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1st Mar, 2017
Articles, Blog

When spring has sprung, the warmer, brighter days call out to you. After months of being cooped up in the house with snowflakes flying and cold weather brewing, your heart longs for sunlight. And it’s worse when trees surround your home, and the home has few windows, meaning you have been holed up in a cave. So on that first day of spring, you take that step outdoors and realize what you’ve been missing.  

If you’ll pardon the expression, a light bulb doesn’t hold a candle to sunlight. 

Natural Lighting, Barnhart 30-946 House Plan, Craftsman Home Plan

Daylighting, or the process of adding natural light to home design, has many benefits – from energy savings to aesthetic touches and even health benefits. A single skylight in a hallway, a trio of tubular daylighting devices (TDDs) in a kitchen or even expanding west-facing windows in the living room brightens, uplifts and gives you a touch of the outdoors while in the comfort of home.

“Natural light, for all intents and purposes, is the soul of a home,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs. “Its simple elegance adds warmth to the most cave-like rooms. And in the process, your home opens up to more possibilities.”

But if you live in a cave, or in a well-shaded house, or in a home with small windows and lots of walls, how do you successfully and simply bring natural light inside?

“There are, of course, many ways to add daylight into a living space,” said McAlexander. “What works for your home may not work for someone else’s. If your living room faces south, you’ll want to add big windows, which embraces that southern sunshine. But if your home has a wide but dark hallway, skylights are the answer.”

So whether you live in a townhouse, a ranch-style home, or a cave, here are five ways to trade those light bulbs for sunshine.

1. Winning with Windows.

Windows are an old standard, but in such a remodel, the goal is to maximize the home’s exposure to the sun. For instance, large floor-to-ceiling windows in a living room or family room can bring the light in without changing too much of the interior. Another ideal location for windows is the kitchen, as natural light is by far easier to cook and work in than electrical lighting. If your kitchen is in the corner of the house, make use of that corner with an expanded window above the sink or counter. While kitchens and living rooms are ideal places to add windows, don’t forget hallways and stairwells. Natural light in these spaces can be a unique lighting remodel.

2. Open Up to Glass Doors.

A dark or dim set of rooms can be harsh for some, and when solid panel doors keep things closed off and disconnected, the result is a bit dreary. But never fear! French doors are here! French doors spread the light in a home from one room to another without shutting the room off entirely. The home, in essence, opens up without actually being open. Consider a long hallway that ends in a solid door. Change that door to a French door, and the hall feels open and inviting.

3. Widen Doorways and Tear Down those Walls.

At the heart of this remodel idea is the popular concept of great room living. Great rooms subtract the walls between spaces, and add in connectivity and open living. Fewer walls and more open or expansive doorways mean more natural light can move between rooms. If a wall separates the dining room and the kitchen, tear it down if you can and let the sunshine in. If a narrow doorway limits the western light, give it more space and take advantage of the setting sun.

4. The Power of a Three-Season Porch.

Now here’s a remodel idea that combines natural lighting with a love of the outdoors. You don’t have to try hard to make a three-season porch a reality. Often called a sunroom, a three-season porch, unlike all-season porches, is not insulated nor does it have heating and air-conditioning. This makes them less expensive to build.

“A three-season porch brings the natural beauty of the outdoors into the home,” said McAlexander. “They are built for the express purpose of extensive use even during chilly days. With the right location and the right design, it can be an expansive way to brighten a home.”

Make sure the three-season porch faces south to capture the sun’s rays for heat during the cooler months. The southern sun, in turn, brightens the rest of the home with strategically placed large interior windows.

5. Face the Front Porch.

Similar to a three-season porch, a front porch can be an endearing daylighting tool for a remodel. Combine the front porch concept with expansive front-facing windows, and light should flow in naturally. But if it’s a covered porch (as most porches are), sunlight is blocked or limited from entering the house. So, if you have a front porch already or if you’re adding one on, include TDDs or skylights on the front porch. If the front porch faces east or west, it will maximize the daylight hours for a complete natural light makeover of the home.

