Understanding What Makes a Green House Plan

You may recall years ago, that green homes stood out for all the long reasons. Focusing more on practical application of green technology than design they often looked utilitarian. Today there are lots of elegant green homes that combine style with comfort and efficiency. What do green house plans have to offer you though and what makes house plans “green.”  While you can save money by adding insulation and using green products, some home construction makes a green house plan’s general design energy efficient. Here are some design considerations that factor into building green house plans.

This updated version of one of our most popular house plans, this house plan is green with plenty of amenities. This house plan includes such luxuries as an open kitchen and family room floor plan and an eating bar as part of a large island. Walk-in closets can be found in all of secondary bedroom as well as private dressing areas. A bonus area includes triple dormers for lots of natural light.

Windows and Orientation

If you want to save money on your energy bill then make sure you design your home so that the maximum amount of daylight comes through your windows. Lots of green house plans are designed with lots of windows and your builder can help you position the home on your lot to make sure you get the most out of them.

Most green homes are oriented towards the south where they get more light during the summer and heat from the sun during winter.  This is also true when you consider addng solar technology. South facing roofs make for the best receptors of solar energy.

Durable Materials                                                                                

Durable is synonymous with eco-friendly when it comes to home construction. Using durable materials in the construction of a green house plan means that since they won’t need to be replaced less waste is produced, that that alone decreases your footprint. Almost all conventional building materials have a more sustainable eco-friendly alternative, so you can be sure to find something eco-friendly for every situation that will arise. Some popular eco-friendly materials include bamboo flooring, cotton insulation, and recycled glass counter tops.

Part of our green house plan collection this craftsman house plan merges time-tested design and unadorned elegance. The main level of this house plan is where you find all of the living space while upstairs is plenty of storage space. At nearly 3,000 square feet this main level has a vaulted great room, formal dining room, master suite, and eating nook. This house plan also features unique built-ins that give this home character.

Downsized House Plans

Smaller homes have been a rising trend in home construction and smaller house plans do tend to be more energy efficient. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to be green though. Plenty of homes with a footprint of less than 2,500 feet are not only energy efficient but use space wisely so that you don’t have to worry about feeling like you live in a shoe box.

These elements of green design help to make house plans energy efficient but there are plenty of things you can do to make your home greener during the construction process. Adding ENERGY STAR® and energy-efficient products will help you lower your bills. Just remember that you don’t have to fear green design. Check out the green house plan collections from Direct from the Designers to find your perfect green home.

Three Bestselling Small House Plans

If you are just starting your house plan search, you should start with a small house plan.  The trend in American construction has been to make smaller homes lately and house plans reflect that. Designers and architects have been designing lots of stylish small house plans under 2,500 square feet. Small house plans make the perfect home for those who want to live a more energy-efficient lifestyle or those that are just starting out or simply want to downsize.

An inviting Craftsman house plan, this small house plan has plenty of upscale features and a 1,800 square foot area.

If you like craftsman details and outdoor living space, this beautiful small house plan is perfect for you. With front and rear covered porches, this small house plan has plenty of outdoor living spaces. The great room has vaulted ceilings and built-in cabinetry with a gas fireplace. This small house plan also includes a spacious kitchen has an island with an eating bar and a master bedroom has raised ceilings. The master suite also opens into a well-equipped bathroom with dual lavatories. This small house plan also includes a garage also includes a shop area for projects and storage and the upstairs allows for expansion. A generous flex space could be used as a home office, dining room, or a playroom making this small house plan a real catch.

This country house plan is not only small but has plenty of great design to stand apart from the crowd.

This small house plan may look like a simple country home but with popular amenities and a modest footprint. This small house plan is one you will be happy to call your home. One of the highlights of this small house plan is a secluded master suite with a circular spa tub. A bayed breakfast area is another spot, perfect for casual breakfasts with coffee, tea, and waffles with your morning paper.  The cozy fireplace anchors the great room at the center of this floor plan and a large bonus space on the upper floor complete this small house plan.

This small house plan doesn’t lack charm. With an exquisite exterior and an open interior you will find this home is a great place to live.

