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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.

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

Featured House Plan of the Week, Bungalow Home Plan, Kent 30-498, Cabin Plan, Vacation House Plan

People who appreciate simplicity are drawn to the Bungalow-style Kent home plan. Call it a cabin, a cottage, or a vacation retreat. Whichever designation you chose, this home is charming and economical to build as well as maintain.

Slender wooden posts support and define the front porch that wraps around to the right. Exposed rafter tails along the roof's edge create visual interest, while cedar shake shingles give a rustic texture to the exterior, above the batt and board siding.

Entering through one of the two atrium doors you step into a surprisingly large and naturally bright vaulted great room. Windows line much of the side wall, and a kitchen with a large work island fills the rear. If a wood or gas flame stove could be tucked into the front corner by the door.

Standing at the kitchen's stove, you can easily serve up assorted culinary delights to family and friends perched on stools along the raised eating and conversation bar.

A stacked washer/dryer is close, hidden behind doors that front the hallway leading to the back porch. Shelves fill the other half of the alcove. More storage is available in a smaller alcove across from the bathroom.

Two rooms fill the the left side. The front bedroom is larger and boasts a wide closet. The second room could be used as a study or another bedroom. A pull-down ladder there provides handy attic access.

19th Feb, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman Home Plan, Kelseyville 30-476

The Kelseyville offers a beautiful Craftsman-style exterior. Stone veneer wainscoting and columns draw eyes to the lower sections, while shake-textured siding and decorative supports highlight low gables on four different levels.

This multilevel plan is perfect for construction on a lot that slopes up at the rear. A two-car garage is at the lowest level. Entry and foyer are half a flight up, as are secondary bedrooms that feature a jack-n-jill bathroom.

Another half flight of steps brings you to a bright and spacious vaulted great room, where windows fill most of the rear wall. A set of atrium doors provide access to a partially covered patio. Due to the upslope, the patio is at ground level here. Double doors access a large storage area, ideal for gardening equipment, barbecue grills, etc.

The dining room is every bit as bright as the great room. Colorful flames and warmth in the gas fireplace can be enjoyed from either side.

A wide opening links the great room to a large kitchen, expanded by a sunny nook. Storage and counters wrap around three sides, and a large walk-in pantry fills one corner. Potted plants are sure to thrive in the windowed triangle in front of the sink. A long work island with built-in prep sink is at center.

Sliders in the nook lead to a covered deck, ideal for warm weather meals. 

The vaulted master suite is another half flight up. Soft light filters into the luxurious bathroom through glass blocks in the spa alcove. In front of the bedroom features a wide window seat.


15th Feb, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, European Home Plan, European House Plan, Avalon 30-306

The Avalon is reminece of a French country estate. The steeply pitched roof lines, stone veneer facades, keystone lintels, and arched entry are all European influences. Inside, it offers spacious living quarters, ideal for families who enjoy entertaining guests.

Upon entering, you step into a two-story foyer with a balustrade curving up to the right. A den is to the right, and a large dining room is to the left. Ahead, at center, is a large living room anchored by a masonry fireplace on one end. French doors open out onto a large covered patio.

Informal living spaces cluster on the left, in a large, free-flowing space that is the family room, kitchen and nook. The open kitchen has every convenience, including a large rectangular work island rimmed by a raised eating bar on two sides. Plenty of natural light flows in through wide windows in the nook.

More light spills into the family room through windows on two sides, and a home entertainment center nestles into the rear corner, next to the fireplace.
Laundry appliances are close in a large utility room with storage cabinets and two long counters for folding clothes. This space also has a pull-down ironing board and a built-in desk facing a window.

A curved window bay expands the sitting area in the luxurious owners’ suite. Amenities abound, from the huge closet to the luxurious bathroom and a private patio with a hot tub. 

