The country-style Paisley home plan's two-story entry opens out into one large gathering space that fills the entire right side of the ground floor, front to back. Counters and cabinets wrap around three sides of the step-efficient C-shaped kitchen, maximizing work space and storage capacity. The owners' suite is on the ground floor, and three more bedrooms are above.
Simple country charm and covered front porch welcomes you to the Rivercrest house plan. Once inside, to the right of the entry is the den that would also make a great office, study, library or whatever suits. Past the stairs the great room opens up with a vaulted ceiling and featuers a gas fireplace tucked into the corner. The owners' suite takes up the left side of the home and two additional bedrooms and a bonus room on the second floor.
A century ago, a family on the hunt for a new home had a fairly simple way of choosing a home design: pick your favorite from the Sears & Roebuck kit home catalog and go on your merry way. Artist renderings of the homes showed you the style concept and basic structure, and they were often given specific names such as “The Hamilton” or “The Chelsea” – a testament to the artistry that went into the design.
As the years went on, other players such as builders, developers and lumberyards joined the game and offered their services with their own design catalogs. The industry moved swiftly into promotion and marketing in newspapers and magazines, so that families of all sizes could find a plot of land advertised in the newspaper and at the same time could choose a home design to go along with it.
But nowadays, shopping for a home plan is not as easy as picking out your favorite from a catalog. The options are endless – and overwhelming. From the half a dozen Sears kit homes, there is now an explosion of designs available through a single Internet search. What families must now wade through is an overload of information provided by a mix of conglomerate marketing sites and websites hosted by individual designers. And each has its own set of benefits and challenges.
“If you choose one of the larger sites to peruse, and depending on how far you narrow or filter your search, you’ll still have to be patient,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs in Eugene, Ore. “These websites are essentially a giant marketplace for thousands of designers to bring their ideas to consumers. You have more to choose from, but it’s what I would call ‘variety overload.’”
Many believe that they can pick a plan and start building their home when all they have really achieved is step one: choosing their favorite design from the online catalog. Because these large websites bring designers from across the U.S., your dream design that fits your family’s lifestyle may not be drawn with construction methods or specifications for your area. When the time comes to get the plans reviewed for your local building conditions, you might find yourself in a maze of difficult design questions.
“The designer is often kept at arm’s length with the larger websites,” said McAlexander. “The process to get your home from paper to brick and mortar becomes tedious. And if a plan needs to be customized, you will often be referred to a third party service instead of the original designer of your plan. The process can very easily become a nightmare.”
On the flip side, if you have the patience to scroll past the first couple of pages in your online search, you will find websites hosted by professional home designers who specialize in home plan marketing. You’ll have fewer design options but a personal connection to the designer who will help you modify an existing plan or even create a custom home. Additionally, direct from the designer sites often feature plans that are tailored to a specific region, which can further streamline the process.
“Working with a local design professional will give you the inside look at building recommendations and requirements for your area,” said McAlexander. “Rather than drowning in a sea of questions and construction concerns, you are given a life preserver. Suddenly, you have insight into local construction techniques, and you are better able to dial your set of plans into the style that works for your area.”
There is always the opportunity to find your dream home online, but the process requires patience. The Internet offers a wealth of options both in the products and designs offered as well as the places and companies to buy them from. It is important that you understand what it is that you’re looking at and what you’re hoping for before you pick a home plan. The better informed you are, and the more help or individual attention you are given, makes the experience not something to dread, but something to enjoy.
Next Month: You’ve found a home design online that’s close to what you want—what’s next to choosing a designer and getting your design customized.
As seen on Newswire
The classic American farmhouse conjures images of a simpler time, open spaces and a place to call your own. The timeless elements of the farmhouse – the steep roofs, lap siding and clean lines – can fit into any subdivision, in-fill lot or rural property.
A recent study conducted by The American Institute of Architects found that 45 percent of homeowners preferred contemporary homes in 2015 (a seven-point increase from the year before). So where does that leave the farmhouse, a fixture of classic Americana?
Rick McAlexander, President and CEO of Associated Designs, Inc. – a residential home design company located in Eugene, OR – has found that many of his clients are looking to blend classic exteriors with modern influences. In fact the desire of homeowners to update classic architectural styles has been trending over the last few years. Each year Associated Designs releases a national survey looking for feedback from homeowners and buyers as well as builders on which features they want in their homes. From this survey, Associated Designs has found preferences to be a combination of classic styles (like ranch or prairie) paired with contemporary or modern. Back in 2014, Associated Designs took the resulting feedback from their national survey and created the Fairheart design 10-600, a new interpretation of the American Farmhouse.
From the outside, the Fairheart has all the essentials of a farmhouse. The core of the home keeps the classic rectangular layout with a steep 10/12 roof pitch which is used to create a small second story and allow for vaulted spaces in the main living area. The standard horizontal lap siding was replaced with batt and board, giving the home a modern twist with subtle and simple vertical lines. With clean lines and uncluttered exterior, the Fairheart clearly shows its roots yet possesses the ability to blend into any neighborhood.
While the exterior may harken to the past, the interior is completely modern. Large, vaulted living spaces are grouped at the core of the home. This open arrangement of living spaces is trending amongst homebuyer preferences for over 5 years. From there, all of the sleeping areas are separated for maximum privacy. The owners’ suite is tucked into the back of the home with its own access to the back patio. A second bedroom is located on the main floor off the dining room. If this bedroom is not being used, a sliding barn door can be used to close off this section of the home when entertaining guests. The third bedroom is located upstairs off the loft that overlooks the great room below.
By highlighting the best qualities of the American farmhouse – strong yet unadorned lines, simple exterior and a comfortable interior – Associated Designs has reimaged an American classic.
As Seen on Newswire
Vaulted ceilings along with the wide open central living area give this country home a feeling of spaciousness that belies its size. This single-level Marysville house plan is equally well-suited to young families, and empty nesters.
Entering the home you step into the large, open, informal space where dining room, living room and kitchen flow together. The vaulted ceiling soars up to a central peak, then slopes down toward the rear.
A bay window expands the dining area. The light here is soft and natural, diffused by the overhang of the front porch. In the living room, light flows in through sliders that open onto a rear deck and patio.
Standing at the kitchen range, you look into the vaulted living area with a wood stove. The large work island adds counter and storage space and could be outfitted as an eating bar.
The vaulted owners' suite rectangular bay makes an ideal place for a cozy window seat. French doors open onto the deck. Other features include a walk-in closet, a large bathroom with spa tub, double vanity and oversized shower.
Secondary bedrooms in the are also vaulted and share a bathroom. Utilities are closeby, in a small room with a built-in folding counter.