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31st May, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Southwest House Plan, Home Plan, Cibola 10-202

Ten-foot ceilings throughout brings an airy, spacious feel to the Cibola, a mid-size family home design with a sunny Southwest flavor. Windows abundantly line the rear-facing walls, creating naturally bright family living areas.

At the heart of the plan is an open great room with a fireplace. Light flows in through French doors, slender windows flanking the doors, and through a window bay in the kitchen. Transom windows cap these and most other windows throughout the home.

The kitchen as counter space on four sides, and a work island with a built-in cook top. The sink faces onto a patio that spans most of the rear. Other features include: a built-in oven, microwave and dishwasher, a long eating bar and a walk-in pantry.

Sunlight flows into the vaulted sun room from three sides. The two exterior walls well-windowed and the room has five skylights. French doors separate the sun room from the formal dining room.

The master suite serves as a welcome adult retreat with a secluded sitting area off to the side. Other features include a large walk-in closet, and a private bathroom with a skylight, two basins, a shower and a soaking tub.

Utilities and a small powder room are adjacent to a three-car garage with shop and storage. The three secondary bedrooms share a bathroom. The room closest to the entry could be used as a home office, study or another bedroom.

24th May, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Paisley 30-852

The country-style Paisley home plan's two-story entry opens out into one large gathering space that fills the entire right side of the ground floor, front to back. Counters and cabinets wrap around three sides of the step-efficient C-shaped kitchen, maximizing work space and storage capacity. The owners' suite is on the ground floor, and three more bedrooms are above.

16th May, 2016
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Country Home Plan, Rivercrest 31-029

Simple country charm and covered front porch welcomes you to the Rivercrest house plan. Once inside, to the right of the entry is the den that would also make a great office, study, library or whatever suits. Past the stairs the great room opens up with a vaulted ceiling and featuers a gas fireplace tucked into the corner. The owners' suite takes up the left side of the home and two additional bedrooms and a bonus room on the second floor.

16th May, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Country Home Plan, Ashley 30-264

The Ashley is unique with its two master suites, each with an adjacent den. This country house plan dens could also function as bedrooms and the second suite serve as a ensuite guest room.

A generously sized utility room is equally conveniently situated to both suites. Features here include a counter with a deep sink, overhead cabinets, and floor-to-ceiling shelves. Located in a pass-through that leads to the garage.

The coat closet and hall storage closet are also central. A third bathroom, for use by guests and all family members, has a bathtub.

Bounded by and open to the foyer, gathering spaces complete the entire left side of the home. The living room and dining room flow together, only partially divided by walls with a wide gap between.

Pocket doors make full separation possible, when needed. A gas fireplace lends charm to the living room. Small windows on both sides of it are high, and larger windows fill most of the front wall.

Light flows into the large kitchen through a bay window that creates a nook with access to a covered patio. The kitchen also has a work island and roomy walk-in pantry.

9th May, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, West Creek 30-781

Family living at the heart of this contemporary ranch-style West Creek house plan. This home also offers plenty of private spaces as well.

Slim posts highlight the high-ceilinged covered porch. Soft natural light flows into the entry through sidelights and a high window in the front door.

Double doors on the right of the entry open into a room that could used as a formal dining room, parlor or den. Light spills in through rectangular bay windows. 

Angling off to the right, the entry leads into a large kitchen and nook then into the spacious great room. At that same juncture, a left hallway leads into the bedroom side of the home. Another hallway, on the right, leads to a guest suite, bathroom, garage access, a large utility room, and a hobby room.

A large walk-in pantry fills one of the kitchen's corners, and a nook extends out on the left. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can keep an eye on activities outside on the partially covered patio or out across the flush eating counter into the great room, where tall windows trim the gas fireplace.

The spacious owners' suite amenities include, outside access, two basins, a walk-in shower, private toilet, and large walk-in closet. One of the other bedrooms also has a walk-in closet. Built-in desks line two side walls of the front bedroom, joined by a hutch on the front wall. These two bedrooms share a full bathroom that is available for all to use, while yet another general use bathroom is adjacent to the guest room.

2nd May, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

The Grandview lives up to its name. Designed for a rear-sloping view lot, this hexagonal Prairie-style house plan offers panoramic views from every interior room as well as the wide upper deck and covered lower patio. A wealth of windows, complemented by tapered stone columns and shingled walls, sparkles across the back three sections of this home. 

Walking in the front door, you are at ground level, facing into the vaulted living room. Continue across the living room, through sliding doors and out onto the deck, and you see that the outdoor living space is one flight up from the rear ground level. Capped stone columns, wooden posts and railings rim the entire deck, which is wide enough to extend your indoor living spaces to the outside.

