Category Archives: Floor Plans

At different times of the year- and at different stages in life- our physical fitness rises up on the priority list. And in this we are often met with an overwhelming amount of information about what kind of exercise is best, which foods should be avoided, and just how to go about shedding those excess pounds. While it can be difficult to filter through the advice there are some things that can make this process a little easier to navigate. Perhaps the easiest solution of all is to create a home gym that can adapt to your needs as they change. And with a variety of house plans available, Monster House Plans makes it easier than ever to create a space you love.

home gym

Big windows help this home gym feel open and expansive.

A home gym is often quite different from commercial workout spaces. Rather than a huge room lined with mirrors, rows of cardio equipment and weight machines, and a huge assemblage of kettle balls and free weights, a home gym can be a sleeker, simpler space. In addition to the fact that you won’t need all that equipment for just a few people, you are also enabled to craft your space in a way that cultivates a calm determination.

A small room will suffice for your home gym, but I recommend it be a room you enjoy spending time in. Choose a space with big windows and a view if you can, but free of distractions. Natural light is a big bonus and helps with both mood improvement and motivation. If natural light isn’t an option in your space, choose a lighting scheme that is gentle but provides ample illumination for your workouts.

Depending on what kinds of physical activities you’re planning on doing, flooring can be an important component of your home gym.  For many folks the home gym is a simple situation, and flooring materials can be of your choosing. Hard wood or wood alternatives create a warm, inviting feeling but can be in danger of damage if weights are dropped. Choose a hardy material that can stand up to the activity that will take place.

Work with your architectural team to customize that bonus room or flex space into your home gym.  Rather than just moving equipment into an empty space, you can cultivate a deliberate experience when working with a professional designer. Built-ins, light sources, and structural adjustments can be added to your existing house plan, ensuring that your dream home comes together exactly as you envision it.

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We offer a wide variety of house plans to choose from; the Craftsman house plans, in particular, 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 floor 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

A 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.

Perhaps the largest draw to the most popular house plans is the inclusion of “flex space” or multi-functional rooms. As families grow and change the requirements placed upon the rooms within your dream house change as well, and modern home design trends reflect this need. But beyond open floor plans and undefined spaces, there is also a rising tide of home furnishings and built-in options that can transform a room quickly and easily.

Multi-Functional Furniture:

The murphy bed is back! This relic from early American living spaces is growing in popularity and

Multi-Functional

The ultimate space-saver!

the designs are better than ever. A bed that pulls down from the wall is perhaps the most straightforward space saver available. When not in use, the bed folds away to reveal a desk and work space, or cabinets, or enclosed shelves for attractive storage.

Sofa beds also are once again in high demand. With an eye towards more intimate details and cozy furnishings, a living room quickly transforms into overnight guest accommodations. An antique bow-front chest or refinished dresser makes a lovely display piece and offers short-term storage for your house guests.

 

Multi-Functional Rooms

 

multi-functional spaces

Bookshelves lend a scholarly and cozy feel to this bright dining room.

A formal dining room is a lovely addition to any dream house plan, but it can also feel like poorly used square footage if it is only occupied once or twice each year for a large meal. Consider lining the walls of a formal dining room with built in bookshelves for a library feeling. With the addition of a farm-style table the dining area easily doubles as a work space or home office.

Family rooms can be big spaces and it’s not difficult to get a little lost in all the open space. Rethink the ways furniture is placed in great rooms; with a little out of the box thinking a large open room can be divided into smaller spaces better suited to your family’s needs. Tall book cases placed at right angles to the walls act as non-permanent room dividers; a couch located in the center of the room allows for a workspace or exercise area to share the living room.

 

Human societies have been building and living in homes for thousands of years. These historical architectural styles reflect regional influences as well as the ongoing development of human architectural stylesculture. As societies form, the structures echo the needs of the present place and time and, over the years, this has come to provide us with numerous architectural styles that reference these past design trends and point towards our future.

These days, we use architectural styles to denote those sociohistorical trends that guided past design choices. They are quite helpful when searching through a large archive of house plans on a site like MonsterHousePlans.com. Ultimately, however, many of the distinguishing features of one house plan design style will also be reflected in other styles of house plans. The wide front porch of architectural stylesthe Southern Country style house plan is similarly a common feature of the ever-popular Craftsman house plan as well. It’s difficult to say which claimed the front porch feature first, or if they developed simultaneously. But this is just one example of the way seemingly-signature features are often incorporated into other design styles.

