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27th May, 2020
Announcements, Blog

Introducing our latest collection and plan package option, the Concept Plan. Created for those homeowners or contractors building in areas with unique building practices or building departments with strict submittal requirements; the Concept Plan provides you with the essential design – Exterior Elevations, Floor Plan(s), and Roof Outline. With this information the construction documents can be completed to area specific requirements and conditions.

The Concept Plan Package by Associated Designs provides you with the works. A PDF plus CAD Files (.dwg) provide flexibility for the file format used to create the construction documents. The license provided with the Concept Plan Package will give the purchaser the rights to modify, reproduce, and build the design as many times as they would like.

An economical alternative to a Custom Home Design, a Concept Plan  provides a great starting point for your plans. The time spent crafting the design represents a significant portion of the traditional custom design services and the Concept Plans speed up that initial phase of your project.

Don’t have a local design professional lined up for your project but would like to have the construction documents completed? Associated Designs talented team of designers can help! As an extension of our Modification Services, you can work with our design staff to incorporate any floor plan or elevation changes you would like plus have the construction documents completed to your specifications (such as type of wall framing, foundation, and roof framing).

Take a look at our Collection of Concept Plans here.

 

1st May, 2020
Articles, Blog

Over the past two decades, tastes and preferences in home design have changed drastically in many respects and very little in others. The House Plan Company dug into the archives to find the top five most popular house plan designs since the late 90s and discovered it’s a diverse collection of styles to fit varying purposes. The only common denominators among all of them, they found, was the attention to detail and open living space in the design.

“Each of my designs delivers as much detail on the exterior of the home as they do in the interior,” explained Ken Pieper, owner of Ken Pieper Signature Designs in Evergreen, Colo., whose house plans are featured on The House Plan Company. “One thing I find clients always request in a design, no matter the size of the home, is to make it “live larger” than the square footage suggests. And nearly every house plan I’ve created for homeowners over the past two decades incorporates family-centered open living space,” he added.

The Cub Creek #54439 is a mountain rustic design which illustrates the focus on open living space that lives large. At 890 square feet the open living, dining, and kitchen arrangement and large covered porch allow the cabin plan to live beyond the square footage.

When it comes to exterior detail, the Prairie Wind # 15610 exudes Arts and Craftsman detail. Gable ends with low pitched roof lines plus a mix of natural materials combine to create an exterior that you can’t help but stop and admire. The attention to detail continues through the 5800 square foot open floor plan which emphasizes outdoor living and entertaining.

“Another design trend that has remained consistent is the desire for the separation of sleeping areas. Each of my designs allows the homeowner space around their en suite master retreats for maximum privacy,” elaborated Ken.

The luxury modern house plan, Aurora #57029, showcases both a contemporary open floor plan and private master suite. Completely separated from the main living area by an enclosed bridge walkway, the master suite is a true retreat with lavish en suite and indoor and outdoor sitting areas. The large gourmet kitchen with two large pocket doors allows the exterior covered deck to become an extension of the home for al fresco dining and entertaining.

Two other designs that have stood the test of time are the Sheridan #14350 and Cherokee #87514 home plans.

Each at 1492 square feet, these designs feature comfortable and open floor plans and represent two styles that have outlasted the fads. The Sheridan offers homeowners a rustic cabin feel with an abundance of large log details inside and out. While the Cherokee, reflects the simplified aspects of traditional home design.

“Our five most popular house plans over the past 25 years represent a very diverse collection of design styles and purposes yet share common characteristics such as open living space. From a 3,800 square-foot sprawling estate to a 2,100 square-foot vacation cabin, each home design was created to meet specific needs and lifestyles,” explained Rick McAlexander, Principal Designer at Associated Designs, Inc. in Eugene, Ore.

One such house plan that best illustrates the focus on open living space is the Barnhart #96262, a rambling ranch-style design that enters from a covered front porch into the great room and kitchen and dining area, separated only by a large island for entertaining. The entire indoor living space opens to a covered patio that runs the length of the back of the house for a seamless transition to outdoor living.