A handsome double-wide stone chimney vents two fireplaces: a two-sided fireplace on the main floor, and the fireplace in the large family room below. The two-sided version can be enjoyed from the living room, dining room and kitchen. Vaulted ceilings expand the volume in all of these naturally bright, interconnected areas.

Kitchen offers plenty of counter space and wraps around four sides and has a raised eating bar. Lazy Susan shelving is built into one corner of the lower cabinets to provide easy access. 

This pan features two bedroom suites, one on each floor, along with a third bedroom on the lower level. All have wide windows, and the upper bedroom ceiling is vaulted. Each suite has direct access to a bathroom which is shared by others on the same floor.

1st May, 2016
Articles, Blog

A century ago, a family on the hunt for a new home had a fairly simple way of choosing a home design: pick your favorite from the Sears & Roebuck kit home catalog and go on your merry way. Artist renderings of the homes showed you the style concept and basic structure, and they were often given specific names such as “The Hamilton” or “The Chelsea” – a testament to the artistry that went into the design. 

As the years went on, other players such as builders, developers and lumberyards joined the game and offered their services with their own design catalogs. The industry moved swiftly into promotion and marketing in newspapers and magazines, so that families of all sizes could find a plot of land advertised in the newspaper and at the same time could choose a home design to go along with it.

But nowadays, shopping for a home plan is not as easy as picking out your favorite from a catalog. The options are endless – and overwhelming. From the half a dozen Sears kit homes, there is now an explosion of designs available through a single Internet search. What families must now wade through is an overload of information provided by a mix of conglomerate marketing sites and websites hosted by individual designers. And each has its own set of benefits and challenges.

“If you choose one of the larger sites to peruse, and depending on how far you narrow or filter your search, you’ll still have to be patient,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs in Eugene, Ore. “These websites are essentially a giant marketplace for thousands of designers to bring their ideas to consumers. You have more to choose from, but it’s what I would call ‘variety overload.’”

Many believe that they can pick a plan and start building their home when all they have really achieved is step one: choosing their favorite design from the online catalog. Because these large websites bring designers from across the U.S., your dream design that fits your family’s lifestyle may not be drawn with construction methods or specifications for your area. When the time comes to get the plans reviewed for your local building conditions, you might find yourself in a maze of difficult design questions.

“The designer is often kept at arm’s length with the larger websites,” said McAlexander. “The process to get your home from paper to brick and mortar becomes tedious. And if a plan needs to be customized, you will often be referred to a third party service instead of the original designer of your plan. The process can very easily become a nightmare.”

On the flip side, if you have the patience to scroll past the first couple of pages in your online search, you will find websites hosted by professional home designers who specialize in home plan marketing. You’ll have fewer design options but a personal connection to the designer who will help you modify an existing plan or even create a custom home. Additionally, direct from the designer sites often feature plans that are tailored to a specific region, which can further streamline the process.

“Working with a local design professional will give you the inside look at building recommendations and requirements for your area,” said McAlexander. “Rather than drowning in a sea of questions and construction concerns, you are given a life preserver. Suddenly, you have insight into local construction techniques, and you are better able to dial your set of plans into the style that works for your area.”

There is always the opportunity to find your dream home online, but the process requires patience. The Internet offers a wealth of options both in the products and designs offered as well as the places and companies to buy them from. It is important that you understand what it is that you’re looking at and what you’re hoping for before you pick a home plan. The better informed you are, and the more help or individual attention you are given, makes the experience not something to dread, but something to enjoy.

Next Month: You’ve found a home design online that’s close to what you want—what’s next to choosing a designer and getting your design customized.

As seen on Newswire
26th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Mediterranean House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week

Stepping into the Catalina's spacious great room, you get the impression that the home is large. Vaulted ceilings add to the sense of openness in this informal space, which wraps around the kitchen and flows into the dining area.

But the Mediterranean Catalina house plan was actually designed for people who are looking for a home that is compact, economical and efficient living space. This plan is also packed with contemporary features. And it's naturally bright. The great room is illuminated by light flowing in from the screened porch at the back.

The kitchen which expands by a bay window, is also naturally bright. Features include a pantry, lots of cupboard and counter space, a built-in dishwasher, range and oven. The walk-through utility room has cabinets, a folding counter and access to a garage which has a small workshop.

Bedrooms are all on the left side of the home, where an archway marks the entrance to the hallway.  Arched multi-paned windows give the secondary bedrooms a touch of graceful elegance. Outside, the windows mirror the curved arches of the entry. A raised planter adds color.

Features in the owners' suite include a walk-in closet, twin basins, separately enclosed shower and toilet, and access to the back yard -- important, if a hot tub or pool is part of the plan.

