It might not feel like it right now, but spring is on its way. Sunday March 10th marks the beginning of daylight savings time, and we will once again spring forward into daylight. A few more hours of daylight are a precious commodity that can heighten spirits as we move into springtime.
What can you do with extra daylight? According to Lowe’s, you can prepare your home for use during the long warm late spring and summer nights.
1. You can begin by cleaning and washing the exterior of your home, including your patio and desk. It is important to finish cleaning before you plant your garden beds so that you don’t disturb any new plants. You can also clean your outdoor furniture and consider covering it until after the pollen has fallen.
2. Then, you can tune up your outdoor power equipment. This includes making sure that your lawn mower is in perfect condition. You can take the initiative by checking the engine oil, changing the blades, and even restringing your trimmer.
3. Trim and shape bushes around your yard and cut down low hanging tree branches. It’s best to complete this task early and clean up the pieces before you plant in your flowerbeds.
4. Place a new layer of pine straw or mulch in your beds to freshen them up. Just be sure to check with your homeowner’s association for restrictions.
5. Plan. This step is the most fun. Take a moment and plan where you want to add color with your spring landscape. Consider adding spring bulbs or perennials to your flowerbeds or you can decide to undertake planting a vegetable or herb garden.
Daylight savings time will bring with it the chance to do spend more time doing many outdoor activities, but if you plan on using a porch or patio during the spring and summer, a few simple tasks can make your outdoor space much more enjoyable and create an outdoor oasis from the second the clocks spring forward on Sunday March 10th at 2 a.m.
A kitchen counter is a space that is used for more than just cooking. It’s where kids do their homework and eat breakfast, and it is no surprise that they will probably take a lot of abuse during their lifetime. In recent years, quartz countertops have been on the rise. If you are thinking of the crystals that you would use during your high school experiments, think again. The quartz countertops found on the market today are stylish and fresh, and have their own benefits when it comes to making a smart choice for your kitchen counters.
Since your kitchen counters are bound to be a surface that will take a lot of abuse, one of the most important decisions regarding selecting a counter is surface durability. Before you worry about limitations of style and color, let’s begin by saying that both quartz and granite are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, making it easy to adapt either into your kitchen house plan.
Granite is a very strong material that resists cracking and chipping but quartz rates higher on the hardness scale. Quartz is also non-porous, which means it resists common stains such as oil, coffee, and wine better and is very easy to clean. Granite on the other hand, is composed of a crystalline structure that is composed of several fissures that requires regular sealing. This maintenance needs to be done about once a year or you run the risk of staining your granite or letting bacteria fester inside. Quartz on the other hand offers superior protection against pathogens.
Cost is another factor in choosing your countertops. While both make excellent choices for kitchen counters, the cost of the materials can vary greatly. Granite tends to be the more expensive material, depending on style. Quartz countertops can vary widely, but given the ease in maintaining the countertop, you might find the higher cost to be more practical than unreasonable.
Overall, the choice of granite or quartz countertops is really a matter of preference, but one thing is certain. When it comes to installing your countertops, make sure it is done by a specialist. Hiring a specialist will reduce the risk of chipping, breaking or fissuring. Check out these fabulous kitchen collections for Direct from the Designers to start creating your dream kitchen house plan.
No matter what size or style home you have, adding a fireplace to your home design will create a warm and cozy living space. Traditional fireplaces are not the most energy efficient, but you can still enjoy the comfort and warmth of a fire without wasting energy by installing an electric fireplace or insert instead. Here are three beautiful built-in electric fireplaces that are also affordable to operate:
This Dimplex® Kendal electric fireplace is beautifully crafted and operates at a low cost. You get the look and feel of a fireplace without having to retrieve wood. The Kendal electric fireplace operates for pennies an hour, four cents with flame only and nine cents with the heat cycling at fifty percent. With high-efficiency and beautiful craftsmanship, this would make a beautiful centerpiece to any room.
The Home Fire series from Modern Flames® operates with a low energy LED flame. Unlike the Dimplex® model, this fireplace is sleeker with a more contemporary fit and finish. This fireplace can be used with or without heat, so the ambiance of a fire can be found enjoyed all year around.
The Lennox® Ravelle™ fireplace is a high-efficiency, furnace-rated fireplace. With everything from white to black arches to nickel, gold, and black inserts, this fireplace is a stylish fireplace that will meet high heating demands. This is perfect for anyone who wants lots of options and can””t quite find the perfect fireplace for their decor.
The charm of a fireplace is enthralling, but it doesn””””t have to be expensive. Consider an electric fireplace and make sure you get the most for the cost of your heating bill. These beautiful fireplaces are energy-efficient and perfect for your home and any style home. Take a look at any of Direct from the Designers”””” specialty collections and you are sure to find the right match for your vision.
