(0 comments, 78 posts)
This user hasn't shared any profile information
Home page: http://www.dfdhouseplans.com/
Posts by admin
The garage is a main entrance for many homeowners, but it also serves a number of other design functions. While plenty of homes feature garage entrances on their front facades, homeowners may want to consider the advantages of side-loading garages, an easily achievable addition to many craftsman house plans.
A cleaner front
Side-loading garages are often built for the purpose of aesthetics. Garages on the front of the house can be distracting and are even considered an eyesore to some. Homeowners who want a "cleaner" front to their home may want to situate the garage on the side, where it is out of sight. A perfect example of the aesthetic gain of a side-loading garage is this family-friendly home model, which offers a perfectly symmetrical facade that would be disrupted by the placement of a garage door. Side-loading garages may not only suit your tastes, they can make a huge difference years down the line if you ever consider selling.
Curb appeal is one of the main arguments for a side-loading garage. While you may not be interested in selling your house anytime soon, this design choice may be considered an investment, much like the decision to buy a home in the first place. The front of a house is the first impression that potential buyers get, and can often influence their decision about whether to even look at the rest of the house.
While a side-loading garage can look cleaner, it can sometimes be pricier and more inconvenient for homeowners than a simple front-loading garage. Every inch of driveway costs money, and you'll likely need to pave more to reach the side of the house than the front. Homeowners should talk with their architect or contractor about ways to minimize the cost of an extended driveway.
Another large problem with side garages is a matter of space. Your driveway will likely lead from the front yard to the side of the house, where it must then make a 90 degree turn to connect to the garage. Cars will need enough space to make that turn comfortably, meaning more pavement on the side of the house and a large enough lot to accommodate a sizable driveway.
This issue actually leads to a different kind of aesthetic concern. While you may have preserved the integrity of the front facade, driveways can eat up a considerable proportion of a side yard, thereby cutting down on grass, plants and potentially play space for children.
If you have a sizable lot, then a side-loading garage may be a good option. However, whichever way you lean, it's also important to consider the overall design of the house in relation to the garage. The layout in this Mediterranean style home, for example, is positioned so that the garage connects immediately to a utility room and kitchen, while at the same time creating an enclave at the entrance of the house. In this case, the garage makes aesthetic as well as utilitarian sense. While you may be disinclined to choose a side-loading garage, you also need to examine connections such as these and decide whether the position of the garage contributes to a natural flow through the house.
Working the front
In that same vein, it's important to recognize that not all side-loading garages are prettier than their front-loading counterparts. Often a front-loading garage is an opportunity for smart and elegant design. While the garage is conspicuous, the door is designed to match the wood cladding on the left side of the facade, creating a tasteful connection throughout the house.
You want your dining room table to seat family and friends comfortably, but you also need it to sit inside your home. Getting the perfect dining room table to fit your floor plans is about striking a balance between personal preference and function. Here are some considerations when choosing this key piece of furniture:
Ample table space
Dining room tables are meant for family and formal feasts alike. As such, you'll want a table that can accommodate place settings and serving dishes comfortably, as well as candles and centerpieces. Be sure to account for elbow room in addition to space taken up for plates, silverware, drinks and side dishes. Any less space than two feet per person will feel crowded. If you have people sitting across from one another, you'll want a table that's at least three feet wide.
You'll also want to keep in mind how many people you plan to seat around your table. Couples who expect to have kids should plan for a potential need for more place settings in the future. Also, if you plan on hosting holiday dinners or even friendly gatherings, you may want to invest in a table that fits more than just your family unit. However, you may not have any interest in hosting dinner parties or even eating meals in the dining room. If you plan to use that space as a flex room, feel free to choose a table that better suits your needs.
Chair and walking room
Guests at your table are going to need to get up out of their chairs, not to mention ample room to walk around the dining area. While you can technically fit chairs with two feet of room between table and wall, three feet will make for a much more comfortable dining space. You should also give yourself more room if you plan to have other furnishings in the room, such as a liquor trolley or a cabinet for fine china. However, you may also get away with less room on one side if the adjacent wall is knocked down for an open layout.
