House Plans and Collections
Patios bring to mind summer barbecues and poolside relaxation. The promise of warm weather recreation may be more than enough to sell people on patios, but they can also serve as a versatile and elegant addition to your new home.
Apart from serving as a summer gathering space, patios can make the backend of homes appear more elegant and inviting, breaking up the landscape and providing a smooth transition from house to yard. They also don't necessarily need to be relegated to any one season. There are plenty of craftsman house plans featuring a wide array of patios that lend themselves for almost the entire year.
While many of those patio designs are shaped with the overall house plan in mind, you have the ability to customize your own backyard hangout spot as you see fit. To help give you some inspiration, here's an overview of different kinds of patios, and house plans that seamlessly incorporate them into their design:
This type of patio, as displayed in renderings of this house plan, is one of the simplest and most versatile. Homeowners can use this covered space in the summer as a way of escaping the oppressive heat. Should an afternoon shower interrupt your enjoyment of the outdoors, you can also retreat to watch the rainfall. This particular patio is wide enough to fit a table and chairs for a meal in the evening air. It also has three separate entry points for easy, casual access, whether from the master bedroom, nook or family room.
Patios serve as transition spaces from inside to outside. A covered patio helps in that regard, but a smoother, more elegant transformation may involve a two-tiered setup. This craftsman house plan features an extensive patio that feels naturally partitioned by way of simple design elements, such as stairs, partial coverings and even a fireplace.
The lower portion of the patio in these renderings is used as a poolside lounge space, though homeowners may reserve it for a table and chairs. Meanwhile, the staircase flanked by two pillars creates a natural entryway that draws people up to the separate upper space, which can be used for further seating, either with lounge chairs or tasteful couches. The uncovered portion of the upper deck is yet another subsection, reserved for fireside cooking or sitting.
While many patio designs feature a simple rectangular design, you don't need to feel like your patio is limited to such simple dimensions. One design for your patio is to have it wrap around the exterior of the home. This kind of layout is especially interesting for homes with a uniquely shaped footprint, such as the one featured in this house plan. The angular shape of the patio aids in creating the feeling of separate and intriguing patio spaces. The strip of patio next to the bathroom and family room is almost entirely hidden from view from the cozy covered section bordering the sitting room. The space in between opens up to the rest of the backyard. This design can even be extended to wrap around other sides of the house.
Open and away
Of course, patios don't necessarily need to be attached to the house. Another design idea that can be used for most house plans is a separate patio in the backyard. These kinds of spaces generally require some sort of conceptual structure that will draw people to the space. Fire pits are an easy, eye-catching element that serve as a natural gathering spot for people. Lay out a patio space with a pit in the middle, and you can set up chairs around it.
Unlike heads, two floors aren't always better than one. There are many benefits that come from a one-story house plan, all of which may best be described in terms of energy efficiency.
Heating and cooling are perhaps the most commonly understood concepts when it comes to energy efficiency, but it may also apply to the energy involved in construction, or even the effort required to clean a home. Despite the compact nature of many one-story homes, however, they can still deliver spacious interiors and flexibility of design, as demonstrated by plans such as this one. Here are just some of the potential advantages that could come with sticking to the ground floor.
Maintaining temperature in a home can be costly, and the design of that home has a huge impact on how effectively it's done. The more rooms there are in a house, the more energy that will be required to heat and cool. One-story houses generally have fewer rooms compared to homes of a similar footprint. Yet, they are more energy efficient also due to the nature of air. Heat rises, which means that the warm air in a two-story home will immediately rise to the second floor, making it take longer to heat up the downstairs or even make immediate changes to a house's temperature. In a one-story, heat will immediately hit the ceiling and begin to spread to other rooms.
Of course, the relative efficiency of homes depends on the size of the floor plan. One-story homes that occupy twice as much lot space as their taller counterparts may become less efficient as a result of their sprawling design. Also, the quality of construction and a home's thermal seal will drastically affect HVAC performance.
While the size of the footprint is again a relevant factor, generally, one-story house plans demand less construction materials and building time than two-story homes. Those materials, ranging from wood and concrete to glass and stone, make up the inherent energy of a home. Cutting down on them reduces the environmental impact of building the structure. That reduction can be both eco-friendly and also cost-effective for homeowners trying to save money.