This is good news for those shopping for their dream house plan. A good designer will meld various styles into a seamless reflection of the current trends while also applying an expert’s hand in terms of structural integrity and feasibility. As our lifestyles grow custom architectural stylemore diverse, the homes we choose to build echo our evolution. With modern families taking so many various forms it’s quite amazing really to see the way our clients are taking full advantage of the opportunity to create something unique and functional for their lives. And although there are always some house plan styles that remain popular in the long term, there will also always be room for artistic development and socially-influenced modifications. Perhaps this is what draws us as architects to this field: this constant evolving of form and function, and the ultimate pay-off of a happy family loving the space they live in.

The pull of convention affects us all. Sometimes we just get so used to things being a certain way that it takes a strong wind to redirect our visions to something better suited to our needs. But this is the beauty of working with a custom design for your dream house: the options are truly limitless!

My favorite expression of this lately has been the rise of the contemporary laundry room in unusual places. No longer relegated to the mud rooms and basements of American houses, washers and dryers are starting to make an appearance in the more highly-trafficked rooms of the home: bathrooms, walk-in closets, or laundry rooms placed on the second story between bedrooms.

Ultimately, the chore of maintaining your family’s laundry is time consuming and tedious. The clothes basket can get heavy, the folding gets interrupted, sometimes there isn’t enough space to spread out. Regardless of whether there is one person in your family responsible for the laundry, or if its a rotating chore, having a contemporary laundry room set-up designed for function rather than tradition will make a huge difference.Contemporary laundry rooms

And with the advent of front-loaders, you can now feasibly put a washer and dryer anywhere that makes sense to your routine. Build a nice long counter top above the appliances and you’re all set with a folding area.

I think my favorite so far is the laundry room in the walk-in closet. How easy would it be to remove dirty clothes right into the wash basin? And then, once the dryer finishes its cycle, clothes go right onto hangers or into the bureau? Genius.

contemporary laundry room

 

 

 

 

Another popular option is locating the washer and dryer into a closet slightly bigger than the traditional linen closet on the second floor of the home. Situated between bedrooms perhaps occupied by older children who are responsible for their own laundry needs, this set up is highly functional for a busy family and is an efficient use of space.

contemporary laundry room

 

However you move through your home, consider the spaces that could be designed differently, or could work better for you. This is the single most important benefit in choosing to build your home: the ability to create spaces based on what works for you, rather than being tied to the standards of the masses. Talk to your designer about your ideas; they are excited and willing to help your project manifest into the perfect home for you and your family.

 

Courtyard House Plans Add Elegance

No matter what size lot you plan on building on, considering a courtyard house plan is one of the most traditional ways to elevate the elegance and maximize available space.

Most of the house plans that offer a courtyard already in the design are of the traditional variety: European designs in particular favor this feature. But several of the more recent American trends have also adopted the courtyard garden as a way to provide private outdoor space that is both open to the air and protected from the stronger elements.

Enclosed patio in courtyard house plan

Enclosed within the main structure of the house, a courtyard garden often exists in the center of the lot, with the main arms of the house surrounding it. But there are options: a courtyard can also be situated towards the back and side of the house, or can be built between the main house and a detached garage and used as a vestibule space. There are countless options for bringing this lovely space to fruition, and several reasons why it’s a good idea to consider for your own dream house plan.

Courtyard house plans typically have a few features in common:

  • Water fixtures:  Either large or small, and used as part of landscaping irrigation or simply toWater feature in a courtyard house plan provide a quiet, tranquil background noise in a peaceful setting, a water fixture is a classic element to a courtyard. Even something as subtle as a stone bird bath with a slow trickle of fresh water running into it can make an enclosed courtyard garden feel like a haven from the stresses of the outside world.

 

  • Patio: Built into the center of the courtyard with features and landscaping plants arranged on Paved patio in Courtyard House Planthe periphery, a patio makes for an intuitive gathering space. Paving stones, brick, or other natural materials are typically used here, and ground cover allowed to expand between the stones makes for a romantic and traditionally elegant setting for a summer’s evening meal or glass of wine.

 

  • Low maintenance landscaping: Typically, a courtyard is designed to be relatively low-Low maintenance plants in Courtyard House Planmaintenance compared to other styles of yard spaces. Choosing plants that are capable of being left unattended for short periods of time are a functional addition, while many would opt for plantings that will grow and expand on their own over time. Training vines like clematis and wisteria are good options for a setting such as this.

The garden space inherent in a courtyard house plan can elevate your dream home to a new level of simple elegance and make efficient use of space on your chosen lot. Search our large selection of House-Plans-With-Courtyards.