Your final consideration should be how the table fits with the overall design of the room. You may want to find a table that fits the style of the rest of the room. A formal, neocolonial space may look best with an antique table, while a room decorated in the vein of country house plans may look best with something more roughly hewn and rustic. However, much more important than the material and ornament of the table is its shape.
In a square room, you can easily fit any shape of table, whether round, square or rectangular. However, in oblong rooms, a circular or square table will likely look strange. Furthermore, the table should be oriented to parallel the layout of the space, so that the longer sides of a table correspond with the longer sides of the room. This layout also maximizes efficiency.
Looking at a test case
Craftsman house plans such as this one feature plenty of versatility in terms of dining. In addition to the dining room, there is also a nook and a barbecue porch, all of which can have a dining table. To illustrate the previous points, a table in the dining room should probably be no less than 3' by 3' and no bigger than 7' by 10'. If need be, the dining room can cheat on the 2' walk space rule on the side closest to the foyer. Given the presence of the fireplace and the semi-open layout between the dining room and the family room, a small, modest dining room table may be the best option to match the space.
People shopping for floor plans in 2014 may find themselves in good company. Despite a slight dip in housing starts in December compared to November, it seems as if the housing production market will continue to grow in the coming year, with some cities already showing historic highs in terms of home building.
Spikes and improvements
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released statistics concerning the number of new privately owned housing units authorized in permit-issuing places over the past year, as well as statistics on the different phases of construction for new privately owned units. Nationally speaking, the number of permits and housing starts saw a decrease from November to December last year, with a 3 percent and a 10 percent dip respectively. However, November marked an unusual spike in 2013's overall trend.
Compared to December 2012, this last month actually saw a 4 percent increase in terms of authorized permits. Looking at yearly averages, there was a 17.5 percent improvement between 2012 and 2013, with 974,700 housing units last year over the 829,700 issuances in the previous year.
These statistics saw a roughly similar pattern in terms of housing starts, as there was a 1.6 percent increase in December 2013 compared to December 2012, and, in terms of yearly change, an 18.3 percent increase.
Breaking down the numbers
These national totals included multi- as well as single-family homes, but the statistics also showed improvements across differently sized housing units. Single-family homes – the largest sector of housing construction – also saw a percentage increase in permits authorized from year to year, as well as the number of homes under construction. Between 2012 and 2013, there was actually a 19 percent increase in single-family permits, roughly 1.5 percent higher than the total average. Housing starts, however, saw a roughly 3 percent dip for single-family homes. These numbers were then further broken down by national regions, all of which saw a yearly increase in issued permits.
While the December dip may seem to be a sign that the housing market is slowing, Rick Judson – chairman of the National Association of Home Builders – noted that December's numbers were merely a return to trend after a particularly robust November, and that it was the third-highest monthly level of production in 2013, according to the NAHB. In general, that trend seems to be positive.
"Last year was a good year for home building, with overall production up 18 percent from 2012," said Chief Economist David Crowe of the National Association of Home Builders. "As pent-up demand is unlocked and the labor market improves, we anticipate that 2014 should be an even better year for home construction. That's good news for economic growth, as each new home that is built creates three full-time jobs and contributes to the tax base of local communities."
Cities of growth
While those statistics looked at general trends across regions, USA Today recently reported that some cities are seeing particularly robust improvements. Major cities in Texas in particular have reached 30-year average levels of single-family home building, specifically in Houston and Austin. Other cities that saw improvements include Nashville, San Antonio, Dallas and Jacksonville. When including multifamily construction, San Francisco, New York Seattle, Boston and Miami also reached or surpassed their own historic building levels.
Apparently some cities were able to reach those numbers because they hadn't already been overbuilt. Yet, according to the news source, economists are citing available land, pent-up demand, strong economies and good job growth as other reasons for the improved numbers.
When it comes to window treatments, you have your choice between four main styles – shades, shutters, blinds and drapes. Each one has its own set of characteristics to best suit your needs. As you decide which designs to buy for your home, you'll want to consider each and every room in terms of its light, heat and aesthetic requirements. Here to help you decide is an introduction to window coverings and how to pick the right ones.
