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3rd Jan, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Rothbury 60-016, Duplex Plans, Duplex Designs

Each of the Rothbury's two units look like an individual single, charming Craftsman-style cottage. In this is a duplex design only the garages share a common wall creating private and quiet living. Each two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit is a mirror image.

In each unit, two gables face the street. The lower one highlights the entry porch, supported by handsome wooden columns. The posts, in turn, are supported by larger, squared bases covered with lap siding. This porch could accomodate an old-fashioned wooden swing, great for enjoying a warm, breezy afternoon.

The upper gable has a steeper slope, but nicely echoes the gable below while accentuating the multipaned windows on the second floor.

A coat closet is just inside the front door. Family gathering spaces are all on the ground floor. The living room up front flows into the dining area, which is open to the kitchen. 

Appliances are built into the galley-style kitchen. The dishwasher is right next to a kitchen sink with a window in front of it, and the refrigerator is only a step or two away. Range and oven are on the opposite side of the room.

Laundry appliances are nearby, and share space with the powder room. A covered patio is also at the rear. Each patio is private from the other unit's patio.

Upstairs, wide rectangular window bays in the bedrooms provide plenty of light and a feeling of expansiveness.

3rd Jan, 2017
Articles, Blog

Drive around any city or through any neighborhood, and you’ll find the property world’s quiet achiever – duplexes. Most times, you don’t even realize that the house you just drove by is actually two homes on a single lot. And that’s intentional. Duplexes aren’t meant to stand out, but when the design is right, they can do more and be more for families of all sizes and lifestyles. 

Home Trends Report, Duplex Housing Market

“Traditionally, duplexes are more reminiscent of a single-family home with a mirror-image layout,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs. “And yet in modern times, duplexes have gotten a bit of a makeover. You don’t feel like you’re on top of or right by your neighbor. Individuality is key.”

The concept of a duplex often conjures up images of young couples or college-aged adults renting cookie cutter designs that all look alike. But that’s not always the case. In fact, nowadays duplexes are built with a unique style, amenities and living spaces that appeal to everyone. They have great rooms, dens, and sometimes the common wall is between the garages. They don’t look like typical duplexes, and they have their own personality and purpose.

Duplexes, therefore, are at the heart of modern living, allowing families to grow, invest and join the real estate market without breaking the bank.

“If they’re not building it as income property,” said McAlexander, “clients are building it to move in and develop that future income potential. So it’s true that a duplex has that connotation as a rental, but nothing is ever as it seems.”

Take for example the Corydon home plan (60-008) from Associated Designs. Set on a corner lot, you won’t believe it is, in fact, two homes in one. Both units have spacious great rooms (an important facet of any modern home) and full-size garages, but that’s where the similarity ends. One unit has two stories and three bedrooms, while the other is a single-level, two-bedroom unit. The units are well separated, offering plenty of privacy. It’s ideal for families who want to keep aging parents nearby, but still want a somewhat independent life. The Corydon, therefore, is not your standard mirror-image duplex. 

“It’s becoming much more common for families to purchase two units for extended family use,” said McAlexander. “Most often that means that there is a larger home alongside a smaller one, and that’s exactly what the Corydon does.”

Of course, the majority of duplexes are built as income properties. With rising home prices and slow income growth, millennials have been slow to enter into the housing market. Duplexes are changing that, and even those properties can be unique and modern. The Kentland (60-015) looks like a fairly classic duplex in a two-level Craftsman style. Each unit has a wide, covered front porch and smaller covered rear patio. And the family living spaces are partially open to the kitchens, with three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. But the occupants won’t feel like they are living in a multifamily home at all.

“The great thing about the Kentland is that while it has the mirror-image look, the living spaces are separated by the garage so privacy is easy to come by,” said McAlexander. “By renting out one unit and living in the other, millennials have the opportunity to be homeowners with the potential for additional income. And yet they won’t feel like they’re living in a duplex.”

