If the Langston looks magical to you, you’re not alone. The steep roof and gingerbread trim on this Victorian cottage evokes thoughts of fairytales.
This cottage home offers more than 1500 sq. ft. of living area on three levels, although its presence is small. The dining area, an expansive vaulted living room and kitchen are around the main floor. The owners’ suite is upstairs, along with a large storage area and a wide balcony overlooking the living room. The utility room is in the basement, which support another bedroom.
Diamond-shaped gridding accents the arched window in the front door. A slender, likewise gridded window nestles under a small street-facing gable. This tiny gable echoes the attention-getting two-story A-shaped gable next to it.
That magical fairy tale feeling continues inside. The family room is vaulted towards the second floor ceiling. To the left, day light washes in via a two-story collection of multipaned windows topped by mirror-image quarter rounds. More light beams in through the gridded glass inside the small front gable. A plant shelf below it takes advantage of the light.
Flames in the masonry fireplace serve as a cozy center point when the sky dims and darkens. With the exception of the pass-through in front of its sink, the kitchen is a separate space. An arched opening links it into a dining area with a windowed bench alcove. Basement stairs are off of the kitchen, while stairs to the second floor angle up behind the fireplace.
Upstairs, the owners’ bedroom is expanded by a window bay crowned by a half-round and creates a cozy window seat. Inner shutters can be opened or closed, allowing the Langston’s owners to overlook their living room, or opt for privacy.
If the Langston looks magical to you, you’re not alone. The steep roof and gingerbread trim on this Victorian cottage evokes thoughts of fairytales.
It was no surprise to seasoned home builders when the Census Bureau reported in March a newer trend of people moving closer to the city and away from the suburbs. Rick McAlexander of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon has worked with hundreds of builders over the years to design houses for all types of neighborhoods. But, when Dane Butler of Future B Homes, also in Eugene, approached Rick about designing a series of single family homes for a growing, mixed-use development close to the urban core, Rick jumped right in. Rick has a passion for density housing, close to the city, and was happy to create his first collection of urban styled house plans, specifically created for a planned village development.
Dane Butler, president of Future B Homes, knew his urban village units needed a fresh concept in order to offer contemporary styled homes that most people could afford and realistically enjoy living in. “These kinds of homes should actually cost less to take care of with lower utility bills and less maintenance.”, Dane says.
After months of collaboration, Future B Homes began building a series of small footprint homes in a local development called Crescent Village. Rick created house plans for this project that have a north and south orientation. However, he situated the windows and patios on the home’s south side, which faces the neighbor’s adjacent exterior wall. This allows natural light to stream in throughout the home while offering privacy for each homeowner. After experiencing enthusiastic homeowner demand, Future B Homes has now built a total of 14 village style units out of a planned 26 for the mixed-use neighborhood.
The unique idea of an ‘urban floor plan’ attracts two types of clients, but for different reasons, according to Rick. He says some clients are keenly interested in living in a home with a smaller footprint. Other clients are driven primarily by economic benefits, because a smaller lot leads to lower development and construction costs, and lower maintenance bills. “Our clients get the best of both worlds with this plan”, says Rick, “whether the person is environmentally driven or conscious of cost”.
The concept of a planned urban village is not new. There are hundreds of examples of older, high-density neighborhoods in larger cities, like San Francisco and Seattle, or on the east coast in Boston and New York City. Even Charleston and New Orleans have long traditions of narrow homes built close to the street, right in the city. These types of dense neighborhoods were known to be highly livable during their heyday when individuals worked, shopped and socialized, within blocks of their home.
While Rick says he’s inspired by the lifestyles of yesteryear, fast forward about five decades and he’s incorporated significant differences in today’s urban house plan. First and foremost, homes are not attached by a shared wall. These plans offer more privacy, natural light and some amount of defined yard space. And, the homes are energy efficient and include amenities that are considered must-haves in today’s lifestyle. According to Dane, “With these plans, people find they have all the space and features they need with no wasted square footage.”
For example, Associated Designs has the ‘Parkview Plan 30-905’, where the house is only twenty-six feet wide and almost sixty feet long. The home is designed with an inviting entry court close to the street that could include a fenced privacy screen. A person can approach the home and take a right into the front door or turn left and head along the exterior wall toward an open or enclosed patio.
The first floor of this plan offers a contemporary, open kitchen with a great room layout, plus a master bedroom that includes a luxury bath and walk-in closet. The second floor accommodates three good-sized bedrooms and a two-door, shared bath with double sink. Add a 300 square-foot bonus room over the garage and the space lives large. The total living area is right under 2200 square feet with a footprint at just about 1500 square feet. Lot lines are approximately 3.5 feet from the exterior walls.
