Building a new home is exciting! Whether it's a lifelong dream coming true, or an endeavor you've embarked on before, there are many things to consider when starting the process.
When you've found that perfect piece of property, spend a little time there and visit the site at different times of the day. Take note of the views, traffic, neighbors, and where the flow of natural light is throughout the day, these should all be considered when you are ready to begin choosing a home plan. Are the neighbors in close proximity? Perhaps you need a plan that would allow a more private backyard patio. Do you have a terrific view that needs to be captured in the areas of the home you spend the most time? Would the bedrooms be where headlights will shine in continually through the night? What are the natural contours of the building lot? What is the building envelope for your lot (setbacks, easements, etc.)?
Next, think about homes you've walked through, and magazines you've looked at. What has really caught your attention to think, "this is really great" or "how nice that would be". Also, consider how you live in your home. Some additional things to think about are:
- Do you entertain? Will you need space to move around? Formal rooms?
- Do you live casually? Does the great room concept fit the way you live?
- Like Contemporary? Look for clean lines and functionality.
- Do you want your home to feel relaxed or outdoorsy? Look for a home plan that will bring the outdoors in.
- Will you be scaling down, or looking for more room?
- Do you want the owners' suite close to or separate from the other bedrooms?
- Hobbies? Do you need your own room or possibly a shop?
- Do you want your utility room close to your kitchen area, or by the bedrooms where you produce the most laundry?
- Budget? If you’re drawn to complicated roof lines and angles, these things can add up if you are trying to maintain a tight budget.
Ok, now it's time to begin looking for that perfect home plan and begin searching through the thousands of house designs available through the web. Sound or appears overwhelming? It really doesn't have to be. Most sites have advance search options which allows you to narrow down the search. Start with overall dimensions, and work your way from there. A bit of advice; think a little beyond your scope. Most pre-designed plans can be modified for example the exterior feel, adding a garage bay, adding or taking out a little width/depth, and changing a foundation are fairly simple changes to create your own perfect home plan.
These days it’s easier than ever to search for home plans. From large plan brokerage sites which carry home plans from designers and architects across the country to individual design firm’s websites such as Associated Designs, the sky is the limit when it comes to searching for home plans. Regardless of where you end up browsing for plans never be afraid to ask questions, and look at the plan package options. If you customize a plan, make sure the changes are being made from the original designer and not outsourced. The original plan designer knows their plan best, and will help consult with the best way to make the changes you are considering as well as offer suggestions and guidance to the requested changes.
Another piece of advice; allow yourself the time to enjoy the process, and breathe. There are many resources and great people to assist you long the way.
This handsome Craftsman style garage plan can hold up to two cars. The single garage door is 10' wide and 9' tall and with 45' of interior depth allows two cars to be parked one behind the other. Double doors on the front open to the garage space which could be used for a shop or storage. At the back of the garage are stairs that lead up to a bonus room.
It's always nice to have a face to the name or the voice of the people we communicate with. Here's an opportunity to do just that and learn a little about us too. We introduce the team from Associated Designs:
Rick McAlexander (Owner)
Rick was born into the home design profession. Starting directly out of high school, he worked for a local home design company running errands and making good old fashion blueprints. Having learned the art of home design from time spent working with talented individuals, he started Associated Designs and grew the company from the ground up. When Rick is not busy creating home plans, he enjoys hiking, skiing and the occassional mancation riding the motorcycle with friends.
Debbie McAlexander (Office Administrator & Website Manager)
Debbie's career started in the financial industry. In the early 1990's she helped start Associated Designs with her husband, Rick, as the office manager. Currently her passion is managing the website, plan marketing and she also provides customer service. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, crafting and sewing, trying new recipes, traveling and hiking.
Jessica Craig (Office Manager)
Jessica has been with Associated Designs for the last 7 years. Starting in high school, she helped fulfill orders and answer phones. After receiving a degree in economics she stepped in as office manager and oversees project scheduling, customer service and plan marketing. She likes to spend her free time running, hiking, skiing, rock climbing and mountaineering with her husband and pup.
Tim Thompson (designer)
Tim has been creatively pursuing residential home design for over 20 years. It was during college that he became interested in home design. He appreciates the creative interaction with clients that brings their living needs together within each house design. Throughout the rest of the week, Tim enjoys being with his family and friends, photography, building anything in the garage, as well as kayaking, hiking and biking.
Kelly Alvord (designer)
Kelly experienced the joy of design at a young age which lead him to pursue a degree in architectural drafting. Having worked in a few different industires using his skills, Kelly found residential design the most rewarding and has been with Associated Designs for over 20 years. In his spare time, Kelly enjoys golfing, motorcycles and spending time with his grandchildren
Digby - Office Greeter
Digby gives visitors a friendly greeting and protects the office from squirrels. He anxiously anticipates the arrival of UPS with the delivery of his daily treat.
Understanding what people want in their home is what allows Associated Designs to create a collection of home designs that feature all the important elements homeowners’ desire. In an effort to gather the most accurate information, earlier this year Associated Designs, Inc. asked readers, like you, to share what features and design elements they want in their dream home in the annual 2015 Home from the Heart survey.