5th Feb, 2018
Blog, Under Construction


Construction Progress, Garage Plan, 20-100, Two Car Garage with Attic

Thank you Ms. S for the purchase of our Garage 20-100 design and allowing us the opportunity to follow along with the construction process.

We look forward to watching the progress, and appreciate your participation on the blog.

5th Feb, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Featured Home Plan of the Week, Manor Heart 10-590

Bright and spacious gathering spaces fill the core of the Manor Heart, and private rooms are off to the right and left in this ranch-style home plan.

Once inside, double doors in the entry open into the den or home office. Just past the coat closet, you emerge into the naturally bright vaulted great room. Cabinets and/or bookcases flank the fireplace centered on one wall. Across the way, this room flows into the dining room, which is open to the kitchen. Sliding glass doors in the dining room open wide to offer easy access to a covered deck.

Counters and cabinets wrap around three sides of the large kitchen, encircling a wide work island rimmed on one end by a rounded conversation bar. Work surfaces and storage areas are generous along with a roomy walk-in pantry.

The owners’ suite features a large walk-in closet along with a luxurious bathroom. Amenities here include a deep soaking tub that nestles into a windowed alcove between the walk-in shower and a private toilet. Bedrooms on the other side of the house share a two-section bathroom. Nearby, the pass-through utility room links the house to a two-car garage with extra storage space. A bonus room sits above.

1st Feb, 2018
Articles, Blog

You’ve searched high and low for your first home. You’ve browsed all the realtor websites, all the neighborhoods. Nothing sparks your happiness, so instead of compromising on something existing, you are going to build your new home from the ground up.

The trick with building your starter home, of course, is being smart about what features, amenities, and styles you like and that won’t drain your pocketbook. Not an easy thing to do.

But don’t despair. We here at Associated Designs Inc., have highlighted for you three straightforward starter homes packed with all the modern features and amenities, and wrapped in time-tested exterior styles. And yes: They won’t break the bank.

“It’s common to be a little overwhelmed by all the prices and options to building your first home,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs. “You may have to battle outsize expectations on a limited budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste, style, and features.”

Craftsman House Plan, Starter Home Plan, Bailey 30-262
The Bailey (30-262)

If you’re looking for comfort with a little charm, the Bailey craftsman-style house plan has the perfect porch-sitting atmosphere. Four sets of slender posts support the front of the roof, creating an inviting full-width front porch. Sip your morning coffee or snuggle up to watch the sunset with a glass of wine.

This house plan is a compact, contemporary, two-story home with 1,600 square feet of living space. But it’s got all the amenities and modern features. When you enter the home, you step into a small foyer with a stairway and convenient coat closet. But after that, the house opens up into a large living area with a parlor on the right and living room on the left that flows right into the kitchen.

The parlor connects with a den or dining room (your choice!) and when those double doors are open, it creates an expansive living area for those parties you have planned. The parlor’s rear windows are actually French doors that open to the backyard and create ample natural light.

The kitchen is no exception to the open feel of the home, with a large eating bar and ample room for the busy cook. A door connects the kitchen to the garage (especially convenient for unloading groceries), and a half bathroom and utility closet are to the right (also conveniently placed but out of sight). But let’s not forget there’s a whole second floor available in this house plan.

“The bungalow has a master suite on the second floor that may seem small,” said McAlexander. “But when you add in the private bathroom with oversize shower and the long closet with ample storage, this starter home design has the best of everything.”

Starter House Plan, Cedar Ridge 30-855, Craftsman Home Plan
The Cedar Ridge (30-855)

When considering a home design or layout, the type of lot you pick may determine the type of house you build. For a narrow lot, the Cedar Ridge design is a perfect starter home that has all the amenities and features with plenty of space – and all in a 1,763-square-foot, two-story country cottage.

“The best part about this house is that it packs it all in with room to spare,” said McAlexander. “You get a fireplace, a walk-in closet for the master suite, separate bedrooms and an extra storage area upstairs, a den, and an open floor plan. Everything is where it should be, which makes for easy comfort and happy living.”

