The Beautify of Hidden Garages

Almost every home you see has a garage attached, usually tacked on to the front of the house. And as our cars get bigger, so too does the standard size of a garage. Spaces for three cars is not uncommon, and use of extra space for seasonal storage. Who could do without such space when building their dram home? A home seems almost bereft without the addition of a garage. Where else are we to park our cars, tuck away yard tools, and set up wood shop work benches? Providing an informal entrance to the home, often via a mud room or utility room, the garage is a frequently used, necessary part of many homes. But garages can be unsightly, awkward, or simply in the way of a carefully designed dream home exterior. Despite its many functions, the garage is arguably the least attractive part of your home’s exterior.

Solutions abound for this particular problem. Garages can be tucked around the side of the home, be situated at the rear, or be built as part of the lower level of the house, completely removing the necessity of a separate garage. Yet other house plans hide the garage in plain site, including such design features as bay windows, small covered porches, and cottage-style landscaping features.

Nearly every style of house plan offers solutions such as these. Clever garage designs abound in the MonsterHousePlans.com library, and by selecting both the style of home you are looking for and the rear-entry garage selection you will access a tailored search filter with hundreds of house plans with out-of-sight garages. Remember also, that any house plan design can be customized to your specifications with the help of licensed architects.

Whether your dream home is lined with a Southern style wrap-around porch, a New England row of columns, or the handcrafted touches of a Craftsman home, a discreet garage enhances the curb appeal of any house.

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Using Salvaged Building Materials in Home Construction

The cost of building a new home can seem daunting at the outset, but there are a number of clever ways to keep costs down without cutting any corners. Use of salvaged building materials is becoming a popular money-saving trick many builders and contractors are offering.

Building materials and fixtures salvaged from old buildings first go through an evaluation process to ensure their quality remains intact. This deconstruction process can be quite lengthy but it often worth it in the long run when considering the reduced cost of materials. It is also a way to collect valuable old materials such as old growth timbers that are no longer available in other venues.

In addition to the cost benefit, there is an environmental benefit as well, as using materials already designed for construction save in terms of both the time is takes to generate new materials and the time it takes to process them as waste.

Salvaged building materials like beams, stairs, and framing supplies can save lots of money on home construction.

Salvaged building materials like beams, stairs, and framing supplies can save lots of money on home construction.

More than just wood timbers are used in salvage projects. Fixtures such as door knobs, sinks, bath tubs, and hinges are frequently resold for use in new home construction, as are actual building materials like bricks, concrete blocks, insulation, roofing tiles, wall paneling, molding, and baseboards. Considering the vast array of building materials that can be purchased from salvage yards and resellers, much of the new home you seek to build can be constructed with these repurposed items.

By using a combination of salvaged building materials and new, state of the art supplies, your dream home can be as unique as your family and be accomplished on a reasonable budget as well. Especially when considering the materials for low-visibility projects, look into salvage yards for low cost alternatives to brand new materials. It is important to work with a reputable contractor when purchasing refurbished building materials, or to buy from a credible retail location to ensure you are getting the highest quality.

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Walkout Basement House Plans

Walkout basement homes are widely popular all across the country for the extra space and adaptability they offer. Although many imagine a perfectly flat, expansive lot on which to build a dream home, most lots present some degree of elevation that must be taken into account. Where possible, a walkout basement home provides a way to situate your home on such a lot without sacrificing any interior space.

For many busy families, having living space on a lower level provides a necessary separation between active gathering spaces on lower levels and quiet, more formal rooms for mature entertaining upstairs. House plans with walkout basement foundations often include rec rooms, home theaters and gyms, and expansive finished storage space with built-in features to maximize space-saving habits.  Guest suites are also common features of a lower level walkout basement house plan, providing a separate entrance and oftentimes a private patio or porch area for your guests to enjoy during their stay.

Maximizing square footage without enlarging the footprint of the house is perhaps the most beneficial feature of a walkout basement floor plan.  A single story home can still have a fully finished lower level, visible only from the back of the house and providing covered deck space below. These types of plans are often the perfect choice to enjoy a rear-facing view, or when the home is situated on a lot so as to create an expansive backyard area. For the ultimate in home amenities, consider an elevator connecting the two floors or a lower level summer kitchen and BBQ porch to ensure seamless connection between separated floors and outside gathering spaces for the whole family to enjoy.