Windows are an essential element to your home – not just for privacy or blocking light at night, but also for regulating the temperature of your home. Sunlight through your windows can provide solar gain, thereby warming your home. However, blinds are key in regulating the amount of solar gain, especially in the summer months, when rooms are liable to overheat. In the wintertime, you also run the risk of losing heat through glass, which is a poor insulator. Window treatments help to retain heat in winter months and during cold nights.
A treatment for every situation
Some of these window treatments are better at insulating and blocking light than others. However, you don't just want to pick the best insulator for every room, as you'll likely have different light, heat and privacy needs from room to room. The southern-facing wall of your home, for example, will let in the most light of any facade, and as such you may want heavy shades to block out the sun on really hot days. Because many people choose house floor plans with large bay windows on the south side to let in light, you'll also have more heat radiating through the glass in the winter. Closed window treatments during cold nights are also essential to retaining heat. North-facing walls, however, receive little light and so don't require as much shade. Lightweight drapes that allow light may be a better option.
Also, consider the various privacy requirements for two-story house plans, such as this one, compared to single-story craftsman house plans. Downstairs, thin drapes may be fine, but for upstairs bedrooms, you'll still want something opaque so that light doesn't get in and privacy is afforded. With the south-facing great room, however, slatted blinds may be preferable.
This type of window treatment is often used purely as decoration on the side of neocolonial homes, though many are not actually able to shut. However, they do provide a sturdy treatment that can reduce temperature fluctuations in a home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a solid shutter fitted close to a window frame creates an insulating air space. They can also be combined with other shading elements for greater insulation. They also provide a physical barrier from the elements.
The insulating abilities of drapes depends largely on the fabric being used. If you want a lot of insulation, then thick, dark drapes that layer atop one another are your best option. However, you can also use thin drapes to create soft lighting a room.
Shades and blinds
The terms shades and blinds are often used interchangeably, but in general, blinds have slats. Because these slats are often adjustable, they allow homeowners flexibility in terms of letting in light and air. However, slats also create small slits where air can get through, making them less effective at retaining heat in the winter.
Unlike blinds, shades are generally comprised of a single piece of fabric that can be pulled down over glass. These are highly effective means of insulation that can be improved upon through layers and sealed edges.
Jurisdictions across the U.S. have taken to charging impact fees on new developments. These fees are designed to cover the cost of utilities, schools, roads, parks and other community amenities that form the public infrastructure. Contractors may already be aware of these fees, but homeowners looking at floor plans should, too, as they can become reflected in the overall cost of a newly built home.
History of impact fees
According to the National Association of Home Builders, impact fees started in the 1970s in Florida and California as a funding source in light of federal aid cutbacks. Since then, they have become a resort for communities across the country in need of money to immediately improve public infrastructure, as well as those that have been unable to procure the necessary funding through regular bureaucratic channels. The context and legality of impact fees is a complex issue that has spawned into a handbook from the NAHB that is more than 100 pages long. However, what homeowners and contractors both need to know is that impact fees are now a common occurrence. Developers and builders need to know about the impact fee for their projects and figure out how to offset those costs. Homeowners should understand that impact fees translate into higher home prices depending on where they build.
Impact fees across regions
The latest survey concerning national impact fees comes from Duncan Associates in 2012, which compiled states' average impact fees. California had the highest of any state, with impact fees totaling $31,014 on average. The next highest impact fees were found mainly in the western and mid-Atlantic regions of the country, with Washington, Oregon, Montana, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia all having average mpact fees between $10,000 and $17,000. Conversely, much of the Mid-West and Northeastern regions of the country had impact fees under $4,000 or none at all. Some of those without fees included Mississippi, Alabama, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, both Dakotas and Michigan.
Understanding the effects
The NAHB noted that the earlier a developer or builder knows the impact fee, the sooner he or she can adjust the cost of a home. Waiting too long could mean incurring the cost and losing out on a profit margin. Homeowners, on the other hand, will want to know impact fees to know how greatly the cost of the home is affected. They should also note that impact fees will change across jurisdictions, meaning choice of lot could determine the affordability of certain home projects or even of the home plans themselves.
Campers can attest to the warmth and comfort of a good campfire. Around it, stories are shared, bread is broken and nighttime chills are kept pleasantly at bay. Fire pits are a way for homeowners to bring that cozy intimacy into their very own backyards – no tent required.
