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18th Apr, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Tudor Home Plan, Tudor House Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, Walcott 30-166


Shutters and an open-beam, gabled balcony lend charm to the Walcott, a midsize Tudor-style home plan.

A unique feature of this design is that the plan's right elevation is equally attractive and a prospective homeowner could to orient the placement with the right side facing the street. 

Richly windowed on all sides, this home is naturally bright and feels open and spacious. More ambient light flows through skylights, illuminating the upper-level balcony/landing, as well as the foyer, built-in desk and hutch below. The vaulted living room also has two skylights, along with dramatic quarter-round windows on both sides of the fireplace.

Kitchen, nook and family room are minimumly separated that standing at the kitchen sink, you can easily keep tabs on everything going in this area. The half-octagonal nook is as cozy and bright, while a large work island and small pantry boost cupboard and counter space.

A large utility room and a small powder room are close by, off the hallway that to the garage.

Upstairs is the vaulted owners' suite. Amenities here include twin vanities, roomy walk-in closet, soaking tub, and an enclosed shower and toilet. The railed and covered balcony offers a refreshing and somewhat private getaway/lounging area.

Storage space lines the hallway to the secondary bedrooms and their shared bathroom.

18th Apr, 2018
Articles, Blog

When someone says, “ranch,” the first thing you think of is a large farm with a bunch of cattle and horses. But when you hear the phrase “ranch living,” you probably think of open spaces, comfortable rooms, and just the right amount of privacy.

Ranch-style home designs are convenient, economical to build and maintain, and particularly friendly to both young families and empty-nesters. But over the years, these classic designs have evolved and blended with other styles. From modestly-sized simple living to big layouts with a lot of space and flexibility, ranch-style homes are a popular plan at Associated Designs, Inc.

“It’s one of our top-selling plans because the options and the layouts are limitless,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs. “They are designed to be about comfort, with a living wing and a sleeping wing, plenty of space, flexible rooms, and simple elegance.”

Ranch-style homes also can be influenced by other styles such as colonial and contemporary. In other words, these homes can be as unique as they are spacious. Associated Designs has a variety of ranch-style homes, but here we list the best of the best. What do these three top ranch-style home designs have in common? They are all variations on a classic.

The Ottawa: Embracing Natural Light

For this ranch-style home, abundant natural light is the theme. Windows and atrium doors fill most of the ground level front wall, bringing ample sunlight to the vaulted great room of the Ottawa (30-601).

“The high ceilings, large windows, and open floor plan certainly catch the eye,” said McAlexander. “It’s hard not to be in awe of this home’s brilliance. The poorly lit, low-ceilinged ranch homes of the past are a distant memory with the Ottawa.”

The simple rectangular layout means everything flows easily, one room to the next. The lofty and majestic great room connects to the vaulted kitchen, but not before you see the covered back patio accessible via a windowed door. A large fireplace nestles into one corner of the great room, but again.

Around the corner from the kitchen is a large walk-in pantry, small powder room, and good-sized utility room. There’s also direct access to the two-car garage. To the left of the great room are three bedrooms including a spacious owners’ suite with private bathroom and walk-in closet. This is typical of ranch-style living: separating the living are from the sleeping area for true comfort.

With all that light, this ranch-style home is perfect for both young families who need space or the retired couple who wants to relax or entertain, all while enjoying the sunlight.

The Manor Heart: Blending Traditional and Contemporary

This 2,283-square-foot home has a traditional exterior with keystone-accented stone lintels that inspired the name for this ranch-style home. Manor Heart’s (10-590) stone veneer makes it a dramatic eye-catcher. The front facade includes a porch with wrought-iron railing and stone caps on the column supports.

But let’s stop there before you start thinking this ranch-style home design is overly traditional. The exterior is a blend of both classic ranch and contemporary craftsman. And the interior is anything but traditional ranch-style living. Large gathering spaces fill its core, and private rooms are off to the right and left. The little touches inside make the Manor Heart a winner.

“The Manor Heart has this amazing bright and spacious gathering space,” said McAlexander. “Everything is in its place, and yet everything is not what it seems.”

For example, to the right of the front door is a spacious den. Its ideal as a small entertaining area, or as a home office where you can easily meet with clients and not disturb family privacy.

The rest of the home is all about space and easy living. A large U-shaped kitchen is chock full of cupboards and countertops that circle a center island. A walk-in pantry just means easier storage. The dining room opens up into a covered patio so you can entertain in the great room, dining room, kitchen and backyard, all without having to walk through a maze of walls. A bonus room above the garage is a flex space for whatever suits your fancy: playroom, craft room, storage room… the options are endless.