Using a house plan to build your custom home is not only for those seeking a new primary residence. For any number of factors people will continue to choose to live in urban areas, or in housing developments in which the homeowner’s level of control is managed by a larger organization. Maybe a condominium is perfect for you right now, with its lack of yard maintenance and convenient locations. These can all be very functional living arrangements for many. But the dream of building a unique living space infects us all, and vacation homes offer a viable option.

Smaller house plans with features designed for comfort and convenience are very popular on our site these days. The requirements for a vacation home are often different from those of a permanent residence, but no less inventive. Typically boasting open floor plans, ample storage and closet space, and gathering spaces, these house plans are all about bringing people together. Smaller square footage and simple roof designs can keep the cost of building a vacation home economical, while easily adaptable custom features make for a uniquely functional space. Also with these smaller house plans comes a greater adaptability in terms of lot choice.

While packing up the car this weekend with all the accouterments a camping trip requires, allow yourself to imagine for a moment how easy it would be to spend the long weekend at your vacation home. Rather than mounting the kayak to the top of the car, its waiting in the garage of your lakeside cabin. Instead of eating out for the duration of your trip, you stock your kitchen with the necessary ingredients and cookware. Rather than struggling with a sleeping bag on uneven ground, you rest in a bedroom that opens onto a screened-in porch for that open air feeling. Whether your vacation home is a cabin in the woods, a beach house on the coast, a log cabin by the side of a lake, or an A-frame up in the mountains, the options are truly limitless.

Memorial Day weekend is often seen as the opening of the summer season. Bar-be-ques are brought out and dusted off, last year’s grime is scraped away from the grill.  Many families will be either hosting or attending some kind of backyard gathering in the next few days, and sharing an outside meal with friends and family. Take a look at our house plans to get started on creating a space perfect for the holiday!

As anyone with a grill knows, finding a proper place for outdoor cooking can be something of a challenge. With this in mind, house plans with built-in grilling porches are soaring in popularity. They are stunning additions to the outside space of your home, designed with both aesthetics and function in mind. Often located at the back of the house, grilling porches are usually connected to the kitchen, making cooking a cinch and movement between food preparation areas as easy as can be. Unique features can be added as well, like windows that open onto counter space for pass-through simplicity, dutch doors between kitchen and grilling porch, and either fully enclosed or partially open porches under full cover from the elements.

From a safety standpoint, a built in grilling porch is also a safe and efficient way to enable cooking outdoors. With a house plan that includes a grilling porch the standards set forth by the International Code Council governing fire safety in cooking appliances are met to the highest degree. For many people, the benefit of having a professional designer ensure the utmost in safety for outside cooking practices offers enormous peace of mind.

Between the aesthetic benefits and the built-in safety considerations, a grilling porch is a must-have for anyone who enjoys cooking out in the open air. Whether hosting large gatherings or simply moving family dinners out of the dining room on a pleasant evening, having someplace designed especially to accommodate a fresh air meal is an affordable luxury and an enviable feature on any dream home project.

Save Money with Solar Panels

Building a home can be an expensive endeavor, and most people preparing to embark on this project are on the lookout for ways to save money- both in the construction phase and in the future years of living in your dream house. The decision to go with alternative energy sources is one that is best made early-on as you browse for floor plans, as the house plan you choose to build from will impact your options for alternative energy sources.

Solar panels have been on the commercial market now since the 1950’s and recent developments in technology have greatly improved the efficiency and storage capacity of solar panels. Versions of this technology are available in hundreds of smaller products, in everything from landscaping lighting options to solar cell phone and tablet chargers. But solar panels on the roof of your new home can save you hundreds of dollars each year in utilities and reduce your dependence on traditional sources of electricity.

Forbes magazine estimates that installing solar panels of your roof can reduce your family’s carbon footprint by as much as 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, doing the work of 88 trees. For those interested in green structures and efficient houses, this is an impressive statistic. And with so many people interested in this option, there are now several ways to go about it.

Many companies will lease solar panels and include installation in the overall cost of the agreement. The benefit of this arrangement is mostly financial, as the company who leases the equipment stores the electricity and sells it back to the consumer, often at a lower rate than the electrical company.

For some, installing permanent solar panels will be the best option. There is an initial cost investment in the materials and the skilled labor required to install them, but you can expect to begin recouping that investment right away. Electricity can be harnessed to power lights, heat, hot water heaters, swimming pools and hot tubs, and any other electricity-based appliance. Solar panels are also estimated to increase the resale value of your home by as much as 20%, so for many home builders it is a worthy venture.

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.