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31st Dec, 2021

With the New Year comes new beginnings. In honor of the tradition of taking this time to reflect and refresh for the new year ahead we have given a few popular designs from 2021 a fresh look. Take a look at these long standing trending designs and their new looks for 2022!

Garage 20-002

4 Car Garage Plan 20-002

This detached garage offers storage for up to 4 cars. Filling the right side of the floor plan is a studio with full bathroom.

Garage 20-115

Sloped Lot Detached Garage 20-115

Garage access on this sloped lot detached garage plan is underneath the main floor recreation room. This tandem garage can hold up to 4 cars.

Westborough 30-248

2 Story Cottage House Plan Westborough 30-248

Charming small bungalowh house plan, the Westborough, offers a main floor master suite and open floor plan. Ideal for a lot with alley access the attached 2 car garage is accessed from the back.

Garage 20-039

Grand RV Garage with Living 20-039

A car collectors dream, this grand detached garage provides a large shop area, RV storage, and a tandem garage bay. Two story living fills the left side of the floor plan and offers a full bathroom.

 

Stay tuned for more rendering refreshes in 2022 along with completely new garage, home, and duplex plans.

From all of us here at Associated Designs, thank you for your support this year - Happy New Year! 

30th Dec, 2021
Front Elevation of Northwest Style House Plan Petaluma 31-011

Eye-catching and bold king posts frame the front door of the luxurious Petaluma house plan. Passing through the French entry door the vaulted foyer creates a grand first impression. Immediately to the right a coat closet offers guest a place to store their belongings. A double set of pocket doors to the left open to a cozy den with one of four fireplaces found in this floor plan. For those working from home the den would make a regal home office.

The foyer seamlessly transitions to the vaulted great room. A fireplace is framed with built-ins. Along the back of the great room, a double sliding glass door opens the room up to the vaulted rear covered patio allowing the room to completely open to the outdoors. There is light separation between the great room and the kitchen and dining. Two larger cased opens allow for people and conversations to flow between the gathering areas. The kitchen is spacious boasting a large center island and walk-in pantry with space for an optional freezer. Those who enjoy entertaining will appreciate the wet bar in the dining room. A 3-panel sliding glass door opens the dining room to another covered patio.

Around the corner from the dining room is a vaulted media room with built-in entertainment center. Great for informal gatherings with family and friends. A hallway off the media rooms leads to jack-and-jill suites, sharing a compartmentalized bathroom with dual vanities.

This three-bedroom house plan offers plenty of separation between the secondary suites and the master bedroom. The owners’ suite is tucked away on the far-left side of the floor plan and makes a wonderful retreat. A cozy fireplace (the Petaluma’s third) is centered on the back wall with a set of French doors to the right that lead to the owners’ suite private covered patio. Additional features include a luxurious, private bathroom with spa tub, walk-in shower, dual vanities, and large walk-in closet.

Just outside the owners’ suite is a family room. A fireplace is framed by a pair of windows and a set of French doors leads to another outdoor space. Adding to the Petaluma’s flexibility is the second-floor bonus room and loft which is built out over the attached three car garage.

Other floor plan features of note are the hobby room just steps away from the kitchen that offers ample shelving and a storage hutch. The main floor laundry room is large with an additional sink and three walls with counterspace and is just steps away from the garage. With a bench and storage just outside the laundry room it is easy to keep yardwork layers and shoes from traveling through the house.

The Petaluma is created by Associated Designs, Inc.’s talented team of residential home designers.

23rd Dec, 2021
Front Elevation of Craftsman House Plan Winterhaven 31-303

A classic trio of lap siding, shingles, and stone blend to give the Winterhaven it’s timeless Craftsman charm. Dressed up for the winter season, this delightful one-story house plan is bound to keep you and your loved ones warm and cozy all year round.

