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20th Nov, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Cannondale 30-971, Ranch House Plan

The Craftsman style Cannondale house plan is perfect for those who love to entertain. Informal gatherings can be held in the spacious, naturally lit great room. The corner fireplace makes a cozy place for family and friends. For more formal gatherings the separate dining room can be accessed from the entry hall or the kitchen. If groups decide to break off from the main area a generous recreation room is off the main living area. The owners' suite is separated from the other bedrooms and serves as a quite retreat.

17th Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Southwest House Plan, Home Plan, Noranda 30-123

The Southwest style Noranda is a large and stately brick house plan. The corner quoins reinforce the image of permanence while the arched stepped-brick entryway and the herringbone-patterned chimney inset adds eye-catching appeal.

A variety of group living environments are found on the main floor, with the great room being the largest. Windowed front and back, it has a hardwood floor, a lofty 12-foot ceiling, and a fireplace. Double doors open to a partially covered patio.

Kitchen and dining room flow together, separated by a wall section and the eating bar. The dining room is spacious, and the vaulted ceiling makes it feel even larger. This room, too, features a fireplace and double-door access to the patio.

Tile covers the floor of a kitchen with ample room for a team of cooks to work together. The utility room and pantry are just around the corner, in a long passageway that connects the kitchen to the three-car garage. The full bathroom at the end of this hallway is nice for garage access. It's also convenient to a guest suite.

Den, library hall and owners' suite nestle together in the quiet wing to the right of the great room. Shelving fills the library hall. Luxury amenities in the vaulted owners' suite include a large walk-in closet and a plush private bathroom.

Two large bedrooms are upstairs, where they share a centrally located shower. Each bedroom has its own private toilet and lav. A separate second floor accessible only from the garage provides storage.

10th Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

European House Plan, Home Plan, Gerabaldi 30-543

Wooden shutters, columns and keystone arches give a classic European look to the two-story Gerabaldi house plan. Stucco columns and exterior is common of homes near the Mediterranean Sea.

Family living areas are on the main floor, and link to the three-car garage through a mudroom, featuring storage and a built-in bench for removing and storing shoes and backpacks. Four large bedrooms are upstairs, along with a laundry room, three bathrooms, storage closets and a bonus room.

An arched opening leads from the sidewalk onto the vaulted porch. The arched transom there crowns a door flanked by sidelights. Natural light spills into the partially two-story entry through those windows, and more light washes down through a multipaned window on the upper level.

On the right, an arch provides access to a living room expanded by a bay window. On the left, double doors open into a room that could be a study, home office, or hobby room. Family living spaces - kitchen, nook and family room - flow together, filling the back of the home.

An eating bar rims one edge of a cook top work island centered in the large kitchen. Counters and cupboards wrap around two sides of the kitchen, and a walk-in pantry fits into one corner.

Wide windows line the rear wall. One of the nook's windows is an atrium door that accesses the patio. A built-in desk is located in an alcove at the juncture of the nook and family room.

The owners' suite features a walk-in shower, dual vanity, private toilet and a large walk-in closet.

3rd Nov, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Cape Cod House Plan, Home Plan, Lakeview 10-079, Vacation Home Plan, Cabin Plan

The Lakeview is a vacation home designed to allow full advantage of a panoramic view. Built on beach or lakefront land, this Cape Cod style home lets you continue to enjoy the out-of-doors even when you have to come inside.

Stacks of glass fill most of the wall space on 3 sides of the vaulted great room. French doors on both sides provide cross-ventilation and open onto a covered wrap around porch that frames this dramatic living area.

A large see through fireplace separates the great room from the dining room and serves as a warm focal point. The ceiling in front of the fireplace is two stories high. The hearth is overlooked from vantage points on either side of the chimney that stretches upward by the second-floor loft. Outfitted with bunks, the second floor loft can provide additional sleeping space when needed.

The U-shaped kitchen is brightened by a bay window and offers plenty of counter space. A compact, stacking washer/dryer combination is nestled in an alcove under the stairs. Sliding doors open onto a small back deck shaded by a wooden arbor. This area could be screened if desired. A storage area is conveniently located off the deck.

Both the Lakeview's lower and upper bedrooms have walk-in closets and full bathrooms. The upper bathroom is slightly larger and has a corner shower. The compartmentalized lower bathroom allows one person to perform grooming activities at the sink while another uses the tub or toilet.

