Monthly Archives: January 2017

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.

Walkout basement house plan exterior view

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.

walkout basement floor plan

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.

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.

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 house 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.