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14th Jan, 2015
Articles, Blog

As the winter chill settles over the country, you are probably having thoughts of spring. You are eager to get outside and enjoy planting your flowers, painting decks and lounging on your sofa with the smell of steaks charring on the grill. Yet before you get outside and enjoy the warm weather and relaxing backyard, you need to plan out your outdoor living space. Focusing on this area of your home will allow you to bring out its fullest potential. Use the following ideas to plan out your outdoor living space so you can make it the best aspect of your home in the spring.

Bring All The Architectural Elements Together

While some people look at outdoor spaces as an oasis in their home, there should be a design theme that makes it look like it belongs with the rest of your house. Using certain architectural design elements from the house will give a uniform look, making the outdoor space into a extension of your home as it brings a relaxing and comforting feeling. The architectural elements that you use can be from any interesting aspect of your home, such as window shapes, pillars, or unique angles. Don't forget that you can also incorporate materials such as wood, metal or tile that was used to create your home.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Add Focal Points

Focal points are those design accents that are pleasing to the senses and will make the outdoor space more enjoyable. Most people focus on sight by placing in beautiful flowers or structures to the scenery. Yet you don't have to just focus on sight. Also incorporate smell with flowers that give a lovely fragrance or sound with the bubbling noises of fountains and ponds. Once you add your focal points, you can build out from these design aspects to bring the whole outdoor decor theme together.


Outdoor Living Spaces

Remember About Line Of Sight

Line of sight becomes important when you want to enjoy your focal points and design themes from outdoor furniture spots or from inside your home as you gaze out the window. Keep in mind about what your line of sights are when putting in your focal points so you can enjoy the focal points at different key angles.


Outdoor Living Spaces

Bring In The Color

While you can rely on nature to add all the beautiful colors to create a gorgeous living decor theme to your home, you can also add in different colors that will be there all year round after the flowers have bloomed. From decorative area rugs to bright throw pillows, add splashes of color that make the outdoor space feel welcoming to your family and guests.

12th Jan, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Victorian House Plan, Home Plan, Featured Plan of the Week

The Canterbury, with its gingerbread trim, classical columns and conical tower, is an eye-catching update to the Queen Anne-style Victorian home popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.

On the main floor, the octagonal tower houses the foyer. Windows fill three sides, making this welcoming space bright and charming. Another side leads into the kitchen's eating nook, while two sides open to the living room.

In the living room a gas fireplace nestles into a corner between banks of windows in the front and side walls. A doorway with arched transom leads into the dining room.

Pocket doors allow for separation between the two spaces, when needed. A long hutch and counter line the back of the dining room. Stationary book shelves are on one side, but the stack on the other side is mobile. It rolls out of the way to access stairs leading to the second story.

Everyday family living spaces are on the opposite side of the home. The kitchen is spacious enough for three or four cooks to combine efforts without bumping elbows. Its central work island features a built-in prep sink. Glass sparkles across the front side of the nook, and an arched opening feeds into a large family room, expanded by a windowed octagonal bay.

An octagonal sitting area fills the tower's upper level. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and utility room are also on this floor. Owners' suite features include: a gas fireplace, large walk-in closet, oversized shower, deep soaking tub, dual vanity, and deck access.

8th Jan, 2015
Blog, New Home Plans

4 car Garage Plan, Garage Plan with Storage

Garage Plan 20-151

This new 4 car garage plan features a covered storage area, a small living area with kitchenette and full bathroom. Each front garage door is 10'x10',


7th Jan, 2015
Articles, Blog

A house is more than a place over your head. It should inspire feelings of comfort, relaxation, excitement, fun and peace of mind. There are tons of aspects that may have drawn you into building a home that fits into your needs. Select those elements that will make you love the house as you will want to live in it for the rest of your life. Here are 6 aspects that can make you fall in love with your house.

1. Just The Right Size For You

The perfect house doesn't have to be the biggest one on the block. It also doesn't have to be so small that you can't move around. The right house to fall in love with has to be the right size for you, and your family. It should allow for everyone to live, have fun and engage comfortably.

2. Brings In Warm Light and Sunshine

People love natural light that comes in through the windows. Such abundance of sunshine can brighten your day and reduce stress. It can also reduce your energy costs. Natural light in the daytime means using less artificial light. Also, the warm sunshine can heat your home in the winter.

3. Open Floor Plan Design

One of the biggest trends of the decade has been the open floor plans. You want to be able to converse and engage with guests and other members of the family who may be sitting in the living room as you are cooking in the kitchen. Open floor plan designs are perhaps the main reason that people fall in love with their homes.

4. Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living spaces have become an important aspect to have in a home. People want to enjoy the great outdoors at home, and these spaces are being put to good use. From enclosed courtyards to outdoor kitchens on patios, the outdoors is just as important as the interior and people want a home that allows them to enjoy the great weather.

5. Ability to Grow and Expand

You may fall in love with the house because it allows you to add on when your family grows. Whether you need a nursery for the baby or a grandmother suite when aging parents need to live with you, the house you build should allow you to use it to fit into your present and future lifestyle.

6. Great Location

Some people love their homes for the location. Whether living in the home year round or as a vacation home there are many great and idyllic locations to build a home. City views, beach, lake, wide open or mountain views are all appreciated and easy to fall in love with.

5th Jan, 2015
Blog, House Plan of the Week

Ranch House Plan, Home Plan, Hampshire 30-799

Columns, keystone arches and corner quoins lend a classic look to this ranch house plan. The Hampshire design has the potential to double its living space.

Its full, richly windowed daylight/walkout basement can be finished as needed, it’s well suited for an growing family, a home office out of the lower level, or both.

Designed for construction on a down sloping lot, the front exterior of the main floor is street level, while the rear is one story up from the ground. Walking straight through the foyer and vaulted great room, then out the atrium doors, you’ll find yourself on a wide railed deck that overlooks the landscape.

Gathering spaces are together in the center. A dining room or parlor is through an opening on the foyer’s right. Double doors on the foyer’s left open into a more private space that could function as den, office, third bedroom, or whatever suits. It also links to bathrooms and the other bedrooms.

The vaulted great room in the heart of the home is partially open to the bayed nook and large kitchen. Cabinets, counters, and appliances wrap around the kitchen on three sides. The kitchen's work island adds more workspace and storage.

A large pantry is right around the corner, past the basement stairs and across from a powder room. A  utility room and a storage closet fill out this section.

On the other side of the home, a bathroom and a walk-in closet provide sound buffering for the owners’ suite. Other amenities include a dual vanity and an oversized walk-in shower. A large window in the sleeping area offers broad views to the rear.

1st Jan, 2015
Articles, Blog

Duplex Plan, Tupelo 60-006
Tupelo 60-006


Savvy young people are looking to build something other than the typical starter home. They are finding that a smartly designed duplex offers flexibility as their lives change, while providing a positive real estate investment.

Surveys that track the size and makeup of American families reflect a variety of lifestyles, compared to previous generations. People are getting married later and having fewer children, resulting in smaller families. Since 1980, the number of people living in multi-generational households has doubled, according to the Pew Research Center. Singles are also comfortable purchasing a home without a spouse or partner, something that wasn’t very common in previous generations.

Some might say there is no such thing as a typical family anymore, requiring homebuilders to respond with a variety of styles and flexibility that meets the demands of the modern homeowner. Rick McAlexander, President of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon has designed thousands of homes over 30 years and he’s seeing a significant shift in the requests by young people looking to build their first home.

“There was a time where most young families wanted a three-bedroom starter home. Now my clients want a home that results in a good investment, as well as flexibility to change with their lifestyle as their family needs change,” says Rick.

Rick and his team at Associated Designs have responded by creating a unique design that offers both investment income and flexible living options for years to come. The Tupelo 60-006 duplex plan looks like a charming two-story, single-family home, when it’s actually a duplex with a unit on each level. The only exterior clues to distinct living units are two sets of porch steps, each leading to a separate front door. Each door is on a separate side of the house with its own covered porch, creating a sense of privacy for each unit.

The entry to the second floor unit features a well-lit ground floor foyer, with a coat closet and a bench for removing and storing boots. Natural light streams in through side windows and from the dormer window above, brightening the staircase and spilling over into the unit’s upstairs great room.

The Tupelo's exterior styling is modeled after the Craftsman homes of the early 1900s, with its tapered porch supports and its low-pitched side gables and large centered dormer. However, walk inside and both of the duplexes have contemporary floor plans. It’s a clever way to position a unique and practical option for modern living in a traditional looking home.

The Tupelo duplex plan is an ideal setup for anyone that wants income from an on-site rental or the ability to provide supportive and yet independent housing for an aging relative in a multi-generation living situation. This plan offers the ultimate in flexible living options for years to come.

A single person or a small family can live in the upstairs two-bedroom unit, while renting the larger three-bedroom unit below. As the family expands, they can move into the larger unit downstairs. Once the owner outgrows the home they have an excellent piece of income property. Years can pass and they may move back in, downsizing their own lifestyle while still earning rental income.

Rick created the Tupelo 60-006 duplex plan knowing it can work with a variety of family types, but he feels it’s a perfect solution for a first home and someone starting out in their career. Rick says, “I get tremendous joy in being able to work with a young couple, knowing I have helped them create a financial foundation that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

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