little bit helps! In this season of giving help Associated Designs give back to those who have given so much.

As Seen on Newswire

24th Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Westfall 30-944, Ranch House Plan

Ranch-style homes have been enduringly popular in the United States for several decades, and the country flavor Westfall is a good example. The lap siding’s crisp horizontal lines frame and underscore two sets of front windows, while vertical lines front the garage under a high row of  windows.

Double doors in the foyer open to a den. Its location just inside the entry makes it ideal as a home office. The natural light spilling in through the front windows is softened slightly by the recessed porch.

An opening on the other side of the foyer leads to the owners’ suite. A pocket door provides separation from the bathroom, which features shower, private toilet, and double vanity, and links up with a large walk-in closet.

Family living will prosper in the light-filled great room at the home’s rear, where windows fill most of one wall, next to the gas fireplace. The kitchen is open to the great room across a flush eating bar.  Cabinets, a step-in pantry, and appliances fill two walls.

The dining area is to the left, partially separated by a peninsular conversation bar. This counter can double as a buffet, when serving festive meals. An atrium door at the juncture of the great room and dining area opens to a covered patio.

A short hallway across the great room leads to secondary bedrooms flanking a bathroom with a combination shower and tub. Laundry appliances are in the utility room between the den and the kitchen. Linked with the two-car garage, it makes unloading groceries safe and convenient any time,  and could also serve as a mudroom.


20th Nov, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Cannondale 30-971, Ranch House Plan

The Craftsman style Cannondale house plan is perfect for those who love to entertain. Informal gatherings can be held in the spacious, naturally lit great room. The corner fireplace makes a cozy place for family and friends. For more formal gatherings the separate dining room can be accessed from the entry hall or the kitchen. If groups decide to break off from the main area a generous recreation room is off the main living area. The owners' suite is separated from the other bedrooms and serves as a quite retreat.

17th Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Southwest House Plan, Home Plan, Noranda 30-123

The Southwest style Noranda is a large and stately brick house plan. The corner quoins reinforce the image of permanence while the arched stepped-brick entryway and the herringbone-patterned chimney inset adds eye-catching appeal.

A variety of group living environments are found on the main floor, with the great room being the largest. Windowed front and back, it has a hardwood floor, a lofty 12-foot ceiling, and a fireplace. Double doors open to a partially covered patio.

Kitchen and dining room flow together, separated by a wall section and the eating bar. The dining room is spacious, and the vaulted ceiling makes it feel even larger. This room, too, features a fireplace and double-door access to the patio.

Tile covers the floor of a kitchen with ample room for a team of cooks to work together. The utility room and pantry are just around the corner, in a long passageway that connects the kitchen to the three-car garage. The full bathroom at the end of this hallway is nice for garage access. It's also convenient to a guest suite.

Den, library hall and owners' suite nestle together in the quiet wing to the right of the great room. Shelving fills the library hall. Luxury amenities in the vaulted owners' suite include a large walk-in closet and a plush private bathroom.

Two large bedrooms are upstairs, where they share a centrally located shower. Each bedroom has its own private toilet and lav. A separate second floor accessible only from the garage provides storage.

10th Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

European House Plan, Home Plan, Gerabaldi 30-543

Wooden shutters, columns and keystone arches give a classic European look to the two-story Gerabaldi house plan. Stucco columns and exterior is common of homes near the Mediterranean Sea.

Family living areas are on the main floor, and link to the three-car garage through a mudroom, featuring storage and a built-in bench for removing and storing shoes and backpacks. Four large bedrooms are upstairs, along with a laundry room, three bathrooms, storage closets and a bonus room.

An arched opening leads from the sidewalk onto the vaulted porch. The arched transom there crowns a door flanked by sidelights. Natural light spills into the partially two-story entry through those windows, and more light washes down through a multipaned window on the upper level.

