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7th Jul, 2020
Articles, Blog

The joy of a vacation is universal across countries and cultures. For many, a second, vacation home can add to the bliss of getting away by providing welcoming comfort in an exotic locale.

But as tastes change, so too do the features that vacation homeowners look for when choosing a design.

“We’ve had vacation homes forever, but today people want to have more flexibility because they’re more mobile than they used to be,” said Ken Pieper, owner of Ken Pieper Signature Plans in Evergreen, Colorado.

Pieper’s Summerfield #53614 and Laramie #56656 are featured on The House Plan Company with vacation home owners in mind. The two-story Summerfield brings a southern charm to any location, with a wraparound covered porch and wood posts giving the farmhouse design an idyllic flair. But the country lodge-style Laramie plan speaks to many of the trends in vacation homes today. At a bit over 1,300 square feet and with a log sided cabin façade, the plan incorporates all the elements of a classically rustic retreat in a modern, modest-sized design.

“Don’t overbuild,” Pieper said, adding that more and more families in the market for vacation homes are eyeing smaller properties with flexible spaces instead of larger cabins with bedrooms that may be seldomly used.

The same considerations have been taken in many of the vacation home plans designed by Drummond House Plans. The Quebec-based designer has found success by packing modern amenities into moderately sized spaces.

“In the past few years at Drummond House Plans the best sellers are divided between the modern, sleek styles and rustic chic country,” said Jennifer Larocque, designer with Drummond House Plans.

Such is the case in its Lakewood #11215 and Olympe #86940 vacation home plans, featured on The House Plan Company. A contemporary craftsman design, Lakewood boasts a front façade of stone and natural stained wood, highlighted by posts that support a multi-level gabled roof. Olympe offers vertical siding beneath a metal roof, with an open floor plan inside centered around a main area fireplace rising up to meet a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams.

Each fit two bedrooms, distinct living and dining areas into just over 1,200 square feet. Their sizes reflect what Larocque calls the changing tastes of vacation home buyers in recent years.

“Our modern chalets seem to attract a younger clientele to the search for original, clean and minimalist lines,” Larocque said. “The bedrooms are secondary, all attention is paid to common family spaces such as the kitchen, living room and dining room.”

They’re the same trends that Pieper has noticed among younger home buyers, many of whom are bucking the long-held ideal of large, cabin-style vacation homes for extended families to gather. Instead they are focusing on the needs of their immediate family, and using flexible spaces like living rooms and even porches to accommodate any additional guests.

“What I’ve found is that for generations now, like the millennials, those old traditions are falling away,” Pieper said. “The designs, whether it’s a contemporary beach house or a waterfront house, it’s all regionally driven, and driven by individual customers’ tastes. Cost is a big thing, but it also depends on what you’re trying to achieve with the vacation home, what it means to you.”

 

As seen on PRUnderground
29th Jun, 2020
Announcements, Blog

We are here to help you with your plan needs and strive to provide excellent service. 

The health and safety of you and our employees is a priority for us. The following outlines the steps we are currently taking during these times.

Our office location is open by appointment only. Most design consultations can be made over the phone and email. Appointments are reserved for the occasion where an office meeting is necessary and the following protocols will be adhered to:

  • Prior to your arrival for a scheduled meeting, surfaces will be sanitized. 
  • Staff will be wearing masks
  • In effect July 1st, the State of Oregon Governor is mandating the use of face masks inside businesses. As certain areas of our office are difficult to maintain social distancing we will be following the state's mandate and requiring the use of masks while in our office. Masks will be available at our front desk if needed.
  • Efforts will be made to respect social distancing during an in office meeting.
  • Surfaces will be re-sanitized after conclusion of an in office meeting.

During this time, we are striving to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. For print packages, we are unable to guarantee shipping timeframes so if time is of the essence we encourage the purchase of our digital plan packages (Print PDF set, PDF Master, CAD Master, or Master Builder Set) which can be emailed. Digital planpackes reduce contact and can often be emailed the same day the order is received.

2nd Jun, 2020
Articles, Blog

A sloping lot can seem like a hurdle to building the ultimate dream home. But the right home plan can unleash the best of what nature throws one’s way. Owners embracing sloped lots have reaped the unique rewards of these distinguished sites: stunning views, light-filled living spaces and adaptable lower levels that maximize a home’s square footage. With a little creativity, builders can turn even a formidable slope into a bright hillside oasis to call home.