3rd Nov, 2014
Articles, Blog

By the time many people are ready to build their dream home, they’ve pored over hundreds of pages throughout dozens of interior design magazines, imagining countless custom treatments. And, while it’s tempting to admire pictures of beautifully designed rooms, the true test of a top quality home begins with the details of a custom floor plan.

Every family is unique and a custom home designed specifically for a family’s lifestyle can create an unparalleled living experience. From the home’s entrance into the main living spaces, to the kitchen and dining configuration, or mudroom-utility and garage transition, the right floor plan can increase a family’s convenience and overall quality of life.

Rick McAlexander, president and owner of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon, believes that a family who chooses to build their own home should carefully pick their house plan designer. Working with an experienced designer can prevent costly mistakes or serious problems after construction begins and ultimately offer a very special place the family is happy to call home.

“I find that my clients initially underestimate the complexity of building a home and are usually surprised to learn what it takes to be an expert in this field. After designing thousands of homes, I’ve come to realize how important it is for a homeowner to feel comfortable with their designer before the process even begins,” says Rick.

Homeowners must do their own thorough research before choosing a designer for such a big investment as a home. Some may search on the Internet for a construction professional, but that may not be the best approach. A smart looking website does not necessarily equal an experienced home designer. To assist homeowners in the process of choosing a designer, Rick McAlexander encourages homeowners to consider six key characteristics before hiring a qualified professional.

Personality - Designing a home is a very personal project and the designer will be working closely with the homeowner. Many conversations involve a family’s day to day living experience, which should be an enjoyable and comfortable experience. It’s important for the client to like the designer as they interpret the family’s goals and create a design that delights everyone involved.

Experience - How many projects has the designer completed of a similar nature to the one at hand? This is a different criteria than how long a designer has been in business. Someone who has experience designing office buildings or hospitals will not have the same set of skills as one who has focused their practice on residential design. Also, a designer whose primary focus has been entry level production housing may not have the skills required for an estate-sized home, while the reverse is also true.

Reputation - Obtain a list of references, including past clients and construction professionals. Inquire about the designer’s history of delivering projects within the time frame promised and whether the client felt the fees were fair. Check with contractors about the quality of the construction documents, as well as how easy it was to follow blueprints. Did the designer promptly and effectively respond to questions that came up during construction? Check with the building department that will be issuing your permits to see if they are willing to discuss their experience with a specific building designer. Clients who take a thorough approach to checking a designer’s record are ones most likely to have their home built on time and on budget.

Design philosophy - Some designers prefer a “you dream it, we draw it” style of communication. Others feel their experience dictates what’s best for the client in a home’s design, based on the designer’s interpretation of the goals. Does the designer exhibit a more collaborative style, helping to educate and advise a client while maintaining a flexible approach to the floor plan, allowing for input and personal preferences? Which of these styles will best fit a client’s own communication style and comfort level?

Level of service provided - Designers run the gamut from “drafter” to “full service”. A drafter simply uses a general floor plan and draws a set of plans, typically the minimum required to obtain a building permit. The full service designer will provide a custom approach, staying involved in the project from initial design concept through completion, providing assistance in all phases of construction. Many designers work somewhere in between, providing complete plan sets with enough detail for the contractor to confidently build, while allowing for consulting when needed throughout the construction process.

Costs - The original design is not the place to cut corners. How does the designer charge for services? Designers charge in a variety of ways, but most common are hourly, cost per square foot, or a percentage of construction costs. Normally the rates are commensurate with the level of experience, complexity of the project and service provided. The design is the most critical element of a successful project and worth the time and attention to this detail. Saving a few dollars by rushing a project or choosing the cheapest plan source could compromise the entire project. It is common for more money to be spent on the site preparation and home’s foundation than the design. However, to get a good foundation requires a good plan. The most meticulously detailed and expertly constructed design will be a disappointment if it does not meet a family’s lifestyle goals.

“Choosing a good designer is the most critical phase of the entire new home construction process,” says Rick McAlexander. “Working with an experienced, professional designer should be a pleasure and result in a beautiful dream home that brings joy to the whole family for years to come,” he added.

As seen on Newswire

29th Oct, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Madrone 30-749, Country House Plan

Completely surrounded by a wrap around covered porch the Madrone ranch style house plan is well suited for country living. The front door is understated but welcoming as you step inside you are greeted by a wood stove in the vaulted living room. The generous sized kitchen flows into the utility/mud hall where there is plenty of storage and a large walk-in pantry. A hall way runs through the middle of the home and takes you to the bedrooms with the owners' suite at the end.