Two of the most popular home designs are more classic in style while still retaining open living space. The bungalow-style Tillamook #47690 and ranch-style Manor Heart #80138 feature open living in the great room, kitchen and dining areas, but also offer more formal space that can be used for a variety of other functions such as a den, office or guest suite.

The classic Ottawa #98509 with its soaring ceilings and oversized windows creates the right amount of drama and makes the scenic landscape, whether it be beach, mountains or forest, the main focal point. The design also offers an open floor plan with ample living space for families to spend quality time together.

The uniquely designed Eddinger #24963 completes this collection of time tested plans. A hexagonal-shaped great room anchors the floor plan to allow for expansive views of the building lot and ideal year-round indoor/outdoor living. The great room is flanked by a master suite on one side and guest suite on the other, affording privacy for families and guests. All of the modern amenities fit neatly into a fairly compact 2,100 square-foot floor plan, creating a retreat that is spacious yet cozy.

 

As seen on PRUndergruond

 

7th Apr, 2020
Blog

You’ve recently decided to build your own custom home and can’t wait to get started with the home designer whom you’ve selected. Before you begin, however, there are four essential questions to ask your designer in order to better undertand what you’re getting into and how you’ll work together to design the home of your dreams.

1. Ask About Past Projects

You may already have a specific architectural style in mind, but it’s important to find out if the designer has worked on similar projects in the past. Ask to see their portfolio of home designs to determine if they truly understand your goals for the project and have ability to create a house plan that suits your lifestyle. Find out more about their signature design style and what they love about it. Some designers may have a specific design sensibility but still may be able to adapt to different styles, while others may not. You need to make sure it’s the right fit for you.

“Hiring a designer who can help bring your dream home to life can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important that you do all of your due diligence before beginning the design process. Schedule interviews with prospective designers, narrow down your selection to two or three, interview them again and be sure to check their references,” explained Rick McAlexander, Prinicipal Designer at Associated Designs, Inc., a home design company based in Eugene, Ore.

2. Seek Out Their Approach

Similar to learning more about their design aesthetic is getting a sense of how they approach a project. Do they have a thorough understanding of your vision that they can articulate back to you? Can you discern their attention to detail in past projects? Have they been able to stay on time and budget with similar projects? Will they be able to recommend several contractors they’ve worked with who can then bring your home design to life? These types of questions are paramount to ensuring you get exactly what you want in a new custom home.

3. Inquire About the Design Process

Perhaps the most important question is asking your designer to explain the design process. You want to make sure they have an organized, step-by-step plan and timeline laid out clearly and concisely. Make sure they are clear about who will be working directly with you each step of the process. Determine how you will communicate with one another, especially as potential issues may arise along the way. Ask them to establish milestones so that you can track the progress and feel empowered and informed to step in as needed.

“Ask open-ended questions about both their approach and the design process so you feel confident they’re on the exact same page about what you want in your home and can deliver it,” said McAlexander. “Make sure they can see the big picture as well as all of the tiny details.”

4. Understand Their Fee Structure

To avoid any potential misunderstandings or surprises about “hidden costs” that could derail your entire project, make sure your designer expressly outlines the fee structure along with what services are included in the total cost and how you will be billed. Ask up front about additional costs associated with project scope changes throughout the process. Get everything clearly laid out in writing so that you can carefully manage the budget to design and build you custom home.

By asking questions in these four important areas and having everything well documented, you’re taking the right steps to guarantee a much smoother, exciting journey towards building your dream home.

 

As Seen on PRUnderground
6th Apr, 2020
Announcements, Blog

As the situation around COVID-19 rapidly evolves, we wanted to take a moment to connect with you and let you know we are taking steps to keep our employees and clients healthy and safe.

First and foremost, we are still open and here to serve you!

