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27th Jan, 2021
Constructed Home Plans

You’ve decided you want to build but you are having a difficult time finding a pre-designed plan that fits your needs. Plus you have some ideas for what will make this new home or garage perfect for your lifestyle or family and want something unique. Plan modifications are a great way to get a cost-effective custom design.

By taking advantage of a pre-designed home or garage that is close to what you are looking for it is like jumping into the middle stages of a custom design. Plan modifications can be a simple as moving doors or windows to better take advantage of your lot arrangement or view; to nearly custom re-designs where interior spaces are resized or the footprint of the plan is reconfigured.

Associated Designs residential home designer, Kelly Alvord, recently completed a modification to the Crestview plan 10-532. The original design is a 2900 square foot hillside design with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

(Original Crestview Floor Plan)

Starting with the exterior, the client was looking to simplify the materials and replaced the cedar shingles that covered most of the exterior with classic lap siding. The stone wainscot was kept and along with the shutters. The updated exterior is now more country than Craftsman.

Inside at first glance the entry feels much the same. Vaulted ceilings welcome you to the unique, hexagonal center. In great room some of the customizations include – moving the fireplace to the center allowing its cheer to be enjoyed throughout the living area while opening up the right wall to additional views. The kitchen was also reconfigured to allow for a larger walk-in pantry – a great change for the home chef!

Some of the original features that drew the client to the Crestview was the separate owners’ suite. During the modification process they kept this configuration along with the flex space offered by the den/office.

In the opposite wing they kept the two additional bedrooms and full bathroom. The next major change to the floor plan was creating a mud hall out of the utility room and attaching the garage to the front – instead of the original breezeway connection.

The modified Crestview design was recently finished and looks great on this client’s wooded, rural property.

(Modified Crestview Floor Plan)

 

25th Jan, 2021
House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan - Jamestown 30-827In this 2400 square foot ranch-style home, the great room is at the core of the floor plan. Filling the back of the home, the great room is decorated with a fireplace and a stepped ceiling. The informal nature of the great room means that the dining room and living area are completely open to each other with only the kitchen's L-shaped eating bar providing some visual separation. The gain from this style of living is that for those who love to entertain no one has to be cut off from the party. A rich display of windows along the back wall fill the great room with natural light. This three bedroom house plan offers nice separation of the sleeping areas. Two secondary bedrooms are towards the front and left side of the floor plan. The office, which is accessed off the great room, provides flexbility for the Jamestown to be a 4 bedroom home plan if needed. The owners' suite fills the back right corner, giving the room a sense of privacy. Features include a large walk-in closet, direct access to the patio, and a private bathroom with dual vanities, a separate shower and soaking tub. Outside the owners' suite a pass-through utility room connects the home to the 3-car garage. Above is a bonus room adding additional flexbility or storage space.

Want to explore more? Take a look at our 3 Bedroom House Plans or Ranch Home Plans.

14th Jan, 2021
Articles, Blog

Looking to take advantage of the space you have while offering a comfortable place for friends and family to stay? Associated Designs has prepared a collection of modern guest house plans that fit a variety of needs. If your building lot has the room, adding a small guest house is a worthwhile endeavor. Take a closer look at these 5 guest cottage designs.

2-Story Guest House - Bayberry Cottage

Bayberry Cottage Rendering

Offering a total of 1382 square feet, the 2 story Bayberry Cottage is multi-functional and an ideal choice for those that only entertain guests seasonally. The first floor can be furnished as a recreation room or as a small great room. With a beverage bar along the back wall guests can prepare snacks and drinks without heading into the main house. The second floor studio could be arranged as a spacious bedroom with space enough for a sitting area.

1-Story Craftsman Cottage Getaway – Wolf Creek Cottage

Wolf Creek Cottage Rendering

If you are looking for a small Craftsman guest house plan, look no further than the Wolf Creek Cottage. At 704 square feet, this one story plan provides an open recreation room with corner beverage bar and a full bathroom. The recreation room can be furnished as a studio apartment offering space for a bed and sitting area. The beverage bar allows guests to feel independent from the main residence providing a space to prepare snacks and drinks. The full bathroom even has a stacking washer and dryer tucked away in a bi-fold closet. Those that love spending time outdoors will enjoy the large covered patio and balcony.

Modern Guest House Design – Birkland

Birkland Rendering

Luxurious touches are throughout the small guest cottage Birkland. Its modern exterior is eye-catching while it’s interior will leave guests feeling welcome and comfortable. Vaulted ceilings are throughout the floor plan. The living room can be separated from the kitchen by a sliding barn door. A ladder in the kitchen leads to the storage loft. At the back of the floor plan is a vaulted bedroom and full bathroom. This small guest house would also make an ideal cottage for college aged children or rented out as an accessory dwelling unit.

Small Lodge Retreat – Clarkridge

Clarkridge Rendering

If you are looking to match your Northwest house plan with an equally charming lodge guest cottage take a look at the Clarkridge. This cozy, small guest house plan provides a separate great room with full kitchen and one bedroom with vaulted ceilings. A full bathroom is along the back of the floor plan and laundry appliances are stored away in an alcove. The Clarkridge amenities are ideal for those that entertain long term guests.

Tiny Guest House Plan – Guest Cottage

Guest Cottage Rendering

The original guest cottage plan, this tiny 1.5 story retreat offers 414 square feet. With covered porches along the front and back, guests are sure to have a space to enjoy the views from any urban, hillside, or rural lot. Inside the floor plan is open. The vaulted great room offers a wood stove and small beverage bar. A small mud hall is along the back of the floor plan with a bench and hooks for organizing bags, coasts, and shoes. A full bathroom is just around the corner. Adding to the functionality of the Guest Cottage, two ladders lead to generous sized storage lofts.