A developer doesn’t have to build a whole new village to utilize this style of housing. It works just as well when placed within undeveloped lots in older neighborhoods. It’s not uncommon in most cities to see well established neighborhoods from the turn-of-the-century, or mid-century, to include empty lots or houses in serious disrepair. City planners and developers both recognize the potential to convert weedy tracts into housing for people wanting to live closer to the city’s core. And, astute developers can turn several contiguous residential lots into a coordinated group of urban concept houses, each with a different plan but similar in styling. Dane notes that people who choose an urban village house tend to feel comfortable spending more time outdoors, enjoying a sense of community and neighbors.
There is a definite trend, says Rick, where people want to move closer to the city and cut their commute times while increasing access to urban amenities, city events and al fresco cafes. It’s about affordable and quality living, while working and playing in the same neighborhood – just like the old days, only better.
Like a gently winding stream, eyes are drawn by a curved path of steps to the Springvale’s distinctly arched entry. Cut into the front side of a hill, this Craftsman-style home provides elevated views of the area around it. Coach lamps emphasize framed-out columns flanking the entry and garage. Other Craftsman attributes include stone veneer wainscot, gable end projections, and shake-textured siding that accents both gable peaks..
Inside, most of the living area is on the main floor. A small loft and unfinished attic space for storage are to the second-level, while the garage is below.
Ceilings are higher through the center of the home, running from the front towards the back. In the foyer and living-room, the ceiling height is ten feet. The playroom is two stories high, and overlooked by the second floor loft.
A wood-burning stove fills one corner of the large living room that's partially open to the kitchen. The kitchen’s raised eating bar offers seating for informal dinners, snacks and homework supervision, while hiding the inevitable clutter of food preparation and clean up. The eating nook is open to the playroom, next to a deep pantry with a stainless steel table and a second refrigerator.
The luxurious owners’ suite is reached via both an arched opening near the foyer, and a door off of the playroom. Features include a direct-vent gas fireplace and a spacious walk-in closet, along with a private bathroom complete with a heated spa tub. Secondary rooms are at the front.
A bathroom off the Springvale’s left-front bedroom links using a large laundry and hobby room. The dumbwaiter there eliminates the need to carry heavy or bulky objects up from the garage.
Shake and lap siding blend with cultured stone veneer to make the Brookville a textural treat for your eyes. This country cottage is designed for a building lot that slopes down in the rear.
Family and friends will enjoy hanging out together in the window-bright, wide-open gathering place in the heart of this country home. Sparklink windows frame and crown a gas fireplace that acts as a focal point in the vaulted great room. This lofty space segues seamlessly to the dining room. Only a drop in-ceiling height marks the transition.
Sliding gates in the dining area allow easy access to a wide, partly covered railed deck that covers much of the rear. If eveing bugs are a problem, the covered section could be screened. Kitchen helpers can look out across the raised eating bar to watch fireplace flames, or keep tabs on activities in the dining room and on the deck. Appliances, cabinets and counters wrap-around four sides of the kitchen, and a roomy pantry nestles into one corner.
Another vaulted ceiling increases the impression of spaciousness while in the owners’ suite, the only ground floor bedroom. Amenities here include a spacious walk-in closet as well as a two-section bathroom with an oversized shower.
You can overlook the vaulted great room while ascending the stairway to the upper level. A bathroom, two more bedrooms, and a huge bonus room are upstairs. One bedroom features a broader closet; the other bedroom is slightly larger overall.
Lighting spills in to the Brookville’s bonus room through a road-facing multipaned window. Ceilings pitch down on the left and right. This room could double as studio or rehearsal space for the family musician or artist, while still leaving a lot of space for storage along the edges.
Rounded roof tiles and stucco exterior of the Rosabella house plan can’t help but evoke the sunny climes of Spain and Italy. Gentle arches cap window and door openings, adding to the Mediterranean ambiance. Bold stucco-clad columns frame the lofty entry porch, and keystones add a classic element.
Entry doors open right into a high-ceilinged entry where light washes in through an arched transom. Moving forward brings you to the highly glassed hexagonal great room. The inside is completely present-day, and nowhere is the fact that more visible than in this extensive and expansive house.
Arched transoms crown wide banks of glass that fill most of three walls. All but the windows flanking the fireplace slide open to allow in gentle breezes, or offer use of a patio that spans the whole rear of the home. The poatio effectively enhances the living area, if the weather allows.