So don’t despair about the darkness; brighter days are just around the corner. Look at your home as it is now and remember that adding windows, tearing down walls, and embracing natural light in all its glory can be a bright new beginning. 

As seen on Newswire
27th Feb, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Cabin Plan, Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman Home Plan, Elsberry 30-265

Varied roof lines and a wrap-around porch give the Elsberry such an intriguing appearance that you can't help but take a second look.

Recessed into the roof of the covered front porch is an interesting hidden sun deck. A French door links this sunny space to the vaulted owners' suite on the second floor.

This cabin plan is particularly well suited to the needs of a couple, single, empty nesters, small family, or as a vacation get-away. The wide rear deck and front porch provide plenty of space for appreciating the out of doors.

Entering, you step directly into the heart of the home. It's only a few steps to the kitchen and the panoramic view encompasses the living room, dining room and deck. Standing in the kitchen, you've got that same great view, though a raised eating and conversation bar provides some separation.

Ceilings are high and vaulted in the living room and dining room. Sunlight flows in through wide rear windows, and a circular fireplace radiates warmth and color. Sliders in the dining area access the rear deck, and double doors lead into the den.

The main bathroom has two entries. You can get there from the den, or from a hallway on the other side that runs past a bedroom (or study), and a utility room with exterior access. This feature enables it to double as a mud room.

Another vaulted ceiling adds volume to the owners' suite upstairs. In addition to the sun deck, this space has a roomy walk-in closet, oversized shower with seat, double vanity and private toilet.

22nd Feb, 2017
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Downhill Narrow Lot Home Plan, Creekside 31-067,

The understated entrance and simple lap siding create a cozy, cottage feel to the Creekside house plan. Walking along the single car garage you approach the front door which opens to an entry hall. To the right, a door opens to the utility room which links the garage. Pass the utility room door a cased opening brings you to the great room with a C-shaped kitchen. The owners' suite is also on the main floor and features a bathroom with a single vanity and large walk-in closet. The toliet comparement is separated from the owners' suite and is shared with a separate entrance from the owners' suite hallway. A staircase off the foyer leads down to the daylight basement. On the lower floor are two additional bedrooms, a full bathroom and family room with room for an optional kitchenette. 

20th Feb, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Saginaw 10-251

A spacious family room is at the heart of the Saginaw, a mid size home design with four bedrooms. The wide porch that spans the front of this ranch style home gives it a welcoming, open look.

Windows fill most of the rear wall of the family room and kitchen, the natural center of family life. Vaulted ceilings make this large space feel even larger. Flames in the fireplace brighten chilly winter evenings.

The kitchen features two work islands, one with a built in cooktop. The other could be outfitted as an eating bar along with the additional dining options of a skylit vaulted nook, and a formal dining room with bayed window seat. The living room/library has a bay window too, but no seat. It also offers a second fireplace.

The owners' suite is large and luxurious. It has another bayed window seat -- a great place to curl up with a book or magazine, well away from the busy family living area. This plan has two roomy walk in closets and a sumptuous bathroom brightened by two skylights. Other luxury amenities include: a double sized shower, twin vanities, spa tub, and a private toilet.

Four rooms are located in the left wing. All can be bedrooms, if needed by finishing the screen porch as a bedroom. The room across the hall has a built in desk. 


13th Feb, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Country House Plan, Home Plan, Clayton 10-292

The Clayton is a spacious home. With six bedrooms and four roomy gathering spaces, this country-style is well suited to the needs of a large family.

Shuttered windows and a wide covered porch with wooden handrails add to the attractiveness of the inviting front facade. Doors to the three-car garage open on the left side, not the front.

Walking into the two-story entry, there is a parlor to the left and a stairway to the right. At the top of the stairs is a loft. Facing forward, the loft overlooks the entry, including a view of the plant shelf over the door. Facing the rear, it overlooks the vaulted great room.