Fire pits today are so much more than the name implies, easily built into any shape and size and able to be fueled by your gas line. With so many options, it's important that homeowners take a look at just how fire pits can be incorporated into their home designs.
The main purpose for a fire pit is communal, a place where people can gather and enjoy the flame whether on a winter day or a cool summer evening. As such, plenty of thought should be given to the design of the pit. It serves not just a decorative element in the backyard, but a centerpiece for parties and hangouts. Brick and stone are common, simple and elegant materials for a fire pit, often built in a circle a couple of feet high, though the pit can be any shape or depth you want. A good example of a classic fire pit is shown in the example of this country house plan. Even without a fire, the pit is still an attractive element of the backyard that matches the gray pillars and concrete floor of the house design.
While a 3-foot-wide fire pit may be a perfectly tasteful and modest size, homeowners should not feel limited by convention. If the fire pit is the main attraction of the backyard, it may be more enjoyable to go big with something as large as a 6-foot-wide fire pit. Conversely, if you have other attractions in your backyard, such as a pool, it may be better to scale back to a more manageable size.
When designing your fire pit, there are a few essential concerns you should address. First, you'll want to make sure there is enough room for people to sit around the pit comfortably. Second, you'll want to make sure that the fireplace is shallow enough that people can actually see the fire inside. While a well-designed fire pit can look beautiful without being lit, you still want the fire to be an attention-grabbing element. Finally, if you plan on having a wood-burning fire pit, you need to make sure it's deep enough to contain the fire, which is its original purpose in the first place.
Beyond the pit
Of course, technology and design have taken the fire pit well beyond its humble beginnings. Metal woks, troughs, tables and even gas-fueled rock piles are just some of the more modern approaches being used in new homes. That means a greater ability to customize a fire pit to a home. A chic, metal bowl design could be a good fit with minimalist contemporary house plans. Sprawling, graded backyards could make use of two small pits or troughs strategically positioned at different levels. Pool backyards could make use of a fire-lit grotto. If there is a design you have in mind, chances are you can find it or have it custom built.
You even have the option of blurring the line that separates indoors from the outdoors with full-blown fireplace, as seen in this elegant and luxurious patio design. With this particular patio, you can treat it as a secondary living room. Best of all, you, your guests and the fireplace are all protected from the elements, so you can enjoy the blaze come rain or shine.
If you want your home to be picture perfect, then you should think of landscaping as the frame. The right exterior design not only showcases your home, it also has the ability to put it in the best possible light. Also like a picture frame, landscaping can cost quite a bit more money than you'd originally intended to spend.
Designing outdoor terrain wisely and economically is in many ways a unique response to lots and the floor plans involved. After all, you would never want to block an interesting detail lifted from modern house plans with shrubs, nor would you want to leave a two-story house's yard bare, making it feel exposed and imposing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money while still creating beautiful yards. To better illustrate smart design, here are some tips and how they would apply to one of our contemporary house plans were it built in the New England area.
Account for site
This particular plan is designed for a sloped lot, so that the front facade appears only to be one story, while the backyard reveals a sprawling first floor, a sizable basement and an interestingly asymmetrical design. Given the cutaway nature of the home, there is plenty of opportunity for landscaping all around the house.
Homeowners may be tempted to blindly landscape their yard with all of the plants and trees they love, but that can end up with a large bill for unnecessary design. Landscaping should be a response to the house's focal points and design elements. As such, trees in the front yard would unnecessarily obscure the grand pillared entrance and the interesting stone wall facade. Low shrubs may be a better choice. As you walk along the left side of the house, you can start to incorporate taller bushes and trees as the wall gets larger. Flowers can also be used strategically to emphasize walking paths, creating a strong visual element that doesn't require an entire flower bed. By choosing plants as a tool for showcasing your house, you can save more money than by just designing a pretty yard.
Buy natives and perennials
The kinds of flowers and shrubs you choose to buy will likely be the largest factor in your landscaping expense. Exotic flowers and shrubs that can't handle the climate are ultimately a waste of money. Stick to tried and true plants that will thrive in the region. Better Homes and Gardens provides a guide to the top native plants of the Northeast, many of which are easy to grow and maintain. Wild Anemone and Merrybells, for example, are both beautiful ground covers that can be used to line the sides of the house or demarcate the border of your property.