Other duplexes hide their multifamily aspect entirely by looking exactly like a charming, two-story, single-family home. The Tupelo design (60-006) has a second floor apartment with its own private entrance. The lower unit has two bathrooms, three bedrooms and a utility room. The upper unit is smaller and has two bedrooms and one bathroom. But the exterior is a Craftsman-style design that looks like any other Craftsman single-family home.

“It’s a classic example of a home that’s more than what it seems,” said McAlexander. “The end result is that families can have their older children get a taste for independence after completing college. Just let them rent the upper unit.”

Duplexes are ubiquitous in most cities, but they aren’t what they once were. They have the potential to be both an income property as well as a way for families to evolve and grow. It’s modern living at its best and brightest. 

As seen on Newswire
30th Dec, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan, Country Home Plan, Brookview 30-055

Gabled dormers and a covered porch give the Brookview a cozy, nostalgic country charm, and the bonus of a three-car garage not usually found in a traditional farmhouse. The third bay on the right could be easily converted into a workshop, music practice room, art studio, exercise room or you-name-it.

Light flows into the entry and stairway through a high overhead dormer, and there's a coat closet tucked under the stairs. Windows on the front and side of the home brighten the living room. The front-facing window would be a good place for a window seat.

Kitchen, family room and nook create a great room. Windows line most of the rear wall, and the sliders in the nook open onto a, partially covered patio or deck. The kitchen is efficiently designed. A large work island adds more counter space, and wall pantry expands storage capacity.

A handy powder room is right at the hub. Folks with muddy feet, can get to it without dirtying the floors, by coming in through the garage and the pass-through utility room.

The master suite has a double vanity, private toilet, a large walk-in closet, and sliding glass doors that open onto a private covered patio. Secondary bedrooms, a bathroom, and a bonus room are upstairs. 

12th Dec, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Hamilton 10-446

The Hamilton is a handsome, single-level ranch home plan. Sets of smooth, painted columns create a stately welcome, while raised brick trim rims an arched opening that highlights the entry's graceful, half-round transom. Colorful painted shutters accent multipaned windows, underscored by rows of turned brick.

This is an impressive entrance both inside and out. Light flows into the vaulted entry through the transom and sidelights. Coat closets line both sides. Standing between them, you're on the edge of a delightful, hexagonal great room that is the core of this home. Six wedge-shaped sections of ceiling enhance the sense of spaciousness by soaring to join at the central apex.

Glass fills most of the three rear walls, this room is naturally bright and offers a panoramic view. French doors at center swings out to access a covered patio. These doors are crowned by another half-round transom, similar to, but smaller than, the one over the front entry. The masonry fireplace nestled into an inner corner provides glow and warmth on winter days and nights.

A long, raised eating and conversation bar creates a boundary between the kitchen and great room. Other features include: a pantry and work island, plus plenty of counter and storage space. Utilities are close by.

The master suite is isolated from the secondary bedrooms. It features two large walk-in closets, along with an oversized shower. One of the secondary bedrooms is larger than the other, and also has a walk-in closet. These bedrooms share a bathroom, and the hallway here offers direct access to the two-car garage.

9th Dec, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

3 Car Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage 20-081

Garage 20-081 – A classic 3 bay garage design with an extra deep bay that could allow for up to 4 cars to be stored or allow for additional work space.

Garage with Carport, Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage 20-092

Garage 20-092 – A spacious 2 car garage with RV carport.

Garage with RV Carport, Garage Plan, RV Parking, Garage Design, Garage 20-093

Garage 20-093 – a RV garage with extra room for storage or additional parking for around town vehicles. 

8th Dec, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Country House Plan, Country Home Plan, Barrington 31-058

Clean lines and plenty of natural light, the Barrington boasts a country-style exterior featuring simple lap siding and stone wainscoting. Open, great room style living makes this design perfect for growing families or for those who love to entertain. The den and bonus room add flexibility and can be adapted to fit the changing needs of families. A decorative tray ceiling in the owners' suite adds to the luxurious feel along with the large walk-in closet, dual vanities and free-standing tub in the bathroom. Two additional bedrooms are on the same side of the home as the owners' suite however they are separated from the owners' suite with their own hallway off the vaulted foyer.