The Manor Heart breaks with the traditional ranch-style home once again by separating the owners’ suite to one side of the house and putting the other two bedrooms on the other side of the house, making this home ideal for anyone who likes traditional style and contemporary living blended with plenty of beauty and comfort.

The Barnhart: Simply Elegant Ranch-Style Living

The Barnhart (30-946), by far the largest of our three top ranch-style home designs at 3,815 square feet, is meant for the family that loves to entertain. It’s clean lines and uncomplicated exterior are just the icing on the cake to this well-designed home.

Instantly welcoming, the Barnhart opens up into a vaulted gathering space filled with natural light that flow effortlessly with the outdoors using a grand vaulted patio and outdoor fireplace. In fact, covered walkways and patios wrap around three sides of the home, adding even more space for outdoor living.

Like the two previous ranch-style homes, the Barnhart keeps sleeping spaces separate from the great room. The expansive owners’ suite, for example, is tucked away on one side of the house. It features two large walk-in closets with built-in dressers and a bathroom that boasts a heated tile floor, deep soaking tub, and walk-in shower. Upstairs is a bunk room, bedroom suite, and a TV loft area.

The hallway to the owners’ suite is lined with storage cabinets and runs past a small bathroom and extra large utility room before connecting with the garage. The garage also breaks a bit with the typical ranch-style home by being both large and roomy as well as additional living space. How, you ask? Walk up a flight of stairs and a vaulted bonus room or storage area is available, complete with an upper terrace for soaking in the sunshine.

“Ranch-style living is for anybody because these home designs can be as unique and various as you want them to be,” said McAlexander. “It’s our top-selling plan for a reason."

As seen on Newswire
11th Apr, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Duplex Plan, Multi-Family Designs, Carmichael 60-014

The Carmichael is a duplex, but it appears like two country cottages with adjoining garages. Each unique unit is private and spacious.

This duplex plan is designed for construction on a downhill sloping lot. A family might wish to move into one of the units, and rent out the other, or share purchase with friends or  relatives.

In the left unit the recessed, covered porch opens into a vaulted foyer where high plant shelves rim the entry on two sides. This creates a passageway into the vaulted dining room and great room.

A wider plant shelf marks the juncture of the dining room and window-bright, bayed kitchen. Counters and cupboards wrap around four sides, and a raised eating bar fronts the peninsular counter next to the dining room.

Windows fill the great room's rear wall where atrium doors open onto an elevated deck, which the master suite also accesses. Two more bedrooms and a second bathroom are upstairs.

The right unit is set further forward. One large room fills the rear. Light flows into the vaulted living room through windows that span most of the back, where a set of atrium doors lead out onto a raised deck.

Another wide window brightens the dining room, which has a flat ceiling and is fully open to the kitchen. The utility room is also on the main floor, located in a pass-through space that links with the garage. Two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and a loft are upstairs.

The master suite is the only sleeping area on the main level. It features a roomy walk-in closet plus direct access to the main floor bathroom.

4th Apr, 2018
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Ranch Home Plan, Country House Plan, Wasco 31-106

The Wasco greets you with welcoming stone pillars and a cozy covered porch. Opening the front door of this Ranch-style home into a 10-foot ceiling foyer makes for a grand entrance. Once inside the double doors to the right lead to the den. The great room has wide windows to the backyard and a fireplace that can be enjoyed even from the kitchen/dining area. The kitchen has a large island and a walk-in pantry. The bedrooms are separate from the owners' suite and have their own full bath with dual sinks. The owners' suite is private and luxurious and features a soaking tub, shower, a private toilet, and a large walk-in closet. The oversized utility room is near the bedrooms and includes a craft or sewing table. The side facing garage would make a perfect fit on a corner lot.

3rd Apr, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

The Springwood's open and relaxing ambiance begins before you even step inside. The covered porch of this traditional ranch-style home is a lofty 11 feet high. Inside, the vaulted entry is filled with natural light that filters in through sidelights, a transom and a window grid in the upper section of the door. 

Vaulted ceilings are generously throughout the home. Double doors to the left side of the entry, open into a vaulted study or den. And at the end of the entry hall, you walk into a spacious vaulted great room.

A gas fireplace nestles into one corner, near windows that line more than half of the wall. One in a trio of tall framed-glass panes opens out onto a partially covered patio.

The kitchen, with a 9-foot-high ceiling, is also a part of the great room separated by a lengthy eating and conversation bar. Appliances are built in, and a large walk-in pantry fits into one corner.

An arched passageway leads into the left wing, which features the deluxe owners' suite along with a pass-through utility room that links with the 3-car garage. A coffered ceiling adds a touch of elegance to the owners' suite with amenities that include its own private access to the rear patio. Two more bedrooms and a bathroom fill a wing on the opposite side of the home.