We will continue to strive to provide excellent service, however we ask for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. Keeping our employees healthy is a priority for us and we put measures in place there may be delays in responses for Information on a plan or order fulfillment. Rest assured we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

At this time, we cannot guarantee shipping timeframes on print orders. If your project is running a tight timeframe we would encourage you to purchase a digital plan package such a as a Print PDF Set or PDF Master.

With recent orders from our State's Governor we are no longer allowing walk-in traffic. If you need to stop by our office, please call us to arrange an appointment. At this time we are highly recommending phone conferences and email to review existing or new projects.

 

3rd Mar, 2020
Articles, Blog

These days, homeowners looking to build their forever home are thinking about more than what they need to live comfortably in the moment. They’re prioritizing home design requirements well into the future after the kids are grown and they enter retirement, or they’re planning for the possibility of taking care of elderly parents. Associated Designs shares insights about new trends in aging in place house plans and what homeowners need to consider when building a home for the future.

“Aging in place as a design element in house plans is now part of nearly every new home design consultation with our clients,” explained Rick McAlexander, President of Associated Designs, Inc., a based in Eugene, Ore. “The level of interest for aging in place design features has gone way beyond wider doors and hallways. Homeowners are requesting everything from grab bars in bathrooms, flush entry showers, elevators and low-profile front porches,” he explained.

The Alderwood #31-049 single-level, modern prairie house plan exemplifies an aging in place design. The three-bedroom home easily accommodates a family over time with a separate owner’s suite, a great room opening to the dining area and a large airy kitchen, a flex room for use as an office, and a mud room accessed from the garage. A short, wide hallway leads to the owner’s suite, which features a master bath with a large, walk-in shower and dual vanities, a walk-in closet, and sliding doors to a covered patio.

McAlexander explains the factors that need to be considered when designing a house plan that suits homeowners needs today as well as into the future, whether it’s for their own retirement or to accommodate aging parents.

“Aging in place design considerations pretty much follow the guidelines laid out by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 for accessibility. A good starting point from a design perspective is to focus on mobility. Will I be able to climb stairs? Is the space large enough to easily accommodate a wheelchair or walker? Or, can my elderly parents visit and comfortably navigate the space? The answers to these questions will help guide both the exterior and interior design of a new home,” he said.

Following are additional considerations that McAlexander counsels his clients to take into account with aging in place home designs:

  • Entrances to the home that do not require steps, whether that means a low-profile front porch, garage entry or access to a back patio.
  • Wider doors and short hallways throughout the home and easy flow from one living space to the next.
  • Flush entry showers with grab bars, a permanent seat and an adjustable showerhead with a hand wand, as well as sinks and toilets at accessible heights.
  • Kitchen counters and islands at wheelchair accessible heights and meal prep areas suitable for sitting rather than standing for long periods.
  • Appliances such as wall ovens and side-by-side washers and dryers with doors that open to the side rather than folding down.
  • Motion-activated lights, rocker panel light switches and lighted switch cover plates and outlets, all installed at a lower level.
  • Door lever-type handles versus traditional knobs.
  • Smart technology for front door locks, thermostats and lighting that can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet.
  • Smooth, level flooring such as hardwood, cork or linoleum.

Many of these features can be found in designs like Associated Designs modern farmhouse, Whiskey Creek #31-143 house plan. This one-story home features a low-profile front porch that enters into a spacious foyer. Two bedrooms connected by a bathroom are located off the right of the foyer, offering separation from the owner’s suite which is situated at the back of the house. A spacious kitchen with a large island for meal prep and entertaining opens to the great room and soaring, 11-foot ceilings. The owner’s suite offers a convenient pass-through in the walk-in closet to linen shelves and the utility room. Both the owner’s suite and great room open onto a roomy covered patio.

“While all of these features may be attractive, homeowners should weigh the importance of aging in place before starting the design process,” McAlexander said. “Other factors such as building lot selection and design style preferences play an important role in the practicality of incorporating aging in place features into a new home.”

