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1st Jul, 2015
Articles, Blog

It's always nice to have a face to the name or the voice of the people we communicate with. Here's an opportunity to do just that and learn a little about us too. We introduce the team from Associated Designs:

Rick McAlexander (Owner)

Rick was born into the home design profession. Starting directly out of high school, he worked for a local home design company running errands and making good old fashion blueprints. Having learned the art of home design from time spent working with talented individuals, he started Associated Designs and grew the company from the ground up. When Rick is not busy creating home plans, he enjoys hiking, skiing and the occassional mancation riding the motorcycle with friends.

Debbie McAlexander (Office Administrator & Website Manager)

Debbie's career started in the financial industry. In the early 1990's she helped start Associated Designs with her husband, Rick, as the office manager. Currently her passion is managing the website, plan marketing and she also provides customer service. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, crafting and sewing, trying new recipes, traveling and hiking.

Jessica Craig (Office Manager)

Jessica has been with Associated Designs for the last 7 years. Starting in high school, she helped fulfill orders and answer phones. After receiving a degree in economics she stepped in as office manager and oversees project scheduling, customer service and plan marketing. She likes to spend her free time running, hiking, skiing, rock climbing and mountaineering with her husband and pup.

Tim Thompson (designer)

Tim has been creatively pursuing residential home design for over 20 years. It was during college that he became interested in home design. He appreciates the creative interaction with clients that brings their living needs together within each house design. Throughout the rest of the week, Tim enjoys being with his family and friends, photography, building anything in the garage, as well as kayaking, hiking and biking.

Kelly Alvord (designer)

Kelly experienced the joy of design at a young age which lead him to pursue a degree in architectural drafting. Having worked in a few different industires using his skills, Kelly found residential design the most rewarding and has been with Associated Designs for over 20 years. In his spare time, Kelly enjoys golfing, motorcycles and spending time with his grandchildren

Digby - Office Greeter

Digby gives visitors a friendly greeting and protects the office from squirrels. He anxiously anticipates the arrival of UPS with the delivery of his daily treat.

29th Jun, 2015
Articles, Blog

Home from the Heart Survey Results, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Heartfall 10-620


Understanding what people want in their home is what allows Associated Designs to create a collection of home designs that feature all the important elements homeowners’ desire. In an effort to gather the most accurate information, earlier this year Associated Designs, Inc. asked readers, like you, to share what features and design elements they want in their dream home in the annual 2015 Home from the Heart survey.

The 2015 Home from the Heart survey focused on every element of the home from the size to special features like green construction and aging in place. Based upon the most voted on features, Associated Designs has released the Heartfall 10-620 home plan which highlights the must-have design essentials from the survey. This design showcases the most popular results such as a walk-in shower, great room, owners’ suite on the main floor, utility room located close to the garage, a covered front porch and plenty of windows that bring in the natural light as well as gorgeous scenic views.

In the survey, Craftsman houses were the sought-after exterior home style -- a big change from the past few years when country and ranch-style homes dominated the results. A new question in this year’s survey asked building lot preference. The results showed people preferred rural lots with acreage and with the trend towards larger homes, homeowners’ will still have plenty of space to create the perfect country retreat. Past Home from the Heart surveys have shown people’s preferences ranging from 1700 to 2300 square feet. This year homeowners’ preferences have jumped up with 59% looking for homes that are 2000 square feet and larger.

Survey respondents voiced their preferences for homes with 3-bedrooms located on the main floor which coincides with the 85% who wanted to consider aging in place features. The Heartfall design features the main living areas on the left front side of the house with plenty of windows. The sleeping areas are kept close together yet with separation provided with the Owners’ suite separate hallway and the large walk-in closet and luxurious bathroom which offers plenty of privacy.  Perhaps the biggest trend in the owners’ suite area is the desire for a walk-in shower which 76% people felt that was an important feature.

Mudrooms are gaining in popularity with 52% of the respondents included this room in their list of must-haves. The Heartfall not only has a mudroom which doubles as the utility room, it satisfies both sides of the long time debate of where the utility room should be placed - as it is both close to the bedrooms and the garage.

People are still interested in additional flexible space which the Heartfall’s bonus room provides. This area can be left unfinished and used for storage or finished and be used as a media room, home office, hobby room, or whatever needs suits. 

The 2015 Home from the Heart survey captures the heart and soul of what people are dreaming about for their homes. Associated Designs' Heartfall 10-620 plan captures the trends people want in the home from their heart.