On the right, an arch provides access to a living room expanded by a bay window. On the left, double doors open into a room that could be a study, home office, or hobby room. Family living spaces - kitchen, nook and family room - flow together, filling the back of the home.

An eating bar rims one edge of a cook top work island centered in the large kitchen. Counters and cupboards wrap around two sides of the kitchen, and a walk-in pantry fits into one corner.

Wide windows line the rear wall. One of the nook's windows is an atrium door that accesses the patio. A built-in desk is located in an alcove at the juncture of the nook and family room.

The owners' suite features a walk-in shower, dual vanity, private toilet and a large walk-in closet.

3rd Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Cape Cod House Plan, Home Plan, Lakeview 10-079, Vacation Home Plan, Cabin Plan

The Lakeview is a vacation home designed to allow full advantage of a panoramic view. Built on beach or lakefront land, this Cape Cod style home lets you continue to enjoy the out-of-doors even when you have to come inside.

Stacks of glass fill most of the wall space on 3 sides of the vaulted great room. French doors on both sides provide cross-ventilation and open onto a covered wrap around porch that frames this dramatic living area.

A large see through fireplace separates the great room from the dining room and serves as a warm focal point. The ceiling in front of the fireplace is two stories high. The hearth is overlooked from vantage points on either side of the chimney that stretches upward by the second-floor loft. Outfitted with bunks, the second floor loft can provide additional sleeping space when needed.

The U-shaped kitchen is brightened by a bay window and offers plenty of counter space. A compact, stacking washer/dryer combination is nestled in an alcove under the stairs. Sliding doors open onto a small back deck shaded by a wooden arbor. This area could be screened if desired. A storage area is conveniently located off the deck.

Both the Lakeview's lower and upper bedrooms have walk-in closets and full bathrooms. The upper bathroom is slightly larger and has a corner shower. The compartmentalized lower bathroom allows one person to perform grooming activities at the sink while another uses the tub or toilet.

3rd Nov, 2014
Articles, Blog

By the time many people are ready to build their dream home, they’ve pored over hundreds of pages throughout dozens of interior design magazines, imagining countless custom treatments. And, while it’s tempting to admire pictures of beautifully designed rooms, the true test of a top quality home begins with the details of a custom floor plan.

Every family is unique and a custom home designed specifically for a family’s lifestyle can create an unparalleled living experience. From the home’s entrance into the main living spaces, to the kitchen and dining configuration, or mudroom-utility and garage transition, the right floor plan can increase a family’s convenience and overall quality of life.

Rick McAlexander, president and owner of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon, believes that a family who chooses to build their own home should carefully pick their house plan designer. Working with an experienced designer can prevent costly mistakes or serious problems after construction begins and ultimately offer a very special place the family is happy to call home.

“I find that my clients initially underestimate the complexity of building a home and are usually surprised to learn what it takes to be an expert in this field. After designing thousands of homes, I’ve come to realize how important it is for a homeowner to feel comfortable with their designer before the process even begins,” says Rick.

Homeowners must do their own thorough research before choosing a designer for such a big investment as a home. Some may search on the Internet for a construction professional, but that may not be the best approach. A smart looking website does not necessarily equal an experienced home designer. To assist homeowners in the process of choosing a designer, Rick McAlexander encourages homeowners to consider six key characteristics before hiring a qualified professional.

Personality - Designing a home is a very personal project and the designer will be working closely with the homeowner. Many conversations involve a family’s day to day living experience, which should be an enjoyable and comfortable experience. It’s important for the client to like the designer as they interpret the family’s goals and create a design that delights everyone involved.

Experience - How many projects has the designer completed of a similar nature to the one at hand? This is a different criteria than how long a designer has been in business. Someone who has experience designing office buildings or hospitals will not have the same set of skills as one who has focused their practice on residential design. Also, a designer whose primary focus has been entry level production housing may not have the skills required for an estate-sized home, while the reverse is also true.