Four bedrooms are upstairs, along with a two-section bathroom, and a deep attic storage area. Two of the bedrooms have small gabled dormers; the third bedroom has a larger one. The fourth bedroom boasts the largest closet.

On the main floor, the large kitchen is open to the great room and dining room. The kitchen ceiling is flat while the great room, dining room, and four-season porch all have vaulted ceilings. The kitchen's most notable feature is a jumbo-size gas grill, great for turning out mountains of burgers, pancakes, or grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Windows line two walls of the bright four-season porch. The master suite's deep walk-in closet doubles as a passthrough connecting the two areas. Master bath features include: double vanity, shower and private toilet. The study could serve as a home office or fifth bedroom.

7th Feb, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Featured House Plan, Eastport 10-548

The Eastport’s nostalgic handrail-rimmed porch creates the right mix of openness and privacy. 

Window-bright gathering spaces fill the core of this contemporary ranch-style home. The vaulted entry is open to a vaulted dining room. Muted light flows in through the wide front window there. The ceiling slopes up to its apex along the center line of the home, before sloping down over the great room and kitchen at the rear. The vaulted family room to the left is open to the great room, and partially obscured by a two-sided masonry fireplace.

A raised eating bar rims counter that bounds the vaulted kitchen. Cabinets are above, and more cabinets fill all of one wall and part of another. Standing at the built-in range, you can look out into the great room and dining area. A bayed eating nook expands both the great room and kitchen, while a centrally located work island anchors the kitchen’s center.

The roomy pantry resides in one corner and is close to both the powder room and a pass-through utility room that links to the two-car garage.  Secondary bedrooms and a full bathroom are also off of the same hallway.

Double doors next to the entry open into a large, isolated owners’ suite. Features include a wide bay window, which could be outfitted as a window seat, and a deep walk-in closet. The deluxe bathroom offers a dual vanity, spa tub, separate shower and private toilet.

1st Feb, 2017
Articles, Blog

To dream is to believe that the impossible is possible. There are no boundaries, no limitations, and no drawbacks or setbacks. You can be who you want to be, build what you want to build, live where you want to live. In your dreams, your home has everything you ever desired – a great room with stone fireplace, the perfect casual entertaining space in the living room, a country kitchen, a sprawling ranch with modern touches, the perfect home theatre, a sauna. And the list goes on.

Home from the Heart

After all, home design at its heart is about imagining what could be. And every year, trends shift and new ideas emerge about what constitutes the ideal “dream home.” Lifestyles continually evolve, challenging home designers to keep up or stay ahead of the curve. There is still a growing desire for quality over quantity in the square footage of a home, but the amenities are always changing.

Home from the Heart, Craftsman House Plan, Westheart 10-630

So how do we at Associated Designs keep up with the desires of homebuyers? Well, it’s quite simple: We ask for your input! Every year, we invite readers to complete the Home from the Heart Survey, an annual questionnaire that gets to the heart of what you want in a home. The results from the survey help designers follow current lifestyle trends so they can better understand the family’s evolving preferences. From these results, Associated Designs will create the 2017 Home from the Heart home design, reflecting how people truly envision their dream home.

Your voice, your dreams, your ideas are the expertise we are looking for because only you know what’s in your heart.

The 2017 Home from the Heart Survey takes into account some shifts in home design preferences, and some of the questions will reflect those shifts. For instance, the laundry/utilities room will add a mud hall/mud room option to the list. In the Pacific Northwest, there is always room for a mud hall to catch the rain- or snow-soaked shoes and jackets that are so common. And as electric cars become a bit more common, or at least a part of the dream, the survey includes charging stations as a garage option.

But this is just a sampling of what the survey delves into. The designers at Associated Designs are more than interested in your perspective; they are eager to make your dreams a reality. Let them hear about the amenities you’ve always wanted, the home you’ve always dreamed of. Because the ultimate goal is to gauge what you truly want – whether it’s a three-car garage, a wraparound porch or a bonus room for the kids.