As seen on Newswire

29th Jun, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, Richland 10-256

A covered porch wraps around the front of the Richland home design, conjuring up images of porch swings, rocking chairs, and enjoying lemonade. Gables, shuttered windows and wood siding add to the nostalgic image to this country home plan.

Inside, the floorplan is contemporary--low on formality and high on livability.

A bench in the vaulted entry hall is handy for removing footgear. Boots and shoes are stored underneath. The front room could be a dining room, parlor or even a home office.

The vaulted great room is bright and spacious. It features a built in entertainment center, and a corner fireplace. The sun room also has a vaulted ceiling. Studded with skylights and windowed on three sides, this area is very bright. Sliding glass doors access a deck.

Standing at the kitchen range, you can look across the angled eating bar into the sun room and great room, or out the windows to the deck and back yard. A garden window illuminates the corner sink. The walk in pantry adds storage space, and the utility room is only a few steps away.

A small powder room and a large owners' suite fill complete the remainder of the lower level. Owner suite luxuries include a walk-in closet, and a skylit bathroom with twin lavs, a soaking tub, shower and private toilet.

On the upper level, a loft overlooks the entry and great room. The upper bedrooms have window seats and share a dual compartment bathroom. A bonus room nestles under the gable that caps the garage, and there's also a long attic storage closet at the top of the stairs.

25th Jun, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Napa 30-991, Luxury Home Plan, Estate House Plan

The Napa is designed for construction on acreage with an expansive view. This country-style design features a generous assortment of gables, windows and other Craftsman features create a pleasing and handsome façade.

Light flows into the vaulted and naturally illuminated foyer through narrow sidelights and an arched multi-paned transom. Double doors on the left open into a den with a cozy sleeping alcove. Bedrooms, bathrooms and a secluded reading nook are down a hallway to the right.

Straight ahead, the foyer leads into the spacious and bright vaulted great room that is at the heart of the home. Wide window sets, stacked two high, fill most of the rear wall. The upper set is arched at the top. Shelves or cabinetry flank the wood-burning fireplace on the right.

The great room on the left is entirely open to the dining room and kitchen. Atrium doors in the dining area lead to a large screened porch.

The luxurious vaulted owners’ suite is located in a wing to itself. The owners' suite bath features a private toilet, walk-in shower, large walk-in closet, dual vanity, and a soaking tub.

25th Jun, 2015
Articles, Blog

Nobody wants to have a garden that is out of sight, out of mind. When this happens, it either falls into neglect or you become so isolated in the yard that you can't keep up with what is happening inside the home when the phone rings, the doorbell dings or the dog tears up the cushions on the couch. Having a home with great garden access allows you to easily enjoy the sight and functionality of the outdoor space even on those rainy days when you are kept indoors. 

Garden Space Ideas

Bring In The View

There's nothing quite as luxurious as glass French doors or sliding panes that allow a person to step right into their garden. Doors leading off of the kitchen space or dining room allows for instant access to take a morning walk among the dew-kissed flowers or run out to grab some fresh vegetables for salad at dinner. Small stoops that lead to a winding garden path entice people to see what nature has to offer, as the path could lead to a nice sheltered place such as a small gazebo or sitting bench.

Second Floor Access Into A Natural Paradise

Remember that access to the garden doesn't have to be from the first floor of the home. A bedroom or entertainment room up on the second floor can lead to a balcony and a spiraling staircase toward your garden paradise. Incorporate landings where you can step outside and look at your lush garden from up high as you lean on the railing to enjoy the sunrise or sunset.

Make Each Access Point Into A Grand Entrance

Some homes have small private courtyards with the house wrapping around the outdoor living space. When you have several entrance ways that lead into the garden, you can make each entrance unique. Incorporate different garden elements to each access point. Decide which areas are for relaxation and other areas for where people can take long walks along the garden paths. By making each entrance fun and entertaining, it will encourage you to spend more time in the outdoor space no matter what room you are in.

Bring In The Shade

It's always nice to incorporate some places into your garden to beat the heat.  Covered porches, decks and patios with pergolas can offer the right amount of shade to cool things off without enclosing the garden. Even having a trellis wall off to one side to provide shade gives a unique architectural design to your garden and your home.