October means more than pumpkin spice lattes and falling leaves, it is also the time for ghouls and goblins to come out and play for Halloween. If your new home is going to be in a neighbor full of children there are bound to be trick-or-treaters at your home, and a house with the right architecture can provide the perfect atmosphere for a frightening All Hallows Eve.
The Victorian era has some fantastic architecture, ranging from the simple to the elaborate. With details such as stonework and archways, these homes provide the base for a haunting Halloween display. A large veranda provides enough space to display jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, or even some antiquated bottles with distressed labeling.
The Villain’s Cottage
Perhaps your dream home is more in tune with the witch’s cottage that Hansel and Gretel happen upon. While gingerbread and other baked goods won””””””””t make for an easy to maintain home, you can still make the creepy cottage in the woods a reality with a home that features detailed millwork.
While homes like this have charm, they can easily be made into scary exhibits for Halloween with a few well placed decorations and jack-o-lanterns along the entryway. Dress as the wicked witch and you’ll have a façade that is sure to fright neighbors and friends alike.
If your dream is to live in that house on the hill that looks like it came out of a Shirley Jackson novel, then consider a large towering mini castle house plan. Homes with castle-like silhouettes will also provide a sturdy backdrop for Halloween displays.
Ideal for a home with a spacious yard, small castle house plans like this can be made into instant Halloween spectacles with very little effort. Put a few pumpkins on the porch, and light the windows artistically, and before you know it, your home will be the stuff of legends.
These detailed houses might seem a little off-beat for a modern home, but with the right styling they can be the envy of the block on Halloween. Whether you go for understated Victorian or out-right Gothic, if Halloween is your holiday, your ideal home exists somewhere in the Direct from the Designers library.
Building a new home is such an exciting project and it all starts with a having great house plans – one that compliments your lifestyle, taste and budget and that you can envision living in for many years.
For Direct from the Designers latest issue of Her Dream Home the editor decided to share some of their top designer’s favorite house plans, based simply on their personal favorites and of course aesthetics, not their best-selling (though a few just happen to be) house plans. These plans were selected to help inspire you to find your dream house plan.
If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll enjoy the Ciscyane house plan, a contemporary Mediterranean featuring rich interior detailing. For every comfort of home, take a tour through the L’Attesa di Vita or if Craftsman is your style, take a look at the classic Halstad house plan. For a luxurious cottage house plan there’s the Olmstead, which features 3 levels of high-end living or if you’re looking for something smaller, there’s the well-designed, affordable bungalow cottage that’s just less than 2,000 sq. ft.
This issue also features articles about how to create a romantic master suite, the latest in pampering bath products and tips to design a cutting-edge home.
We would love to know which of these designs were your personal favorite and would be happy to answer any questions about these house plans or any of our collection of over 6,000 popular home plans.
Direct from the Designers newest energy efficient house plan is a two-story lodge log home. This new mountain house plan features plenty of windows for natural light and warmth, which helps reduce the cost of heating and electricity during the day. You can learn more about building a green home by reading this article featured in Direct from the Designers Green Living section. The two story vaulted ceiling in the great room is accented by two walls of windows and features a wood stove with hearth and cathedral ceilings.
It’s designed with 2” x 6” walls and log siding inside and out to minimize construction costs while meeting the more stringent energy codes in many localities, while retaining the charm of a traditional log home. Of course, this design can easily be modified to utilize other modern sidings and interior finishes. Simply contact Direct from the Designers by calling one of their home plan specialist at 877-895-5299 to find out how you can make this your custom dream home. All modification quotes are free. For your convenience you can fill out a modification form for any of their over 6,000 house plans.
Take a peek at the only collection of ENERGY STAR house plans.
House Plans: Her Dream Home from Direct from the Designers features House Plans with Great Curb Appeal
This latest issue of Her Dream Home from Direct from the Designers House Plans features great fall decorating ideas & tips that will inspire homeowners to dress up the porch, light up the home’s exterior, carve a pumpkin, roll out the welcome mat, make a homemade pie and showcase the fireplace. Homeowners will find some of Direct from the Designers newest house plans featuring innovative house plans with plenty of curb appeal.
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to dress your home in seasonal décor. There’s also an article on Creating an Authentic Craftsman Home, which highlights the key design elements to look for in a Craftsman house plan, particularly the front porch and entry.
“This new issue features some of Direct from the Designers most popular house plans based on curb appeal and interior design,” said Christine Sears, Managing Director of Direct from the Designers. “Readers will see spectacular homes with large open kitchens and living spaces and gorgeous outdoor living spaces to make entertaining easy.”
One of the homes featured in the new issue, The Fireglow Home Plan, captures the charm of homes from the French countryside. An offset entry featuring a fiberglass door from Therma-Tru’s® Classic-Craft® Rustic Collection™ opens to an impressive two-story foyer and a formal living room with fireplace lead to a formal dining room.