 
 
5th Dec, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Calhoun 30-479

The Calhoun would be a very nice house to come home too. Stone veneer bases provide natural-looking support for wooden posts on the vaulted porch, and wooden handrails add to the Craftsman-style nostalgic and welcoming feel. 

The compact floor plan makes this home economical to build as well as to heat. The footprint of the house and garage, not including walkways or the patio, is 40 by 40 feet. Gathering spaces fill the ground level; bedrooms and a large bonus room are above.

The kitchen is at the heart of the main floor. It is separated from the living room but open to the dining room, which has sliding glass doors that access the rear patio. A generous walk-in pantry expands storage space, and the eating bar provides informal or extra seating.

A short hallway links the kitchen to the garage. On one side is a bathroom; on the other is a fully outfitted utility room.

Upstairs, the largest bedroom faces the street. It has direct bathroom access and features a walk-in closet as well. Two more bedrooms line the back wall.

The unfinished bonus room over the garage is brightened by two windows, one nestled under the peak of a charming gabled dormer. 

1st Dec, 2016
Articles, Blog

A great home design can mean different things for many homeowners because every homeowner has their own particular dream of what a home should be. Some envision a great room with vaulted ceilings. Others prefer extra space with room for a growing family. And still others appreciate the details – stone wainscoting accents, dropped wooden beams, or charming exterior window shutters. Bottom line, no one home design is better than another. What makes someone fall in love with a home is truly a personal choice.

Great House Plans of 2016, Home Plans,

“It’s probably what makes my job a bit tricky on occasion,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs Inc. “We’ve got so many great home designs that it’s no surprise homeowners spend hours searching for that perfect home.”

But there are home designs that are memorable, epitomizing a unique style, modern features or a classic, subtle beauty that get us excited. As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve chosen five home designs of the year that stand out among the crowd for their uniqueness, amenities and usability. These are the homes we love.

The Timberline home design 31-055, a Pacific Northwest lodge with all the amenities, is a 4,400-square-foot wonder. It catches the eye simply with its sprawling grace. On the main floor, a mud hall features lots of storage and organizational cubbies to help keep family gear neat and tidy – a must during the rainy springs and icy winters of the Northwest. A butler’s pantry is another unique amenity of this home, with a microwave storage unit, shelving, a corner for a standing freezer and a prep center. The large kitchen is accessed by a pocket door in the pantry, but that feature is dwarfed by the flush 60-inch refrigerator, large stovetop and, yes, a beverage center with separate refrigerator and sink.

During holidays or when entertaining, the stepped ceiling dining room is just down the hall. And at the center of the home is a grand, vaulted great room decorated with a grid of dropped beams. The owners’ suite, just down the hall from the great room, features two walk-in closets and a private sitting area with private beverage bar. The second floor has even more storage space, two bedrooms, a large game room or bonus room and a family area. In other words, it’s grandeur in a Northwest-style lodge setting.

The Briarcliff 31-054 takes many of the great design trends of 2016 and blends them into a home of simple, country elegance. At 3,316 square feet, the home is two stories of space and comfort for a growing family. On the main floor, the great room takes the spotlight. A generous guest suite with private bath is ideal for long-term houseguests. Like the previous Pacific Northwest lodge home, this home features a mud hall that links the home to the garage and is packed with additional storage closets and a bench with hooks and cubbies for organizing family gear.

The family space – an owners’ suite and two bedrooms – is separate from the great room by virtue of being on the second floor. The owners’ suite is filled with all the amenities: a large walk-in closet, freestanding tub, dual vanities and walk-in shower. The large bonus room over the garage is great flex space that allows this home to grow with the families’ changing needs.