22nd Jun, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Mediterranean House Plan, Home Plan, Pereza 11-075

The Pereza is a mid-size, three-bedroom Mediterranean house plan that offers both formal and informal family gathering spaces, with the kitchen at the heart of this home.

Accessible from all directions, the kitchen opens to the dining room, entry hall, family room, and a utility room that connects with the garage. Pocket doors in the passageways to the entry and dining room allow busy cooks to close off the kitchen when more privacy is necessary.

The kitchen sink faces into the family room across a raised eating bar, you to stay involved with conversations or other activities. A walk-in pantry offers storage space. Utilities are only a few steps away, in a large laundry room that has a deep sink, folding counters, cabinets, and a closet.

The formal living room and dining room are to the left and right of the entry. Both have boxed-out window bays that could be fitted with window seats. The family room is the largest gathering room in the house. Sliders at the rear open onto a screened porch than can also be accessed from the owners' suite.

Luxuries in the owners' suite include a large walk-in closet, dual vanities, corner shower and a spa tub.

17th Jun, 2015
Articles, Blog

Some people call it an attic. Other people call it a storage place at the top of the house. Some people call a private oasis. Loft spaces are getting makeovers to turn them into functional rooms with a number of different purposes. What you turn your loft space into is up to you and your "lofty" imagination. Here are several ideas on what you can do to fully enjoy the space. 

Luxury Bedroom

Bedrooms in lofts have always been popular whether it is for yourself, the kids, or as a guest room. Many loft bedrooms can have plenty of windows for natural light combined with ceiling lights and lamps. Skylights can increase the amount of natural light and add elegance and luxury to the space. 

The angled roof lines and varied wall heights can give the loft space a fun and whimsical feeling as well as the opportunity to do something different with furniture and decorating. 

Desired Office Space

Turning that unused loft space into a home office can be nice quiet retreat to get some work done. The fun shape of this space can be made into a fun, hip, and relaxing space to get the creativity and ideas flowing. 

Ultimate Entertainment Spot

Set up the television, foosball table, video games, and maybe even a popcorn machine to create the ideal "all in one space" entertainment hot spot in your home. This area would be great to gather for the family to play games or watch a movie, or the fun spot to be for your kids sleep overs. 

Soothing Solitary Oasis

Sometimes you want to be by yourself when the stress of work or school sets in. Lofts are that one location in the home where they are separated from other rooms, creating a nice remote and solitary spot for you to unwind. Turn the space into a library, music room, or just a sitting room as you curl up in a big chair by the window.

12th Jun, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Grayson 30-305, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan

The four-bedroom ranch house plan, the Grayson has many Craftsman-style touches with the tapered columns fronting the deep covered porch, and with the river rock wainscoting and column supports. Other Craftsman-inspired features include decorative roof supports and the trademark double-hung windows, each with multiple upper panes and a large single pane below.

Entering the home, you step into a vaulted entry where light washes in through sidelights and a broad transom window. Double doors on the right open into a dining room. 

Straight ahead is the spacious and bright great room. The vaulted ceiling slopes down to a richly glassed rear wall, and the fireplace is in the left corner. More light spills in through two large skylights.

The kitchen and nook are to the right, and fully open to the great room, separated by an angled work island with a raised eating counter. Standing at the kitchen sink you can see everybody and everything in the great room, nook, patio, and rear yard.

Laundry appliances are nearby, in a passthrough utility room that leads to the garage. A powder room with utility sink is convenient for wash-up after gardening or working in the garage. A stairway next to the bathroom leads to a bonus room over the garage.

Display shelves rim the highest wall of the vaulted oweners' suite. This adult retreat features a large walk-in closet, an elegant bathroom with a soaking tub, twin vanities, and oversized shower. An atrium door provides direct access to the covered patio.

12th Jun, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

Garage with Living, Detached Garage Plan, Garage Design, 2 Car Garage

Garage 20-076

The Craftsman style garage design can hold up to four cars and live-in space. Each of the garage doors are 12' wide and 10' tall. On the right of the garage is a recreation room, bedroom and full bathroom which can be used as a guest cottage, hobby room, ofiice or whatever else suits.

8th Jun, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Georgian House Plan, Home Plan, Beckwith 11-128

Brick veneer arches and columns give a neoclassical Georgian flavor to the Beckwith house plan.

This plan features a vaulted, hexagonal great room that forms the core of this home. Wings on two sides extend to partially enclose the beautiful entry courtyard that fills the space between the brick veneer columns and the vaulted, double-door entry.