“To be able to have a finished, light downstairs with all the advantages of a usable space, it helps keep a smaller footprint upstairs and keep a better cost per square foot,” said Allison McGraw, client services manager for Ahmann Design, Inc. in Hiawatha, Iowa.

Ahmann’s sloped lot contemporary ranch house design #23861, is featured on The House Plan Company, a residential plan marketing company based in Oregon. The design highlights all the luxuries of a home built for its surroundings. A hip roofline creates high, two-story ceilings, a vertical feeling enhanced by the eye-catching circular staircase winding down from the entry to a flexible lower level, with bedrooms, common gathering places and a walkout to the backyard. Rear-facing windows on both levels fill each room with natural light.

Rick McAlexander, owner of Associated Designs in Eugene, Oregon, says each sloping lot poses its own unique challenges. Finding a design to fit a specific sloping lot can be a bigger decision than even choosing a lot. But the rewards are worth it.

“Every lot is different when you’ve got a sloping lot, whether it’s a 15-degree angle, a 25-degree angle or even more dramatic,” McAlexander said. “The effect is different if the slope is away from street or towards the street. And then each sloping lot usually has some opportunities to take advantage of as well.”

Such is the case in McAlexander’s Ridgeview #80878 house plan. The three-story craftsman home situated on a hillside boasts more than 2,500 square feet of living space. An exterior of siding, shingle and stone, with a second-story deck and third-story private balcony off the owners’ suite, evokes a palatial feeling. Living spaces are spread throughout the interior, while an open kitchen and gathering room allows sunlight to stream in through windows on all sides.

“The Ridgeview met the specific challenges of that specific lot,” McAlexander said. ”It had a narrow building envelope, and a thoroughly aggressive grade from the street, so we were trying to create the opportunity to be able to take advantage of the amount of living space they wanted to create in a narrow building envelope. That pushed us vertical, and it worked out well because we had some nice views we were able to capitalize on.”

Once a sloped lot home is complete, owners can find as much comfort in the lowest level as in more traditional gathering spaces above, said Ken Pieper, owner of Ken Pieper Signature Plans in Evergreen, Colorado.

Pieper’s Spring Branch #33877 is a three-story, 4,500-square-foot craftsman with prairie school architecture boasts a warm, inviting front facade. But the rear-sloping lot places some of the design’s most alluring features on the other side of the home: three levels of nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, with a second-level rear patio providing stunning views.

“A rear-sloping lot like that affords you the opportunity to create a lower level – I don’t refer to them as basements, because they have 10-foot ceilings, lots of glass windows. Consequently, they’re just an extension of the main level up above as far as their feeling,” Pieper said.

And with an unfinished lower level design, owners are able to customize their home plan to their needs.

“When you do this, you create an opportunity for the rear of the house to be as attractive as the rest, or in many cases more than any other part of the house,” Pieper added.

 

As seen on PRUnderground

 

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
4th Dec, 2019
Articles, Blog

EUGENE, ORE.—Dec. 3, 2019—Today’s home designs incorporate a little creativity and a lot of innovation, making the most of available space in a floor plan to meet the needs of active, busy homeowners. Three nationally renowned designers share several of the innovations they’ve brought to house plans for their clients, which also serve as strong indicators of home design trends in the future.

Dual Master Suites

Not one, but two master suites. The concept of a second master suite has emerged from a variety of homeowner needs and desires, including living quarters for elderly parents or a caretaker, a home business separate from the main living space and an ensuite rental property.

“Dual owners’ suites are a wonderful solution for so many different buyer scenarios today, whether they’re baby boomers looking to age in place or millennials seeking space for a home-based business,” said Paul Foresman, head of business development for Design Basics in Nebraska.

New Master Ensuite

“The master ensuite has evolved into a very important design challenge because of the demands put on this space to function as bedroom, bath and storage for two people, as well as a sanctuary for rest and relaxation,” said Ken Pieper of Ken Pieper Associates in Colorado.

Pieper finds that more and more of his clients today want separate functionality within the same space regardless of the size of space. While Jack-and-Jill vanities are not a new concept, creating separately designed spaces within the same master closet and bedroom area for his and hers items pose a challenge for designers especially in smaller homes. In order to accomplish all of this in the master suite, Pieper focuses on prioritizing amenities and what can be sacrificed. Just because a five-piece master bath has been the standard for decades, he said, doesn’t mean that they still need to be applied today. As fewer homeowners are using the traditional bathtub, it frees up space for other needs like a walk-in shower or larger closet.