As seen on PRUnderground
5th Feb, 2020
Articles, Blog

One of the most intimidating yet exciting endeavors to undertake as a homeowner is building a new home from the ground up. Yet it doesn’t have to be such an overwhelming process when guided through the various steps and stages by a designer and general contractor, and the benefits far outweigh the concerns.

“The most common reason why someone opts to build a home rather than buy one is that they can’t find an existing home that meets their needs. Custom construction allows a homeowner to create a home that meets their specific needs and taste, while also planning for the future whether that means enough space for a family to grow or empty nesters to age in place,” explained Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company, a house plan marketing company based in Eugene, Ore.

Location, Location, Location

One of the biggest benefits of building a new home over buying an existing one is location. As a homeowner, you get to choose where it’s located.

“It’s really the first big advantage of building over buying,” explained Ken Pieper, owner of Ken Pieper & Associates in Evergreen, Colo. “Choosing the place to build is as much a custom feature as selecting paint colors and fixtures. Whereas when buying an existing home, you’re confined to the house that is already built on the property whether you like all of it and the surrounding neighborhood, or not.”

Today’s trends in home designs are all about simplicity and house plans are created to fit any type and size of building lot from narrow to sloped and to take advantage of a specific view.

That New House Smell

In all seriousness, there’s nothing quite like that “new house smell” says McAlexander. “It comes with with the knowledge that you’ve selected all of the finishes and fixtures to meet your exact taste, from floor coverings to paint colors to plumbing fixtures and appliances.”

While remodeling an existing home is not necessarily a bad thing, it can often mean a lot of disruption to daily family life or even moving out of the house altogether and living in temporary quarters.

McAlexander says that it’s ultimately about building your dream home. Selecting a house plan that meets your needs, tastes and size of the lot is much easier than spending hours upon hours touring homes for sale in what can often be a competitive real estate market.

Pieper agrees and added, “Designing a new home from scratch offers a much more personal, individualized experience for living in the space as opposed to occupying a house that reflects someone else’s design thoughts.”

All the Bells and Whistles

Homeowners today also like to take advantage of the hottest trends in home design, such as open floor plans, spacious kitchens with oversized islands, indoor/outdoor living areas, multi-purpose mud rooms and much more.

“New construction allows homeowners to decide which trends are most important to them based on how they want to live in the home day to day. In this way, you’re not trying to force a design concept into an existing structure,” McAlexander said.

One trend that has become increasingly important to homeowners in recent years is “smart, energy efficient homes”. According to Safesmartliving.com, the number of smart homes in the U.S. is expected to reach 70.6 million by 2023.

Energy-saving features in lighting, heat and water are priorities for those building a new home, along with with being able to control lights, security, electronics and temperature with one swipe on a Smartphone.

“Being able to incorporate the latest technology in energy efficiency and fire, safety and security measures means a safer, more environmentally sensitive home,” McAlexander added.

As seen on PRUnderground

 

3rd Jan, 2020
Articles, Blog

EUGENE, ORE.— As the start of a new decade brings the promise of innovation in every aspect of our lives, home design trends are following suit with emerging trends that revolve around our need to be connected to technology, live sustainably and enjoy quality time with family friends in casual, open spaces. Three design companies from across the country, The House Plan Company, Design Basics and Tyree House Plans, share their insights on new and continuing  house plan design trends for 2020.

Prepping Pantries

While pantries have been around a long time, they’re emerging as a new space for food preparation away from the heart of the kitchen which, over time, has evolved into the main gathering place for casually entertaining around oversized islands. Beyond storage, the “prep pantries” feature appliances such as stovetops and dishwashers and workspace.

“Having this unique space allows homeowners to store and prep food and clean dishes and glassware separately from where the entertaining is taking place, thus leaving the kitchen clean and presentable. The beauty of this design is that they can simply close a door on the mess behind it,” said Paul Foresman, vice president of business development for Design Basics in Omaha, Neb.

