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2nd May, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

The Grandview lives up to its name. Designed for a rear-sloping view lot, this hexagonal Prairie-style house plan offers panoramic views from every interior room as well as the wide upper deck and covered lower patio. A wealth of windows, complemented by tapered stone columns and shingled walls, sparkles across the back three sections of this home. 

Walking in the front door, you are at ground level, facing into the vaulted living room. Continue across the living room, through sliding doors and out onto the deck, and you see that the outdoor living space is one flight up from the rear ground level. Capped stone columns, wooden posts and railings rim the entire deck, which is wide enough to extend your indoor living spaces to the outside.

A handsome double-wide stone chimney vents two fireplaces: a two-sided fireplace on the main floor, and the fireplace in the large family room below. The two-sided version can be enjoyed from the living room, dining room and kitchen. Vaulted ceilings expand the volume in all of these naturally bright, interconnected areas.

Kitchen offers plenty of counter space and wraps around four sides and has a raised eating bar. Lazy Susan shelving is built into one corner of the lower cabinets to provide easy access. 

This pan features two bedroom suites, one on each floor, along with a third bedroom on the lower level. All have wide windows, and the upper bedroom ceiling is vaulted. Each suite has direct access to a bathroom which is shared by others on the same floor.

1st May, 2016
Articles, Blog

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
26th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Mediterranean House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week

Stepping into the Catalina's spacious great room, you get the impression that the home is large. Vaulted ceilings add to the sense of openness in this informal space, which wraps around the kitchen and flows into the dining area.

But the Mediterranean Catalina house plan was actually designed for people who are looking for a home that is compact, economical and efficient living space. This plan is also packed with contemporary features. And it's naturally bright. The great room is illuminated by light flowing in from the screened porch at the back.

The kitchen which expands by a bay window, is also naturally bright. Features include a pantry, lots of cupboard and counter space, a built-in dishwasher, range and oven. The walk-through utility room has cabinets, a folding counter and access to a garage which has a small workshop.

Bedrooms are all on the left side of the home, where an archway marks the entrance to the hallway.  Arched multi-paned windows give the secondary bedrooms a touch of graceful elegance. Outside, the windows mirror the curved arches of the entry. A raised planter adds color.

Features in the owners' suite include a walk-in closet, twin basins, separately enclosed shower and toilet, and access to the back yard -- important, if a hot tub or pool is part of the plan.

18th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Bowman 30-315, Featured House Plan of the Week

The intriguing Bowman house plan has a clearly contemporary interior while many of its exterior design elements are from the Craftsman era of the early 1900s.

The trademark Craftsman windows: multiple panes over large, single lower panes are carried over to the garage doors, too. Other Craftsman-style features include stone veneer wainscoting and decorative wood corbels.

Walking in you step into a wide, bright foyer with a lofty two-story ceiling. Double doors to the left open into a den, or a third bedroom, if needed. On the right, columns frame openings into the living room and dining room/kitchen, linked by more columned openings to a roomy, naturally bright family room.

Sunlight flows into the living room through windows trimming the gas fireplace and another window on the side. In the kitchen, cupboards and counters wrap around three walls, around a large central work island with a conversation bar.

Along the side wall of the kitchen/dining room and family room, high transom windows crowns the lower windows, including the sliding glass doors that access a covered patio.

The large utility room features a deep sink, cabinets and a counter for folding clothes.

Bedrooms are upstairs. Both the owners' suite and the second bedroom have walk-in closets and private bathrooms. Luxury amenities of the owners' suite include a spa tub, oversized shower, dual vanity and enclosed toilet.

11th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Country Home Plan, Cameron 10-338, Featured House Plan of the Week

The vaulted ceilings in the Cameron's gathering spaces and owners' suite give this country-style ranch house plan an airy sense of spaciousness.  This one level home can be easily adapted for wheelchair accessibility.

The living room and dining room flank the entry, and for families who prefer a home office to a living room, the location next to the entry is ideal.

This home is naturally bright throughout. High dormers bring soft light down into the entry and dining room. Both living room and dining room feature wide, multipaned windows, and the entire rear of the home has plenty of windows. Skylights in the nook make this space natrually bright.

Kitchen and great room flow together, bound with a raised eating bar. A masonry fireplace and an entertainment center are in the corner and wall farthest from the windows.