18th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Bowman 30-315, Featured House Plan of the Week

The intriguing Bowman house plan has a clearly contemporary interior while many of its exterior design elements are from the Craftsman era of the early 1900s.

The trademark Craftsman windows: multiple panes over large, single lower panes are carried over to the garage doors, too. Other Craftsman-style features include stone veneer wainscoting and decorative wood corbels.

Walking in you step into a wide, bright foyer with a lofty two-story ceiling. Double doors to the left open into a den, or a third bedroom, if needed. On the right, columns frame openings into the living room and dining room/kitchen, linked by more columned openings to a roomy, naturally bright family room.

Sunlight flows into the living room through windows trimming the gas fireplace and another window on the side. In the kitchen, cupboards and counters wrap around three walls, around a large central work island with a conversation bar.

Along the side wall of the kitchen/dining room and family room, high transom windows crowns the lower windows, including the sliding glass doors that access a covered patio.

The large utility room features a deep sink, cabinets and a counter for folding clothes.

Bedrooms are upstairs. Both the owners' suite and the second bedroom have walk-in closets and private bathrooms. Luxury amenities of the owners' suite include a spa tub, oversized shower, dual vanity and enclosed toilet.

11th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Country Home Plan, Cameron 10-338, Featured House Plan of the Week

The vaulted ceilings in the Cameron's gathering spaces and owners' suite give this country-style ranch house plan an airy sense of spaciousness.  This one level home can be easily adapted for wheelchair accessibility.

The living room and dining room flank the entry, and for families who prefer a home office to a living room, the location next to the entry is ideal.

This home is naturally bright throughout. High dormers bring soft light down into the entry and dining room. Both living room and dining room feature wide, multipaned windows, and the entire rear of the home has plenty of windows. Skylights in the nook make this space natrually bright.

Kitchen and great room flow together, bound with a raised eating bar. A masonry fireplace and an entertainment center are in the corner and wall farthest from the windows.

The large kitchen offers plenty of storage and ample counter space for a family of cooks to work together. The built-in desk is convenient for keeping household business details well organized.

The sleeping areas are widely separated. The owners' suite fills the right wing while three more bedrooms, two bathrooms and a utility room fill the opposite wing.

The owners' suite window seat wraps around the wide, curved window bay. Other features include: his 'n' hers walk-in closets, double vanity, walk-in shower, private toilet, and a spa tub with plant shelf.

4th Apr, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Duplex Plan, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Tupelo 60-006

At first glance, most people don't notice that the Tupelo is a duplex. Two sets of porch steps and front doors are the only clue. This design fits well on a corner building or or built with the front porch facing the street and the other is around the corner to the left. This great set-up for a family that wishes to provide supportive but independent housing for family member, or as income from a rental they can easily supervise.

The Tupelo's exterior styling harks back to Craftsman houses of the early 1900s. Inside, both of the units have contemporary floorplans.

The ground floor unit is larger. In addition to the great room/kitchen, it features an owners' suite, two secondary bedrooms, and two bathrooms. A small utility room is tucked into an alcove just inside the front door. An eating bar defines the boundary between the kitchen and a great room with patio access and a large walk-in storage closet.

The second floor unit, you step into a bright ground-floor foyer with a coat closet and an entry bench with storage. Natural light flows in through sidelights. More light washes spills down from the dormer window above, brightening the staircase and into the great room as well.

Kitchen, nook and great room flow together. Next to the stairs is a compact utility room, designed to for a stacked washer/dryer combination. 

1st Apr, 2016
Articles, Blog

The classic American farmhouse conjures images of a simpler time, open spaces and a place to call your own. The timeless elements of the farmhouse – the steep roofs, lap siding and clean lines – can fit into any subdivision, in-fill lot or rural property.

Classic American Farmhouse, New Country Style, Fairheart 10-600

A recent study conducted by The American Institute of Architects found that 45 percent of homeowners preferred contemporary homes in 2015 (a seven-point increase from the year before). So where does that leave the farmhouse, a fixture of classic Americana?

Rick McAlexander, President and CEO of Associated Designs, Inc. – a residential home design company located in Eugene, OR – has found that many of his clients are looking to blend classic exteriors with modern influences. In fact the desire of homeowners to update classic architectural styles has been trending over the last few years. Each year Associated Designs releases a national survey looking for feedback from homeowners and buyers as well as builders on which features they want in their homes. From this survey, Associated Designs has found preferences to be a combination of classic styles (like ranch or prairie) paired with contemporary or modern. Back in 2014, Associated Designs took the resulting feedback from their national survey and created the Fairheart design 10-600, a new interpretation of the American Farmhouse.