This small house plan has beautiful cottage charm. With only 1,698 square feet of living space you will get all the benefits of living in a small house plan without feeling like you live in a shoebox. You are sure to fall in love with this small house plan inside and out with great exterior details such as dormers, shutters, and Craftsman details outside and a perfect space for entertaining inside this small house plan will meet all of your needs. Not to mention, this small house plan also gives you space for future expansion with the use of a bonus area.

Living in a small house plan doesn’t mean you have to live in a shoebox. If you don’t believe that you can have style, function, and space in a small house plan take a look at Direct from the Designers’ small house plan collection and find your perfect small house plan.

Tips on Choosing the Right Paint (And Using it Properly)

Painting your home’s exterior is just as intimidating as going into the paint store and picking out a new color for your bedroom wall.  No lying, it is a big project, and while you might be overwhelmed with color selection, here are a few tips to help you choose the colors your new home will be.

More than one color doesn’t have to be expensive.  When it comes to getting that paint job you see in the paint catalogue, know that the use of more than one color does not have to cost a fortune. Unless you plan to paint with numerous hues the price tag won’t break the bank.  So if you happen to like the way that the red painted shutters will look with a new shade of navy, go for it.

This home uses Benjamin Moore’s® line of exterior paints to create a classic look. This home uses dark and light accents to achieve a cohesive look, but the coordinating flowerbeds add a final touch to this home’s curb appeal. You can find exactly the kind of paint you are looking for with their product finder.

Use your accent colors wisely. One of the big mistakes that homeowners make when painting the exterior of their house is highlighting the unattractive elements such as the gutters, downspouts, and a protruding garage door.  Remember, your home’s paint job will be one of the first things people see, and the last thing you want them looking at is your air conditioning unit or an unevenly placed window.

Don’t ignore your neighbors.  The color scheme of your house should not clash with the neighbor’s house.  To make sure that all the neighbors are happy choose a color scheme that blends with the neighborhood or stands out in a subtle way.

Don’t forget your lawn.  What really ups the ante when it comes to curb appeal is a nicely manicured lawn. Take a moment to consider different flowering shrubs or flower gardens in compatible colors.

This country house plan’s green paint looks great with the dark shingles and white trim and columns. Using elements with colors that won’t change is a great way to create a cohesive pallet, so be sure to consider pavers, bricks, or shingles when selecting your color.

Look at paint chips outside.  Colors look their best out in natural light, and since you are painting the exterior of your home, viewing chips in the sunlight is the best way to gauge how the color will look once it is on your house.

It might take a while for you to decide on the color, but once you decide on a color you will find that a fresh coat of paint does wonders for your new home.  If you have no idea where to start, take a look at some of Direct from the Designers collections for inspiration.

“Upside Down” House Plans: Modern Homes With Views

Sometimes you just have to defy conventions. These modern house plans do just that. Not only do their exteriors look different, but there is a science to it. Homes built this way often have the living space on the top floor and the bedrooms on the bottom floor.  The added elevation allows homeowners to enjoy views from up high. Many of these homes are perfect for a lakefront, beachfront, mountain, or coastal area.  Take a look at these three unique and inviting house plans to get an idea their appeal.

This house plan’s modern exterior is sure to catch the eyes of passersby. Just wait till they walk in, they won’t want to leave.

This angled and contemporary house plan is a popular design. Because of its layout this house plan is classified as an inverted two-story. With the bedrooms on the ground floor and the living space on the top floor this house plan is ideal for lots with lots of scenic views. This house plan also includes a quiet study that will tempt you to work from home and a roof terrace perfect for stylish parties.  This house plan also has a very low footprint at on 2,562 square feet.

This modern house plan is sure to give you a great view.

If you have some great views to capture then take a look at this modern house plan.  An exclusive design, this house plan is often referred to as an “upside down” plan. No this plan doesn””””t defy gravity, but it does have a second floor living area where you can take advantage of picturesque views.  The upper level also features a large deck for you to enjoy some outdoor living.   The lower level contains four bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with two full baths.

Given that it is perfect for a lot with a view, it should be no surprise that this house plan is designed on a pier foundation in order to accommodate beachfront or lakefront locations, but if your lot allows this house plan can also be built with a basement.

Another house plan with a view. This modern house plan is perfect for a lakeside, coastal, or mountain view lot.

