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18th Mar, 2015
Articles, Blog

Tiny homes are a growing trend for young adults who are trying to save up their money while trying to advance in their careers. If you haven't heard the news yet and are scratching your head about tiny homes, these small buildings are 200 square feet or less in size. They can cost around $20,000 or less as they have the very basic necessities of living. Most of these tiny homes have kitchenettes, bathrooms, and loft areas that provides a bed. The simplistic design also allows the homes to be placed on wheels as they can be parked like RVs at designated camping spots or occupy a lot that someone owns.

image © by designer used with permission from

What Makes Tiny Homes So Appealing?

Tiny homes offer simplistic living. This arrangement appeals to people who don't require much in their lives at the present time as they enjoy spending more time out-and-about and only need a place to rest their heads or cook meals. People who are concerned with their carbon footprint may find tiny homes appealing because it uses less materials and resources. So they are using up less natural resources. Since tiny homes have wheels, they can be moved about as people enjoy road adventures.

Another factor to consider is that tiny homes cost less than a traditional home. Many people own their homes outright, eliminating the need for a mortgage as they have less debt to carry for years. In addition, tiny homes require less maintenance and lower utility bills, saving more money for the homeowner.

The Downsides of Owning Tiny Homes

Tiny homes aren't for everybody. You have to feel comfortable coming home to a tiny space that is about the size of an outdoor shed or small garage. Since the space is so tiny, it doesn't leave room for you to entertain guests or host parties. Also, you don't have much storage space, keeping the possessions you own to a bare minimum.

Another downside is that you may own the tiny home, but you may not have a place to park it unless you also buy property somewhere. So you have to consider paying property taxes every year. If you don't want to own the land, you have to find an acceptable place to park, and oftentimes engage in communal living arrangements with other people.

Lastly, if you decide to get married and have children, a tiny home will never provide the right amount of space for your growing family. You also eliminate the ability to have elderly parents move in with you if they can no longer live in their own homes. Due to these factors, people may continue to save up their funds to purchase a bigger home as they can later downsize to a small house or cottage.

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16th Mar, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Ryland 30-336

The Brick veneer exterior gives a look of substance to the Ryland home plan. Decorative supports highlight gable peaks and eaves, and raised brick trim accentuates the graceful curves of the arched entry and window openings. This attractive ranch house design could easily be adapted for wheelchair accessibility.

Vaulted ceilings add the sense of spaciousness in the foyer, den, living room and nook. Soft light flows into the foyer through sidelight and transom windows. Double doors on the left open into a den, which could be a home office or a fourth bedroom.

The living room is comfortably large and richly windowed. A gas fireplace nestled into a corner serves as an inviting focal point on dark nights or cloudy days. You can even appreciate the flames while in the kitchen. On the left, double doors open into a naturally bright sun room and a dining room.

A raised eating bar rims the counter that bounds the large kitchen. Storage and counter space are both in abundant here. Counters are on three sides plus the center work island; cabinets, too, are on three sides, as well as beneath the surface of the work island and the corner pantry.

Laundry appliances and a toilet are close in a utility room that is convenient to the three-car garage.

Bedrooms are along the right side. Features in the owners' suite include his-and-hers walk-in closets and an elegant bathroom with a soaking tub, dual vanity, and enclosed shower and toilet. A pull-down ironing board is handy for pressing out those last-minute garment wrinkles.

11th Mar, 2015
Articles, Blog

The weather is gorgeous outside. Yet you are stuck inside looking out a small window because you simply don't have the outdoor area where you can sit back and relax. Now is the time to invest in an indoor/outdoor living space when constructing your new home or second vacation home. Indoor/outdoor living spaces are a growing trend for homeowners across the country as they provide the outdoor relaxation and majestic scenic views combined with all the indoor amenities to make the space comfortable.

Types of Indoor/Outdoor Living Spaces

There are a variety of indoor/outdoor living spaces to select from that will fit into the style of your home, your personality and how you want to use the space. You will also have to select the type of space based on the square footage that you have available.