27th Oct, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

European House Plan, Home Plan, Macon 30-229

The Macon is visually appealing. This European house plan features half-timbers that accent a vaulted porch, set off by the stone veneer next to it. The porch frames an impressive entry flanked by sidelights and crowned with a fanlight. Curved trim boards and varied window treatments add to this stunning design.

With nearly 3,000 square feet of living space the spacious interior is perfect for entertaining, as well as day-to-day living. The living room and dining room can be formal, if desired, while the family room and den can easily cater to more individual family preferences. The den could serve as a home office or another bedroom.

The vaulted dining room and living room are richly windowed. In the living room, wide shelves and cabinets fill the walls beside a fireplace. Three fanlights cap the French doors and multipaned windows in this elegant, high-ceilinged space.

Open to the kitchen, the family room has a second fireplace and offers patio access on two sides. Twin window seats create cozy spaces by the rear-facing French doors. Kitchen features include: a T-shaped work island with prep sink, built-in appliances, and two pantries.

Utilities and a large combination guest/hobby room are close. Natural light spills in over the desk nestled into the window bay, creating an ideal area for sewing or other crafts.

An even wider bay window expands the Macon's owners' suite. Luxury features include: two walk-in closets, patio access, and a large bathroom with oversize shower, spa tub, two vanities and an enclosed water closet.


22nd Oct, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

Garage Plan, Garage Design, 4 car Garage, Four Car Garage

Garage 20-145 - This Craftsman style garage plan can accomodate up to 4 cars.

Garage Plan, Garage Design, 4 car Garage, Four car Garage, Garage plan with shop

Garage w/Shop 20-109 - This garage plan can accomodate up to 4 cars and has a generous sized workshop or craft room.

Garage Plan, Garage Design, 2 Story Garage Plan, Two Story Garage Plan, Garage with Living Space

Garage w/Living Space 20-063 - This two car garage design has a second story with a vaulted bonus room and bedroom, and a full bathroom.


2 car garage plan, Two car garage plan, garage design, garage with loft

Garage w/Loft 20-125 - This 2 car, two story garage plan offers a full 2nd floor loft with balcony.


Garage with Apartment, 2 story garage plan, garage design, ADU, grannie flat

Garage w/Apartment 20-152 - This Craftsman style 3 car garage offers a full second floor apartment. The apartment features a vaulted great room, kitchen/dining area, bedroom, full bath, and exterior balcony.


Garage Plan, Garage Design, RV Garage Plan, 3 car Garage, Three Car Garage

Garage w/Recreation Room 20-153 - A 3 car garage with RV parking and mudroom. The second floor features a recreation room and loft.

22nd Oct, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

Cape Cod House Plan, Home Plan, Hanover 30-968, Narrow Lot House Plan

By the 18th century, houses in the Cape Cod area had evolved to provide compact and spacious housing for the severe and confining New England winters. Shingle siding adds to the visual appeal of the Hanover, an update of this quintessential American home style.

The 2-story symmetrical front façade is typical of Cape Cod styling. However the front porch, glassed door insets and sidelites are more in line with current trends, as is the floor plan.

Once inside, straight ahead, a stairway to the second level runs up the right side of the foyer, while the left half flows on to the main floor dining area and kitchen. A large living room with a fireplace is through an opening on the foyer’s left.

An opening on the opposite wall accesses the right wing, which comprises a den, a guest bathroom, and a mudroom. Cabinetry and a counter with a deep sink run along one side of this handy mudroom, along with an upright freezer. At the rear, is the dining area and kitchen.

A flush eating bar rims the work island that bounds the otherwise L-shaped kitchen. Sliding glass doors open onto a partially covered patio.

Four bedrooms, a playroom, utility room, and two bathrooms are upstairs. Both bathrooms have dual vanities. The owners’ bathroom has an oversized shower and a large walk-in closet, while the other bathroom features a combination tub and shower.

Having the Hanover’s utility room on the second floor puts it in convenient to the sources of most laundry. Built-in cabinets and a long counter make for ease of processing towels, sheets, clothing and the like.

20th Oct, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Lodge Style House Plan, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Barnhart 30-946

People who enjoy entertaining will be impressed with the Barnhart’s capacity for handling large gatherings in this Craftsman lodge-style gem.

Depending on the weather, people can congregate in the vaulted great room, kitchen, and the vaulted patio. Both the great room and patio have wood-burning fireplaces that serve as inviting focal points, plus the kitchen has a curved-edge eating bar that can double as a buffet.