A angled pony wall bounds one side of the G-shaped kitchen. Entering the great room, you are able to look over it to see what’s cooking on the range. The sink hides behind a raised eating bar that rims another peninsular counter. While washing up kitchen ware, you can take in the great room plus the patio and the landscape beyond.
The vaulted owners’ suite fills the whole left-wing. Luxurious features include an interestingly shaped shower, double vanity, walk-in closet and totally private bathroom. Sliding-glass doors in the sleeping area allow direct deck access.
A large utility room, a bathroom, as well as two more rooms are in the right wing, which links with the Rosabella’s two-car garage. A deep walk-in pantry at the back of the utility room adds to the kitchen’s ample space for storage. Steps for the basement are next to the garage.
Multipaned windows in this modern country plan glow under a row of eye-catching gables that face the road. With the Warrendale you get the proverbial two for the price of one!
This plan could be ideal for two families who would like to be close but independent. Or one-unit might be owner-occupied, while rental income in the other helps pay the mortgage.
Outstanding separation of space is the key to privacy. Each unit has a covered deck which spans most of its front facade. The shared garages and upper bedroom walls are doubly thick, having an extra inch of air space between. Exterior, covered patios on the side and rear effectively out-of-sight and earshot of each other.
Only the upstairs bedrooms are mirror images of each other. The other living spaces are somewhat similar, however not identical. Unit B is a little larger overall, as is its first floor. Unit A has a slightly larger second floor.
In both, the living-room and dining area flow together in one seamless open-space that’s partly available to your kitchen across an eating bar. Views from both kitchen sinks are towards the rear. A’s covered terrace is quietly, accessed via sliding glass doors while in the eating area. B’s covered terrace is at the rear.
Most of the Warrendale’s bedrooms are upstairs. Each unit has two bathrooms, a loft, extra rooms, and an owners’ suite.
Curved windows, clustered faccent tiles, and raised stucco detailing offer a clean-lined, special appearance towards the Southwest Mesilla house plan. Individuals who enjoy entertaining will recognize the possibilities of this plan, as will families who like lots of room to spread out.
Entering, you step into an extraordinary, high-ceilinged foyer in which the entranceway is crowned by a plant shelf, and another high plant shelf rims the right wall. On the left, columns flank an arched opening that leads in to the vaulted living room and dining room.
Ahead, another columned archway marks the entrance to the bright and spacious vaulted family room. Natural lighting washes in through the richly windowed rear wall, and spills down through two skylights. A fireplace, nestled between a storage cabinet and an entertainment center, adds cheer and warmth on grey days.
The kitchen is large, expanded by a nook that's windowed on two sides. Its large work island houses both a prep sink and a cooktop. The far side also serves as a conversation bar.
Just behind the generously-sized walkin pantry is a spacious utility/hobby room, designed to accommodate a sewing machine and still leave lots of counter space for folding clothes. In one corner there's a half-bath, and across the hall is really a storage closet set into a triangular space. A door conveniently opens to the three-car garage, which has a deep third-car bay.
The Mesilla is elegant owners' room has a huge walk-in closet, plus a two-section bathroom with a double vanity. The second bedroom faces the street. If preferred, the den can serve as a third room, a home office, library or what have you.
First step is to develop a list of potential candidates. Check with friends and family, trade organizations such as Lane County Home Builders Association or American Institute of Building Designers, and of coarse contractors you are considering for your project.
An internet search is another way to add to the list of candidates, and it has the added bonus of allowing you to see some of the designers work.
After you've compiled your list, its time to make some phone calls. The call is to introduce yourself, then describe the project. Is it a new home, addition or interior remodel. as well as an approximate size or scope of the work you would like to complete. Once you have described the project ask the designer about their experience with this type of project.
Other questions should include, years of experience, familiarity with the building jurisdiction for your project and availability to begin your project. You're objective with the phone calls is to narrow down your prospects to two or three for an in depth interview. The interview is where you and your potential building designer get to know each other.
The relationship with your designer is as much about how well you can communicate with each other as it is about any other individual element. The most technically skilled, creative and professional designer cannot meet your goals if they don't hear them. The short answer: Make a list of potential designers, call them and weed out the ones that don't return your call or have any experience with your type of project, meet with the designer and get to know each other, and make your selection.
Multipaned windows, decorative shutters and front gables put a welcoming face to the Eastford. Stone veneer wainscoting and slender posts add to the exterior appeal of this mid-size ranch house plan.