Every now and then, a home plan gets a delightful update and this next home is no exception. With clean lines and lots of natural light, the 2,150-square-foot Barrington home design 31-058 boasts a handsome exterior with simple lap siding and stone wainscot accents, making it a great choice for any subdivision or rural lot. Vaulted ceilings run through the center of the home in the front bedroom, foyer, den and living room. With an open, great-room style living in the rear of the home, this plan is great for growing families and homeowners with a penchant for entertaining. The den and bonus room are flexible rooms, meaning the rooms can be changed as needed.

“The owners’ suite in this home,” said McAlexander, “is the real winner here with an upgraded decorative tray ceiling in the sleeping area, a large walk-in closet, dual vanities and a free-standing soaking tub. It’s a beautiful space.”

The Larkview 31-057 is another great home design of 2016 reinvents the classic farmhouse-style plan, a common theme for much of the year. Alternating courses of lap siding create strong yet simple horizontal lines. Two stone-based pillars framing the front door are the only embellishments to the exterior, indicative of the farmhouse-style home. But the interior is a modern wonderland.

Gone are the small separated living spaces of the original farmhouse design. A large open entry draws you into the great room with the living, dining and kitchen areas all completely open to one another – allowing for freedom of movement and family connectivity. The separation that does exist is between the sleeping areas. The owners’ suite is on the main floor while the secondary bedrooms are located upstairs. Classy and simple with a modern twist, this home is truly special.

“Walking up to the last home on our list is like walking up to your vacation retreat,” said McAlexander.

An urban cottage, the McKenzie design 31-056 features charming shingled exterior and shuttered windows. Once inside the 1,798-square-foot home, the cozy entrance offers three paths. To the right is a den that could be used as a home office, guest room or any other flex space your family needs. The living area is straight ahead, while turning left leads you to a set of stairs to the second level. The choice is yours.

The open-style living area is in the back of the home with a fireplace centerpiece. But lest you think the space is being underutilized, a storage closet sits in front of the living room. The closet serves a dual purpose – its extra storage and a separation wall that creates a hallway leading to the owners’ suite. Above on the second floor, there are two additional bedrooms. The two bedrooms are not the same size however, and the larger of the two could easily be transformed into an art or craft studio.

2016 was a good year in home design, and while every home plan has something about which it can boast, these five designs have stolen our hearts… and made us excited for what great designs the New Year will bring. 

As seen on Newswire
28th Nov, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Country House Plan, Home Plan, Corbin 10-020

A large wrap-around porch welcomes visitors to the country-style Corbin home plan, a mid-size home that offers plenty of informal and formal living spaces.

This home's main living areas are found on the ground floor if they wish, including the owners' suite.  The second floor features two additional bedrooms for children, visiting grandchildren, or other guests.

A custom-shaped eating bar provides partial separation between the kitchen and the family room. The family room, dining room, nook, and kitchen are vaulted to the second floor and are a wash in natural light from a wealth of windows. The second floor landing forms a bridge that overlooks the family room to the back, and the dining room and entryway to the front.

Holiday and formal gatherings can spread out in the spacious dining room and parlor. The parlor has a brick fireplace and is brightened by a wide bay window. A second fireplace warms the family room.

A utility room and powder room are convenient to the kitchen and the two-car garage.

The owners' suite features access to the deck, and the bathroom features a walk-in closet, raised spa, and private toilet and shower. The upstairs bathroom, central to the two big bedrooms, has two vanity sinks. The vaulted front bedroom has a half-round window above.

21st Nov, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, European House Plan, Home Plan, Marcellus 10-301

Lofty gables, Palladian windows and brick detailing create curb appeal in the European Marcellus house plan. This design is a large bright home with a wide range of living areas and plenty of storage space.

Windows fill most of the rear. Formal rooms are at center, everyday living spaces are on the right, and the master suite and vaulted office is off to the left. A small more private covered patio is off the master suite.

In the foyer and family room, a two-story ceiling creates the sense of spaciousness. Standing at the second floor landing, you overlook activities in the rooms below. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, an unfinished bonus room and a large walk-in storage closet are upstairs. One bedroom is vaulted and has its own vanity. The other, which could be a guest room, has direct access to a two-section bathroom.