So dream big. The impossible is possible.                                                                                         

PLUS! Win a $100 Gift Certificate

After completing the online survey, you can browse through hundreds of home plans at And, if you’re curious how preferences have changed over the years, you can check out an archive of past surveys on the website. Start the survey now and let the home that’s in your heart take shape.


As seen on Newswire
10th Jan, 2017
Blog, New Home Plans

New House Plan, Country Home Plan, Tradition House Design, Oakview 30-851

Oakview 30-851

Simple country elegance. You'll find a vaulted great room, cozy wood stove, and secondary bedrooms with private bathrooms.


New House Plan, Lodge Style Home Plan, Luxury House Design

Silverton 30-757

Elegant Lodge-style house plan with a grand entry. This plan features a luxurious owners' suite, great room with plenty of windows, a large kitchen, den, vaulted dining, screen porch and so much more.

10th Jan, 2017
Blog, New Home Plans

We're releasing four new garage plans for the New Year. Take a look! You'll find a nice variety of different sizes and styles, and if you wish to see other garages we have available take a look here.

New Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage with Shop

Garage 20-053
 - A single car garage with large workshop space.

New Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage 20-054, 2 Car Garage

Garage 20-054 - A traditional-style 2 car garage.

New Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage 20-157, Garage with Loft

Garage 20-157 - This garage houses up to 4 cars and features a second floor loft with a balcony.


New Garage Plan, Garage Design, Garage Plan with Living Space

Garage 20-199 - This handsome 3 car garage features a second floor efficiency apartment.

9th Jan, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman House Plan, Craftsman Home Plan, Wilsonville 30-517

In some ways, the Wilsonville house plan is reminiscent of 9th century Cape Cod style, but it has a distinctly Craftsman-style flavor as well. The Cape Cod styling is evident in the lap siding and shingle cladding, along with the front gable orientation. Craftsman touches include the stone veneer wainscoting, tapered columns and multipaned window arrangements.

Inside, ithe design is contemporary. A study/home office is on the left side of the vaulted foyer, and a naturally bright dining room is on the right. Windows fill much of the dining room's two walls, and a pocket door slides open to provide access to the kitchen.

Down the hall from the entry is a vaulted great room and nook, both of which are fully open to the kitchen. A gas fireplace resides in one rear corner, with two sets of wide windows across the back wall. Both nook windows are tall, and one is an atrium door that opens onto the partially covered patio.

Standing at the kitchen sink, you look into the family gathering spaces and backyard activities across a raised eating bar. Other kitchen features include: built-in appliances and desk, plenty of counter space, and an abundance of cupboards.

The owners' suite featuress two large walk-in closets and a luxurious bathroom with a deep soaking tub, over-sized shower, twin vanities, dressing table, and a private toilet.

Two additional bedrooms are upstairs, along with a two-section bathroom, a roomy storage closet and a huge bonus room.

9th Jan, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Craftsman House Plan, Home Plan, Heartsong 10-470

The Craftsman-style Heartsong house plan is designed to meet the complex needs of a modern family, plus it's great for entertaining. The spacious and bright family room is open to the kitchen, as well as the bayed dining room.

The front facade is handsome with brick bases that support slender twin posts which frame and accents the covered porch. Gables, shutters and crown moldings draw eyes to the windows.

Entering the home, you step into a vaulted entry. Posts on the left flank the passageway into a bayed living room with a fireplace. A similar passageway on the right opens into the secondary bedroom side. Continuing straight ahead, you can enjoy art work displayed on the gallery walls that lead to the high-ceilinged family room.

This spacious family living area has yet another fireplace. Bookcases filling the wall on both sides can also be used as a home entertainment center.

A raised curved eating bar rims the front of a work island that houses the sink and dishwasher. Standing here, a person can remain fully engaged throughout the dining and family areas, while keeping an eye on activities in the back yard and patio.