The large, covered porch that spans the front of the home can be easily decorated with seasonal greetings along with space for a porch swing or chairs to sit and watch passersby. Framed by tapered posts the front door opens to a roomy entry furnished with a bench and coat closet. At the end of the entry the floor plan opens up to the great room.

Living room, dining room, and kitchen are all open to each other with only visual clues to each room's boundary allowing conversations and people to flow freely in the space. At the back of the home is the vaulted living room. The double sliding door allows the great room to spill outside on bright summer days and on to the vaulted covered patio. Slender posts and a drop in the ceiling mark the shift to the dining room. Between the kitchen and the dining room is an island with an eating bar that not only adds to the available seating during family gatherings but helps to separate the two rooms.

A long-standing design trend is separated bedrooms, where the master suite and secondary bedrooms are either located on different sides of the home or have separate access hallways. The Winterhaven delivers on this trend. The tranquil owners’ suite fills the left side of the floor plan with a private hallway off the living room. Owners’ suite features of note include a private vaulted, covered patio, generously sized walk-in closet, and private bathroom complete with dual vanities, soaking tub, and walk-in shower. On the opposite side of the great room are two additional bedrooms which share a compartmentalized bathroom.

Rounding out this single level house plan is the laundry room which is neatly located between the kitchen and attached two car garage.

The Winterhaven is created by Associated Designs, Inc.’s talented team of residential home designers.

17th Dec, 2021
Front Exterior of Modern Accessory Dwelling Design Iris Cottage 31-283

From the street view, the Iris Cottage is a modern country-inspired design. The clean lap siding combined with a rich display of windows makes this small house plan an attractive option for a variety of uses. With the demand for housing in urban areas at an all time high the Iris Cottage could be constructed as a secondary dwelling unit. Backyard cottage (granny flats, or carriage houses) have all seen increased demand as homeowners’ look to leverage their larger lots or get into the rental market. Or for those looking to escape the concrete jungle the Iris Cottage is comfortable enough to serve as a standalone cabin plan for either a vacation home or year-round residence.

The large, covered patio makes a welcoming first impression and is an ideal location for patio furniture. Through the front door the floor plan immediately opens to the great room. A bright and open, informal gathering space which is filled with natural light from the large sliding glass door and clerestory above. A double sliding glass door opens the great room back to the front covered patio where an outdoor living room could be set up for warm summer days. When the season transitions and the days grow shorter and darker a fireplace at the end of the great room warms the space and can be enjoyed throughout the living area.

An island with an eating bar provides some visual separation of the kitchen, which is well-appointed with modern appliances and a small wall pantry. Hidden behind a pocket door off the kitchen is a closet with stacking washing and dryer.

Towards the back of the floor plan the ceiling drops as it transitions to the bedroom hallway. Between the two bedrooms is a full, compartmentalized bathroom. The slightly larger bedroom has direct access to the shared bathroom giving it the feeling of a master bedroom.

While the Iris Cottage is a small house plan at 800 square feet, it is a flexible design equally well suited for urban or rural settings.

10th Dec, 2021
Front Exterior of Craftsman Home Design Kinsale 31-142

The exterior of the Kinsale blends a classic trio of shingles, lap siding, and stone together to create an eye-catching Craftsman-inspired exterior. Tapered columns with stone bases frame the cozy front covered porch where a porch swing or patio set would be a charming addition for those who love to catch up with neighbors as they stroll by.

Stepping through the front door, the entry offers soaring 2-story ceilings creating a grand and welcoming first impression. Directly off the entry, French doors open to the den. This space offers homeowners flexibility depending on their lifestyle or life-stage. The proximity to the front door makes the den an ideal place to set up a home office. Larger families or those who entertain frequently may want to furnish this space as a fourth bedroom or guest room. At the end of the entry, the floor plan offers three choices.

To the right, is the owners’ suite whose location on the main floor is a trending and desired floor plan feature.  With dual walk-in closets and a private en-suite the owners’ suite is a relaxing retreat from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day.