26th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Cottage Home Plan, Country House Plan, Stapleton 30-478

This country cottage-style home plan is equally well-suited for construction in a suburban neighborhood, or as vacation retreat with ample room for family and friends. The Stapleton features a ground level owners' suite and three bedrooms plus a bath and bonus room the second floor.
Stone veneer bases bring attention to slender wooden posts that support an entry porch with a nostalgic stick-work gable. Craftsman windows, multipaned at the top, accent the front facade, while shake-textured siding draws attention to the upper triangles of the side gables.
Family living spaces fill the front of the ground floor, with the foyer at center. The foyer is open to the living room on the left, while an arch to the right leads into the dining room and kitchen. Stairs to the upper floor are opposite the front door.
The large country kitchen creates a natural center for day-to-day family living. Kitchen workers can keep tabs on the out front yard, supervise the homework scene at the dining table, and tend to laundry in the nearby utility room.
The centrally located bathroom and utility room do double duty, serving as sound buffers for the owners' suite at the rear. Sliders in the bedroom, along with another set in the living room, access a partially covered patio.
Three additional bedrooms plus a bathroom, linen closet, and large bonus room are upstairs. 

20th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, European Home Plan, Stevenson 10-502

the Stevenson's custom brick work and stone veneer of the lofty and gently arched entry exude European charm. While this contemporary ranch-style home was designed for construction on a lot with a gentle rear down slope, it could just as easily be built on a flat parcel.

Natural light flows into the vaulted entry through an arched-top, gridded-glass transom that crowns the double-door entry. Even more striking, the rear wall of this home offers more windows than solid walls, and almost all of them are capped by transoms. That makes for an exceptionally bright home.

On the right side of the vaulted entry hall, double doors open into a study, home office, or even a fourth bedroom, if needed. A roomy coat closet is on the left side of the entry, just before a hallway that runs perpendicular to it. The owners' suite anchors the left side, family gathering spaces are straight ahead, and bedrooms are to the right. Storage closets, including a built-in hutch just outside the dining room, line the hallway.

A wide arched opening leads into the vaulted great room. French doors on the far side open onto a large deck that spans most of the rear. Flames dancing in the two-sided gas fireplace can be enjoyed from both the vaulted great room and the dining room.

In the kitchen, counters wrap around three sides of a wide window bay, while a centrally placed cook-top work island adds more work space. A roomy walk-in pantry nestles into a corner next to the naturally bright vaulted sun room. Luxury amenities in the vaulted owners' suite include a sitting room, large walk-in closet, and a plush bathroom with a walk-in shower and private toilet.

12th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman Home Plan, Breckenridge 30-483

The Breckenridge is a contemporary European chateau designed to fulfill for families who enjoy living large. Decorative struts, beams, and shake-textured siding are a treat for the eye, spotlighting gables at four levels. Intricate Craftsman-style windows create a graceful counterpoint, while stone veneer wainscoting adds to the country manor ambiance.

At the core core a lofty vaulted great room is accessed through the vaulted foyer with an equally high ceiling. The wide alcove at the juncture between the two spaces is designed to house a grand piano. Music created here will resonate throughout this home.

In the great room, cabinetry for a home entertainment center flanks the stately fireplace, and windows fill most of the rear wall. Across the room, another fireplace and TV hutch extend the nook that expands the large kitchen. A long conversation bar bounds the kitchen, with wings stretching out in two directions from the sink. The walk-in pantry adds  plentiful storage space.

A den or guest suite is right off the kitchen. A powder room and gracious dining room with built-in hutch and buffet are close by down a short hall.

The luxurious owners' suite features a walk-in closets, private toilet, and a dual walk-in shower. Upstairs, a bridge across the vaulted foyer/great room links two large bedroom suites. The second floor also includes a roomy theater, with soda fountain and conversation bar; and next door is a vaulted exercise room with space for numerous work-out machines, plus a spa. 

6th Mar, 2018
Articles, Blog

Let’s face it. When we sit down and look at a floor plan for our dream home, it’s easy to just think what’s in the design is the best solution. After all, a professional designer was behind the ideas so everything has to be the way it should be. So who needs to second-guess the plan?

“But here’s the thing: You tour homes. You look at floor plans and view room layouts,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs in Eugene, Ore. “What you see may not be the ideal way the room should be put together or the right way to plan where each room goes. You have to evaluate how it all fits together, and then be sure it’s right for you.”