Sunroom, Northbrook 30-898, Indoor/outdoor living

Glass Living Spaces

One of the unique advantages of indoor/outdoor living spaces is that you can already use an indoor living area and create it with a more outdoor feeling. Enclosed porches and sunrooms are getting makeovers to provide a sheltered area that is perfect for outdoor living. Glass walls and windows bring in plenty of sunshine while keeping the weather outside. A great thing about these enclosed spaces is that you can have more comfortable furniture installed along with colorful rugs and throw pillows.

Partially Enclosed Spaces

If you want a more outdoorsy space, then you can eliminate the glass walls to bring in a little more fresh air. Partially-enclosed spaces will normally have roofs for a little bit of protection. The space may be connected to the home or sit separately in large courtyards or backyards. Gazebos and outdoor rooms are filled with colorful furniture, rugs and even beds for the ultimate relaxation as you have a small outdoor oasis.

Outdoor Kitchens Are a Growing Trend

Another amenity to an indoor/outdoor living space is an outdoor kitchen. It is more than just a barbecue pit. These outside kitchens have refrigerators, pizza ovens, sinks, counters, islands and dining spaces to provide seating for the guests. The barbecue pit also gets a makeover as you can cook all types of meals on the larger surface without having to use your indoor kitchen. Eat in style during the warm weather as the whole family can sit outside and enjoy the special time together.

Outdoor patio, barnhart 30-946

Indoor/Outdoor Spaces Are Customizable For Your Needs

The best thing about outdoor spaces are that you can customize them so that they are the relaxing areas that you desire. With fountains, outdoor lights, speakers and other items, you can make the ultimate outdoor oasis that you will use every single day. Let your imagination run loose until you have the space that is perfect for you.


9th Mar, 2015
Articles, House Plan of the Week

Tuscan House Plan, Home Plan, Meridian 30-312

Attractive stone veneer columns and wainscoting lend a comforting sense of permanence to the Meridian, a rambling Tuscan-style house plan with a pool and more than 4,000 sq. ft. of indoor living space.

An elegant welcome is found with the raised stone trim that overarches the vaulted porch. Inside the vaulted foyer, columns flank arched openings that lead to the living room on the left, dining room straight ahead, and hallways to the left and right. This design offers a wealth of generous gathering spaces, inside and out.

Family living is well-provided for. The large vaulted family room is naturally bright, with wide expanses of glass on two sides. A gas fireplace nestles into a rear corner.

Standing at the kitchen sink, you can stay in tuned of the goings-on inside and out. You can even keep an eye on the swimming pool. Storage and counter space are in abundant supply, boosted by a triangular step-in pantry.

A powder room is convenient to all of the gathering spaces, and a full bathroom is nearby, next to the guest suite. Utilities and another bathroom line a hallway that links the kitchen to the patio and pool.

The owners' suite is a quiet retreat, and also offering direct access to the covered patio and pool. Features include a large spa tub, walk-in closet, double vanity, and separately enclosed toilet. The nearby den could be used as a home office.

Two bedrooms, a recreation room, a bathroom and a loft are found on the second floor.

5th Mar, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

Garage with Living, 2 story garage plan, garage design, Garage 20-137

Garage 20-137

This Craftsman garage design offers storage for up to two cars plus an additional car in the attached carport. Both garage doors are 9' wide and 8' tall. At the back main floor of the garage is the entry and a kitchenette with stairs leading to the second floor recreation room. This space could also be used as an guest apartment or suite for older children returning from college looking to live at home for awhile. A full bathroom and stacking washer and drier are on the second level along with the window rich observatory loft.

4th Mar, 2015
Articles, Blog

Nobody expects everyone to like the same decor themes. Yet it does make it tough for couples to decide what type of furnishings and decorations to have in their home. You like the traditional decor with classic furniture, rich colors and 18th-century Old World architecture while your spouse lives for the modern designs with clean lines and simple neutral colors. It's okay that your personalities don't match. You can combine both styles in the same decor theme while having a beautiful home.