The large kitchen offers plenty of storage and ample counter space for a family of cooks to work together. The built-in desk is convenient for keeping household business details well organized.

The sleeping areas are widely separated. The owners' suite fills the right wing while three more bedrooms, two bathrooms and a utility room fill the opposite wing.

The owners' suite window seat wraps around the wide, curved window bay. Other features include: his 'n' hers walk-in closets, double vanity, walk-in shower, private toilet, and a spa tub with plant shelf.

4th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Duplex Plan, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Tupelo 60-006

At first glance, most people don't notice that the Tupelo is a duplex. Two sets of porch steps and front doors are the only clue. This design fits well on a corner building or or built with the front porch facing the street and the other is around the corner to the left. This great set-up for a family that wishes to provide supportive but independent housing for family member, or as income from a rental they can easily supervise.

The Tupelo's exterior styling harks back to Craftsman houses of the early 1900s. Inside, both of the units have contemporary floorplans.

The ground floor unit is larger. In addition to the great room/kitchen, it features an owners' suite, two secondary bedrooms, and two bathrooms. A small utility room is tucked into an alcove just inside the front door. An eating bar defines the boundary between the kitchen and a great room with patio access and a large walk-in storage closet.

The second floor unit, you step into a bright ground-floor foyer with a coat closet and an entry bench with storage. Natural light flows in through sidelights. More light washes spills down from the dormer window above, brightening the staircase and into the great room as well.

Kitchen, nook and great room flow together. Next to the stairs is a compact utility room, designed to for a stacked washer/dryer combination. 

1st Apr, 2016
Articles, Blog

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.

Classic American Farmhouse, New Country Style, Fairheart 10-600

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
28th Mar, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week

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.

21st Mar, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, Tazewell 30-477

The inviting front porch is welcoming to friends and family of the Tazewell home plan. The porch is an ideal location for a hammock or wooden porch swing.

Windows, tapered columns and gable accents lend a Craftsman feel to this mid-size, two-story home, designed to suit a growing family.

Abundant natural light flows into the two-story entry through sidelights and a wide transom. Double doors on the right open into a living room with a rectangular window bay. On the other side of the room, a single door leads to a powder room, and to the family gathering spaces.

A bright and lofty, the two-story great room has a spacious feel. Wide windows on two levels trim the gas fireplace, and more light spills in through side windows at the ground and clerestory levels.

The great room isopen to the nook, where the ceiling drops to a more typical height and sliders provide patio access. The nook is open to the kitchen, and bounded by a raised eating bar. A roomy walk-in pantry provides additional storage space. Laundry appliances are around the corner, in a large utility room with a deep sink and folding counter.

The owners' suite fills the left side of the home, front to back. A large spa tub nestles in the front alcove of the vaulted bathroom. Other features include: a double vanity, a private toilet, and a large walk-in closet. Three additional bedrooms share a two-section bathroom on the second floor. 

14th Mar, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Classic House Plan, Home Plan, Huntsville 30-463, Featured House Plan of the Week

The luxurious Huntsville's brick veneer lends a stately look to this classic house plan with an intriguing floor plan. The left side of the home angles toward its right wing at the front.

Raised brick trim crowns the arched entry, highlights windows, caps the chimney, and underscores the entire front facade. Wooden shutters add nostalgic warmth.

Light flows into the high-ceilinged foyer through sidelights and arched transoms. Double doors to the left open into the parlor. Shelves flank a gas fireplace, and wide windows face the front.

Straight from the entry brings you into a spacious great room with a stepped ceiling. Light flows into this bright area through an angled rear wall lined with windows. Cabinets trim both sides of the fireplace that could be used a home entertainment center.

At the kitchen sink, you can keep an eye on happenings in the great room, as well as the bayed dining area. Kitchen features include: a raised conversation bar, walk-in pantry, and built-in appliances. A powder room is nearby, as is an over-sized utility room, which links to the four-car garage.

The luxurious owners' suite has a gas fireplace and two large walk-in closets, a skylit bathroom with a spa tub, walk-in shower and private toilet. The other main level bedroom has direct access to another bathroom.

A third bedroom and bathroom are upstairs, along with a large vaulted room that could be used as a fourth bedroom, home office, studio, or whatever suits. It has its own fireplace and deck.

