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Open kitchen layouts are great options for families and can also save on money and space. There are no limits to your kitchen design – here are some of the advantages of an open floor plan and a few excellent examples to get your creative juices flowing.
An open kitchen gets its name because there are no walls to divide it from other rooms. Movement and visibility between two rooms are thus made easier. This kind of design allows anyone working in the kitchen to interact with people in the living room, dining room or any others space to which it connects. The open layout is an excellent option for families who like to host with a casual atmosphere, who have kids parents to keep an eye on, or who generally have a lot of movement between rooms.
An open kitchen layout can also maximize space by combining rooms. Commonly, living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens are combined to create what is called a great room. The maximal use of space means less cost on square footage and fewer rooms to heat and cool, potentially saving the homeowners money. The open layout is a popular feature in many modern house plans.
Defining the space
While there is no dividing wall in an open kitchen layout, barriers can still be used to define the space. Usually, this is an island counter, which creates a physical, but not a visual, barrier. It also provides added counter space without the kitchen feeling claustrophobic. That countertop can be used as a work area, informal dining table or buffet table.
House plan HHF-5902 is an exemplary design layout for intimate yet friendly dinner parties. The kitchen's open wall looks onto the dining room. allowing the chef and diners to chat while meals are prepared. Furthermore, if the chef needs assistance serving, he or she need only turn and ask. Yet, the island counter that divides the rooms also helps distinguish between the spaces, so that diners feel that they are not sitting in the kitchen.
The island counter with stools also doubles as an informal table. Appetizers and drinks for that dinner party can also be served on the island. If the dinner is more of a tapas-influenced meal, where the chef will constantly be serving fresh dishes, the meal can even be hosted there. For other times of the day, families can sit at a row of stools a quick breakfast or lunch.
Also, just because the kitchen is combined with the dining room doesn't mean that any kitchen amenities are lost. The galley formation makes for a functional, efficient workspace.
Living and cooking
There are plenty of excellent open floor plans that go even wider and capitalize on the great room trend. The best-selling HHF-8292 home plan connects to the dining room and the living room, with all three interconnected. Anyone who has to do work at the kitchen table can still keep an eye on family in the living room or, if there is a game on, can keep watch as they cook. The kitchen even has a straight line of sight to the outdoor living space. Clear the dining room, and hosting an outdoor meal has never been easier.
The HHF-1897 boasts an even broader view of the family room, also making it one of the more conservative layouts in terms of space efficiency. It also has easy access to a number of other spaces, including the nook and the foyer. The dining room, while less directly accessible, is still a straight shot through the foyer. Unlike the other spaces, this island counter is a curved work table that allows anyone cooking to easily multitask.
Winter and summer mean higher heating and cooling bills, but fortunately, a well-considered floor plan and house design can save you a significant amount of money, as well as make for a more comfortable home. Here is how smart planning can save you a bundle.
The basics of passive heating
The path of least resistance for heat to enter and leave your home is through the window. While that means that windows are a poor insulator, their extreme temperature fluctuations can be used to your advantage.
The angle of the sun is key to good passive design. In the northern hemisphere, the sun is angled toward the south, and that angle gets more acute closer to the winter months. Hence, days are shorter and dimmer in the winter time. An array of larger, south-facing windows will allow for the most direct solar gain into your home during the winter, making the most of what little sunlight there is during the daytime.
Meanwhile, on the north side of the house – where there is no direct sunlight and the exterior wall is cast in shadow – it is better to have smaller and fewer windows so that less heat can escape your house.
Landscapes and awnings
There is a seeming problem with this kind of seasonal planning. In the winter, there needs to be a relatively unobstructed path for light to reach those windows. As such, there should not be other houses or foliage that blocks the sun's rays. However, the summer time poses a different problem, as bay windows can make rooms on the south side of the house uncomfortably warm. There are two ways to help mitigate this problem.
First, intelligent landscaping will use deciduous trees that shed their leaves as a means of both allowing for passive heating and cooling. Foliage in the summer will shade south-facing windows, but in the winter, when the leaves fall off, light will be allowed in.
Secondly, the sun's angle will be much higher in the summertime, so bay windows won't get as much direct light. Awnings can be appropriately angled so that they shade windows in the summer, but not so much so that they block light in the winter.
Having windows in the right spot is only part of the planning. Much consideration should be put into what rooms will have direct solar gain, and which will only receive radiated heat from those rooms. The Renville house plan is a very clear demonstration of thoughtful passive design.
The plan is such that the rear side of the home is comprised almost entirely of windows, with over 20 separate panes. Between the three floors, the most exposed rooms are the great room – a living area – the master bedroom and a media recreation room. These rooms are some of the most commonly used in a house, followed by the den and dining room. All of the rooms require light and warmth for activities throughout the day and, as such, will receive the most heating. Those rooms are also some of the largest and most spacious, thus allowing for better air flow to circulate around the house. As these rooms get warmer, heat will spread and rise to cooler parts of the house, providing a better distribution of heat.