As you stand in the lofty entry, an art niche fits into a narrow wall section on the left. To the right, is an open passageway that leads into the great room. Pie-shaped wedges there angle up to a high central peak, and windows fill most of the three rear walls, creating a panoramic view to the outside.

At center of the great room, a spiral staircase leads to the vaulted loft. An arch-windowed dormer over the entry brings natural light to the loft that could be a library, study, sleeping loft, or whatever suits.

Back on the main level, sliding doors in the dining area open to a roomy screened porch, perfect for catching the afternoon breezes or sharing summertime meals. An angled eating bar separates the dining area from the spacious and well-appointed kitchen. Counters and cupboards wrap around four sides, and a walk-in pantry fills one corner.

The owners' suite fills the entire right wing, while two additional bedrooms and bathrooms fit neatly into the other. Skylights brighten the owners' bathroom, which features a spa tub, two vanities, a private toilet, and a shower. It also has two roomy walk-in closets.

3rd Jun, 2015
Articles, Blog

We all grew up with wonder and intrigue, about what we’d find in the future. Would we find ourselves in 25 or 30 years with a household similar to what we watched growing up watching the Jetsons? Now that we’re here, things look a little different than we had anticipated, however, there are some amazing technology advances for the home that can make us feel a little closer to that futuristic daydream. The best part of it is that integrating a little smart technology in your home is probably more affordable than you might have thought, and may even save you a few dollars.

Home Technology

Smart Thermostat

These days, every major brand in the heating/cooling industry has a “smart thermostat” option in their product lineup. A WiFi-enabled smart thermostat allows for remote control of your home’s heating and cooling system via a central thermostat that replaces your current thermostat. After configuring the thermostat to your home wireless network (don’t worry at all…the thermostat will do all of the network configuration work on its own upon initial startup), a smart thermostat allows you to control it with just about any device such as a phone, tablet, or laptop from the comfort of your nearby couch or even from a far corner of the world. In addition to adding convenience and technology to your home, a smart thermostat will save you money over the long term because it enables a more precise and thorough regulation of your home’s temperature; you’re almost assured to lower your heating and cooling bill via increased control.

Power Adapters

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), our electronic gadgets account for 13% of a homes energy use from charging and powering up. That adds up over a period of time. Cut down on engery use with an AC/DC power adapter which will give your devices the exact amount of power necessary and will then shut off when the need has been met.

Smart Appliances

From keeping track of your diet to ensuring your washer is as eco-friendly as possible, it's amazing what appliances are able to do these days. For instance, a smart washing machine can even self diagnose and troubleshoot an operating issue which can cut down on sometimes hard to schedule service calls to an appliance technician. Appliances can now be programmed to reserve certain energy draining cycles to off-peak usage times when power is less expensive. 

WiFi-Enabled LED Light bulbs

Aside from the novelty factor of controlling your home lighting from any device anywhere in the world, integrating these fun little gadgets into your home is going to provide cost savings relative to conventional, but now obsolete, light bulbs. LED lights are more energy efficient, last far longer, and provide energy savings year round. Of course, if you compare the price of standard LED light bulbs with WiFi-enabled LED bulbs, you’ll see that you’re not actually paying a significant amount for the WiFi feature.

Similar to the smart thermostats, WiFi-enabled LED light bulbs are very simple to automatically integrate with your home network, requiring essentially no technological savvy. In addition to controlling any of your home’s lights from a singular device, you can also track which lights are on or off in your home at any given time. This means your electricity bill is likely to go down in response to your newly increased control. Similarly, when you are out and about and realize that you left a light on (or maybe failed to leave a light on that you promised the house sitter would be on), you can easily take control of your home’s lighting system from your phone or other device. For a little extra money, too, you can even integrate WiFi-enabled LED bulbs that produce any color in the spectrum and even allow full customization of colors (do you want the room’s lighting to complement the colors in your art or other décor?).

These are few relatively inexpensive options to increase the technology in your home that don't necessarily break the bank and in the long term could save you money. We may not be driving a flying car or be served meals by a robot, but our current times has us holding computers in the palm of our hands controling many facets of our homes in which we live.

1st Jun, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Craftsman House Plan, Bungalow Home Plan, Holshire 30-635, Featured Plan of the Week

Gridded window uppers, tapered columns, and ornamental gable supports give a Craftsman look to this two-story bungalow house design. The Holshire is 41 feet wide, and fits well on a narrow building lot.