While the curbside view of a walkout basement home shows perhaps a modest single-story house, the rear of the home reveals two levels or more, with inside spaces connecting with outside spaces through skilled use of windows, porches, and patios.

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Split-Level Homes

The split-level home has long been a popular choice in the American landscape. Beginning in the 1950’s, with lots getting smaller as the home owning population grew, the sprawling Ranch-style home was getting more difficult to build and more expensive to maintain.

Early Ranch style homes evolved into the more modern split-level.

Early Ranch style homes were large, sprawling homes that required large lots; the split-level evolved out of this horizontal design and a need for more space.

 

Existing homes were modified and new homes being built kept the long lines and horizontal orientation of the ranch and prairie home but added more compact design concepts. The resulting home offered more interior living space on a smaller lot by stacking levels and using short staircases as conduits between gathering spaces. Now instead of a two story home, the house is divided at mid-height creating a third level and allowing more options for how to divide the space.

Most often, a split-level home will maintain those traditional ranch-style details like overhanging eaves and low pitched roofs. But considering the many ways a space can be differently utilized when stacked, there are several modern designs now entering the market with quite a high level of popularity. There are also new ways of utilizing the split-level design. A side-split denotes a split-level house plan where the two floors are visible from the front elevation of the home, while a back-split appears as a single-story from the front; only in the back are both stories visible.

Perhaps the most popular benefit of a split-level home design is the ability to divide living areas. For many families with children at home, a lower level with bedrooms or recreation space for games is a perfect way to lower the noise level and keep kids safely entertained yet separated from gathering adults. The daylight basement is another benefit of this design. Finished above-ground space that can be utilized for a number of purposes is appealing to many families, as future needs cannot always be predicted. Bonus space that can be used later on is a comfort to many.

Whether the traditional design or the more modern look is appealing to your family, split-level house plans have come a long way since their early needs-based inception. They continue to serve the modern family unit with efficiency, clever design technique, and classic exterior appeal.

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Inverted Floor Plans

Inverted floor plans have a long history of providing functional protection. Recent construction innovations and clever design trends have brought this practice back to the forefront of home floor plans in a variety of settings.

Perhaps the oldest examples of inverted floor plans are the castles of ancient Europe. A design of concentric circles- the outer moat, the stone wall surrounding the grounds, and stacked structures ending with the Castle Keep, offered several layers of protection from invading enemies. This innermost tower, the castle keep, was typically where the family slept. It also provided, one supposed, the best and most expansive views of the kingdom.

Castles were some of the first inverted floor plans, with sleeping quarters on upper floors for safety and warmth.

Castles were some of the first inverted floor plans, with sleeping quarters on upper floors for safety and warmth.

Fast forward to a more modern view of the world, in which single family homes dominate the landscape. Early examples of this show homes built around a single multi-purpose room, used for sleeping, cooking, and as a gathering space for the family. Families that could afford a slightly larger home would often position a loft above this main room to use as sleeping quarters, where the rising heat from the central fire would maintain warmth through the cold nights.

In today’s world, this natural vertical progression has lead most home plan designers to place bedrooms on the upper floors, and living areas on the main floor. And while there are some stylistic deviations, such as a first-floor master bedroom, many styles of house plans accept this template.

And it works for many families. Regional construction, however, has kept the inverted floor plan alive and well. In coastal areas, the low country lots, and areas where rising river levels threaten the foundation, inverted floor plans make the best use of space. A view-driven plan will often feature main living areas on the highest levels of the home, in order to see above a neighbor’s house or over the tree line. In hot and humid places, these upper floor are uniquely able to capture breezes while discouraging pesky insects who tend to congregate at lower altitudes.

Rooftop in an inverted floor plan home.

Roof decks make the most of seasonal weather.

It is no surprise then that most of the inverted floor plan models you see are either Coastal house plans, Beach home plans, Florida plans, European house plans, and Modern or Contemporary floor plans. But an inverted floor plan is for more than just coastal properties. Even the more traditional house plans can make use of this design, as many of them draw from European design concepts.

Modern designs are beginning to make use of this feature as a way to make the absolute most out of available space, including outside areas like roof decks and balconies. And with modern amenities like elevators and dumb waiters, the logistics of spending most of your time on the upper floors are simply settled.

There are a number of factors that make an inverted floor plan the preferred choice for many families and builders. Whether its intent is to access sweeping views, to capture cool breezes, or to elevate the main gathering spaces for maximum light and openness, the inverted floor plan has evolved into one of the most efficient use of space available.