7th Mar, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Florida House Plan, Hexagonal Home Plan, View Lot House Plan, Sonora 10-533

The Florida-style Sonora house plan was designed for appreciation of the outdoors. Inside, an expanse of windows offers panoramic views from the living room, dining room, kitchen, and great room. Outside, a wide deck wraps across the entire rear of the home.

A bright vaulted hexagonal space is at the core, with wings on two sides that extend toward the front. Each of the wings culminates in a two-car garage. Half or all of this bright space could be used for a shop.

When entering you pass through a courtyard before stepping between the sets of twin posts at the entry. Sidelights, a transom, and skylights brighten the vaulted entry, and twin coat closets fit into alcoves on both sides of the door.

Straight ahead takes you to the vaulted hexagonal great room, with a living room with a fireplace is on the right, and dining room and kitchen are on the left. A peninsular counter allows partial separation between the kitchen and the rest of the space.

The kitchen has an abundance of counter and cupboard space, including a large walk-in pantry. Basement stairs are around the corner, along with two bedrooms and a full bathroom.

The luxury owners' suite fills the other wing, along with the utility room. Owners' suite features include two walk-in closets and a private bathroom with spa tub, oversize shower, and twin lavs.

4th Mar, 2016
Articles, Blog

When you have a family or begin making plans to grow your family, your needs change. This is true in all areas of your life, but especially your home. Planning your home with your family in mind is one of the most rewarding and challenging projects you will face, whether you’re building from scratch or making major improvements to a pre-existing home.

As you begin designing, each decision you make concerning layout should be made to complement your family’s daily life. In general, there are a few basic design elements that are beneficial to every family, while more customized features can be chosen based on your own family’s needs.

Ample Bathroom Space

No matter the size, age, or lifestyle of your family, there are few features we recommend every family include as they create home plans. One such feature is ample bathroom space. Like many families, you may find you are most happy with a private master bathroom and a family bathroom that is located on the main floor. In larger homes, a third guest bathroom is often included. Some floorplans may necessitate a half bath in a lower level of the home.

No matter what you decide about the bathrooms in your home, it is important to consider how your home will grow with you. As your children grow older, moving into elementary school and high school, they will learn to care for themselves and will begin spending more time on their appearance and personal hygiene. Even for a small family, if you live in a home without ample bathroom space, you will likely find your mornings difficult and disruptive unless you plan to include plenty of bathroom space in your home layout.

An Easily Accessible Backyard

Whether your children are infants or headed into teen years, every family needs a backyard where young children can play and your entire family can spend time together during warmer months. With a well-kept backyard that’s easily accessible from the main living areas of your home, you’ll find joy in grilling out with the people you love, enjoying a cup of coffee in the mornings, and watching your children chase each other in the evenings.

Depending on the style of your home, you may need to plan for a walk-out deck off of the kitchen located on the main level, or you may design your home in a way that allows you to exit the main living area into your backyard. No matter what, you will be more likely to use your backyard if you can easily keep an eye on your children while they play outdoors.

Room to Entertain

Even smaller homes can be designed to allow plenty of room for entertaining family and friends. As the holidays roll around, or your children celebrate their birthdays, you will be glad you planned your home with a kitchen that allows for cooking and enough dining space to allow for those who are closest to your to celebrate with you. To make room for entertaining, dedicate the appropriate space to a large kitchen and include a dining rooming in your layout that’s separate from your kitchen.

At Modernize, we believe your home should fit your life. As you plan your home design, also consider your daily routines and how the layout of your home can simplify your life. Think about how much storage you will need, or whether or not you would prefer all of the bedrooms to be on a single floor. Allow the vision you have for the future of your family to guide the vision you create for your home. 

1st Mar, 2016
Articles, Blog

You’ve been talking about it for weeks if not months. In your mind, the home of your dreams is so close you can open the door. You know your family’s needs and lifestyle choices; you’ve picked a location that fits those choices. You’ve talked with real estate agents, visited neighborhoods, toured countless homes, but nothing screams, “Welcome home!” You soon realize that simply touring pre-packaged home designs doesn’t give you and your family enough options. With excitement surging, you decide to build a home and take the search for a house plan online. 