Ready to find the perfect guest house plan? Find inspiration with our small house plan collection. Or see how our design services and team of residential designers can help you create a custom guest house design.

5th Jan, 2021
Articles, Blog

Homebuilding offers the unique ability to create a custom living space suited to your needs and design tastes, but the process is rarely a simple one. Knowing what to plan for can ensure the end result is a home that matches your vision and will be a place you will love living in for years to come. But what are the most important things to consider before committing to a new build? What steps are overlooked or often unanticipated by homeowners interested in building for the first time?

The House Plan Company, a house plan marketing firm based in Eugene, Oregon asked builders to offer advice to those interested in building a new home to help set their expectations.

According to Kent Smith, custom home builder and owner of KLS Construction, one step that is often overlooked is determining the orientation of the home on the lot that was selected. “I always recommend that homeowners visit the property in the morning, look at the views and see where the sun is coming through. Go back mid-day and in the evening when the sun sets. Think about living in the house. What do you want to see and look at? Is the home design you picked out something that will work on the property? Do the windows face the right direction? I’ve had clients turn the house 180-degrees so the sun comes into the kitchen in the morning,” said Smith.

Both Smith and Pete Slayden, owner of Slayden Homes, Inc. agree that selecting a builder who has the homeowner’s best interests in mind and will listen to your needs and desires for the project is critical.

“The most important thing homeowners can do once they decide to build is share their ideas. When they meet with the builder and contractors they select, they should paint the picture of what they want their home to look and feel like so that the whole team is on the same page and excited about what they’re creating together,” said Pete Slayden, owner of Slayden Homes, Inc. “As builders and designers, we are proud of the work we do, and we love working with clients who have a vision and the desire to create a unique living space that stands apart from typical tract home builds.”

Here are five key recommendations from contractors about what homeowners should know about design and construction before starting a new home project:

Ensure you have time for a new build. In addition to the time it takes for custom finishes, time for activities like securing permits, preparing the land, and undergrounding utilities will be needed before construction can truly get underway.

Find a builder who can bring your vision to life. This person and their team are critical to helping ensure not only that your dream home looks and feels like what you had in mind, but that the plans you select work with the site, and that permits can be obtained. They should be able to help identify any zoning laws or attributes that could result in the land being more expensive to build on.

Select the perfect location. While this sounds easy, it’s important to involve a real estate agent and the builder in this process. The goal is to find a lot that meets the homeowner’s needs and fits the design and floor plan of the home that will be built. Other considerations include the topography of the lot and access to nearby utilities—elements that may require additional engineering.

Bring ideas. Beyond design ideas related to the home’s internal and external style, it’s important for homeowners to consider other customizations or unique home features they want incorporated into the build. This may include use of eco-friendly materials, smart home technology, or the design and functionality of outdoor space.

Consider all the costs, and budget for the unexpected. In addition to the cost of the lot and the actual construction, homeowners must consider where they will live while construction is underway, permitting fees, engineering costs and the costs associated with submitting architectural drawings before the project is approved. Unexpected expenses that weren’t anticipated could include the need to alter the land before construction can begin, construction delays, fees for special permits, or things like damaged or defective materials.

How long will it take to build? That depends. “When time is an issue, I’ve found that the most efficient way to move a project forward is to meet with the clients before the building process starts. This allows them to pick out everything ahead of time, know the associated costs and better control the timeline,” continued Slayden.

Smith agrees, adding “you want to be comfortable with the builder you select to where you can call them as the project progresses and even a few years later. Request a list of references and actually call those people. Discuss in detail whether the builder was able to stick within the budget, whether the client was able to speak directly with sub-contractors, and whether the builder was easy to talk to.”

Building a new home can certainly be a daunting task for some, but for those who enjoy planning, decision-making and the excitement of creating, it can also be incredibly rewarding.

One final consideration? “Homeowners should also take future resale value into account when building a new home,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company. “If the potential to sell the home exists—whether in a few years or down the road—resale value in relation to the neighborhood the property is in could have an impact on design decisions during the build.”

 

As seen on PRUnderground

 

3rd Jan, 2021
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. 

Corydon Duplex Plan - 60-008

“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.

Kentland Duplex Plan - 60-015

“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.

Tupelo Duplex Plan - 60-006

“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
1st Jan, 2021
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Traditional House Plan, Home Plan, Ranch House Plan, Akron 10-038

Relatively simple in its layout, traditional house plan Akron is a compact home designed to fit on a narrow lot. But simple doesn't mean mundane. Many of the Akron's features are as appealing to first time home buyers as they are to empty nesters.

Vaulted ceilings expand the sense of spaciousness in both the living room and dining room. Even the entry has a 10 foot ceiling and a transom window above the front door. Tall ceilings and richly windowed walls fill the gathering areas that fill the right side of the floor plan with natural light.

A waist high wall, with columns at either end, divides the dining room from the living room. The space between the columns is bridged by a high shelf. A high arch, stacked with multi paned windows, fills most of the boxed front living room wall.

Another notable feature is a bathroom that can be entered from either the bedroom wing, or from the family room side. An inner door provides added privacy for the toilet and tub.

The dining room is only one of many places to enjoy a meal. A window bright eating bay expands the combination kitchen/family room, and an eating penninsula is handy for snacks and meals on the run. In summer, you could even dine on the deck, accessed by a door near the fireplace.

The Akron's owners' suite features a large walk in closet, a spa tub with glass block wall, and a separately enclosed water closet and shower. A utility room is tucked in the passageway between the garage and house.

It is clear to see that this one story, three bedroom house plan is filled with features sure to be appreciated by many. The combination of formal and informal living spaces and its attached 2 car front load garage make the Akron a well-rounded house plan. 

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