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House Plans with Flex Space

Building your dream home is often a very exciting process. As you witness each phase of construction you draw ever closer to the completion of your goal. But there can also be moments of uncertainty: did I choose the right home for my family? What if things change in a way I haven’t foreseen?  No one is better suited to anticipate the future needs of your family than you are. Even though you are uniquely qualified for this decision, unexpected changes occur in the life of a dynamic family. Having the ability to meet those changes head on provides a welcome comfort. For many families, the best way to mitigate this anxiety is to choose a house plan with built in expansion options, or flex space.

The cost and headache of building an addition on to your existing home can be dissuasive and discouraging. The perfect house plan for today’s changing family dynamic will include spaces for growth that can be finished at a later date when the need arises. House plans with unfinished basement levels offer open space that can be defined in any way your family needs, or can be left open for a generous rec room, storage, or craft space. Yet other house plans include the structure for additional bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, walk-in closets, and outdoor patios for an easy transition from flex space to living space.

Whether planning for your aging parents or in-laws to move in, or transitioning into a work-from-home or self-employed arrangement, or the knowledge that your young children will one day want their own bathroom: having undefined space built into your dream home offers growth potential with ease.

Life is full of exciting opportunities and unexpected moments of change. The feeling of having flexibility on your side makes it easy to meet those opportunities with a positive outlook. A custom home plays a large role in terms of meeting the future needs of your family. By harnessing your unique ability to predict upcoming needs and changes, and including space for the unforeseen, your house plan can serve you for many years to come.

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Mountain and Rustic House Plans

Mountain homes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Rather than being an architectural distinction, mountain house plans represent a collection of common features designed for rugged landscapes. Also called Rustic house plans, these homes tend to be on the smaller side and boast design elements perfect for vacation homes in beautiful settings.

Natural materials are often used in mountain house construction: treated wood siding, unfinished logs, and stone elements are commonly seen in these types of homes. Metal roofs are desirable for their low maintenance as much as for the uniquely peaceful sound of rainfall they provide. A mountain house plan will often have lots of windows from which you can watch the changing of the seasons. Formal rooms are replaced with cozy gathering spaces usually centered around a stone fireplace. Traditionally open designs make these smaller mountain house plans feel simultaneously expansive and intimate. A rustic house plan will have several covered patios or a wrap-around porch for taking in the fresh mountain air.

Seasonal weather in mountainous areas can be unpredictable and extreme, and a good rustic house plan will reflect the sturdiness required to withstand colder seasons. A-frame designs are quite popular in areas where annual snowfall is high, while other mountain house plans will be multiple stories high to separate bedrooms from living areas and are suitable for building on a sloping lot. It is somewhat common for a mountain house plan to not include a garage, as these are often used as vacation homes. However, for those attracted to the style and wish for a permanent residence with a rustic feel, garages can either be added to existing plans or you can choose from the many larger sized mountain house plans that include space for storing vehicles.

Having a quiet place to escape to feels vital for many families living in densely populated areas. And for those who cannot build their dream home just yet, a vacation property is an approachable first step: a uniquely designed home on a slightly smaller scale and perfectly suited to your family’s needs is a choice everyone can get behind.

 

Search for Mountain and Rustic House Plans here

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A Vacation Home Is A Solid Investment

There are numerous studies to show that Americans take trips more frequently when they have a permanent vacation home as a destination. The peace of mind that comes from staying in your own space is a powerful motivator, and the ability to store necessities on site is yet another big incentive. In the busy lives we live, time away from the daily grind can be hard to come by. Vacations are complicated things to pull off: making travel arrangements, taking time off from work, packing, researching, and staying in unfamiliar accommodations can all put a damper on the experience, and many people just don’t have the spare time to put all the details in order.

Especially popular in recent years are vacation homes in the mountains.  These rugged, sturdy floor plans are designed to withstand seasonal storms and provide a haven from day to day life all year long. Typically low-maintenance materials are used in construction and mountain house plans are uniquely suited for sloped lots and breath-taking views.

Whether you build a fishing cabin in the mountains  or a beach cottage on the coast, there are numerous benefits to be found in building a custom vacation home:

  1. Tax Incentive

Depending on the tax laws in your state, there is a possibility that you can write off the property value from your annual income. Check with a professional in the area you want to build to make sure you’re getting the most accurate tax advice.

  1. Earned Rental Income

Many folks don’t mind others using their vacation home and with the advent of sites like Air B&B and VRBO home owners can generate income by renting their vacation properties when not in use.