“The issue of separation and function specifically as it applies to the master ensuite will require more effort on the design team’s part in the overall house design. It’s important that we understand our clients’ lifestyle and individual desires so that we can design living space that meets their needs and budget,” he said.

Work-In Pantries

Work-in pantries takes the concept of walk-in pantries to a whole new level. Beyond simply offering storage space, the work-in pantry features space for preparing meals and can even include appliances such as stovetops and dishwashers.

“This amenity has been really popular in our designs, especially for clients who love to entertain at home. Having a separate area to prepare a meal helps keep the main kitchen area clean and presentable and allows it be the focus for gathering and entertaining,” said Foresman.

In addition to the work-in pantry, Laura Dowds of Dowds Design Collection in North Carolina, said that with more homeowners opting for more casual eating areas, the concept a formal dining room has given rise to a larger, open kitchen perfectly suited to casual entertaining. “Spacious, open kitchens with oversized islands becomes the focal point in the home where everyone congregates,” she explained.

Rear Foyer

Also known as the mud room, laundry center and drop zone, this space is finally getting as much attention as the front foyer. Designers like Foresman and Dowds have worked hard to elevate this important transition space from the garage into the home, which can often be cluttered.

“By offering ample cubby and storage space for everything from shoes and outerwear to athletic equipment and laundry room items, it helps to reduce clutter and keep things organized for busy families,” said Dowds. “And why not make it attractive with lots of natural light, cheerful wall colors and beautiful cabinetry? Better organization and less clutter lead to reduced stress!”

Pocket Office

Another innovation in design is the “pocket office” concept. The pocket office uses flex space to create an area for remote working with built-in storage and work surface, freeing up valuable square footage for more important living areas. These smaller “pocket” rooms serve their purpose with great efficiency and can be easily closed off from the rest of the living space.

 

As seen on PR Underground
5th Nov, 2019
Articles, Blog

Three generations of home buyers with very different lifestyles, preferences and values are driving four distinctive trends in today’s new home design. Baby boomers, Generation Xers and millennials each have very specific objectives for how their living space should function based on what period they’re at in their lives.

Right-sized floor plans appeal to all three generations for simple, easy living.

Baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials do agree on one major design trend: smaller homes with less maintenance. They desire an open floor plan where one space flows naturally into another, from living to dining to entertaining, and even outdoor living space. Baby boomers seek to downsize with all of their living space on one level as an age-in-place option. Millenials also want a simple, open floor plan – and are very attracted to the notion of a “tiny home” – while not sacrificing any modern amenities.

According to a recent study conducted by HousingEconomics.com, millennials are increasingly placing an emphasis on having amenities that make a statement in their home, such as wine and coffee bars, large central kitchen islands with ranges, built-in kitchen seating, exercise rooms and smart technology.

All three generations agree on ensuring that their new homes are designed to be environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

Generational electronic media preference influences the entertainment space.

 “There are noticeable generational differences when it comes to entertaining spaces and electronics,” said Paul Foresman, head of business development for Design Basics of Omaha, Nebraska. “Baby boomers may be less likely to focus their entertaining around electronic media with separate space designated as media rooms. In many home designs of Gen X, you often see the floor plan revolves around a large-screen TV that can be viewed from any seat in the house. Finally, millennials tend to design their entertaining and living spaces around media and electronics along with incorporating smart technology in the home,” he explained.

For millennials, technology friendly spaces are critical with easily accessible outlets and charging stations. They also prefer a smart-automated home where they can control all of their electronics, heat, electricity and lights with one swipe on their mobile phone.

Dual owner’s suites surge in popularity, for different reasons. “While baby boomers are fueling the surge in home designs with dual owner’s suites for elderly parents or caretakers, millennials are seeking the same configuration to accommodate parents, roommates or a home-based business,” explained Foresman.

He also acknowledged that for millennials, considerable thought is being given to where the dual owner’s suite is located to provide privacy from the rest of the home when clients and colleagues visit. The second owner’s suite may be located, for example, on the opposite side of the main floor from the master suite and main living space or in a walk-out basement for easy access.

Well-planned storage space is non-negotiable across all three generations.

According to Foresman, they’ve never designed a home with too much storage space. “It’s a ‘must-have’ across all three generations of home buyers,” he said. “Larger walk-in pantries, for example, address storage needs more cost-effectively than expensive kitchen cabinetry. Garages too have increased in size in recent years to help solve long-term storage needs.”