Less cleaning effort
Hiking up and down stairs can be a pain, especially with a laundry basket or a vacuum in tow. By getting rid of the stairs, you can save yourself plenty of time and effort. You may also cut down on the safety hazard that comes with carrying heavy materials up steps. Sticking to one floor may also mean fewer rooms to clean, as many one-story homes have great rooms and other flexible designs that make spaces compact.
Another way such single-story homes can make your lifestyle more efficient is by limiting the amount of space you have to store your belongings. That may sound more stressful than beneficial, but less room often forces people to be more efficient with their furnishings and more careful about the junk they choose to keep around. Less stuff also leads to fewer things that require cleaning or clutter that demands organizing come spring. Reducing clutter can even cut down on the stress that comes with maintaining such a heavily furnished home.
Shorter homes still come with their disadvantages. They may not offer as much space, and privacy may be harder to come by when much of a one-story home's design is based on multi-use spaces. Also, as mentioned, the listed advantages are based on comparable footprints between one- and two-story homes. Yet, for homeowners that that are interested, they may find these smaller houses to be a cozy and efficient means of living.
Paste Magazine recently posted its predictions for the top 10 design trends of 2014. One in particular – high style at low prices – is an equally fitting description of pre-drawn house plans. People hoping to build a home that's luxurious inside and out may just have a bright year ahead of them.
The economics of pre-drawn plans
A personal architect will help customize your home to your every whim – for a price. Unfortunately, that level of site-specific design is enough to price out plenty of prospective homeowners. Pre-drawn house plans offer the advantage of a much cheaper alternative. However, a cost-effective blueprint doesn't necessarily equate to poor quality design. Plenty of pre-drawn home plans are designed by renowned architects, and an extensive selection of such blueprints means that buyers may be able to find their dream home at a fraction of the cost of designing from scratch. These pre-drawn blueprints range from French country designs to luxury house plans, ensuring that it is, indeed, possible to achieve high style at low prices.
Matching inside to the outside
Fine house plans such as this one demand equally tasteful and elegant design. According to Paste Magazine, home goods stores are making it easier than ever for homeowners to achieve high-class looks at affordable prices. The Internet also has plenty of design websites that grant shoppers the opportunity to find deals on normally pricey furnishings. Chandeliers to hang in the dining room or in a grand stairwell can be found at a bargain online, whether homeowners are looking for something rustic, minimalist or Victorian. No matter what you're looking for, you can probably find it on sale online.
Of course, high style at low prices has always been available for buyers who know how to look. Thrift stores and antique shops offer plenty of slightly used but nonetheless high-quality furnishings. In many instances, you can find these older goods to be of a better craftsmanship and durability than mass-produced furniture made today. The trick to shopping used is to look past initial appearances. Ripped fabric or a scratched leg of a couch may seem unappealing, but reupholstering and refurbishing are relatively cheap services. You can even do them yourself. More important when buying used furniture is determining whether the structure is intact, the materials of good quality and the basic design appealing. Other flaws can usually be buffed, stained or patched according to your needs.
Taking advantage of other trends
Given the possibility for affordable design, people can even start implementing some of the year's other supposed design trends. These included rich, luxurious fabrics and sculptural artwork, both of which would add some serious flair to any room. Light wood and natural elements were other predicted highlights for the year. Given that wood shades are always coming in and out of style, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a nice piece of used furniture made from maple, oak, ash or pine. People who like print also have reason to embrace design in 2014, as classic patterns with a modern twist also made the list. The celebration of pattern is yet another reason why homeowners may want to try their hand at reupholstering antiques at a fraction of the cost.
Daylight basements certainly seem to suggest a sunny disposition, and they definitely can be key to a brighter, more enjoyable home. Sometimes referred to as a walkout basement, this style commonly featured in craftsman house plans often features windows and even a door to provide access to the lowest level of a home. There are plenty of advantages to this kind of house design. Here are just a few:
More versatile rooms
Natural light is a key ingredient to the enjoyment of a space. Architects and contractors will often work hard to install large bay windows, light wells, and skylights just to get more sun into a room. Without some connection to the outdoors, rooms can feel dingy, claustrophobic or unnatural, even with the presence of plenty of artificial light. Basements are often designed to be or eventually become storage spaces as a result of them being dark spaces lined with cold, concrete walls.