Another gorgeous home readers can take an inside peek of is The Chatham House Plan which embodies the essence of New England luxury and charm with its shingle-style gables, gambrels, columns, turrets, balconies and verandas. Inside is a spectacular grand circular rotunda with domed stained-glass ceiling and compass rose floor. The two-story great room with a curved bay window anchors the expansive family living space, which is great for entertaining.
For a selection of over 6,000 innovative house plans in a wide range of architectural styles and sizes, as well as their exclusive collection of ENERGY STAR house plans visit Direct from the Designers.
A recent issue of Dream Green by Direct from the Designers House Plans is all about satisfying home builders craving for creating an eco-friendly kitchen.
After all, the kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in any home and a key ingredient to any well-designed house plan. It is the place where we create great dishes and gather for food and conversation. When it comes time designing your new kitchen, be sure to satisfy your craving for style while balancing functionality, by making sure you have enough space for food preparation, storage, cooking and cleanup.
A great addition to any kitchen design is to incorporate a kitchen island so you can have extra space for food preparation and cleanup and more time for socializing. It is especially useful for entertaining, snacking, light lunches and breakfast, if you have enough room to add seating.
All of the house plans in Direct from the Designers green collection feature the latest in kitchen design ideas, from green flooring products to high-efficiency appliances, gorgeous countertops, water-efficient faucets and decorative millwork.
If you don’t already have a free subscription to Dream Green, please click here.
Since building a home will most likely be one of the biggest projects of your lifetime, it is important that you select the right house plan for your needs, lifestyle and budget. Remember that you’re not just purchasing a home plan for today, but for a growing and exciting future.
A key element to finding the right house plan is to look for floor plans that offer lots of flexibility. For example, where a bedroom can easily be converted into a home office, nursery or den. You many not think you need it now, but plans that offer optional bonus spaces and basement floor plans are a great asset down the road when you find yourself needing more space for your growing family.
As you get ready to search for the perfect home plan, you need to evaluate your needs, lifestyle and finances by asking yourself some important questions:
What is your marital status? This will help determine what size home you will need, the amount of flexibility you need from your floor plan and the location of its bedrooms.
Are you an avid cook? Do you enjoy entertaining? If the answer is yes then you’ll want to make sure that you have a large, functional kitchen space. Most new kitchen designs feature designated work zones for preparation, cooking and cleaning. An open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room and great room share the same space makes it easy to socialize, especially if they lead to an outdoor living space.
Will you need extra space for overnight guests? If you have out-of-state family and friends you should consider a house plan with a guest suite or bonus room that can easily be converted in a bedroom.
Do you have a realistic home building budget? Being realistic about the amount of money you actually can afford to invest in building your new home is key to you enjoying your home. Even if you can afford a larger home now, keep in mind all the expenses that go into operating and maintaining a home this size, especially if your financial situation changes down the road. A well-designed house plan will allow for future expansions and include bonus spaces and basement options so you can easily add more space to your home.
It’s definitely a great idea to purchase a cost estimator (you can get a pretty comprehensive cost-to-build report for around $30) before you buy a house plan to make sure you not only can afford to build your home, but all the yearly utilities, taxes and maintenance bills that go along with owning a home.
Will you need a home office? Whether you work at home or not, you’ll appreciate having a dedicated office in your home so you can keep all your personal finances and projects together.
How important is it to have a master suite? Your bedroom should be the place you go to escape and relax after a long day. It should have all the features you need to pamper yourself like large windows, a sitting area, master bath with spa shower and/or hot tub and huge walk-in closets. While looking at house plans decide whether you want the master suite on the first or second floor or left or right wing of your home.
Do you want an outdoor living space? You can easily extend your home’s living space by incorporating an outdoor living space like a patio, porch, deck, outdoor kitchen and/or living room, sunroom and pool area.
It’s not only natural, but expected that when you find the “perfect” house plan, you’ll want to make some changes to truly personalize your home. Most modifications can be made by your builder directly on the blueprint (called redlining) to minimize costs. For more extensive changes, you’ll want to have the designer or architect make the modifications for you. Look for house plan companies that offer free modification quotes to make sure you can afford to build your home. If not, you’ll know what type of house plan you should be looking at that fits your needs and budget.
ENJOY searching for your dream house plan!
Everything about this European house plan is green, especially the way it integrates the indoor and outdoor living spaces. From sustainable materials like stone and stucco to barrel tile roofs to energy-efficient appliances to eco-friendly floors, countertops and decorative millwork – this home is designed to last forever. This breathtaking design is filled with plenty of entertaining areas like the lanai, loggia, courtyard, porch and pool. Inside you can enjoy an open floor plan where the gourmet kitchen looks into the great room with fireplace and gallery.
You will also enjoy browsing our collection of new green house plans (all part of our first ENERGY STAR house plan competition), which you cannot find anywhere else. For more information on how to build or remodel a home to incorporate sustainable and energy efficient practices and products, check out the newly added Green Living section. It is packed with informative articles on the latest tips, trends and products so you can live healthy and smart.