The House Plan Company, a residential plan marketing company based in Oregon, features a wide selection of house plans designed with all of these generational trends in mind. The modern farmhouse plan Telluride Gable (#80041), for example, is a compact home with an open floor plan at just under 1,600 square feet. The main living area features a spacious kitchen, dining area and great room – all three spaces flowing seamlessly one into another. Designed for gathering and entertaining, the kitchen offers a central island with modern appliances and a walk-in pantry for plenty of storage. A “drop zone” in the combined mud room/laundry room offers additional storage. On the upper level, a second master suite with a private bathroom and walk-in closet can be used as office space or for elderly parents or a caretaker.

As seen on PRUnderground
4th Nov, 2019
Articles, Blog

 

While your home is full of many important rooms, none is likely more important than the kitchen. It is where food is prepared and meals are often eaten, but it is also becoming a place where families spend a lot of their time together. The kitchen is also one of the most popular rooms in a home to renovate, and renovating it can add a lot of value to your home.

Unfortunately, the kitchen is often also one of the most unorganized places in a home. There are a lot of things to store, and often a lack of space to keep them. This can lead to many kitchens being cluttered messes with items all over the table and counters. 

In addition to looking bad, clutter and a disorganized mess of a home can also affect your health and mental health in a number of different ways. Please try to keep clutter to a minimum and keep your kitchen organized.

Without any further ado, let’s take a look at some stellar ways to organize your kitchen.

Get Rid of Things You Don't Need or Use

The first thing you should consider doing if you want to step up your kitchen organization is to take stock of everything you have. Empty out every drawer, shelf and cabinet in your kitchen and go through what you need and don’t. If you haven’t used something in multiple months, you likely don’t need it and can sell it or donate it.

Most of us will realize we have a ton of stuff taking up a lot of space in our kitchens that we don’t actually use at all. Getting rid of it will make your kitchen much easier to organize as you will have so much less things to worry about. While this can sometimes take a while, it will surely be worth it in the end.

Use Shelves, Cabinets and Drawers Intelligently

 

 

In addition to helping the room look good, one of the main reasons for organizing is to help you locate the items you need as quickly as possible. Intelligently organizing your cupboards, pantry and drawers can make cooking and other kitchen activities much more streamlined.

You should put the most used and important items near the front of cabinets, and preferably at eye level. This will help you develop an efficient system that keeps things organized, while also giving you easy access to what you need. If you have to constantly reach to the back of a cabinet to get something you use each and every day, that simply doesn’t make any sense.

Consider Some Renovations

 

 

Sometimes, in order to organize your kitchen the way you want, you may need to perform some renovations. This could be adding more cabinets, remodelling how the kitchen is designed or a variety of other options. Sure, these aren’t always the cheapest, but can vastly improve the space and also add value to the home.

While DIY is great, there are some things that you will require assistance for. However, not all contractors and related companies are created equally. When selecting the kitchen remodeling services you want to work with, be sure to look at their reputation, their specialization, their history and their price. This information should help you choose which contractor is right for the work you need.

In conclusion, hopefully you’ll get some ideas and help from this text, and you’ll come up with some great ways to organize your kitchen. It isn’t always easy to keep your kitchen organized, but it can certainly be done.

 

Guest Contributor: Ashley Lipman

2nd Oct, 2019
Articles, Blog

In the words of celebrity chef and TV personality Rachael Ray, “Good food and a warm kitchen is what makes a house a home.” Today’s kitchens serve so many purposes in the daily life of a family from a cozy place to gather over a home-cooked meal to a makeshift craft room for kids’ art projects to an office for paying bills and doing homework. While American kitchen designs have evolved over the decades, one thing has remained constant: Kitchens have endured as the social hub in every home.

“Kitchens are the hub of all things social in homes today. As a result, we continue to see the trend towards larger kitchens in floor plans as most, if not all of the room, opens to other living space to allow seamless interaction among living, dining and cooking areas,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company, a residential plan marketing company based in Oregon.

In McAlexander’s contemporary farmhouse plan, Myrtlewood #82013, the kitchen is the centerpiece of the home. In this design, the open plan kitchen takes up most of the square footage and encompasses a breakfast nook, great room and dining area. An oversized island with a built-in stovetop and overhead hanging rack for cookware anchors the space.

“Islands continue to be popular and have been gaining functionality by allowing homeowners to cook and prepare food while interacting with guests, much like a ‘chef’s table’ concept in restaurants today,” explained McAlexander.

In the contemporary stone and stucco house plan, Boulder #26815 by Dan Tyree of Tyree House Plans in Tennessee, an L-shaped kitchen island features a cooktop and double sinks along with plenty of seating. The island also serves to separate an open kitchen from dining and living room areas.

