Category Archives: 3D House Plans

Craftsman Homes Continue to Captivate

For all its many years in circulation, Craftsman house plans are still capturing the American imagination. The progeny of two distinct parents, the craftsman can be seen as the quintessentially adaptable American child.

Paternal influence comes from Englishman William Morris’ rebellion against the Industrial Revolution. He perceived a profound discounting of the individual worker and a subsequent dehumanization of labor. In response, artisans gained prominence as a way to showcase the quality of individual craftsmanship. The mother of this style is the every-woman of the day, caught in the shifting tides of changing social structures and familial obligations. The woman of the house no longer typically had live-in servants and was mostly responsible for the housework along with the raising of the children.  Out of this grew the need for a functional aesthetic, simple yet beautiful; a home for the modern family.

Through this lens, we can trace the genealogy of the American family structure. And while the Arts and Crafts Movement increased in popularity, the Craftsman home gained prominence as the architectural embodiment of these shifting social elements.

The typical craftsman home can easily be identified by a few consistent features. Externally, we see steep hipped roofs and visible gables which are often used to protect front porches under deep eaves. Exposed rafters or supporting brackets on the exterior showcase the workmanship that is so important to this style, while also adding an aesthetic flair. Double-hung windows are also common features, historically boasting a four-over-one or six-over-one design for decorative enhancement. But perhaps the most easily recognizable exterior element is the visible mixed materials both local and natural to the area. Stone, handcrafted wood works, and glass are major players in this style of home, paying homage to the handcrafted workmanship out of which this style originally gained footing in the American imagination.

Interiors also reflected changes to the American family unit. Perhaps the most significant element to this design is the kitchen. As housekeeping needs changed, the modern family needed a way to interact in those spaces traditionally reserved for servants.  In response, the kitchen was integrated into the main floor plan and provided open sight lines to other common areas of the home, including the back yard. As an amendment to the open kitchen, the breakfast nook was introduced as a place for the family to gather around meal times. Space that would historically have been used as a butler’s pantry were replaced with built-in cabinetry more functional for the modern family. This was also a space in which to showcase handcrafted wood and glass work so indicative of the Arts and Crafts style.

Craftsman homes declined in popularity in the 1920’s or so, but came to the forefront again some 60 years later when many large cities in the United States experienced housing booms. In particular, California and Washington State saw large increases in population and growing local economies; the demand for homes for single family units was high. Even now, sales for Craftsman house plans are up from previous years.

Partly because of the simplicity and functionality inherent to the design of a Craftsman house plan, we are seeing another push for these classic designs for modern families. Perhaps it is a quieter cousin to the rebellion from which we first gained footing, but in this world of mass-produced everything and internet commerce, a return to the importance of hand-crafted features is growing in prominence.  Moving away from some of the earlier interior elements like low ceilings, this archetypal design offers much room for adjustment. This is a plan inherently designed for adaptation. The foundational clean lines and connected spaces are a short step away from becoming the open floor plans so high in demand right now. With the addition of higher ceilings and larger windows, the cozy feeling of the traditional design easily transforms into the bright, open, adaptable space of the Contemporary Craftsman.

Contemporary craftsman

An contemporary Craftsman house plan for the modern family.

In either the classic or the contemporary incarnation, this design has been integral to the American concept of home for over 100 years. And, in true American fashion, its easily adaptable structure allows plenty of room for reinvention and creativity, and continues to showcase all that is best about individual workmanship.

In Praise of the Small House

Too often the dream of building a custom home is catered to those with a growing family. Spaces for children and/or aging parents and in-laws dominate ads and idea boards, and the vision of home owners is guided to a bigger-is-better mentality.

But the dream of building a custom home is suited for everyone, no matter the size of your family, the lot you purchase, or the location you choose. Smaller homes make sense in areas with dense populations and high property taxes. For the working professional, or the retiring couple, or the investor interested in long term returns, building a small house can be approachable, efficient, and lucrative.

Modern small houses are marvels of clever creativity. There are a million ways, it seems, to maximize space and visually expand it so you can have the best of both worlds: a collection of rooms magnified for airiness and light, yet without the burden of superfluous space. Function drives the vehicle of decision-making but not at the expense of aesthetics. For many, then, sometimes the preferred solution is to limit available space to only that which is required. This forces a thoughtful discretion when purchasing items for the home, and urges a careful vision when designing the space.

By considering building your dream home in subtle proportions, possibilities are opened up that are difficult to manifest with larger homes, like the option of building on lots in urban spaces, already perked, and zoned for residential construction A larger home requires a larger lot and, with today’s exponentially growing populations, this will often relegate your property purchasing options to the periphery of a large city. And while the suburbs are wonderful areas for families, there are many who would build their dream home much closer to the epicenter of activity.

As you sift through house plans and imagine the home you will someday build, try to remember that there is room in this process for every vision. Whether you seek to build a large home or a smaller one, you will find unique floor plans and advice from architects for dream homes of every size.

Imagining Your Dream Home

Imagining Your Dream Home

There are so many practical decisions to make when buying a house plan and planning the home building project, so many variables that need to be considered and worked through. But one of the most important things to make space for in the planning process is for some creative-level open-minded envisioning of your future in your dream home. In between the details, find some time to day dream about how you will spend your time within the walls you’ve had custom built, and ask yourself some specific, open-ended questions:

Where do you tend to spend the most time when you’re at home: Family room? Kitchen? Back yard?