Also, you'll get more bang for your buck with perennials. They last longer than other types of plants and also generally cost less. Be sure to accent with at least some kind of tree, which can become an essential focal point on the back end of a house as sizable as our example.
Utilize mulch paths and built objects
This home boasts plenty of nooks and crannies. Laying down winding flagstone paths can be expensive and unnecessary, especially for a home that lends itself to a more humble landscaping approach. Mulch paths are cheaper than stone and match the country cottage vibe of the front-yard design.
Buy and plant at the right time
Plants and seeds change in cost throughout the year depending on the season and kind of plant. Research the cheapest seasons for those plants that interest you before buying. Also, you should plant at those times that best guarantee survival. Summer can leave flowers and grass without water to establish roots. In New England, you should also be wary of fluctuating temperatures in early spring that might frost and kill plants.
Designing your perfect home demands a keen eye, a good imagination and a reliable contractor. Pre-drawn house plans remove a lot of the stress that comes with developing a plan from scratch, but there's still a long way to go once the blueprints are made. Fortunately, apps are making house design and decoration easier than ever.
It doesn't matter what aspect of the home building process you're on, or what kind of plans you're working with, there's likely an app that will give you decoration ideas, help you better visualize the space, introduce you to the best new products and even better pick paint and window treatments. Here are some reliable apps that can help with your plans.
Whether you're looking for indoor lighting inspiration or fire pit plans, Houzz is one of the best design apps out there. The website is home to over 2,00,000 design photos, easily organized for casual browsing. Homeowners in need of kitchen ideas can simply scroll through the collection of more than 500,000 images on the website. They can filter their search by browsing in terms of location or even style, so that homeowners with contemporary house plans can look at equally modern kitchen suggestions. If there's an idea that seems to stick out, the app lets users clip the image and save it for later. When it's time to buy a product, the app also has links to specific items in the photos.
Planning the layout
Chances are, you'll be spending plenty of time with your contractor figuring out the most efficient use of your floor plans. Yet, you'll want more than just a paper copy or PDF to work with. For the tech savvy, plenty of apps allow users to digitally map out their plans and decorate them accordingly. Some, such as Floorplanner and Home 3D, let you make a multi-dimensional rendering of the plans so that you can get a better sense of the size and scale of the space. Once it comes time to choose furniture, you'll already have a good understanding of what could work in any given room.
People that are already well underway in terms of construction may also want to consider MagicPlan, which automatically draws floor plans of your rooms based on pictures you've taken. This tool can be especially helpful if you're trying to determine how furniture is going to fit into a space.
Choosing window treatments
Once construction is complete, the design options will actually seem to multiply, as you must now choose the highly customizable details of your home. Window treatments are one of those elements that can greatly affect the look and feel of a room, as they filter the kind of sunlight that comes through while serving as decorative pieces in their own right. The Window Shopper from Blinds.com is a fun and engaging way to find the perfect window covers for your home. Users simply take a photo of their window and outline the dimensions on the app. They can then browse through a catalog of digital window treatments as they would appear on the window.
Paint is another big decision in your new home, and many big companies already lend their name to a burgeoning field of color apps to assist in choosing the perfect shades. HGTV's Color Guide is a source of scrapbook inspiration, while Color Capture by Benjamin Moore will determine a palette based on shades in photographs you've taken. ColorSmart by Behr tries to match appropriate shades to photos of your room.
Counter space is invaluable in a kitchen, which means that efficient design is key. Integrated drain boards are one of the more ingenious elements you can incorporate into your kitchen. Best of all, their sleek but unassuming look makes them as fitting a choice for modern house plans as they are for detail-oriented craftsman homes.