Laundry appliances are mere steps away, just beyond the stairway to the bonus room. The utility room has a half-bath at the far end, and links to the garage.

The vaulted master suite features a luxurious bathroom, large walk-in closet and double door access to a private covered patio.

9th Jan, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Classic House Plan, Home Plan, Brentwood 30-007

Solitude and sociability. The Classic Brentwood home plan has room for both. 

Multipaned windows brighten the entry showcased by a lofty keystone-arch portico, and a wealth of multipaned windows sparkles across the brick veneer front facade. Shutters provide color contrast.

Double doors in the bright, high-ceilinged entry open into formal rooms on either side. Both dining room and living room feature stepped ceilings, crown moldings and wide bay windows. A fireplace warms the living room. Sliders connect this space to a cherry-paneled den, similarly linked to the owners' suite.

Natural light flows into the vaulted family room through three large skylights and a wall of rear windows. A fireplace is nestled into a corner by the windows.

Skylights also illuminate the vaulted kitchen, while the nook has glass on three sides. Storage and counter spaces are abundant. A large walk-in pantry is close by, and lazy susan shelving allows full access to corner cupboards. There is also a built-in desk , and the large utility room is just steps away.

The elegant owners' suite most outstanding feature is the sun-brightened exercise room with a sunken exercise tub. Other luxuries include: a double vanity, soaking tub, shower with a seat, and large walk-in closet.

Both of the secondary bedrooms feature direct access bathrooms, walk-in closets and window seats.


3rd Jan, 2017
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan of the Week, Rothbury 60-016, Duplex Plans, Duplex Designs

Each of the Rothbury's two units look like an individual single, charming Craftsman-style cottage. In this is a duplex design only the garages share a common wall creating private and quiet living. Each two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit is a mirror image.

In each unit, two gables face the street. The lower one highlights the entry porch, supported by handsome wooden columns. The posts, in turn, are supported by larger, squared bases covered with lap siding. This porch could accomodate an old-fashioned wooden swing, great for enjoying a warm, breezy afternoon.

The upper gable has a steeper slope, but nicely echoes the gable below while accentuating the multipaned windows on the second floor.

A coat closet is just inside the front door. Family gathering spaces are all on the ground floor. The living room up front flows into the dining area, which is open to the kitchen. 

Appliances are built into the galley-style kitchen. The dishwasher is right next to a kitchen sink with a window in front of it, and the refrigerator is only a step or two away. Range and oven are on the opposite side of the room.

Laundry appliances are nearby, and share space with the powder room. A covered patio is also at the rear. Each patio is private from the other unit's patio.

Upstairs, wide rectangular window bays in the bedrooms provide plenty of light and a feeling of expansiveness.

3rd Jan, 2017
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. 

“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.

“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.

“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
30th Dec, 2016
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Featured House Plan, Country Home Plan, Brookview 30-055

Gabled dormers and a covered porch give the Brookview a cozy, nostalgic country charm, and the bonus of a three-car garage not usually found in a traditional farmhouse. The third bay on the right could be easily converted into a workshop, music practice room, art studio, exercise room or you-name-it.

Light flows into the entry and stairway through a high overhead dormer, and there's a coat closet tucked under the stairs. Windows on the front and side of the home brighten the living room. The front-facing window would be a good place for a window seat.

Kitchen, family room and nook create a great room. Windows line most of the rear wall, and the sliders in the nook open onto a, partially covered patio or deck. The kitchen is efficiently designed. A large work island adds more counter space, and wall pantry expands storage capacity.

A handy powder room is right at the hub. Folks with muddy feet, can get to it without dirtying the floors, by coming in through the garage and the pass-through utility room.

The master suite has a double vanity, private toilet, a large walk-in closet, and sliding glass doors that open onto a private covered patio. Secondary bedrooms, a bathroom, and a bonus room are upstairs. 

1100 Jacobs Dr., Eugene, Oregon 97402-1983
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