Modern + Rural

Modern, open home designs are not just for urban areas. Apparently more homeowners are building modern-style homes in more remote locations, combining their modern tastes with a relaxed, “agrarian” lifestyle.

“One of the most notable changes that we are seeing in housing trends is the notion of modern style construction becoming more popular for rural living,” said Dan Tyree, creative director of Tyree House Plans in Knoxville, Tenn. “It’s rugged meets high-tech, and it’s a trend we see continuing strong in the coming years, not just in 2020.”

Smart, Connected Homes

Younger generations, in particular, are demanding that smart technology be incorporated into their home for both the convenience and energy-saving benefits. Being able to control all of the electronics, temperature, lights and security from one swipe on a mobile phone will eventually become the norm. Growing concerns about the environment will help drive more innovation in energy and water conservation designs throughout the home.

“New technology will have an impact on how we interact with our homes as well as improve energy efficiency and live more sustainably,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company, a house plan marketing company based in Eugene, Oregon.

Flex Space Reimagined

Finally, another emerging trend is how the concept of flex space is being reimagined. In particular, designers are finding new, innovative ways to create space for a specific purpose in an area of the floor plan where you might traditionally find the mudroom. They’re breathing new life into this  sometimes-overlooked space to the backyard or garage.

“It seems that everyone is wanting a flexible space that they can tailor to their own purpose, whether it be a pocket office, wine room, pet spa, specialized storage or even craft areas,” said Foresman.

While these emerging trends provide new opportunities for designers, they all agree that several current trends will continue to increase in popularity into 2020, including dual owner suites, indoor-outdoor living, and ever-growing kitchen islands.

Dual Owner Suites

One of the current trends that designers foresee continuing in 2020 is the concept of “dual owner suites” that appeals to different types of homeowners. Formerly known as “granny flats” this second master bedroom and bath ensemble is designed to accommodate aging parents, caregivers or adult children with private, independent living.

Indoor-Outdoor Open Living

A seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces will remain important to homeowners as they place a high value on being able to entertain family and friends in open living space, year-round. “Disappearing walls” that give way to the outdoor spaces, outdoor great rooms with fully equipped kitchens and multi-level decks and patios turn indoor living spaces out.

“Informal entertaining and casual living have become the norm in house plans and as younger generations move into home ownership, they’re looking to continue that lifestyle,” explained McAlexander.

Foresman agrees, and added, “’Bringing the outside in’ is a big homeowner priority. Covered spaces mean you can grill outside year-round and screened-in living space eliminates concerns of pesky mosquitos and affords more privacy.”

Oversized Kitchen Islands

Kitchens remain the main focus of the home and serve a multitude of purposes including dining and entertaining, working, crafting and more. The space has evolved over the years into one that is spacious, open and flows naturally into living and dining areas. At the center of the kitchen, the “island” as grown in size and importance as no longer just space for food preparation, it’s the catalyst for casually entertaining family and friends every day.

“Clients are asking for larger kitchen islands, as much as five feet deep, with an eating bar on at least one side of the working space for people to gather around their hosts,” explained Foresman.

While the new and continuing trends bring a lot of excitement to the home design industry, there are several design trends that designers see disappearing in 2020 as homeowner needs and tastes change.

  • Barn doors in interior spaces seemed to be a fad as they rarely get requests for them from clients, according to Foresman.
  • Tiny homes as a primary residence is a concept that appears to be fading, says McAlexander. While the demand for smaller-sized homes in new construction remains strong, he notes that the average footprint is still well over 2,000 square feet. Meeting all of the living requirements in less than 600 square feet is not sustainable long-term.
  • White exteriors will give way to more color. “While I don’t really see paint color as a design trend, I do see color coming back to exteriors based on client requests. Who knows, maybe Joanna and Chip Gaines will paint their house and start a new trend,” quipped McAlexander.

 

As seen on PRUnderground

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