Homes like this one mix exterior materials while accommodating a view and providing open space inside.  The house also sports a narrow footprint to fit many mountainside, lakefront, beachfront, or coastal lots. The wrap-around balcony also captures the views as well as the breezes.  The master bedroom is situated on the main level with its own private balcony.  A master bathroom also has a walk-in shower.  The third floor remains open to serve as flexible space.  It can be a game room or a sleepover headquarters.  The lower floor also contains flexible space for family functions and a suite of its own.

Homes like these here are not just unique and fun to look at, but they capture beautiful views. Their layout might be a little bit counterintuitive but “upside down” plans mean that there will be plenty of picturesque views to see from windows and decks. If a modern house plan is catching your interest, see more plans like these in Direct from the Designers”””” modern house plan collection.

Why Picking The Right Floor Plan Is Important

 

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.

 

 

floor plan

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.

House Plan of the Week: HHF-6001

house plan
This stucco, brick and stone home has a lot to offer a large family. With five bedrooms, two guest rooms, and plenty of living space, it is the perfect house plan for a large or growing family.

Driving toward this beautiful award-winning house plan’s creative façade you will admire the lovely stucco, columns, and copper standing seam roof with stone and brick highlights. If the outside has you interested, the inside will have you amazed.

Inside this house are three floors. The interior starts with a winding staircase and carved hand rail. The honey colored hardwood floor imbues this house with a warm and inviting feeling as you continue into a two-story formal dining room with front-property views.

house plan
The front-facing formal dining room in this house plan is the perfect place to entertain your guests for the holidays or host dinner parties.
The adjoining butler’s pantry is announced by an archway and leads into the kitchen. The kitchen features a center food-prep island counter that overlooks a breakfast nook.  This cozy corner offers wide views through large windows and affords access to the rear porch.

Past the foyer are tall windows that brighten the two-story family room, bringing in a sense of the outdoors and plenty of natural light.  A featured fire place makes it a cozy space to cuddle on cold winter nights, or just to relax and read a good book.

house plan
The foyer of this house plan is warm and inviting with a majestic winding staircase that give you access to all three levels.
On the other side of the staircase are the library and the spacious master suite, which has access to the rear terrace with a large master bedroom and bathroom giving you plenty of space to relax and unwind from a long day.

The winding staircase leads to ideal living spaces for a family. Upstairs are three other bedrooms and two bathrooms. Each bedroom has a walk-in closet ensuring that this home is not short on storage space.  If you take the staircase downstairs, it leads you to a dedicated rec room, media room, and a theater in addition to a dedicated storage space, another bedroom, and two guest rooms.  With such ample living space, this home is perfect for a large or growing family.

It”s so easy to feel at home in this lovely, spacious colonial house plan. With every inch of space used this house makes good use of its ample size to offer you storage and functionality, as well as comfortable living. Read more about this house plan at Direct from the Designers.

Top Three Log Cabin House Plans

When I think of Colonial America, I think of a log cabin. I am not sure if it comes from reading Little House on the Prairie as a kid or when I used to play with my brother’s Lincoln Logs, but the image always stuck.  Unfortunately I don’t seem to see a lot of log cabins driving through New England but this historically significant architectural style really shouldn’t be ignored.

Giant windows let natural light pour into the great room of this beautiful log cabin house plan. With an open floor plan this cabin’s space flows freely between the kitchen, dining room, and great room, all of which have a view of its warm fireplace. The master suite has a walk-in-closet that also opens to attic space. This house plan also features a loft that is open to the great room below.

The first examples of log cabin house plan came to the Americas from the Swedish settlers who built them in Delaware in 1638.  After the Revolutionary War other colonists followed suit as they began to move westward. The log cabin became the typical home of the backwoodsman when the colonists began to encounter thick forests in areas like Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Northwest Territories. Log cabins continued to gain fame in the 1840s when small cabins were used in parades to demonstrate President Harrison’s support of the frontier people. The most famous log cabin house plan in the United States is probably the one where Abraham Lincoln was born, but many other Americans who rose to greatness spent their early years in log cabins.