Conversely, the garage is on the backside of the house, as well as mechanical, laundry and extra bedrooms, which do not ordinarily require as much sunlight. Also smart is the decision to put the BBQ and screen porch in a place to receive the most western light – perfect for evening cookouts.
The Renly is just one of many designs with an eye toward sustainable architecture. Dozens of green house plans are Energy Star-approved, meaning that they boast energy-efficient features to save you both money and energy.
For many modern families, the kitchen is the heart and hearth of a home, where food is prepared and quality time is shared. Its social value makes its layout one of the most important factors when considering house plans. While the kitchen work triangle has long been the standard principle for kitchen design, it is by no means the only way to make a fun and functional space.
The kitchen work triangle involves arranging the three most important kitchen appliances – stove, sink and refrigerator – strategically set apart from one another in order maximize efficiency and comfort while cooking. These three appliances form the points of a triangle, hence the name.
This has long been the prevailing approach to kitchen layout, and facilitates the cook's ability to move easily and comfortably between each spot without feeling too crowded. Usually countertops, cutting space and cabinets help space out the three appliances so that there is some movement. Galley or U-shaped kitchens are most practical for this kind of layout, with one appliance at the bottom of the U, flanked by refrigerator and stove. A perfect example of the work triangle is the kitchen in the Southborough Cottage house plan, however, L-shaped kitchens can also work, with two appliances on one wall, and the third on the other arm. Island counters can also be used to make a triangle, with dishwashers built into the island across from the refrigerator and sink.
Besides the point
This traditional layout is a great way to maximize cooking efficiency, but, as expert designer Susan Serra of Cultivate notes, the kitchen is no longer just the place where the cook works. Rather, it is becoming an increasingly social space in American households. That means homebuyers should consider what kind of kitchen experience they expect to have and design accordingly.
If a kitchen is crowded with children, for example, it may be worthwhile to move the refrigerator further away from the other appliances so that family may grab snacks without interrupting cooking, according to Serra. You may also prefer to break up the triangle with seated island counters, meaning a more social meal prep that relies on help from the whole family. Your family may not even like to cook, and so can get by on a single-wall kitchen, which bears no resemblance to the triangle.
The perfect kitchen for your family is really only dependent on your imagination and your floor plans – those looking to build a new home should take advantage of the opportunity to design the kitchen of their dreams.
Whether getting ready for work or brushing teeth before school, families inevitably spend a lot of time in front of the bathroom sink. Yet, for something that doesn't get much consideration, the type that you install throughout the house can depend largely on which bathroom it's going in, the allotted floor plans and the overall aesthetic of the home. Homeowners may want to review the following basic sink styles and the advantages of each.
Basic wall-mounted sinks can be one of the simplest fixtures for homeowners. Without a vanity underneath or a countertop on either side, these sinks provide the most open space. They are usually great for smaller bathrooms where storage space is minimal or unnecessary.
For families with modern house plans bordering on the European, a purely functional wall-mounted sink is the perfect choice for wet rooms – tanked bathrooms with a waterproof shower. Vanities and other more elaborate sink designs would only lend themselves to mold in this kind of environment. An equally economical sink design is a basic frame stand-alone sink, which rests on four legs but still lacks a counter or closed cabinet space underneath.
The disadvantages of these sinks are that the water pipes are often exposed and that they lack storage underneath for cleaning products and bathroom supplies. A medicine cabinet can take care of some items, but a closet elsewhere will be necessary. Otherwise, you will need to get creative with shelving.
Pedestal sinks – basins that rest on a column – are an immensely popular design that feels a little more traditional and elegant than basic frames and wall mounts. The selling point of these sinks is that they hide piping in a styled column of the homeowners choosing, from neocolonial to minimalist. Like their exposed counterparts, these sinks also cut down on storage space. The overall effect is a more pleasing aesthetic that can be customized to match house designs.
Above or below
A vanity is the cabinetry built to house the sink and provide storage and a countertop. A vanity-mounted sink is the most versatile option, as it gives families an all-in-one workspace where they can get ready in the morning. While perhaps not the best in the smallest of spaces or wetrooms, they are more efficient in their use of space beneath the sink that would otherwise be wasted. The cabinetry also allows for a higher level of customization of doors, drawers, counters and knobs.
There are two basic options for a vanity sink: sunken or above-counter. The former is the more common option, with the basin submerged below the plane of the counter. Sunken sinks are a more seamless design, but they also eat up storage space within the vanity, and often come with fake top drawers. Above-counter sinks are trendy and a touch more old-fashioned and elegant. The basin usually resembles a bowl that sits on the counter, freeing up space in the vanity. It is, however, the bolder choice.