  1. Vacations are Good for Your Health

There are countless medical studies to show the positive effects of fresh air and the increased activity that mountain travel inspires. Lowered blood pressure, increased oxygen in the body, and a relaxed state of mind have all been linked in correlation to longevity and lower incidences of major chronic health issues.

For many families who feel that building their dream home is out of reach at this time, considering a vacation home is a perfect first step. Smaller in scale and often quite simple in design, working from a floor plan that had been modified to your specifications makes the possibility of regular vacations a reality.

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Nostalgic American Architecture is Perfect for the Holidays

There is perhaps no season that makes many of us nostalgic for early American architecture like autumn. As leaves begin to turn bright colors and fall in piles in the front yard, kids dress up and parole neighborhood streets for Hallowe’en, and preparations are made for the upcoming holidays, images of colonial homes fill our heads. Those wide front porches decorated with carved pumpkins and hardy mums in pots; lights going up along roof lines; chimneys filling the air with wood smoke….these sensory moments are part of what makes this season so special and culturally historical.

A nostalgic American landscape makes for the ultimate autumn landscape

A nostalgic American landscape makes for the ultimate autumn landscape and puts us in mind of the approaching holidays.

When we enter the season of hosting for the holidays, there are some styles of homes that are designed for this time of year. And it’s those nostalgic American home styles that do it the very best: Colonial, Plantation style, and Country homes are among the most perennially popular. Especially as the season turns cold, those homes that offer multiple fireplaces, large gathering rooms, and guest accommodations are especially sought after. And for large families, no holiday would be able to come together without some sort of play room or bonus space on the lower floors to which the children can be sent while meal preparations are under way.

As adults grow their families and develop traditions, it’s only natural to consider how your family gathers together. In the midst of holiday craziness and unpredictable weather, how to spend time with your loved ones? These are some of the most important considerations when searching for a house plan for your dream home. Are you building far from other family members, where you might need to host overnight guests from time to time? Do you prepare large meals and require ample storage and counter space to work your masterpieces? Is quiet time around the fireplace the best part of your night? As you search through our curated collections of house plans for holiday hosting, keep in mind the spaces in which you want to see your most beloved traditions to take place. Whether your hang lights, or decorate with autumn colored leaves, this holiday season is shaping up to be a wonderful time for all to get together and revel in the joy of a life well lived.

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Autumn Curb Appeal for your Front Porch

Autumn is upon us, and it appears in all its colorful glory. It is the time of Hallowe’en costumes, darker days, pumpkin flavored everything. This time of year, we showcase our beautiful homes and extend our front porch space to friends and family alike as we welcome them to our homes for a string of holiday get-togethers.

Front porches are even more welcoming with festive fall decor.

Front porches are even more welcoming with festive fall decor.

Whether you have a walkway to your front door or a covered front porch where guests can take shelter from stormy weather, a visitor’s experience in your home begins with curb appeal. Those few moments between leaving the car and arriving at your door are filled with observation and the slow exposure to your cultivated environment.

Seasonal decorations bring out the exterior features of your home and share your enthusiasm for the holidays. Carved pumpkins lining front porch steps is a long tradition in this country, as are illuminated pathways. As the evening falls earlier and earlier, using decorative lights in your front

Carved pumpkins line the steps of this spooky front porch.

Carved pumpkins line the steps of this spooky front porch.

yard is not only functional, but can highlight design and landscaping features. Trees known for spectacular fall foliage make grand statements as well.

The focus on the front yard this time of year highlights house plan features that might otherwise go overlooked. A front porch, for many, is an intentional aesthetic that represents the style of the homeowners. But why beautify the front of your home just for visitors to enjoy? Some of the most perennially popular house plans feature large windows in the front façade, serving both as a welcoming openness to guests and to offer a view of the front yard from home offices, sitting rooms, and salons. House plans featuring wide covered patios or wrap around porches encourage year-round enjoyment.

 

Enjoy your front porch and yard with a house plans that features lots of front-facing windows.

Enjoy your front porch and yard with a house plans that features lots of front-facing windows.

Your front porch and yard are an extension of your home, and reflect your unique style. Changing seasons offer us the chance to highlight the gorgeous features of our homes. Whether your family is holiday-driven or more classic in style, this is one area where “keeping up appearances” is an extension of welcome and graceful hosting.

 

Browse our collection of house plans with covered front porches here.

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