When first moving into a home, kitchen counters look beautiful and untouched. Yet, inevitably homeowners must find places for spices, cutting boards and draining racks – one of the more unsightly, utilitarian aspects of a kitchen. The integrated drain board is an engineer's response to that problem. A section of the counter next the sink is slanted slightly so that water naturally pours into the basin. A series of ridges continue from the flat part of the counter over the incline to keep an even plane. Dishes, pots and pans that still need to dry can be places on the ridges, allowing water to drip onto the incline and into the sink. When it comes time to clean the drain board, all you need to do is wipe it down with a dish towel. Once you've put away the dishes, you have a countertop free of clutter.
The space saved by an integrated drain board makes it a good design element for kitchens large and small. With traditional drying racks, you would have to find storage space for them when they're not being used. When you're not using an integrated board, you can easily place a cutting board on top of it to create a flat surface for kitchen work. If you are cutting or cleaning raw vegetables or meat, you just need to remember to wash the drain board thoroughly, which is again made easy by its self-draining design. The only drawback is that the drain board is a custom part of the countertop, meaning that you need to make a decision to install one before laying down your chosen surface.
Matching to your home
The aesthetic benefit of an integrated drain board is obvious, as your kitchen will consist of fewer distracting design elements. For craftsman house plans, you may choose to have the ridges be the same material as the rest of the countertop. For more modern, minimalist home designs, you can choose to make the ridges metal to create a sleek, contemporary statement. Once you've decided on a drain board, the style is really up to you.
Ceilings are often one of the most neglected surfaces when it comes to home decoration. While a fresh coat of paint or an intriguing light fixture can be enough to make people turn their heads skyward, homeowners can really give their homes a distinguished, professional look with box beams.
If you're working with a soaring pitched ceiling based on luxury house plans, box beams can ground the design by adding some texture to the massive field. Should you be working with country house plans, then these faux beams lend an architectural flourish. Follow these tips to implement beams in a tasteful and sophisticated manner.
What they are
Box beams, also known as box girders, are hollow squares traditionally designed to resemble the beams that actually hold up roofs. In some buildings, particularly cabins and cottages, those beams may actually be exposed, adding a rustic charm. Yet, more often than not, they are hidden behind strand board and drywall. Box beams, which have no architectural function in terms of the structural integrity of the building, are meant to evoke some of the ambience of that obscured architecture.
While box beams commonly invoke that key structural element of a house frame, they have evolved into a more encompassing design element involving a form of three-dimensional gridding across the ceiling. You have the option of simple, unvarnished 4×4 beams or you can get richly ornamented coffered ceilings that match traditional crown molding. While the style of your box beams are mostly a reflection of personal tastes, the width, thickness and overall layout should, in part, take into consideration the height and pitch of your ceiling.
No matter the ceiling, there are some general design guidelines you should follow in order to make box beams look good. First, it's important that they aren't so close together that they start to look like clutter. Generally, standard-sized box beams should have a minimum distance of 16 inches between each parallel piece, if for no other reason than to mimic common joist spacing. However, thicker beams may look better with more distance between them, as would smaller grids for thinner box beams. Also, if your ceiling is already textured with wood, box beams may make the surface appear too busy. Finally, make sure that the beams are perfectly orthogonal and evenly spaced, even if the wood itself isn't completely straight. Because box beams will extend across the length of your ceiling, it will be easy to detect angles in the grid.
Flat versus pitched
This luxury house plan features both flat and pitched ceilings, each of which demand their own box beam layout. If you have a flat ceiling, then a grid will look fitting, but you can also just have a series of parallel beams. If your ceilings are low, just remember that the thickness of the beams will make them feel even lower. Pitched ceilings, however, will look odd with grids. A better approach is to have a box beam along the center ridge, with perpendicular boxes extending down the ceiling slopes, again with ample and even spacing. Generally, any time there is a ridge, you want to place your box beams along it, as demonstrated with the peaked ceiling in the foyer.
Exposing your beams
Of course, you may also have the option to expose the already existing beams in the house. However, that depends on you and your contractor's choice of building materials and your own desire for authenticity. Thick, solid beams require large, long pieces of wood, which are usually costly. Contractors generally use trusses or thinner joists instead of solid, square pieces of lumber because they are a cheap, efficient use of materials that boast comparable structural efficiency. Your option, then, is to either pay more for heavyset exposed lumber, or you can "box out" the exposed trusses or thinner joists by essentially cladding them with flat pieces of wood.