Straight ahead, the floor plan opens to the vaulted great room. A rich display of windows along the back wall floods the room with natural light. And when the days grow short and dark the fireplace takes over, filling the room with light and warmth. A ceiling transition helps to provide some feeling of separation between the dining room and the living area. A sliding glass door extends the dining room to the covered patio for outdoor living on warm summer days. Between the dining room and the kitchen is an island with eating bar. The well-appointed kitchen offers a corner walk-in pantry along with ample counter space. Great rooms have been a highly sought-after floor plan feature for years now. Their informal nature allows people and conversations to flow freely and no one feels left out.

Back at the entry hall, turning left will bring you to the stairs that run up to the second floor. On the upper level are two additional bedrooms which share a compartmentalized bathroom that offers dual vanities, a separate shower, and soaking tub. Extended over the garage is a bonus room. For families needing remote work or learning space the bonus room has a cozy corner for a built-in desk. Steps away is a beverage bar for those who might want to furnish the bonus room as a family or game room.

Other floor plan features of note are the main floor laundry room located between the kitchen and garage. Across from the laundry room is a half bathroom and drop zone for organizing the family electronics, bags, shoes, and coats.

The Kinsale is created by Associated Designs, Inc.’s talented team of residential home designers.

3rd Dec, 2021
Articles, Blog

You have made the decision to build your dream home. Countless hours have been spent pouring over countless interior design articles and photographs. You can now see each room of your home beautifully decorated. The first step in bringing your dream home vision to life will be creating a custom floor plan that is laid out to support your lifestyle and tie these wonderfully envisioned rooms together.

Each family is unique and your home should reflect that and by investing in a custom home plan you have the opportunity to experience an unparalleled living experience. How the home transitions from the entrance to the living areas to the kitchen, or even the garage can increase convenience and overall quality of life.

Rick McAlexander, president and owner of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon, believes that a family who choose to build their own home should carefully select their designer. A professional home designer can help guide you in creating a very special plan to call home as well as help prevent costly mistakes or problems after construction begins.

“It isn’t uncommon for many clients to underestimate the complexity of the design phase and 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.

Thorough research is an important first step before choosing a designer for such a big investment as a home. Many will start their search online but don’t be fooled by the look of the website. A flashy or smart looking website does not necessarily equal an experienced home designer. To assist you with your quest to find the right home designer for your project, Rick has compiled six key characteristics to consider before hiring a qualified professional.

Personality – The process of designing a home is a very personal project. The designer will be working closely with you and exploring your day to day living experiences which should be an enjoyable and comfortable experience. While it seems simple, it is important for you to like the designer as they interpret your goals.

Experience – How many projects has the designer completed similar in nature to yours? Experience isn’t just number of years in the industry but extends to the type of design work they have been involved in. A professional who has experience creating office buildings or hospitals will not have the same set of skills or insight as a professional who has focused their practice on residential design. Similarly a designer who has been involved in a lot of entry level production housing may not have the skill set for creating a unique estate-sized home, and vis-a-versa.

Reputation – Obtain a list of references, including past clients and construction professionals. Inquire about the design experience – was the designer quick to respond to calls and emails, did they deliver the project on time, were the fees charged far? Check-in with contractors about the quality of the construction documents. Taking additional time to check-into the designers record is worth the effort and increases the likelihood of having your home built on time and on budget.

Design Philosophy – Some home designers approach a project with a “you dream it, we draw it” style of communication. Others feel their experience dictates what is best. Does the designer exhibit a more collaborative style, offering their insight and advice while allowing for input and your personal preference? Considering these different styles and what will be fit with your communication style and comfort level is key to reducing friction and frustration during the design phase.

Level of Service Provided – The home design industry runs the gamut from “drafter” to “full service”. A drafter can take a floor plan and create the construction documents, typically the minimum required to obtain a build permit. A full service designer will provide a tailored approach, staying involved in the project from initial design, to completion of the construction documents, and is available to provide support and assistance through construction. Most firms will fall somewhere in the middle; providing complete construction drawing sets with a level of detail that the contractor can build with confidence, while allowing for consultation time as needed during construction.