One look at this log cabin house plan and you can see its beautiful curbside appeal and spacious elegance is perfect for a mountain retreat or a weekend cottage. This two-story house plan is ideal with welcoming covered porches and a rear deck that provides ample opportunity for outdoor entertaining. The large master suite is located on the upper level and provides plenty of privacy with the rest of the upper level open to the living and dining areas below.

Historically, log cabin house plans were essentially one room huts with one door and perhaps one or two small windows. The spaces between the logs were packed with mud and grass to keep out the wind and cold, and because there were no nails the logs were fastened with notched ends or wooden pegs. A log cabin’s roof was made from overlapping rows of short boards and the floor was constructed from hard packed clay. With glass unavailable, the window openings were covered with oiled paper to let in a little light and the room was heated by an open fireplace that served as the stove.

Among the many ways that today’s log cabin house plans differ from those of yore is that they are much more eco-friendly and energy efficient. With today’s technology log cabin house plans come in every form from seasonal cabins to luxurious castle-like estates. Today’s technology also allows for some other options as well. Logs can form the actual framing and structure of the home or simply be added to the exterior for a natural look. Additionally, logs can be either handcrafted with peeled lumber for an authentic appearance or milled for a more consistent look with natural imperfections removed.

This log cabin house plan  is a little more like a warm and cozy castle. Step in from the covered porch with vaulted ceiling and you will find yourself in the foyer with a gracious loft above your head. The foyer leads to a welcoming family room, which in turn opens to a striking great room with a fireplace. In the master suite you will find an embellished private access to the rear deck and a master bath with a whirlpool bath, shower, double vanities and walk-in closet. Not only does this log house plan have all of the amenities but it also provides opportunity for expansion over the breezeway and garage.

 

Details like a stone chimney, metal roof, multiple gables, charming dormers, and a welcoming porch obviously lend more style to the exterior of modern log cabin house plans than the one-room pioneer huts. Additionally the interior may offer open floor plans, a stone fireplace, dramatic vaulted ceilings, and tall windows.  Whatever you are looking for, if a log cabin house plan is your dream, you can find it in the Direct from the Designers log house plan collection. 

What To Look For When Buying A Beach House

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.

beach house

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.

You Might Really Enjoy an Outdoor Kitchen

At first glance it might sound a bit foreign, an outdoor kitchen, who would want that? After all a kitchen is normally on the inside of a house plan. It is where meals are prepared, the kid’s homework is done, and where stories of the day are swapped.

Well, this important room is getting a makeover and designers are taking it outside. Outdoor kitchens are an exciting trend, particularly during grill season, because not only do they offer function but also convenience. Today, most outdoor kitchens are just as functional as a regular, indoor kitchen. They might include a grill but they may also be equipped with a stove, oven, a fridge, sinks, wet bars and even special ventilation.

This beautiful French Country house plan has a gorgeous outdoor living space complete with a dining area, sitting area, and a fully featured kitchen. This is the perfect place to entertain guests while taking in the fresh air and scenery.

You can get as elaborate with your outdoor kitchen as you’d like, and the best part is that if you take the right steps you should be able to enjoy your outdoor kitchen 365 days a year in most parts of the country. Steps like weatherproofing and making sure that your kitchen is covered means that you will also have the option of dining al fresco.

What benefits will you realize when you invest in an outdoor kitchen?  Hosting a barbeque with a regular kitchen means that you have to go in and out of the house constantly, distracting you from your friends and family but with an outdoor kitchen you can set up your gathering and let everyone be involved with the cooking. An outdoor kitchen means more time to enjoy the warm weather and more interaction with your guests. On any typical day, you can use it to grill and prepare a meal outside for you and your family.

This Spanish style house plan already has a built-in bar. The covered rear porch creates the perfect spot for a outdoor kitchen and its position poolside makes it a great place to entertain guests.

An outdoor kitchen is a perfect luxury for the winter months. With many styles to choose from and the availability of modern outdoor appliances, you will be able to make good use of your outdoor space and enjoy the fresh air and sun as you cook your favorite dishes.

Visit Direct from the Designers to read more about outdoor kitchens and to browse the collection of outdoor living house plans.

Efficient Small House Plans for Comfortable Living

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.

Bathrooms

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.

Lighting

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.