What do you wish you could do in your home now that space doesn’t allow for: Home office, perhaps?

How does your family move through your home, and where do you all tend to come together: During mealtimes? On weekend mornings? Around a kitchen island while cooking meals?

If it were possible, what unusual features would you want in your dream home: A spiral staircase? A tower room?

What are some small features that would make a huge impact on your daily home life: Bay window seats? Lots and lots of storage hidden in clever ways?

How do you imagine your life changing in the next decade: Is your family growing? Getting smaller? Will you consider working from home and/or beginning your own company?

Are animals a part of your life now or in the future? What kinds of needs will they have: built-in dog runs? A cat yard? Outside structures for chickens or goats?

To build a dream home is to make manifest the imaginings of your collective family. And while it takes focus and practicality to pull it all together, the early stages should be joyous and the ideas free-flowing. Especially when you are working with designers who offer customized house plans. Many of the seemingly “crazy ideas” are, in fact, quite possible and easy to accomplish when you work with your designer on implementing your vision. Having foresight when building your dream home is equal parts rationality and creativity; for best results, use both sides of the brain for this project.

3-D Intelligent Design House Plan

Back when architects were designing house plans by hand at large tilted drafting tables, a 3-D model was a luxury items usually relegated to large industrial or commercial projects. The benefit of those models, however, was paramount: having a replication of your dream project as it stands in actual space is a vital part of the process.

With countless improvements in technology, those architectural models are now available without the balsa wood and gluing processes of previous years. And this accessibility makes for a better home in the long run: from designer to builder to purchaser, having a model to work from allows everyone involved to be on the same page.

After nearly 40 years of designing homes, I am thrilled to be empowered to harness this technology. I have found that the improved clarity and transparency makes all the difference to families working on building their dream homes. This tool is of paramount importance when it comes to bridging the gap between designer and builder, and makes custom alterations a simple process.

At MonsterHousePlans.com, we offer thousands of house plans. And once you’ve searched through them and narrowed down your favorites, this 3-D Intelligent Design option allows your dream floor plan to come to life. This is an invaluable tool when it comes time to begin work with your builder: the 3-D model allows us to include the architect’s specific designs and characteristics, while giving the builder real-space awareness of how all these pieces come together. And as terms of customizing your floor plan, this is the tool that allows you to see the impact of individual choices as it translated to the house as a whole.

This industry has changed so much over the years. And while relics like the electric eraser have gone by the wayside, I am so thankful that modeling has followed us into these new methods of designing homes. There is nothing like taking an idea from your mind onto the page, and then again translating it into 3-D. It remains one of my most favorite examples of how the technological age has benefited the architectural industry: bringing real life examples of your dream home into the tangible process of everyone who buys a house plan.

– Brian Piling, architect

The Evolution of House Plans

Remember the days when we used to use floppy disks to store data, accessed the internet through a dial-up connection, and rented movies from an actual video store? If the memory of these scenarios seems hazy, that’s because those days are far behind us. Now we have compact USB sticks/hard drives to store data, we have broadband and high DSL internet connections, and we rent our movies online or through our cable provider. There are many examples to choose from of technologies and processes that have evolved significantly, and have had a huge impact on our daily lives, but one important example is also connected to improving our home life. This is the ability to view high-tech house plans when we are looking to construct a new house.

evolving-technology-house-plansJust a few years ago, our best option in this situation was to look at a typical 2D computer generated stock plan. Sure, this gave us an idea of what the floor plan of our future home could look like, but it didn’t bring the design to life. Now, through companies like Monster House Plans, new intelligent 3D house plans are being used to show customers how truly liveable their new home will be. For the first time, you can actually envision what walking through your brand new house will be like!

Much like the difference between a smart phone and a basic cell phone, these new 3D house plans open up a brand new world of accessibility to potential homebuyers. Imagine owning a smart phone, and then having to go back to a regular cell phone where you can no longer browse the internet and connect to social networks? You would feel like you were left behind in the dark ages. Similarly, the difference between a 2D and 3D house plan can have a huge impact on how you feel about your potential new home and whether it will reflect your unique personality.

How else can you get the full picture of the designer’s vision and style, and judge whether your vision matches? With these types of house plans, you can see multiple different perspectives and vantage points of both the interior and exterior of the building that you hope to make your home sweet home! With a combination of 3D perspective, and specific construction detail that doesn’t even require additional software, these plans offer an in-depth look at the potential constructability of your desired new home.

Three dimensional house plans also allow you to preview and alter material finish selections throughout the entire modeling process. You can be sure you are receiving the highest standard when it comes to the construction of your home, and that you will receive accurate material reports. You will have the ability to make quick additions to the custom design and fix specifications to fit your unique personal style!

Who wouldn’t want an in-depth, aerial view of the building that has the potential to be their home for decades to come? If you are a young home buyer who is used to using technology that can give you access to everything you need to know, it might be a good idea to check out our 3D house plans. You never know when a model or design will capture your heart!