Entering via the covered patio, you step into a vaulted entry leading right to the spacious vaulted great room at the rear. But not before passing a wide opening on the left, and a hallway to the right.
The left opening accesses a room that could be a parlor or den, and links up with the kitchen through a pocket door. The hallway on the right takes you to a wing of private spaces: a bathroom, two bedrooms, and what could be a third bedroom, home office or study.
Side windows let even more light into the dining room and kitchen. A flush eating bar bounds the two spaces. Cabinets, appliances and a wide sink line four sides of the kitchen.
Sun light washes into the great room and dining room through windows that fill most of the rear wall. The dining room windows slide open, offering easy access to a covered patio, which may be screened. A fireplace is located to the right corner of the great room.
Laundry appliances are mere steps away from the bedrooms, in a convenient pass-through utility room/mud room with direct access for the Eastford’s two-car garage. The utility room comes fully furnished with plenty of cabinetry, folding tables, and a deep sink.
Tapered stone columns line the covered porch of this two story Craftsman house plan. The dining room is at the heart of the large gathering area at the rear of the house. Divided by a set of columns, the generously windowed family room features a fireplace that can be appreciated from the kitchen. Upstairs are three bedrooms, utility room, and a bonus room.
Crisp lines and window grids provide a fresh clean look to the Sahalie. This is an update of the Prairie home, one of few indigenous American architectural styles. Originating in Chicago, the style was popular in early 20th century suburbs through the entire USA and is again rising in popularity.
The wide covered porch that wraps around across the front and to the left is punctuated by four sets of slender posts arranged on squarish framed-out bases. These support a low pitched hipped roof with wide eaves, typical of the Prairie home.
Entering, you step into a bright and large gathering area that contains the living room, dining room and kitchen. Sun light, slightly muted from the porch overhang, washes in through the gridded glass in its sidelights and the front door. Still more spills in through the tall, similarly shaped doors and windows on two walls of the dining area and a shorter window in the kitchen. Families that thrive on light and openness will love this space.
A sizable work island rimmed by a raised eating bar gives partial separation between the kitchen and the rest of the room. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can stare out the window in front of you, or track activities outside. A generously-sized utility room is nearby, as-is direct-access to a rear-facing two-car garage—handy for unloading groceries securely and from the weather.
The owners' suite is at the rear. It boasts a double vanity, completely private toilet, and a sizable walkin closet. Both of the Sahalie’s secondary rooms are up front, where they share another bathroom that also offers a dual vanity. These rooms each have broad closets that fill about two-thirds of just one wall.
This ranch house plan features a hexagonal great room at its heart. Ideal for taking in whatever view your lot has to offer; the great room has windows on three sides with a sliding glass door in the center that opens into a vaulted covered patio. The owners' suite takes up one side of the house along with its generous sized walk-in closet. The side to the left of the great room features a second bedroom, utility room and your kitchen and bath.
Guests are wowed by Hillview, inside and out
Walking through the European style Hillview can simply take your breath away. It’s gorgeous inside and out.
Columns and a high arch frame the front porch, which is centered in front of a rising hexagonal roof with many side gables. A stone veneer colonnade spans the rear. Lower column sections bound an extensive covered terrace around the basement level that wraps across three walls of the hexagonal area. On the main floor, column tops link railings that edge a similarly wide deck.
On the main floor, arched clerestory windows crown wide multipaned windows that fill nearly all of two rear walls. A home entertainment centre and a stone veneer fireplace cover most of the third.
One side of the unusually large two-section kitchen is totally open to the great room. An eating bar rims the sink’s peninsular counter, which looks into the dining area. Another eating bar rims the central work island, which also houses a pull-up mixer and a built-in ice maker. Appliances, including a large freezer, are built in.
Double doors open into a richly windowed two-story entry leading into the hexagonal great room. The circular staircase directly ahead of the entry curves up to a vaulted loft that covers half of the great room and overlooks the other half. Hidden storage lines two loft walls.
Surfaces and cabinets wraparound two sides of the spacious butler’s kitchen, which also has a second sink and oven. A bedroom, bathroom and utility room fill out the space behind the kitchen, while the sumptuous owners’ suite uses up a lot of the right wing.
A workout room and a third bedroom extend off the big hexagonal room about the Hillview’s basement level.
Elk Lake a comfortable house for all seasons
Three handsome columns attract eyes to the Elk Lake’s front exterior. This ranch house plan is suitable to the needs of a midsized household, or empty-nesters trying to downsize from a larger home. The plan could possibly be modified for wheelchair accessibility.