The first floor of this home design features a kitchen, living room and dining room all connected for easy flow. The U-shaped kitchen has a long eating bar and plenty of workspace with a utility room nearby (but out of sight). The owners’ suite is also down a short hallway off the living room, complete with private bath and walk-in closet. A den near the front entry can serve as a bonus room, office or whatever you desire.

The second floor features two bedrooms for the kids, another bathroom to share, and an extra storage space or attic area. For a home on a narrow lot, this design packs in all the features so you aren’t missing out anything.

Starter House Plan, Pine Creek 30-885, Shingle Style Home Plan
The Pine Creek (30-885)

For a single-story house plan that has it’s own unique charm, the Pine Creek design is a must. This home has a Cape Cod-style feel to it, and the layout puts everything within reach.

“It’s a design that just makes sense,” said McAlexander. “And for a starter home like this one to have as much to it as this one does, it’s pretty great. I’m a huge fan of the design’s ability to be both smart and comfortable.”

At close to 1,780 square feet of living space, the Pine Creek boasts an open layout with the great room, dining area and kitchen on one side of the house and three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the other side of the house. Your entertaining and family gatherings won’t have to mingle with your personal space.

A comforting fireplace is the focus of the great room area, framed by a window on each side. The dining area and kitchen behind the great room open up into each other for that modern feel and easy flow for serving and entertaining. A center island in the kitchen means you have ample room to cook, chat, and share delicious meals.

Down the hallway off the kitchen is the utility room with built-in cupboards and storage space. The utility room is also connected to the garage, which means it can double as a mudroom. Further down the hallway are two secondary bedrooms with a shared bathroom, and the owners’ suite complete with walk-in closet and private bath.

“A starter home shouldn’t be a downer. You shouldn’t have to settle for less,” said McAlexander. “You may have a limited budget, but if you’re building your first home, you can still get all the amenities you want without sacrificing style.”

And that’s the ultimate point: Your first home will be exactly what you wanted. 

As seen on Newswire
29th Jan, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Cambridge 10-045, Home Plan

The Cambridge is an exception to the rule for a compact Craftsman style home. Often, homes that feature gabled rooflines, dormer windows and a wrap around front porches can be out of reach for first time homebuyers and far too large for empty nesters.

This plan is designed for economy and efficient maintenance, making it equally well suited to the needs of singles, families with young children, or empty nesters.

Day to day living takes place in a bright, vaulted great room that faces the rear. Naturally illuminated by skylights, side windows and a high dormer, this area rarely needs additional lighting during daylight hours.

Sliding glass doors in the eating nook open onto a wide deck. Utilities are just a few steps away, tucked in the passageway to the garage.

Eight foot-high display shelves that flank the vaulted entry hall, overarch the entrance to the family room, and mark the passageway to the owners' suite. 

Amenities in the owners' suite include a large walk in closet and twin basins in a dressing area separate from the water closet and shower.


22nd Jan, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Richmond 11-048, Spanish Home Plan, Southwestern House Plans

The Richmond blends traditional and present day Spanish styling in a plan that is also elegant and informal. Traditional elements include a tile roof, arched windows, and stucco. Bold columns, a cameo window and planters overflowing with vegetation provide contemporary flare.

Vaulted ceilings offers a sense of openness in the formal living spaces found in the core of this plan. Widely spaced columns support plant shelves define the boundaries of dining room, living room and hallways. A small powder room, tucked into the passageway to the kitchen, is close to to it all.

Day to day activities take place in the large, open family room/kitchen. The diagonal cooking island creates a uniquely shaped kitchen. A vegetable sink across from the range offers increased efficiency in food preparation.

The eating bar adds more counter space. Utilities and a walk-in pantry are conveniently located between the kitchen and the garage. On the far side of the kitchen, a glass door in the nook leads to a screened porch that opens onto a terrace.