                     HE LIKES                               SHE LIKES

Modern Decor, Interior, How toTraditional style, Home Decor, How to

Combine Modern Furnishings With Traditional Artwork

You can easily combine modern and traditional styles by pairing artwork with furnishings. Choose classical and Old World paintings with the modern lines of couches and chairs. The bold colors of the paintings will look well with the softer tones of the furniture. You can also switch it around and select traditional furniture with modern artwork.

Mix And Match Furniture

There is no reason why you can't mix and match traditional and modern furniture so long as one style doesn't dominate the other. You can have modern couches with a few traditional accent chairs or a antique English coffee table to bring the furnishings together. Also, many modern pieces of furniture will have modern twists to their designs as you can have both decor styles in the same piece of furniture.

Look At Other Elements Of The Room To Combine Both Designs

You can find numerous ways to combine traditional design styles or modern design styles to the room besides incorporating them into the furniture or artwork. Look at the floor. You can find beautiful modern or traditional area rugs. Place modern furniture on traditional rugs with traditional paintings on the wall to create a unique decor theme. You can also select modern vases, traditional bookcases, wall sconces and knick knacks that capture both you and your spouses design personality.

Don't Forget To Use Paint Colors To Your Advantage

You may win out over your spouse as you are able to have the traditional style furnishings that your crave. Yet that doesn't mean your spouse can't also have his modern look in the room. Look toward painting the walls and trim with muted and neutral modern colors. The wall colors can complement the furniture as you can take the rich colors from the upholstery and use muted versions of the colors for the walls, ceiling and trim in the room. You can also create modern designs along the wall using paint stencils to create interesting striped lines and borders.

2nd Mar, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, View Lot Home Plan, Silvercrest 11-143

No matter where you are in the Silvercrest contemporary ranch-style home, silvery natural light flows in through richly glassed banks of multi-paned windows.

Outside, sunbeams dance across the glass as the panes catch the light. Choosing a wide lot with a vista to the rear would maximize the view.

Nowhere is the interior illumination more impressive than in the vaulted hexagonal great room at the core of the home, where two banks of glass fill most of the three rear walls.

In the center section, two sets of French doors open onto a large deck that wraps across the entire back. In the walls to the left and right, the lower window sections are about the same height as the doors, but underscored by stone veneer wainscoting. Wide transom windows crown all of the rear windows and doors.

Entering through the arched entry, you cross a transverse hallway and have a moment to appreciate family treasures in an art niche before entering into the great room. The hallway to the left leads to the utility room and owners’ suite. Heading right takes you past an opening to the kitchen, and on to secondary bedrooms, basement stairs, and a two-car garage.

A pony wall provides both openness and separation between the kitchen and the rest of the great room. Cooks at the range can keep an eye on the entire space, as can people on the clean-up crew. The sink and dishwasher are lined up along a peninsular counter rimmed by an eating bar. Features in the owners’ suite include a walk-in shower, soaking tub, dual vanity and access to the deck. Bedrooms two and three share a bathroom.