In the vaulted family room, a fireplace is right next to a built-in entertainment center. Another fireplace, lined by bookshelves, is in the living room. A built-in desk nestles into an alcove close to the basement stairs, and the small powder bathroom is close to everything.

Working in the kitchen, you need never feel isolated because the kitchen sink faces into the nook and family room. On the exterior wall, windows between counter and cupboard provide natural light. A large utility room and a walk-in pantry are close to both kitchen and garage.

Amenities in the master suite include a spa tub, twin basins, a his'n'hers walk-in closet, and a large walk-in shower with multiple showerheads.

18th Nov, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Prairie Style Home Plan, Larkview 31-057

Alternating courses of lap siding create strong yet simple lines to the exterior of the Larkview, Prairie-style update to the classic farmhouse. Walking in the front door draws you through the welcoming entry hall to the great room - the living, dining and kitchen areas are open to one another. On the right side of the home is the owners' suite which features a large walk-in closet and walk-in shower. Two addtional bedrooms and a full bathroom are located on the second floor.

14th Nov, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Mediterranean House Plans, Home Plans, Featured House Plan of the Week, Roselle 30-427

Smooth columns, clean lines and gently arched windows lend a breezy, sun-washed Mediterranean look to the Roselle home plan. A raised stucco planter wraps around the inner front corner of the garage, accentuating the arched window. 

This one level mid-size home could be easily adapted for wheelchair accessibility. It has four bedrooms, and a vaulted den or guest room. 

Natural light fills the entry, flowing in through a sidelight and transom. An arched opening on the left leads into a room that could be furnished as a parlor or dining area.

The centrally located bathroom is convenient to everything. Next to it, a second arched opening feeds into the combination family room, nook and kitchen. 

Slider doors in the nook offer patio access. A fireplace fills one rear corner of the vaulted family room. 

Two or three cooks can easily combine culinary efforts in this large kitchen. Counters and cupboards are in abundant supply, including a walk-in corner pantry. The long work island across the room is rimmed with a raised eating/conversation bar.

Double doors open into the large owners' suite. Features include: a roomy walk-in closet, and a private bathroom with dual vanity, a walk-in shower, and private toilet.

7th Nov, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

Ranch House Plan, New Home Plan, Flagstone 31-059

The Flagstone is a charming, bungalow inspired ranch-style home design. Walking through the front door you are drawn through a long foyer. To the right is and opening that leads to two bedrooms and bathroom. On the left a pocket door hides a mudhall that transitions between the garage and the utility room. In the rear of the house is the great room with a corner gas fireplace that can also be enjoyed from the dining room and kitchen. Accessed off the great room is the master suite which features a large sized walk-in closet and well appointed bathroom.

7th Nov, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Cape Cod House Plan, Home Plan, Beach House Plans

Exterior shingles give a cottage flavor to the Cape Cod Colebrook house plan. This two-bedroom plan would make cozy beach house, or it could blend harmoniously into a woodsy setting.

Most of the living spaces are on one level, except for the large loft above the garage with a shed dormer window to the front that overlooks the vaulted dining room below.

Charming Craftsman-style stick work ornaments the apex of the front porch gable. Stone veneer bases provide a foundation for the handsome wooden columns that support the porch. Windows and a sidelight sparkle across much of the front facade.

Once inside, gathering spaces are to your right. The dining area flows into the living room, which is completely open to the kitchen. The living room is vaulted, sloping to the left and right by the window bay up front. Another vault bisects the room, with slopes running down, front and back. 

Natural light flows into the living room during daylight hours. Two clerestory windows crown the standard-height windows below. The upper windows are square and much smaller than those beneath them. A wood or pellet stove would fit nicely into an alcove by the kitchen, at the rear of the room.

Kitchen counters and cupboards wrap around three sides. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can gaze out the window, supervise kids at play, or chat with people in the living room. 