Bedrooms are close together on the left. Luxury amenities in the owners' suite include a large walk-in closet, a private bathroom with two vanities and a private toilet and shower. Glass blocks form the shower stall and brighten the bathing alcove.

Each of the secondary bedrooms have direct access to a jack-n-jill bathroom. The bedroom closest to the entry porch could be outfitted with French doors and used as a den or office.

15th Jan, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Kersley 30-041, Classic Home Plan, Luxury House Plan


The Kersley's arched windows and lofty entry, keystones, corner quoins and a steeply pitched hip roof create an impression of statuesque grandeur in this Classic-style home design.

Inside, a graceful curved staircase sweeps up the right side of a wide, bright foyer that features a two-story ceiling and a hardwood floor. Arched openings lead to the formal living room, dining room, and the informal family living spaces are at the rear. Most of the main floor has 9-foot ceilings.

The fireplace in the living room is its center piece and the French doors and tray ceiling augment the sense of refinement. The dining room, with its coffered ceiling, hardwood floor and built-in buffet, is equally elegant. Family room, nook and kitchen are all open to each other. A pool room is off to the left, through raised panel doors. Roomy and bright, this area has a wet bar and sliding glass doors that open on a large patio.

In the family room, another fireplace adds color and warmth. The entertainment center houses electronic toys¬--big screened television, CD player, Blu ray,  or video games. Kitchen conveniences include a spacious walk-in pantry and a large work island with a cook top.

All four bedrooms are upstairs. Owners’ suite luxuries include a large walk-in closet, dual vanities, soaking tub, and oversized shower. The guest suite has its own bathroom, complete with shower. The other two bedrooms share a jack-n-jill bathroom.

7th Jan, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Duplex Plan, Multifamily Plans, Cartersville 60-017

The Cartersville is a two-story, three-bedroom Craftsman-style duplex design with bathrooms on both levels and plenty of separation between the units. The only shared walls are between the garages, powder rooms and patios. Each unit is mirror image of the other.

Slender wooden posts trim a welcoming front porch large enough to accommodate a porch swing or other patio furniture. The front railing adds privacy and nostalgic charm.

Step inside, you move through the entry into the living room. A coat closet is straight ahead, across from stairs that lead to the second-floor bedrooms.

The kitchen and dining room are linked at the rear, with a peninsular counter and raised eating bar between them. Counters wrap around three sides of the kitchen, while cupboards line two, and fill the space above the refrigerator as well.

Laundry appliances, a powder room, and garage access are steps away.

Wide windows at the rear and side of the dining room allow for plenty of natural light. Sliding glass doors provide easy patio access, and can be left open to increase air circulation in summer.

Three bedrooms are upstairs. Two are in the front and the owners' suite is at the back. While it shares the upper bathroom, it does have a private dressing area with a basin, and a roomy walk-in closet.

1st Jan, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Country Home Plan, Pine Hill 30-791

Country-style Pine Hill makes an ideal retreat cottage, and is equally well suited for year-round suburban living. Wooden shutters and a wrap-around front porch add nostalgic charm.

Light flows into the entry through sidelights that flank the door. The stairs directly ahead of the entry lead up to the three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor.

On the first floor, four linked family living areas wrap around the staircase. The entry is open to the living room on the right, and a den on the left. A fireplace serves as a focal point on the living room's exterior wall.

A wide arched opening links the living room to a dining room that is expanded by a window bay. Sliding glass windows there access a large deck, down a few steps from the main floor. The dining room is open to the kitchen, where a large work island adds to the counter and cabinet space. 

Around the corner is a good-sized utility room and a powder room. In the utility room, cabinets line the wall above the appliances. The hallway leading to these rooms ends with an exterior door that leads out onto the covered porch and then on to the patio. 

The owners' suite boasts a second gas fireplace, a deep soaking tub, and a dual vanity.

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