Within The entry, a row of coat hooks covers the wall above a bench, handy for removing and stashing grubby footgear. Another wall is filled by a roomy coat closet. From there, you can walk into the kitchen, or proceed through it to the vaulted great room.
A small, conveniently located bathroom sits at the juncture of the kitchen, the bedroom wing, and a pass-through mudroom/laundry room that links with the backyard and two-car garage.
Appliances, cabinets and counters line two sides of the kitchen.A walk-in pantry fills one rear corner, and more storage space is tucked beneath the work island. Standing at the kitchen sink, you face into the vaulted great room across a raised eating bar.
Windows wrap-around three sides of the nook, making a naturally vibrant setting for beginning the day, sharing meals, or helping with homework. Potted plants will succeed in this shiny place too. More light washes into the kitchen through skylights.
When outside temperatures are comfortable, opening the double doors within the great room nearly doubles the available living area. Meals are easy to move out onto the vaulted patio. On cool days and nights, warmth radiates out from the corner woodstove.
Two more bedrooms, another bathroom and a large study are across the hall.
There’s no question that designing a new home is the perfect time for homeowners to dream up new features that will contribute to a more comfortable lifestyle. Home designer Rick McAlexander of Associated Designs in Oregon has reviewed thousands of must-have features over the years with clients who plan to include as many amenities as possible when designing their new home.
While each person’s vision of their new home is as varied as the homeowners themselves, one new trend that Rick is definitely seeing is the request for a centralized mobile device charging center. This idea is akin to a clutter-catching spot for various wired devices such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, MP3 players, E-readers and cameras. Americans own an average of 24 electronic devices per household, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and each has its own custom charging pack. All those devices need a spot to suck in electricity.
Susan Lafky is a mother of active teenagers, whose entire family is involved in multiple sports while she and her husband also work. “Everyone plugs in their chargers on the desk in the kitchen and I’m tired of trying to clean around all the wires,” she said. “And, when the kids come home, their backpacks and gear are dropped from the entry way to the dining room table. We need a real solution for all of it.”
But, the old standard clutter catcher, the kitchen desk, is going away, according to Patti Julber, owner of Complements Home Interiors in Bend, Oregon. She’s designing cleaner lines, sleek counters and more built-ins. “My clients are trying to de-clutter their lives and the kitchen desk acts as a big magnet for junk,” says Patti. “I’m looking to move that clutter away from the cooking and entertaining areas.”
Dump The Junk
With the kitchen no longer the preferred area for a family’s dumping spot, Rick has started to incorporate more organizational space into the classic mudroom, creating a drop zone to hide the clutter and manage loads of family stuff. He says it’s the best spot to “dump the junk”. In this space, all members of the family can find a spot to cast off backpacks and boots, car keys and laptops, phone and outerwear, school work and even the mail. It can also work as the staging zone for carrying groceries or other items to and from the house.
“We’re also designing new home plans with separate spaces for the laundry, away from the mudroom,” he explains. “Some people don’t want to pass dirty clothes as they walk into their home. In those plans, I put the laundry room next to the bedrooms where the clothes are.”
For Patti’s clients, she orders top quality cabinets, counters and cubbies for the mudroom to create a well-appointed room for all the stuff. “I like the entry space off the garage to have the same level of quality as the rest of the house”, she says, “so that it feels good to come home.”
Patti’s husband, Evan Julber, is used to working with Patti on her various interior design projects as well as his own commercial ventures. He says the best concept for this electronic hub is to build in a long strip of 110v outlets in the wall above the counter for the ever changing chargers and docking stations.
“We can’t predict what’s coming our way,” Evan says, “but we know it’s going to require electricity and perhaps, cable. So, it’s important when designing the area to include space for outlets, cable and enough room for the wireless router or the hub for a future smart-house.”
Mike Gansen, of Gansen Construction in Eugene, Or, likes the Tillamook house plan from Associated Designs in part because the mudroom calls for plumbing to be built into the room’s corner with ability to expand even more into the garage. This feature allows Mike to work with the homeowner and truly customize the area, adding a cleaning station, a toilet or even a dog washing tub. “The homeowner really likes to put their stamp on this space”, Mike says, “configuring it to match their own lifestyle. It makes the final build-out unique to them.”
Whether it’s the older couple who is ready to de-clutter their well decorated living areas, or the large and busy family with an active lifestyle and loads of stuff, a well-planned entry room or mudroom is the ultimate solution.