Similarly, Jon Rentfrow of Rentfrow Design in Colorado, creates home plans with open concept kitchen, dining and living room areas, such as his contemporary craftsman-style design, Bozeman Trail #15635. In this floor plan, the kitchen and dining area comprise one large space with a multi-functional island as the centerpiece that opens to a great room and a large covered patio for easy outdoor living.

Aside from large islands and an abundance of open space, other trends in kitchens today include unique cabinet designs and storage options, coffee and wine bar nooks, and even indoor/outdoor serving bars.

“One element that seems to be making a resurgence is the serving bar, opening kitchens to outdoor living space with the use of a roll-up door to create the sense of an outdoor kitchen,” said McAlexander.

 

As seen on PRUnderground

 

19th Sep, 2019
Articles, Blog

Downsizing your home is sometimes necessary. In some cases, you’ve lost your home and need to move into a smaller space. In other situations, you might be tired of cleaning and maintaining such a large space and decide that living smaller is the best way to go. Regardless of how you get here, just know that many people find it hard to produce beautiful tiny room ideas. But this shouldn’t hold you back.

Instead of needlessly struggling, let us lend a helping hand. We have plenty of great ideas to help you get started. Whether you plan to install white shaker cabinets in your kitchen, or completely renovate your bedroom or bathroom, these ideas can help make this transition go much smoother.

So take a moment or two to review our five tiny yet beautiful room ideas below. And use them to make your small home look and feel like a gorgeous mansion!

1. Fill Your Home with Smaller Furniture

When you move into a smaller place, you often discover that your furniture is much too big for you new digs. So you can approach this move one of two ways.

You can cram your small apartment or tiny house with all of your large furniture and stuff. Or you can put it all for sale on eBay or Craigslist and use the money toward buying new or used smaller furniture. How you go about this is up to you.

By getting smaller furniture, you’ll feel like you have a lot more room to move and breathe. You’ll feel like the space has opened up for you now that it isn’t so cluttered. And you’ll feel much better about your home because you aren’t constantly bumping into the coffee table or sofa or other large furniture. The space becomes much more livable once you downsize your furniture.

2. Find Additional Space on Unused Surfaces

Most people complain that they don’t have enough space when living in a smaller home or apartment. But oftentimes they fail to utilize all of their existing space because they aren’t used to thinking outside the box. This has to change.

Take a walk through your home. What do you see? Most likely you’ve noticed untapped decorating space waiting for you to spruce it up.

Some examples of unused decorating space include: walls, window sills, baskets, storage bins, kitchen tables, dining tables, office desks, and more. Just remember that each home or apartment is unique. You may have available surfaces that no one else has, so look for them and use them to decorate your place.

has, so look for them and use them to decorate your place.

3. Replace Floor or Desk Lamps with Ceiling or Wall Mounted Options

Are you tired of running out of room on your cluttered desk? Are you sick of constantly tripping over your standing lamp on the floor because there just isn’t enough room for it? It’s time to get rid of these lamps altogether and upgrade to a better option.

What option? The best lighting option for small apartments and houses is wall mounted lamps or chandeliers hung from the ceiling.

They both make excellent choices for a few reasons. One, they don’t take up surface spaces. Two, they provide ample lighting for your rooms. And three, they eliminate clutter, which is what you’re undoubtedly striving for.

 

4. Take Advantage of All of Your Vertical Space

New tinier home occupants often overlook their vertical space. This is a big mistake because this space is perfect for storing your stuff and decorating your home. So don’t overlook these blank canvases.

For starters, vertical space is perfect for storing stuff. Do you need more room to store utensils? How about hanging hooks on the backs of cabinet doors and hanging them there? Have you run out of room for your pots and pans? You can also hang them on the backs of cabinet doors or hang them directly from the walls in your kitchen. While you’re at it, look for more space for extra storage and more places to decorate and we bet you’ll find plenty.

5. Add Large Rugs to Your Home

This tip will help provide the illusion of a bigger home/room. But it isn’t going to actually give you extra space. So add the biggest neutral rugs to your rooms and they will appear much larger than they are. It’s a simple trick of the eye but it works.

Bottom Line

Right now, you aren’t nearly as worried as you were regarding your smaller home. You now have the knowledge and information to decorate your tiny space and make it appear much bigger.

So use these suggestions to your benefit at your earliest convenience. Your small home or apartment will look gorgeously stunning in no time flat if you take our suggestions and run with them.

 

 

 

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