2nd Mar, 2015
Articles, Blog


If you are noticing more people residing around your neighborhood, it is no surprise. Fifty-one million Americans are embracing the lifestyle known as multigenerational living. The college grad across the street is back and Grandpa’s moved in, too. The retired couple next door has a full house — their daughter, her husband and three grandkids. The bungalow house a block away was just bought — jointly — by adult children and their parents. Multiple generations under one roof, also known as multigenerational housing, is becoming quite commonplace.
Economics and age group help explain why. With an onset of unmarried, underemployed young adults seeking help from parents to the aging population where the realization of the high cost of elder care becomes evident, sharing household expenses makes good economic sense. Having another pair of hands around the house to help with child care and cooking assists young career parents who might be in the midst of demanding work schedules. The need to connect with family and earn a living can be intermingled easier than it would otherwise, with generations living under the same unique house plan. More realistically, it’s less costly to operate one household than two, and the need to cut expenses is still acutely felt after the recession. 
On the other hand, many retired baby boomers say they would like to be closer to family members. In previous generations, retirement might have meant a quaint resort town with a selection of golf courses, far from the day in, day out processes of the domestic family grind. But retirees today report feeling younger, healthier and possess a desire to be a part of the action by staying in their communities and interacting with younger generations. Boomer grandparents stay involved with grandchildren, and increasingly care for them. Intergenerational affinity between parents and children is high with families actually liking each other so the natural progression to share households makes sense emotionally, as well, as financially.

Associated Designs, a national home design firm located in Eugene, Oregon, has seen the desire to move several generations under one roof with requests for unique house plans to fit more family members. The talented designers are intrigued with the multigenerational concept, and have used their more than 46 years of combined home design experience to keep a watchful eye on trending ideas in the home designers’ arena. As a result of this expertise in home plan needs, the ranch-style Kinglsey 30-184 was designed perfectly formulated for multi-family living.

With the main house linked by a covered walkway to a small cottage at rear, the Kingsley, is actually two houses in one. The cottage is ideal for older children, not quite ready to fly the nest, or aged parents who enjoy their privacy but also appreciate sharing time with the family. Its kitchenette is adequate for breakfast and lunch preparation, but not designed for complex meals.

Inside the main house, the skylit kitchen is large with a panoramic view of both gathering spaces, plus scenes framed by windows in three directions.

Outfitted with stools, one stretch of the kitchen counter serves as an eating and conversation bar. A vaulted ceiling expands the volume of the living room, and in the dining room, French doors open onto a partially covered patio.

Laundry appliances, deep sink, and a roomy pantry are mere steps from the kitchen, housed in a combination utility/mud room that's also accessible from the patio.

Storage space is abundant in the bedroom wing. Three closets nestle into spaces in the hallway, and the owners' suite has two roomy walk-in closets as well. In the second bedroom a closet fills one whole wall.

The Kingsley's owners' bath is fully outfitted with a double vanity, shower and private water closet. Space that could have been used to create another bedroom has been devoted to a private den. Connected to the owners' suite by a hallway, this room could also serve as a small home office.

With this home plan, you get two houses in one. The Kingsley is perfectly designed for everyone to reside together, in peace and harmony.

As seen on Newswire

25th Feb, 2015
Articles, Blog

You've packed your toothbrush and your travel wallet. You are ready to get away from the big city and travel to that second home by the mountains, lake or in countryside where you can have a relaxing a peaceful weekend getaway. While you may have packed the essentials for yourself and the family, don't forget that your second dwelling will need to be prepared for your stay, even for those short vacations.

Weekend Essentials

Shower Curtains

It may sound like a weird thing to pack away with the sweaters and beauty care products. Yet if you haven't been to the second home for awhile, and hadn't done any cleaning to the bathroom before leaving, then the existing shower curtains can look and smell a bit musty or moldy. While you can spend your time cleaning off the soap scum during the weekend, it's a whole lot simpler to just bring along a pack of shower curtains. Take a few minutes of your day to hang them up and then head out to have some fun knowing that you can come back to a relaxing bath or shower with clean shower curtains hanging in the bathroom.


Temperatures can change unexpected. Keep warm without pushing up the heating bill by stowing away a few blankets for the bed. Also stow away an extra cuddling blanket for the sofa so you can stay warm on those quiet evenings while watching television or playing card games with the kids. Just hang the extra blanket on the back of the couch so it will be ready whenever you need it.


No matter how many towels we think the second home has, we always end up using more than expected. So pack away extra kitchen towels to clean up any kid's messes and bathroom towels in case you invite extra guests to come along on the trip. With the extra towels, you won't be spending so much time doing laundry when you are only spending two or three days in the vacation home.