Making the decision
These are just some of the most basic sink options – each kind of sink is vastly customizable to personal taste. Homeowners selecting a sink should consider not only their style preference, but also the location and kind of bathroom where the sink will be placed. Faucets for laundry or craft rooms may only need a basic work basin. Bathrooms for guests and general use are perfect places for pedestal sinks, where an expansive vanity is not necessary. Family and master bathrooms are usually the largest bathrooms, requiring vanities to accommodate frequent use.
The Ambrose Boulevard house plan is a clear demonstration of prioritizing your bathrooms. The guest room bath features only one sink and minimal floor space. However, the master bath has his and her sinks, a glass shower and a separate tub. A third bathroom on the second floor features two sinks, for the people residing in bedrooms 3 and 4.
Pocket doors – sliding doors that recess into the walls – are a great way to maximize space in floor plans. However, there are some drawbacks to these sliding space savers. Here's everything you need to know about pocket doors.
Regular doors have a swinging radius of about 2.7 feet, which eats up considerable space in a room for the sake of opening and closing a door. This can make for a considerable logistical problem for bathrooms, especially efficiency bathrooms, where tubs, closets and toilets must be artfully placed to avoid the swing of the door. Once inside, it can also be difficult to close the door depending on the layout of the room.
In other rooms of the house, regular doors mean that furniture, some mirrors and any other thick or delicate objects cannot be placed against the wall toward which the door swings. Furthermore, an open door will block posters, trim or any other kind of decoration behind it.
Pros in your pocket
Pocket doors eliminate these problems. While most commonly used for bathrooms, they are now increasingly incorporated into the design of bedrooms, living rooms and closets. For living rooms and bedrooms that incorporate chairs or couches, the use of a pocket door frees up space for a more spacious, evenly distributed furniture layout. If furniture feels too claustrophobic by the door, the open area is also the perfect spot for deep or even floating bookshelves, thereby freeing up space elsewhere in the room.
The recessed door also creates a more holistic design space - the full effect of the room can be on display even with the door open. After switching to pocket doors, regular doors may even feel like nuisance.
While there are many benefits to a pocket door, it does pose its own problems. The biggest issue is installation, which is much more difficult than a regular door. The door will not slide smoothly if there are any slight deviations in calibration during the construction of the interior frame or the setting of the track. Even experienced carpenters can have a problem with these fickle frames.
They can also be a hassle to maintain. A regular door that's damaged or broken need only be removed from its hinges and replaced. However, it can be frustrating trying to repair any damages or remove any objects that have made their way into the recessed frame.
Choosing the right floor plan is very important when looked at from angles such as the type of lifestyle that you lead and your budget. More than any other factor, it”s very important to choose a floor plan that suits your lifestyle. Naturally you need to consider your tastes and preferences for materials, finishes and flooring etc. but the most important factors will be the number and layout of the rooms, considering the size of your family/how many children. You obviously need to provide enough rooms to suit the requirements of all family members.
If you plan to have guests at your home often and entertain them, then you need to design the floor plan accordingly. For example, you can opt for a wide foyer that opens to the dining room and then meanders towards the lawn or the swimming pool area. You can also opt for a living room near the main door so that you can invite arriving guests to come in and sit and immediately feel comfortable.
Choosing the right floor plan is equally important whether you are thinking of a single story or a multi-story house. In single story homes, the public rooms are normally in the center and the bathrooms are near the corners. Multi-story homes help in giving each family members his own space and also give great views from the top floor.
Floor plans are also important from the additional space point of view. For example, a guest needs an additional bedroom while a young child needs a playing area. All these factors need to be taken into consideration when designing a floor plan. Do not unnecessarily hurry in designing the floor plan. Take all the above factors into consideration because even if one thing is amiss in the beginning, the whole plan may needs to be redesigned. It is even worse if the construction has begun and then you find out that you forgot to factor in a thing or two.
When it comes to buying a beach house there are clearly a number of key points that need to be looked into before you go ahead and sign any agreements although only the main three are covered here. There is no doubt that this could very well be your dream home, but make the wrong decisions and the entire thing could turn into an absolute nightmare.
Location, Location, Location
First, you need to understand the importance of the location. How close are you to the beach? What is the view like? How busy is it? How noisy does it get on those sunny days? There are so many things to think about just regarding when it comes to where your beach house is situated, so think about what you want and make a note of those things, then hunt for that perfect beach house from the outset.
How well maintained has it been?
After finding what you believe to be your dream beach house, you need to check to see how well maintained it has been before you buy. It is important to remember that the salt from the water and also the sand can have a detrimental effect on the actual structure of the beach house even though it may not be visible to the naked eye. Get it checked out structurally before buying to save yourself a lot of hassle in the future.
Are there any associations?