The formal dining room is on the right of the vaulted foyer makes an elegant impression. Natural light flows in through a wide front window, while the deep butler’s pantry keeps additional food handy and out of sight. On the opposite side of the foyer, the vaulted den is in a great location for a home office.

Covered walkways and patios wrap around three sides of the house. These add even more room for outdoor living, and will be particularly appreciated if the house is built in excessively rainy or sunny climates. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can look out across the covered patio, and enjoy watching seasonal changes in the landscape.

Down a hallway to the right, doors open into a luxurious owners’ suite that fills much of the right wing. Its two large walk-in closets feature built-in dressers. The bathroom boasts heated tile floors, a deep soaking tub, and walk-in shower. And it’s all conveniently close to the door that leads to the large hot tub on the covered deck outside.

The hallway to the owners’ suite is lined with storage cabinets and runs past a small guest bathroom and an extra large utility room. A bunk room, TV loft and bedroom suite are located upstairs.

13th Oct, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Duplex Plan, Duplex Design, Kentland 60-015, Multi-family House Plans

The two-story Kentland is a well-separated, duplex with garages providing privacy between the units. Except for the shared garage wall, each unit has the feel of a single-family home, and the look of a country Craftsman cottage.

Unit A is a mirror image of Unit B, so the description of one applies equally to each other. The wide covered porch across the front creates an inviting look, while also providing a space for enjoying the outdoors. In summer, a porch swing or a couple of chairs could be added to make it more enjoyable.

Inside, the entry opens out into a combination living and dining room on one side, and a powder room hides behind a pocket door on the opposite side. The entry's coat closet is right there as well.

Light flows into the large gathering space through windows that fill most of the front and rear walls, and more washes in through another wide window on the side. The windows at the back slide open  to a covered patio, great for outdoor dining when tempatures allow. This patio could also be screened.

The kitchen is partially open to the dining room, and is large. Counters, cupboards, and built-in appliances are on all four sides. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can easily keep an eye on the back yard.

Three bedrooms are located upstairs, where they share a two-section bathroom. The owners' suite has a large walk-in closet and direct entry to the bathroom.

Each of the Kentland's garages has two entry doors: one that opens to the kitchen, and another that opens to the back yard.

9th Oct, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

A Frame House Plan, Home Plan, Log Cabin Floor Plan, Vacation Home Plan

The A-frame Eagle Rock house plan is designed for a sloped view lot and provides opportunies to expand living space. The lower level features a 2 car garage along with plenty of unfinished area along with room for a future full bathroom. Up the stairs to the main level you are greeted with a rich window display in the v-shaped great room to take in all the view the outside has to offer. A wood stove is tucked into the corner of the great room, and a spiral staircase leads you to a vaulted loft.

6th Oct, 2014
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Country Home Plan, Kensington 30-843

The ranch-style Kensington house plan was designed for construction on a lot that slopes down at the rear, but it can easily be altered for a level site. The main difference plays out at the rear deck, which would be elevated over a downward slope, but at ground level otherwise.

Shingles fill the upper sections of three gables that add to the overall country feel ambiance. The Craftsman windows across the front facade include a row of small panes at the top of the front door. Slender wooden columns set on handsome stone veneer bases highlight the gabled porch entrance.

A living room with a fireplace fills the right side of the wide open great room. The dining room is open to the living room, and partially open to the kitchen across a work island rimmed with a curved eating bar. Sliding glass doors in the dining area open onto a railed and covered deck that is vaulted.

Standing at the kitchen sink you can keep an eye on the great room and deck, or gaze at the yard beyond. Counters line three sides of the kitchen. Storage is generous, running over and under the counters on two sides, as well as under the work island. The pantry fills one entire corner. Laundry appliances are nearby, in a pass-through utility room to the garage access.

Two bedrooms and a full bathroom are down a hallway to the right of the entry, while the owners' suite is down the other side. Owners' suite amenities include a walk-in closet, a bathroom with dual vanity, oversized shower, and private toilet. The deck access will be very appreciated if the owners install a hot tub out there.

2nd Oct, 2014
Blog, New Home Plans

2 Car Garage Plan, Two Car Garage Plan, Greenhouse Plan, 2 Story Garage Plan

Garage Plan 20-143

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.

1st Oct, 2014
Articles, Blog

Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Bungalow House Plan, Glen Eden 50-017

Glen Eden 50-017

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.

As seen on Newswire

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