Reputation - Obtain a list of references, including past clients and construction professionals. Inquire about the designer’s history of delivering projects within the time frame promised and whether the client felt the fees were fair. Check with contractors about the quality of the construction documents, as well as how easy it was to follow blueprints. Did the designer promptly and effectively respond to questions that came up during construction? Check with the building department that will be issuing your permits to see if they are willing to discuss their experience with a specific building designer. Clients who take a thorough approach to checking a designer’s record are ones most likely to have their home built on time and on budget.

Design philosophy - Some designers prefer a “you dream it, we draw it” style of communication. Others feel their experience dictates what’s best for the client in a home’s design, based on the designer’s interpretation of the goals. Does the designer exhibit a more collaborative style, helping to educate and advise a client while maintaining a flexible approach to the floor plan, allowing for input and personal preferences? Which of these styles will best fit a client’s own communication style and comfort level?

Level of service provided - Designers run the gamut from “drafter” to “full service”. A drafter simply uses a general floor plan and draws a set of plans, typically the minimum required to obtain a building permit. The full service designer will provide a custom approach, staying involved in the project from initial design concept through completion, providing assistance in all phases of construction. Many designers work somewhere in between, providing complete plan sets with enough detail for the contractor to confidently build, while allowing for consulting when needed throughout the construction process.

Costs - The original design is not the place to cut corners. How does the designer charge for services? Designers charge in a variety of ways, but most common are hourly, cost per square foot, or a percentage of construction costs. Normally the rates are commensurate with the level of experience, complexity of the project and service provided. The design is the most critical element of a successful project and worth the time and attention to this detail. Saving a few dollars by rushing a project or choosing the cheapest plan source could compromise the entire project. It is common for more money to be spent on the site preparation and home’s foundation than the design. However, to get a good foundation requires a good plan. The most meticulously detailed and expertly constructed design will be a disappointment if it does not meet a family’s lifestyle goals.

“Choosing a good designer is the most critical phase of the entire new home construction process,” says Rick McAlexander. “Working with an experienced, professional designer should be a pleasure and result in a beautiful dream home that brings joy to the whole family for years to come,” he added.

As seen on Newswire

29th Oct, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Madrone 30-749, Country House Plan

Completely surrounded by a wrap around covered porch the Madrone ranch style house plan is well suited for country living. The front door is understated but welcoming as you step inside you are greeted by a wood stove in the vaulted living room. The generous sized kitchen flows into the utility/mud hall where there is plenty of storage and a large walk-in pantry. A hall way runs through the middle of the home and takes you to the bedrooms with the owners' suite at the end.

27th Oct, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

European House Plan, Home Plan, Macon 30-229

The Macon is visually appealing. This European house plan features half-timbers that accent a vaulted porch, set off by the stone veneer next to it. The porch frames an impressive entry flanked by sidelights and crowned with a fanlight. Curved trim boards and varied window treatments add to this stunning design.

With nearly 3,000 square feet of living space the spacious interior is perfect for entertaining, as well as day-to-day living. The living room and dining room can be formal, if desired, while the family room and den can easily cater to more individual family preferences. The den could serve as a home office or another bedroom.

The vaulted dining room and living room are richly windowed. In the living room, wide shelves and cabinets fill the walls beside a fireplace. Three fanlights cap the French doors and multipaned windows in this elegant, high-ceilinged space.

Open to the kitchen, the family room has a second fireplace and offers patio access on two sides. Twin window seats create cozy spaces by the rear-facing French doors. Kitchen features include: a T-shaped work island with prep sink, built-in appliances, and two pantries.

Utilities and a large combination guest/hobby room are close. Natural light spills in over the desk nestled into the window bay, creating an ideal area for sewing or other crafts.

An even wider bay window expands the Macon's owners' suite. Luxury features include: two walk-in closets, patio access, and a large bathroom with oversize shower, spa tub, two vanities and an enclosed water closet.


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