Bedrooms, a bathroom and a large utility room are all off to the left. The rear bedroom is larger and has direct bathroom access. Its closet spans one entire wall. In the utility room, a deep sink is built into a counter next to the washer, and overhead cabinets fill one wall.

1st Nov, 2016
Articles, Blog

At the beginning of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright introduced a distinct new architectural style that expressed the flat, sweeping prairie of his native Midwest. Simplicity was the name of the game, combining comfort, utility and beauty in a modern look that was a huge departure from the ornamental Victorian house of the previous century.

Modern Prairie Style House Plan, Home Plan, Arrowwood 31-051

Appearing to rise from the earth, these homes blended with the landscape. They were earthy and unique, with a façade that hugged the ground. From 1900 to 1930, the prairie-style home was the fashion trend of the home design world.

“Prairie-style homes are bold and modern,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs Inc. “They are rich and warm with natural colors that are not only inviting but comforting. It’s hard not to feel welcome in a prairie-style house.”

And while Wright broke with tradition in creating his new design, his classic lines thrive today – with just a few changes, of course.

“Because prairie-style homes don’t dominate the lot, its lower profile appeals to homeowners,” McAlexander said. “It’s also an easier home to build and an easier home to maintain, and with that in mind, homeowners take the general concept of the prairie style and add a few 21st century twists to it.”

Prairie-style homes are predominantly known for their use of natural elements and motifs. Stone, brick, stucco or finished wood is layered horizontally, giving the home linear shadow lines and a rich contrast with bold design elements. A variety of geometric shapes and forms inspired by nature are highlighted through window arrangements, columns, low walls and planters. The prairie design works with the landscape rather than against it, both in the interior and exterior.

The most prominent exterior design element is the roof, which utilizes wider overhangs to help emphasize those horizontal lines. In Associated Designs’ Arrowwood home plan, the hip roof profile draws the eye to the horizontal overhangs while the natural, earthy tones of the materials give it a subtle, simplistic feel. It does indeed blend in with the surrounding landscape. And as with all prairie-style homes, the Arrowwood also features a covered porch and a recessed entry.

“Those same natural materials and simple lines are also seen inside the home,” said McAlexander. “This helps complement that warm exterior.”

Quite often, the living space of prairie-style homes is centered on a living room off of the entry. This open space would be separated from the kitchen and dining areas that include exterior windows and doors that open up to outside living spaces, such as the Arrowwood’s back porch. But that is where the Arrowwood’s similarities end.

 “Clients these days are looking to keep the traditional low angles and horizontal lines, but combine those ideas with more modern elements such as glass, transom windows and shed roofs,” said McAlexander. “Inside, the popular great room dominates these modern prairie-style homes.”

The classic, prairie-style home interior had more formal, separated spaces, which gave it a more confined and darker feel despite the warmth of the simple, natural tones. By opening up the interior spaces, the modern prairie home has a more connected floor plan. The Arrowwood’s great room flows into the dining and kitchen areas.

Other updates are more subtle, said McAlexander. For instance, the raised entry roof is not a traditional motif in the prairie style, but it adds interest and character to the front elevation while still retaining those classic horizontal lines. The Arrowwood also incorporates some ranch-style exterior elements such as the wider gables, but the natural stone and wood link back to Wright’s original prairie design.

The interior also has gotten a few modern updates. Fewer people are concerned with matching the interior detail with the exterior, so there’s often more color, more depth and more space, such as vaulted ceilings.

“Prairie-style homes are a popular trend today, but as with all trends, people make adjustments to fit their lifestyle or their interests,” said McAlexander. “This doesn’t mean that Wright’s classic prairie-style home is disappearing. It’s more that even the most traditional of lines can go off on a few tangents with often amazing results.”

And that’s always been the case with home design. Victorian homes gave way to prairie-style simplicity, which in turn was replaced by ranch-style living and so on and so forth. Home trends are constantly changing, and that’s what makes the modern prairie-style home design something that can’t be ignored. 

As seen on Newswire

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