Packable Wireless Speakers

You are having a fun evening playing board games and poker with the family. Unfortunately, it would be an even better time if the kids didn't have their earbuds on as you have to shout at them to take their turns at the game. Let everyone share in the music with packable wireless speakers. These speakers can easily be stowed away into a travel bag. They also don't look gaudy with the rest of the furnishings like other types of speakers out on the market as the solid walnut casing and graphite grill has a modern look that will match perfectly into the rest of the decor.

23rd Feb, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Ranch Home Plan, Vacation Home Plan, Ottawa 30-601

The Ottawa's vaulted great room is full of natural light and the core of design. Windows and atrium doors fill most of the front wall, and more are stacked above where they sparkle across the front gable. A mirror-image window set fills the rear gable. This design allows you to appreciate any view your lot may offer and also makes this a great vacation home plan.

The lofty and majestic great room forms the home's center. To enter, you walk across the covered front porch and through one of the atrium doors. The entire space is so open that you can see through to the rear windows. Another windowed door there, and is flanked by sidelights, opens onto another covered patio.

A gas fireplace is located in one front corner of the great room, and a stack of built-in bookcases runs along the wall next to it. Also bounding the vaulted kitchen is a lengthy, raised conversation bar with an inner, lower counter that doubles as a work island.

Around the corner is a large walk-in pantry, a powder room, and a utility room, along with direct access to a two-car garage that features extra storage space along the back.

Three bedrooms are down a hallway to the left of the great room.

The owners' suite takes up half of that wing, while secondary bedrooms, their shared bathroom, and a deep storage closet fill the other half.

In the owners' suite, the private bathroom has a double vanity, large shower and a private toilet. A large walk-in closet has plenty of shelf space along with the clothing rods. One of the other two bedrooms is slightly larger than the other and has more shelf storage space.

20th Feb, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Carthage 30-969, Narrow Lot House Plan

Ideal for a narrow city lot or out on rural property, the Carthage house plan will bring country charm to where ever you choose to build it. The entry is around the corner of the large covered porch. The main level is spacious and open with the gathering spaces in the rear of the home. One bedroom is located on the main floor and could also serve as a guest suite or office. The second floor features another bedroom, utility room and owners' suite that has a roomy walk-in shower. The garage is connected by a covered breezeway which can be adjusted in length for the building lot. This garage provides you with additional ground level storage as well as a second floor recreation room and full bathroom.

17th Feb, 2015
Articles, Blog

Humans are very visual as we associate colors with our feelings, behaviors and personalities. So it isn't any wonder that certain colors can create more relaxing moods while other colors instill passion and romance. When you are debating about what colors to use when designing the home decor, keep in mind the type of mood you want to create. Also, colors can have an interesting affect on the home itself. Some colors can make a room feel larger than it actually is or create a sense of coziness to large rooms so the huge space doesn't feel overwhelming. The colors can also improve the function of a room.

                               Choosing colors, Power of Color,

Picking Colors To Set A Mood

Our personalities can be reflected in the colors we choose for our homes. A person with a bright and sunny personality may select a range of yellows and oranges to decorate a home while a person who loves the great outdoors may select more earth tones of greens and browns. So pick out colors when you are trying to create a certain mood in the room or reflect who you are as a person. Here are certain feelings and moods that particular colors can create for people when they walk into a room.

     • Red: passion, excitement, stimulation, strength
     • Blue: peace, calmness, loyalty, tranquility, quietness
     • Brown: warmth, practicality, reliability, comfort
     • Green: hope, nurturing, health, generosity
     • White: purity, peace, innocence, humility
     • Yellow: joy, hope, happiness, optimism
     • Black: elegance, power, wealth, mystery

Picking Colors To Hide Flaws

Colors can also be used to hide certain flaws that you don't want people to see, or enhance particular architectural features that you want to stand out. Often, people will use different colors to change the size of the room. If a person has a small room, they will use lighter colors to make the room feel as if it is more spacious than what it is. The use of darker colors can make a large room feel smaller and more cozy.