Finally, it is also important to check if there are any associations because you will often find that some group has been established by the owners of the properties to help maintain the area. Checking this out is important as it will tell you what to expect with regard to communal areas, access, and whether you need to pay a service charge in order to even just own the building. These associations are a fantastic idea, but find out everything you can about them before you splash your cash.
There are plenty of reasons for building a small house, but if not planned out well enough small houses can be constricting, and coming up with a good small house plan to make each part of the home work could be quite a challenge. The following are some tips to allow you to come up with a viable plan for a small house plan.
Splitting the bedrooms
For small houses, it’s ideal to have the bedrooms set up on opposite sides of the house. In small spaces, conversations and door movements could disturb occupants of adjacent rooms. Having the bedrooms placed farther away from each other allows for better privacy and lessens noise for occupants.
Keeping private rooms protected
Keeping private rooms protected, or out of sight from the home’s public area can be tough for small homes. In small houses, it’s quite easy for guests to see into surrounding rooms from the living hall. Privacy could be jeopardized. That’s why as you set out to create your small house plan, to make private rooms such as bedrooms protected it might be best to come up with a winding design.
Consider high ceilings
Small spaces will look bigger with higher ceilings. Because ceilings are included in house plans, be sure that the ceilings in the most commonly used rooms such as the living room and dining hall are high. The ceilings in these areas should ideally be about eight feet.
Considerations for outdoor living spaces
Having an extended or outdoor living space compensates for the small indoor spaces in small homes. That’s why for small house plan, the outdoor areas should be included. You may choose to have a front porch or a carport built in front of the house and have a private patio built in the back. These areas are great for entertaining guests when they can’t all be accommodated inside during parties or family gatherings. They are also ideal for activities that you enjoy doing most, such as watching the sun as it sets or spending a quiet afternoon with family and friends.
Considerations for the garage
If you have a small home, it could be quite a challenge to build a garage, especially if you have two cars. To maximize your square footage, build a long enough and narrow enough garage that will fit a maximum of two cars.
As for bathrooms, small homes should have only one full bath, ideally in the master bedroom. The second bath should just include a shower. This allows occupants to still enjoy a good bath simultaneously on both bathrooms while maximizing space.
Another great tip to make a small house look larger is to allow plenty of natural light in. Larger windows and skylights may be considered in the living room and dining hall.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when building a garage.
Consider your needs now and in the future. Do you need space for lots of lawn equipment? Or do you plan on buying a boat that needs storage? It is important to know what you want to use the garage for so you make it the right size.
When selecting a Garage plan try and select one within your needs. Take into consideration any living space you may want to build into the garage plan. Also are you considering building a living space that includes a kitchen and a full bathroom? Make sure when picking a plan that it will fit all of your needs.
Also be sure your plan meets your county’s building codes before building your garage, get the permits you need, and make certain that the size and features fit in with the codes in the town you live in.
When picking out a Garage plan make sure it fits the style of your existing home. Selecting a garage plan that fits in with the existing property is important; return on investment can be affected if it doesn’t.
Some Reasons to Consider Building a Garage:
- Increase storage space.
- Garages can protect equipment and cars.
- Provide additional living space for visitors if made with the right amenities.
- If built well they can increase the value of your property as a whole.
If you are considering building a home or out-building, take a look out some of our garage plans or visit us at www.dfdhouseplans.com
From canvas grocery bags and recycled paper towels to hybrid cars and eco-friendly product packaging, the ‘green’ movement has permeated many different facets of our daily lives. When it comes to home building trends, things are no different.
The concept of green home design has been gaining steam for several years. Today, there are many different ways to incorporate environmentally friendly and sustainable practices and materials into the design and construction of a new home, including:
Size: Smaller spaces can be more eco-friendly for several reasons, including reduced energy consumption and fewer building materials. Thanks to smart design, shrinking square footage doesn’t mean cramped quarters, however; multi-purpose rooms, indoor/outdoor living spaces and open floor plans can make smaller, more energy-efficient homes seem expansive.
Location: When selecting a spot to build your brand new home, consider this: choosing a location where you can take advantage of natural features – sunlight, wind, water, soil and elevation, to name a few—can help reduce energy costs and building materials.
Materials: The use of eco-friendly, sustainable and non-toxic materials is a popular green initiative. Commonly used materials include recycled glass countertops, renewable plant products (such as bamboo) and lumber from sustainable forests.
Foliage: What better way to “go green” than by planting native trees on your property? Strategic landscaping can provide shade, reduce noise and offer privacy. When it comes to grass, choose a variety that requires minimal watering and maintenance.
Energy-efficient design, sustainable materials and natural features are all ‘green’ house plan features that can reduce long-term costs while still adding to your home’s value. If you’re looking to lessen your environmental impact, consider utilizing these practices when building your next home.