From the outside, the Fairheart has all the essentials of a farmhouse. The core of the home keeps the classic rectangular layout with a steep 10/12 roof pitch which is used to create a small second story and allow for vaulted spaces in the main living area. The standard horizontal lap siding was replaced with batt and board, giving the home a modern twist with subtle and simple vertical lines. With clean lines and uncluttered exterior, the Fairheart clearly shows its roots yet possesses the ability to blend into any neighborhood.

While the exterior may harken to the past, the interior is completely modern. Large, vaulted living spaces are grouped at the core of the home. This open arrangement of living spaces is trending amongst homebuyer preferences for over 5 years. From there, all of the sleeping areas are separated for maximum privacy. The owners’ suite is tucked into the back of the home with its own access to the back patio. A second bedroom is located on the main floor off the dining room. If this bedroom is not being used, a sliding barn door can be used to close off this section of the home when entertaining guests. The third bedroom is located upstairs off the loft that overlooks the great room below.

By highlighting the best qualities of the American farmhouse – strong yet unadorned lines, simple exterior and a comfortable interior – Associated Designs has reimaged an American classic.

As Seen on Newswire
28th Mar, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Country House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week

Vaulted ceilings along with the wide open central living area give this country home a feeling of spaciousness that belies its size. This single-level Marysville house plan is equally well-suited to young families, and empty nesters.

Entering the home you step into the large, open, informal space where dining room, living room and kitchen flow together. The vaulted ceiling soars up to a central peak, then slopes down toward the rear.

A bay window expands the dining area. The light here is soft and natural, diffused by the overhang of the front porch. In the living room, light flows in through sliders that open onto a rear deck and patio. 

Standing at the kitchen range, you look into the vaulted living area with a wood stove. The large work island adds counter and storage space and could be outfitted as an eating bar.

The vaulted owners' suite rectangular bay makes an ideal place for a cozy window seat. French doors open onto the deck. Other features include a walk-in closet, a large bathroom with spa tub, double vanity and oversized shower.

Secondary bedrooms in the are also vaulted and share a bathroom. Utilities are closeby, in a small room with a built-in folding counter.

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

Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, Tazewell 30-477

The inviting front porch is welcoming to friends and family of the Tazewell home plan. The porch is an ideal location for a hammock or wooden porch swing.

Windows, tapered columns and gable accents lend a Craftsman feel to this mid-size, two-story home, designed to suit a growing family.

Abundant natural light flows into the two-story entry through sidelights and a wide transom. Double doors on the right open into a living room with a rectangular window bay. On the other side of the room, a single door leads to a powder room, and to the family gathering spaces.

A bright and lofty, the two-story great room has a spacious feel. Wide windows on two levels trim the gas fireplace, and more light spills in through side windows at the ground and clerestory levels.

The great room isopen to the nook, where the ceiling drops to a more typical height and sliders provide patio access. The nook is open to the kitchen, and bounded by a raised eating bar. A roomy walk-in pantry provides additional storage space. Laundry appliances are around the corner, in a large utility room with a deep sink and folding counter.

The owners' suite fills the left side of the home, front to back. A large spa tub nestles in the front alcove of the vaulted bathroom. Other features include: a double vanity, a private toilet, and a large walk-in closet. Three additional bedrooms share a two-section bathroom on the second floor. 

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

Classic House Plan, Home Plan, Huntsville 30-463, Featured House Plan of the Week

The luxurious Huntsville's brick veneer lends a stately look to this classic house plan with an intriguing floor plan. The left side of the home angles toward its right wing at the front.

Raised brick trim crowns the arched entry, highlights windows, caps the chimney, and underscores the entire front facade. Wooden shutters add nostalgic warmth.

Light flows into the high-ceilinged foyer through sidelights and arched transoms. Double doors to the left open into the parlor. Shelves flank a gas fireplace, and wide windows face the front.

Straight from the entry brings you into a spacious great room with a stepped ceiling. Light flows into this bright area through an angled rear wall lined with windows. Cabinets trim both sides of the fireplace that could be used a home entertainment center.

At the kitchen sink, you can keep an eye on happenings in the great room, as well as the bayed dining area. Kitchen features include: a raised conversation bar, walk-in pantry, and built-in appliances. A powder room is nearby, as is an over-sized utility room, which links to the four-car garage.

The luxurious owners' suite has a gas fireplace and two large walk-in closets, a skylit bathroom with a spa tub, walk-in shower and private toilet. The other main level bedroom has direct access to another bathroom.

A third bedroom and bathroom are upstairs, along with a large vaulted room that could be used as a fourth bedroom, home office, studio, or whatever suits. It has its own fireplace and deck.

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