This two story garage plan has two 10' wide by 10' tall garage doors and can house 2 cars. In the back a door separates the main garage from a powder room, storage room and stairs that lead to the attic. Continue through the hall another door will lead you to a vaulted greenhouse with a sink and workbench.
For many people, owning a big home with a spacious back yard in a neighborhood of similarly sized dwellings is still the ultimate symbol of achieving the “American Dream”. However, more attention is being given to the small house movement which started in the 90’s and has continued to grow, including the launch of a TV show, Tiny House Nation. With most of the country still crawling out of the recession and billions lost in the real estate crash, the idea of living just as well in a smaller home has great appeal to some.
In 2013, the median size of a new home was about 2500 square feet, inching its way back up toward pre-recession sizes after several years of decline. Therefore, it’s still the exception rather than the rule for homeowners to build smaller than their neighbors. To help support the concept of smaller home sizes, city planners are opening up zoning laws to encourage urban density on smaller in-fill lots. And, the cost of land has skyrocketed in populated urban areas, making it a necessity to find savings in square footage.
Rick McAlexander of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon frequently gets requests to design a home that lives large in less footage. He sees the trend toward smaller homes gaining in popularity. He has clients around the country in recreational or resort communities building a second home with a smaller footprint, but wanting top-quality workmanship. In addition, Rick says he also works with retirees wanting a downsized, simpler lifestyle in their primary home.
“Some of my clients want an intentionally well-designed home, but now they have less need for big spaces. They put their money in the quality of construction materials and custom amenities rather than the square footage. The result allows them to feel like they are living large in a smaller home,” says Rick.
Young couples also see the beauty - and cost savings - of a smaller first home with quality features. If the home incorporates an energy efficient floor plan and attention is given to good construction, it can be a great investment to live in, as well as sell when the family grows out of the space.
Any type of homeowner will find that a smaller footprint can feel large when it’s properly designed. For example, Associated Designs has a popular plan at 1500 square feet, the Glen Eden 50-017. This plan is an updated take on the Craftsman home, and is well suited for construction in both rural and suburban settings. It features eye-catching exterior design elements such as multiple gables, shake-textured siding, varied window styles, and stone entry columns which are capped by welcoming lights.
The house seems much more spacious than its 1500 square feet due to the richly glassed rooms and vaulted ceilings. The oversized steps at the front of the home feel grand as they lead to a set of French double doors which open into a roomy, vaulted screened porch. From the porch, two more sets of double doors open into the vaulted great room. The great room and porch combination extends the indoor space into the outdoors by over 300 square feet.
Flames in the fireplace at the rear of the home’s largest room serve as a warm, inviting focal point on chilly days and dark nights. Stacked shelves flank the fireplace. The room’s vaulted apex runs down the center of the room, lining up perfectly with the center of the fireplace lending a sense of spaciousness to the main living area. Counters and custom built-ins wrap around three sides of the kitchen, while the space they surround is roomy enough for a large, country-sized table.
People who prefer a smaller home understand the best return on their square foot investment is not in the bedrooms, but in the larger living area and kitchen. The Glen Eden home has one full bath, tucked efficiently between two typically-sized bedrooms that both open into a private alcove where the utilities and closet are also located. A third bedroom or office is situated next to a half bath for convenience. This efficient bedroom and bath design offers ample privacy for everyone in a small footprint. Overall, the Glen Eden 50-017 is designed to be livable, efficient, well-appointed and affordable.
The total budget for any new home is finally determined when choosing the type of flooring, countertops, cabinets, appliances, bath fixtures, ceiling fans, lighting and trim. Upgrade options for the external look of the home can include metal roofing for longevity and fire protection, durable cedar shingles, wood frame or casement windows, stone veneers and top quality outdoor lighting.
For a smaller home to work efficiently, owners take a serious look at built-ins and how they can conserve, making the best and most efficient use of available space. Bookcases and closet organizers are necessary for storage. Functional furniture can provide multiple uses, such as a large ottoman with underneath storage, instead of a coffee table. Or, a dining buffet at counter height for serving, with linens and china stored in cabinets below.
With the right floor plan, and attention to quality in construction and decor, a smaller house can offer an uncluttered and simpler life in a luxurious home.