Knowing how to study floor plans and what to look for in a home design can help you figure out what’s good and bad, what works and what doesn’t. Sounds daunting, but lest you think you’re on your own, we’ve got you covered. Here are four tips and tricks to help you review floor plans like a professional home designer.

Movement Matters

A home needs to have an easy flow – and by that we mean there has to be a reason for a wall to be where it is. Similarly, a home shouldn’t have dead ends. The reason is simple: movement matters.

“Natural flow can be as simple as counting how many steps between the kitchen and dining room,” said McAlexander. “If the dining room is a fair distance from the kitchen, there’s something wrong with the home design. How you move from room to room, and move within a room, matters.”

In other words, when looking at a floor plan, try to envision moving through the design. A house with a great room, for example, should have all the essential gathering spaces connected: living room, dining room, and kitchen. If a wall or fireplace blocks the movement between rooms, then it’s not really a great room.

A good rule of thumb in this case is to compare the new home with your current home. Are there elements of your existing home that you like or don’t like? If that utility room in your current house is in the perfect spot – right next to the garage and yet out of sight – then be sure the home you’re considering has a similar setup.

Outdoor Living

Not everyone thinks to consider the outdoor space in a home design. But a living space isn’t limited to the living room. When you entertain friends and family, you use the living room, dining room, kitchen, and even the backyard. If there’s a patio or a porch, they have to be built with functionality in mind.

For example, let’s say you decide to tour a beautiful country cottage with a cute front porch and a backyard patio with pergola for soft shade. The backyard patio has ample space with plenty of room for outdoor furniture, a grill, and maybe a few well-placed potted plants. In your mind’s eye, you can picture fun summer barbecues with yard games.

In comparison, the front porch is small and simple. Granted, it has curb appeal but other than that, it serves no function. A porch that can be a useful living space needs to be at least 8-feet deep. But the space in this design is not large enough for patio furniture let alone a party, so you are left with a front porch that isn’t a porch at all.

“Take time to consider how much outdoor living space you will need,” said McAlexander. “In most cases, if there’s something about your current home’s outdoor area that you like, be sure your new home has those same qualities. You want to have an equally comfortable exterior when compared to the interior.”

Natural Light

This is a home design tip that is as important as the size of your kitchen. A home without ample light can be a cave – dark, dreary, and unpleasant. Each room in a home needs to have windows because natural light can make all the difference in how your home feels.

“Let’s compare it to a medieval castle,” said McAlexander. “A castle has great spaces and lots of room, but the windows are small and limited. Each room becomes a cave when the sun goes down. A home you’re touring shouldn’t have rooms that make you feel like you are in a cave. Yes, you want ample space but you also want ample natural light.”

Insufficient daylight is usually the result of too few windows, or windows on only one wall. A great room similarly needs to have large windows or it will be a not-so-great room. Natural light adds depth and power to a home, so when you study a floor plan or tour a home, don’t forget to look out the windows.

Labeled Spaces

This final tip to studying floor plans is all about flexibility. Many floor plans online have labeled spaces telling you where the kitchen is or what this room near the dining room is supposed to be. The labels are there to offer some insight into how the designer saw the space being used. But spaces aren’t limited to what the label says.

In other words, don’t be trapped by labels. If you need a home office, and the floor plan includes a space labeled “formal dining room” that you won’t use, then turn it into what you need. A space can serve more than one purpose.  

“Remember that the home you are touring or the floor plan you are looking at is open to interpretation, specifically your interpretation,” said McAlexander. “You can decide how that extra room should be used.”

As seen on Newswire
5th Mar, 2018
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Southwest House Plan, Home Plan, Solano 11-005

Looking at the Solano's tile roof, stucco walls and generously windowed exterior makes you think of sunshine. High arched windows are featured on every exterior wall of this contemporary Mediterranean style home, capturing light from every possible angle.

In the front, stucco columns with arched openings separate the driveway from a the entry courtyard. Stately columns flank the lofty gabled entryway. Viewed from the rear, the this design is equally attractive. The exterior of the hexagonal great room, graced by high arched multi paned windows on three sides, offers panoramic views. A patio adds to the effect, wrapping around the entire rear of the home.

The spacious country kitchen is open to the vaulted great room, separated by an eating bar between. Other features include generous counter and cupboard space, a walk-in pantry, built in range and oven.

At the juncture of kitchen and great room, an open stairwell spirals up to a wide vaulted loft that is open to the great room at the rear and the entryway in front. It has a sloping ceiling with storage access on two sides. 

Bedrooms are located at opposite ends of the house plan. The luxurious owners' suite features two walk in closets, spa tub, skylights, shower, private toilet and twin vanities. The other two bedrooms each have their own bathroom. Utilities are convenient to these bedrooms as well as the garage.

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