The 2015 Home from the Heart survey focused on every element of the home from the size to special features like green construction and aging in place. Based upon the most voted on features, Associated Designs has released the Heartfall 10-620 home plan which highlights the must-have design essentials from the survey. This design showcases the most popular results such as a walk-in shower, great room, owners’ suite on the main floor, utility room located close to the garage, a covered front porch and plenty of windows that bring in the natural light as well as gorgeous scenic views.
In the survey, Craftsman houses were the sought-after exterior home style -- a big change from the past few years when country and ranch-style homes dominated the results. A new question in this year’s survey asked building lot preference. The results showed people preferred rural lots with acreage and with the trend towards larger homes, homeowners’ will still have plenty of space to create the perfect country retreat. Past Home from the Heart surveys have shown people’s preferences ranging from 1700 to 2300 square feet. This year homeowners’ preferences have jumped up with 59% looking for homes that are 2000 square feet and larger.
Survey respondents voiced their preferences for homes with 3-bedrooms located on the main floor which coincides with the 85% who wanted to consider aging in place features. The Heartfall design features the main living areas on the left front side of the house with plenty of windows. The sleeping areas are kept close together yet with separation provided with the Owners’ suite separate hallway and the large walk-in closet and luxurious bathroom which offers plenty of privacy. Perhaps the biggest trend in the owners’ suite area is the desire for a walk-in shower which 76% people felt that was an important feature.
Mudrooms are gaining in popularity with 52% of the respondents included this room in their list of must-haves. The Heartfall not only has a mudroom which doubles as the utility room, it satisfies both sides of the long time debate of where the utility room should be placed - as it is both close to the bedrooms and the garage.
People are still interested in additional flexible space which the Heartfall’s bonus room provides. This area can be left unfinished and used for storage or finished and be used as a media room, home office, hobby room, or whatever needs suits.
The 2015 Home from the Heart survey captures the heart and soul of what people are dreaming about for their homes. Associated Designs' Heartfall 10-620 plan captures the trends people want in the home from their heart.
As seen on Newswire
Nobody wants to have a garden that is out of sight, out of mind. When this happens, it either falls into neglect or you become so isolated in the yard that you can't keep up with what is happening inside the home when the phone rings, the doorbell dings or the dog tears up the cushions on the couch. Having a home with great garden access allows you to easily enjoy the sight and functionality of the outdoor space even on those rainy days when you are kept indoors.
Bring In The View
There's nothing quite as luxurious as glass French doors or sliding panes that allow a person to step right into their garden. Doors leading off of the kitchen space or dining room allows for instant access to take a morning walk among the dew-kissed flowers or run out to grab some fresh vegetables for salad at dinner. Small stoops that lead to a winding garden path entice people to see what nature has to offer, as the path could lead to a nice sheltered place such as a small gazebo or sitting bench.
Second Floor Access Into A Natural Paradise
Remember that access to the garden doesn't have to be from the first floor of the home. A bedroom or entertainment room up on the second floor can lead to a balcony and a spiraling staircase toward your garden paradise. Incorporate landings where you can step outside and look at your lush garden from up high as you lean on the railing to enjoy the sunrise or sunset.
Make Each Access Point Into A Grand Entrance
Some homes have small private courtyards with the house wrapping around the outdoor living space. When you have several entrance ways that lead into the garden, you can make each entrance unique. Incorporate different garden elements to each access point. Decide which areas are for relaxation and other areas for where people can take long walks along the garden paths. By making each entrance fun and entertaining, it will encourage you to spend more time in the outdoor space no matter what room you are in.
Bring In The Shade
It's always nice to incorporate some places into your garden to beat the heat. Covered porches, decks and patios with pergolas can offer the right amount of shade to cool things off without enclosing the garden. Even having a trellis wall off to one side to provide shade gives a unique architectural design to your garden and your home.
Some people call it an attic. Other people call it a storage place at the top of the house. Some people call a private oasis. Loft spaces are getting makeovers to turn them into functional rooms with a number of different purposes. What you turn your loft space into is up to you and your "lofty" imagination. Here are several ideas on what you can do to fully enjoy the space.
Bedrooms in lofts have always been popular whether it is for yourself, the kids, or as a guest room. Many loft bedrooms can have plenty of windows for natural light combined with ceiling lights and lamps. Skylights can increase the amount of natural light and add elegance and luxury to the space.
The angled roof lines and varied wall heights can give the loft space a fun and whimsical feeling as well as the opportunity to do something different with furniture and decorating.
Desired Office Space
Turning that unused loft space into a home office can be nice quiet retreat to get some work done. The fun shape of this space can be made into a fun, hip, and relaxing space to get the creativity and ideas flowing.
Ultimate Entertainment Spot
Set up the television, foosball table, video games, and maybe even a popcorn machine to create the ideal "all in one space" entertainment hot spot in your home. This area would be great to gather for the family to play games or watch a movie, or the fun spot to be for your kids sleep overs.
Soothing Solitary Oasis
Sometimes you want to be by yourself when the stress of work or school sets in. Lofts are that one location in the home where they are separated from other rooms, creating a nice remote and solitary spot for you to unwind. Turn the space into a library, music room, or just a sitting room as you curl up in a big chair by the window.