The introduction of daylight, then, improves a basement's usefulness by making it feel more habitable. The recreation room presented in HHF-5316 is basically a daylight basement, and can be used for any number of purposes. It can be converted into a game room, a television lounge or even an arts and crafts space. Even though the space won't get as much sunlight as other rooms higher in the house, the mere fact that it can receive indirect light already makes for a vast improvement.
Maximal use of space
By increasing the versatility of your basement, you're also giving yourself the opportunity to use space more efficiently. House plan HHF-5316 offers plenty of versatility on its main floor, due to a large family room and a dining room that can converted into a flex space. However, the downstairs recreation room allows for a better use of space by providing a main congregation space for children sleeping in the second and third bedrooms. That way the upstairs can be better tailored to receiving adult guests while the downstairs can be geared toward children's games and activities.
A better blended home
In an attempt to gain more livable square footage, homeowners will sometimes add an extra floor to their home or raise the height of their walls. The two or even three-story home can often have a stark visual impact on a neighborhood as it juts into the skyline and towers over other homes. However, daylight basements often take advantage of sloping lots, so that while the back of the house reveals a full two-story home, the front of the house will appear more modest and unimposing with only one story visible.
The daylight basement is often touted because it welcomes in the outdoors. However, this connection works both ways. Daylight basements also serve as a good staging area for people embarking on or returning from backyard activities. If you have a lake behind your home or a yard large enough for running around, then the daylight basement can be used as a de facto mudroom and changing area. This way, people coming in and out of the house won't disturb people upstairs or disrupt the temperatures of climate-controlled rooms.
Cost is often the reason for a smaller home purchase, but it's no the only consideration. Homeowners may want to consider small house plans not as the result of limited finances, but as an opportunity to reimagine their entire lifestyle.
The real estate business has long operated on the concept of keeping up with the Joneses. As MSN Real Estate noted in the wake of the housing bust, average home sizes have ballooned over the latter half of the 20th century by more than double what they were in the 1950s. However, small homes have had a resurgence as of late, partly due to cost, but also due to homeowners' interest in reining in their houses' footprints.
Smaller homes grant owners the opportunity to start fresh and live more simply. Homeowners will not have to worry about filling out large rooms with unnecessary material goods. Rather, they will have to downsize. With fewer things, homeowners will also have less space and appliances that require cleaning and maintenance. If the smaller floor plan, such as HHF-2259, is designed well powering and maintaining the home will be more efficient overall.
Dining rooms can be a great place to gather family and friends for a meal, but many people neglect theirs in favor of more casual spaces around the home. People should rethink these spaces for other activities in order to maximize their space. Here are three houses that inspire new approaches to the dining room, so that homeowners can get the most out of their floor plans.
The sitting room and the library
Often, dining rooms are situated just off the entrance to a home, so that guests may arrive and immediately find their place at the table. This placement makes for a perfect sitting room. Comfy chairs, couches and side tables make for a great place to have tea and welcome guests. It can also serve as a cozy gathering area while waiting for others to get ready before going out for the evening.
To make it an even more charming space, you can convert the room into a library. HHF-5586 is already halfway there, with shelves of books lining the walls of its dining room. Not only do books serve as great decoration, but they also offer a quiet retreat in the home. Combining your library with your sitting room can even provide conversation starters and entertainment for guests.
Crafts and games
HHF-7139 has foregone the dining room in favor of what it calls a flex space. Homeowners should take that as a challenge and get creative. Dining rooms can make for a game room, outfitted with billiards, ping-pong or air hockey tables. You can also use the space as an arts and crafts room, complete with storage units for materials and a work table for crafting. HHF-7139's flex space conveniently overlooks the front yard, so parents can work on projects while keeping an eye on the kids. If you are tired of cleaning a sprawling great room, you can even designate it as a kids' space for their messier activities.
The dining space in HHF-2808 is less of a room and more of an extension of an open kitchen layout. Homeowners who don't want to completely eschew the dining room concept may look to this kind of house plan, where the kitchen and dining room are combined to create a more inviting space. The open layout also provides new design opportunities, as homeowners can experiment with a larger room.