Costs  - The design is the most critical element of a successful project. Cutting corners or selecting a firm based on their low cost could compromise the build. While designers will charge for their services in a variety of ways, the 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 the level of service provided.

“Choosing a good residential home designer is the most critical phase of the entire new home construction process,” says 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.

Now that you can confidentially vet the home designers you are considering, check out our article on essential questions to ask a home designer before making your final decision, 5 Essential Questions to Ask Your Home Designer. Ready to hire a contractor but need some help? Check out our article How to Avoid Bad Contractors.

1st Dec, 2021
Articles, Blog

Both figuratively and literally, the open floor plan design of the Great Room has become the center of the home and what many home buyers believe they want. While it certainly can make a small home feel spacious, and it offers families the ability to stay connected while a multitude of activities take place at the same time, it can also present functional issues. How do you hide kitchen messes from view? Where can you go when you want a quiet place to read, work, or give kids space to play?

“The decision about whether or not to incorporate a Great Room really depends on the home buyer’s preferred lifestyle, and the size of home being considered,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company. “Great Rooms are fairly informal and have very little separation of space. This tends to work well for people who like to stay connected with the household and aren’t concerned with occasional spillover between the functions of the space. Spaces with formal separation that offer dedicated functionality make it easier to keep activity in one area from interfering with another.”

Over the past 40 years, home design has evolved to position the Great Room as the primary room configuration. The layout has also been adjusted to offer options that more closely align with home buyers’ goals. The galley-style Great Room defines the space in a linear fashion, offering the most open living and flexibility, while an “L” shape can provide some separation while maintaining an open feeling. Rectangular Great Rooms provide the most informal living, with multiple rooms combined into one large, open space.

Before committing to an open floor plan centered around a Great Room, home buyers should ask themselves:

  • Do I want to be able to see all spaces contained within the Great Room at the same time?
  • Is formal separation preferred to keep activity in one area from interfering with another?
  • Is a Great Room needed to make a small house feel larger or to accommodate a variety of uses and occasions?
  • Is there room for other, non-connected areas that can provide adequate space and separation when user needs conflict?
  • Will a Great Room help people stay connected with each other while multiple activities are taking place at the same time?

Four designs featured by The House Plan Company that offer open floor plans centered around the Great Room include:

Design #15187

Offering modern cottage living in 3,254 square feet, this two-story design features 855 additional square feet of covered porch for those who prefer to extend their living space outdoors. An open, casual living room separates the main floor primary suite from another bedroom, while an upstairs bonus space that can be used as a den, office or library leads to two additional bedrooms.

Design #19651

Featuring a farmhouse design with 2,491 square feet of living space and expansive covered front and rear porches, this two-story design offers an open floor plan with high ceilings in the combined kitchen and living room. The Great Room separates a main level primary suite from the home office and guest space, while additional bedrooms and bonus spaces are located upstairs.

Alder (Design #34956)

The modest, craftsman-style floor plan of the Alder design features 1,621 square feet of living space, with three bedrooms upstairs and an open floor plan downstairs. The kitchen, dining and family room space offers great connection, while a separate space that can be used as a formal living room or parlor is positioned close to the home’s front entrance.

Sunny Haven 3 (Design #40533)

The modern design of Sunny Haven 3 incorporates the Great Room into the center of the house by opening the living room, dining room and kitchen to each other. All three bedrooms are upstairs, while a home office accessed from a the side entry near the garage offers distinct separation for a home-based business. Flexible space in the basement can be configured to the homeowner’s preference.

When asked if there are any other everyday life considerations that should be thought through when evaluating whether a Great Room is right for a specific buyer, McAlexander noted that “a common request from home buyers is to separate the primary suite from the secondary bedrooms. In that case, the Great Room becomes the space to provide that separation, pushing it to the center of the home.”

 

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