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Adkins 30-197
Adkins 30-197 from Associated Designs

 

 “There’s a lot of value to buying a home plan that meets your goals and objectives, and with the help of an experienced design professional, that initial process isn’t overwhelming,” said Rick McAlexander of Associated Designs in Eugene, OR.

With so many house designs available online, a local design professional helps narrow down your choices so that you find a great plan without skimping or compromising on the details. Once you’ve chosen the design, however, you aren’t just sitting on easy street. There are several steps that have to be taken before a house can take root – from reviewing the plan, to evaluating the location, to choosing a contractor, and more.

The first step after buying a home design is site review. Each neighborhood and city will have different requirements and restrictions that must be taken into account. Height restrictions, lot restrictions and structural requirements such as wind resistance or earthquake resistance, may alter the shape of the house plan. You and the design professional will also review the structural elements of the plan to make sure the design is incorporated effectively using familiar materials and construction techniques.

“The site review is a step that needs to be taken because most are under the impression that you can go start building the house you’ve picked, but all you’ve really done is achieved the design,” said McAlexander. “Construction specifications and details may need to be modified to fit your local building techniques and customs.”

This is why it’s ideal to work with a local designer who can help guide you to a plan that meets your needs and desires while simultaneously meeting the building requirements in the area your building.

After the site review, the hunt for a contractor begins. This can seem daunting at first, but setting up interviews with various contractors will help you filter through the choices. The interview should be more than simply learning about the contractor’s experience, reliability, past client relationships and subcontractors. You should also consider personalities. The personality of your contractor and whether you are able to relate to them and feeling comfortable communicating with your contractor is just as important as the contractor’s skillset and expertise. 

Once the contractor is on board, the site reviewed, the design finalized, it’s time to apply for building permits. The contractor and designer will help to initiate this process, which leaves you staring gleefully at the future site of your new home.

Choosing a home design is only one part of a step-by-step process to getting your home built. Taking these steps into account will make the process go smoothly, efficiently and with minimal frustration. Before you know it, you’ll be opening the door on the home of your dreams. 

As seen on Newswire
29th Feb, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Classic House Plan, Home Plan, Glenbarr 30-457

Shutters, brick veneer, and keystone arched openings harmoniously blend together and gives a classic look to the Glenbarr. This compact, single-level home is 49 feet in width, and has a surprisingly spacious feeling. Singles, empty nesters, and young families will appreciate this home.

Natural light flows into the foyer through a transom window. Double doors on the left open into a room that could be used as a den, study, home office, or a needed third bedroom.

The owners' suite, along with a second bedroom and bathroom, are down the hallway to the left. Coat and storage closets are on the right side of the hallway. Owner suite features include: a private bathroom, and two closets, one of them a walk-in.

Living room and dining room flow together, creating a large, bright open space, and the rear of the room is lined with windows. An atrium door, which provides access to a large patio. Across the room, a gas fireplace nestles into the corner. The built-in cabinet next to it is a great location for the TV, stereo, or family momentos.

A peninsular counter separates the kitchen from the dining room. This counter could be finished as an eating/conversation bar as well. Lazy Susan shelves allow for easy access to the lower cabinets tucked in the corner between the dishwasher and cook top.

A large utility room is close by and links with the two-car garage. The space above the garage has a front-facing arched window and could be used for storage, or finished as a bonus room.

25th Feb, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

Lodge Style House Plan, Home Plan, New House Plan, Spindrift 31-016, Vacation Home Plan, Cabin Plan

If you are looking for a smaller home or a vacation retreat the lodge-style Spindrift just might be a good fit. Eye-catching stick work in the porte cochere, vaulted ceiling in the living room, and the vaulted patio at the rear highlight the handsome stone veneer chimney and amplify the mountain lodge feel.

An large vaulted great room is at the heart of the home. Sliding glass doors flank the wood-burning fireplace centered on the rear wall. The doors offer easy access to the vaulted patio, which is a great place for outdoor dining and relaxation.

The L-shaped kitchen is nestled neatly into the corner left of the entry. Light flows into the kitchen through the front door’s sidelights, along with wide windows in front of the kitchen sink. A raised eating bar rims one side of the work island.

Two bedrooms and two bathrooms fill the left side. A utility room is on the right. It has a bench for shoe removal and storage, and jas access to the garage.

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