Picking Colors To Enhance The Function Of A Room

People like to work in bright kitchens as they can see the meals that they are cooking and eating. So people will choose brighter colors for the room because these colors can reflect more light. Brighter colors also work well in gym rooms, small bathrooms and craft rooms. Dark and cool colors are suitable in rooms such as cozy dens and home theater entertainment rooms where you want a more shaded and warm atmosphere to relax in while watching movies or playing video games.

9th Feb, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, New House Plan, Darrington 30-941

An accessible two-bedroom guest cottage at the rear gives the ranch-style Darrington house plan exceptional versatility. The detached cottage could comfortably house a family member or two, or it could be rented out as a separate unit.

The main house family living areas fill the left wing, and bedrooms fill the right. Natural light spills into the vaulted living room through a large set of windows. The masonry fireplace there offers a warm and welcoming focal point.

The ceiling drops and flattens where the living room flows into the kitchen/dining area. Standing at the kitchen sink, you face into the dining room across an eating bar. Light washes in through a skylight and windows on two sides. One set opens onto a large covered patio. Laundry appliances are nearby, in a utility room with patio access.

Another vaulted ceiling expands the owners’ suite, which boasts two walk-in closets, patio access, a compact bathroom, and a roomy sitting area. A pool or spa tub could be right outside.

9th Feb, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Contemporary House Plan, Home Plan, Sedalia 10-231

Stately and regal, this contemporary house plan's soaring arched entry gives this design the appearance of being larger than it really is. But with over 2500 square feet of floor space, no one could say the Sedalia is small.

Multipaned windows sparkle across all sides of the brick veneer exterior. Brick detailing crowns the arched openings, underscores the windows and accents the built-in planters.

Entering, you step into an elegant vaulted foyer. The arhced opening straight ahead flows into the vaulted great room. A fireplace nestles into an angled wall and across the room, slender windows flank the French doors that accesses a large screened porch.

An eating bar divides the great room from the kitchen. Standing at the island's built-in cooktop, you can converse with folks at the eating counter or in the great room. Kitchen counters wrap around the inside of a window bay that provides plenty of natural light. Built-in microwave and ovens are next to a step-in pantry.

Moods brighten and potted plants flourish in the vaulted, skylit sun room that expands the kitchen. The exterior walls are almost entirely glass. Double doors open, providing access to a dining room with a stately trayed ceiling.

Vaulted ceiling adds volume to the sleeping area of the owners' suite. Other features include a separate sitting area and a double walk-in closet. The luxurious owners' suite bathroom has dual sinks, soaking tub, and glass-block enclosed toilet and shower.

The front bedroom could be used as a study or home office.

2nd Feb, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

European House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, MacLeod 30-120

Stone veneer along with handsome keystone arches lend to a European country manor look to the MacLeod, an elegant estate design with ample living space. The owners' suite, and gathering spaces, are on the main floor while three bedrooms and a skylit storage room are on the second level.

From the two-story foyer, a beautiful stairway curves up to a landing that overlooks the space below. French doors on the left open into a den featuring a built-in desk and a wall of bookcases. Through the arched opening on the right is a living room with an 11-foot ceiling and brick fireplace.

A dining room with built-in hutch/buffet is one step up, through double arches. French doors open on a patio that wraps across most of the rear.

The charming nook connects the formal and informal living areas. Kitchen amenities include: a walk-in pantry, work island with cooktop, and an angled island/eating bar with sink, dishwasher, and prep sink. Oven and microwave are built into cabinets close to a passageway that leads to a utility room with a powder room, and a three-car garage.

Bathroom features in the luxurious owners' suite include an oversized shower, two basins, spa tub next to an arched window, and two large walk-in closets.

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