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Family living comes naturally in the Heartwood's bright, airy and spacious kitchen and family room. A friendly wrap-around front porch welcomes visitors and just inside the door is a large room that could be an office, living room or just about anything else you can think of.
Entry and family room in this contemporary country home are vaulted and richly illuminated. Natural light spills into the entry through a sidelight and small arched dormer, while the back of the family room is more windows than wall. The wide-hearthed fireplace nestles in the angle created by a staircase that leads to the second floor.
A long peninsula eating bar serves as separation and interface between kitchen and family room. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can look across the eating bar into the family room, or lift your gaze to scan the deck, the bayed dining room, or the view beyond.
Other notable kitchen amenities include a pantry, large work island, built-in desk and sunny nook with sliding glass doors that open to a covered deck. It's mere steps to the utility room and three-car garage. The parking unit closest to the street could easily be outfitted as a work or hobby shop.
Double doors open into the Heartwood's vaulted owners’ suite, a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of family life. It has a bright bayed sitting area, a cozy fireplace and a luxurious bathroom complete with double vanity, naturally lit soaking tub, oversized shower, private toilet and large walk-in closet. Sliders open on a small covered deck.
Two more bedrooms, a two-section bathroom, and a deep skylit bonus room are upstairs.
Rambling, bright and spacious, the Jacksonville is a Florida-inspired home with a distinctively European flavor. Arches and stucco give it that sunny ambiance, while the entry columns, wrought iron handrails, stone veneer wainscoting and multi-paned windows are more continental.
Windows fill most of the rear wall in the two-story, barrel-vaulted living room at the core. A large home entertainment center is on one side, next to a fireplace. On the opposite side, double doors offer access to the partially covered patio, and a wide arched opening leads into the bright kitchen and nook.
Counters and cupboards wrap around three sides of the kitchen. A rounded work island adds more of both, plus an eating bar and prep sink. Triple sliders in the nook make patio dining a snap. Laundry appliances are nearby, close to a large walk-in pantry, small half-bath and direct access to the spacious four car garage.
Den and dining room are to the right and left of the dramatic two-story foyer, where stairs on the left lead up to the second floor. The elegant owners suite fills the rest of the right wing. In addition to its luxurious private bathroom, commodious walk-in closet, and sitting area, the suite has double doors that open onto a private, covered patio with plenty of room for a hot tub.
Three more bedrooms are upstairs in the Jacksonville, along with two full bathrooms and a vaulted recreation room. The recreation room features a fireplace, full service beverage bar along with an exercise room and full bath. Another stairway leads up from near the kitchen. A nostalgic claw foot tub is the focal point of the window-bright tub room linked to bedroom two. This wing links to a deep, multi-windowed bonus room over the garage. A balcony/loft connects the two upper wings.
The cedar shakes exterior of the McCarren give it a handcrafted look that blends well with a natural environment. In fact, this hexagonal, country-Craftsman-style house would be ideal for construction on a wooded lot with a beautiful view.
Built high on a mountain slope, or lower, by a lake, ocean or stream, this design offers its owners stunning vistas from almost anywhere in the home. A wide deck that wraps across the rear allows family and friends to move outdoors for a closer look, when the weather is inviting.
A vaulted hexagonal great room is at the core. Short wings extend off on two sides, then angle forward to partially encircle the covered entry porch.
Windows span across the back three sections of the hexagon, creating a room as bright as it is lofty. A spiral stairway at center leads up to a loft that caps three of the six sections. Hence, the kitchen, utility room and part of the living room have 9 foot high ceilings that are flat instead of vaulted. An inviting gas fireplace nestles into one corner.
An eating bar is the only other separation between the kitchen and great room. Besides its openness, this large kitchen features a huge pantry plus a generous amount of cupboards and counter space. Standing at the sink, you can look at the great room and deck, or appreciate nature's ongoing outdoor pageant of changes.
The view from the McCarren's owners' suite is as remarkable. This adult retreat has a sitting area, with a second fireplace. Bathroom luxuries include: a large walk-in closet, spa tub, dual vanity and oversized shower.
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
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, 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' 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Go here to view all the available photos.
Photos courtesy of Future B Homes.
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.
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.