The covered porch is open, inviting, and can accommodate a porch swing should you desire. Inside, light spills into the foyer through sidelights and a row of small panes above the door.

Enter the foyer and a stairway is on the left side, and double doors on the right open into a den. If you work from home, this room a great location for a home office, allowing clients to enter the business area without exposure to the rest of the home.

Walk straight down the entry hallway, you pass a coat closet and powder room, then enter into the vaulted living room. This room has a wide window at the rear, and entirely open on the left to the dining room, which, in turn, is open to the kitchen.

Glass doors in the dining room slide open and provide access to a partially covered patio. A flush eating bar rims one side of the peninsular counter that provides a bit of separation between the kitchen and dining room. Cupboards and counters line around four sides of the kitchen, including a pantry tucked in an alcove next to the refrigerator.

The utility room is nearby and is a pass-through room that connects to the two-car garage.

The owners' suite is the only bedroom on the main floor, and well-isolated from secondary bedrooms on the upper level. Features include a roomy walk-in closet, large shower, and dual lavatory.

29th May, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

Traditional House Plan, Ranch Home Plan, Allenstown 30-983

Painted wooden shutters give a traditional look to the new Allentown house plan. Columns and the gables add to the nostalgic front exterior.

The recessed porch opens into foyer that leads to a bright and spacious great room. As you step into this room, you can see out a wide expanse of windows to the covered patio and yard. A gas fireplace nestles into a corner by the rear windows.

The great room is completely open to the kitchen and dining room on the left. An island with a sink and dishwasher help provide partial separation. The eating bar on one side is great for chatting with people working in the kitchen. A step-in pantry is in the hall that leads to the utility room and two-car garage.

The den, off the dining room, could be used as a home office, craft/sewing room, or whatever suits. Bedrooms are down a short hallway on the right side of the foyer.

27th May, 2015
Articles, Blog

Over the period of the last decade or so, we have become increasingly aware of personal health and wellness. That awareness hasn't stopped with just ourselves and our family, but has expanded to our beloved pets and of course our homes. 

Home Wellness

Improving the health of our home can contribute to our own wellness. If home is where the heart is, it’s also where the health and wellness are. Identifying a few of the factors that can add to your home's wellness is a great step in ensuring our own level of wellness within the home.

Clearing the Air

Your home’s air quality affects your wellness directly; that’s the air you breathe every day! There are a number variables that can affect your home's air quality.

First off, change the filters on your heating system often, this will prevent the build up of irritants that recycle through the home. Consider removing shoes upon entering the home not only will it help keep your floors and carpets cleaner, but will prevent the spread of germs, chemicals, etc., that may be on the soles of shoes. Also the addition of floor mats on both the interior and outside your door will also cut down on what gets tracked in.

Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will reduce pollen indoors, and will also cut down on dust mites that are often a common allergen. Using a microfiber dust cloth will partner well with the vacuum to collect those unwanted irritants. 

A way to reduce mold and mildew in the home is by using the bathroom ceiling fan for at least 20 minutes after every shower to reduce the moisture in the air. Keeping the homes humidity level below 50% will help prevent mold, mildew and musty odors.

Mental Wellness

Coming home from a long day of errands with your hands full of groceries, the mail, and whatever it's easy to just leave things to deal with later while placing your cell phone on the counter to charge, and throwing your jacket over the back of the chair. Sitting down, you look around and realize that it's truly hard to relax with everything staring back at you that needs attended too. Eliminating clutter that most of us are guilty of collecting would go a long way help mental wellbeing. Consider installing a hidden electronic charging station, or a hall tree or nice decorative wall hook system to hang jackets are just a couple of simple steps to take to reduce the visual clutter that will enable you to see those items you appreciate and make you feel better such as the art on the walls.

Food & Water

Add a filter to your tap and if you have a water dispensing refrigerator, changing the filter often will aid in removing chlorine and sediments from the water you use to drink and to cook. Also, eliminating the plastic containers that contain BPA (Bisphenol A) which can leach into your food and drink and has been linked to increase cancer risk.

The suggestions above is just the tip of the ice berg. Many resources are available to help increase the wellness of our homes. There are a number of products and companies that focus on measuring and aiding the environmental factors within our walls. A simple Google search around ‘home automation wellness systems’ will return no shortage of systems and solutions available to consumers.



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