Category Archives: Home Plans

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.

 

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.

Your Guide to Outside Spaces

When imagining your new home and the surrounding outside spaces there are a few options to consider, each with their own special offerings. Here are a few of the most popular outside structures and some things to consider with each:

Patio: A patio is defined as a paved outdoor area that is adjoining a house or structure, usually without a protective roof overhead. This is quite simply a concrete or brick area usually at the back of the house between the house structure and the yard beyond.

Veranda: A veranda, in contract, is a roofed platform along the outside of a house and level with the ground flood. The platform can be made of wood or, like the patio mentioned above, can be concrete or brick.

Porch: A porch is a covered structure projecting out from the front of a house or structure, almost always with a door into the main house. The building materials often vary widely, as do the stylistic considerations with elements like railings, stairs leading to the yard, and overall look of the structure.

Porto-cochere: This features comes from the French Country House style, as seen in this week’s Plan of the Week. A covered area between the main house at the front and a gate house-type structure, it historically provided a shelter from the weather to visitors disembarking from vehicles. Still used often in commercial hotels, porto-cocheres are usually made with natural materials such as stone or mason work and are a beautiful blend of function and a rustic elegance style.

Gazebo: A gazebo is a separate structure on the property but not attached to the main house. A stand-alone roofed area often with a low railing all around, gazebos are almost always built in a circular pattern and offer 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape.

Pergola: A pergola is a stylized structure most often seen surrounding a garden space. It is tall and with an open area above, often used as a support for perennial vining and trailing plants such as wisteria.

Some of these structures can be added once the house is built, but some of the others require working with your designer at the house plan stage of this project. It is important to have an idea of how you envision spending time outdoors at an early stage of your dream home project, as many of these options are included in the house plan and designer you choose to work with.

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.

Here at Monster House Plans, we offer many house plans, but the Country style has been one of our most popular house plans for several years. This is a home that is designed to support lots of activity, changes in family structure over time, and offers an expansive living space beyond what just the inside can offer. With its large wrap around porch and features that rank utility over tradition, this country house plan is a perennial favorite for families of varied arrangements.

The wrap around porch greets family members and visitors alike with an expansive, welcoming feeling, while the screened in portion in the back makes for a very versatile space year-round. The inside design prioritizes function over appearance, as can be seen with the large open floor plan, kitchen with eating bar and island, and walk-in pantry. The master bedroom is located on the main floor and good for temperature control year round as well as serving as an option for aging parents or those who have trouble navigating stairs. Upstairs are two additional bedrooms with the option of a gaming room or family media room that many people are choosing to include these days. Alternatively, that space can be used as a home office or third upstairs bedroom.

This country house plan is the very example of modern efficiency in balance with a traditional, intimate exterior. This is a house plan designed to be welcoming and functional, and the inherent versatility makes it clear why it remains one of our top sellers. It is also available for our exclusive Intelligent House Plan service, which delivers a 3-D digital model, including 12 unique house plan views and a materials list, to your inbox immediately after purchase. This is the single most valuable tool available as you prepare to build your dream home, allowing designers and builders to come together for custom alterations and design improvements unique to the needs of your family.

In a world full of conformity and sameness, there are many opportunities to show your unique vision through your dream home project. Creative solutions to common problems are the specialties of many architects, and these types of issues that require them to accomplish something typical in a new and fresh way is often the bread-and-butter of a design assignment. Here at Monster House Plans, we make it easier than ever to create a custom house plan you can get excited about.

Some of these creative decisions do not require expert guidance, however. Consider that the street view is the first impression your home makes to your family and your guests alike. Curb appeal is a big deal at every stage of your dream home project: it is important in everything from the way you feel as you walk up the front steps and insert your key into the door to the potential increase in overall home value to potential buyers by drawing them in.

Your front door says a lot about your family. For many home builders and home owners, a front door is the single most effective way to make a strong aesthetic statement. It is the perfect bend of beauty and function, as the front door is your welcome statement and also serves some very important purposes. In addition to serving as the entrance space for your home, your front door is also a security feature. When considering an artistic flair for your door, make sure that the basic functionality remains intact. While fancy plate-glass windows might appeal to your decorative sense, you do sacrifice some privacy aspects that a door can provide, and that might not be the best idea in high traffic areas. Dutch doors are quirky and wonderful, but are often preferred in the back of the house as they offer a more intimate entry into your home space.

As you choose your front door to perfectly accent the façade of your dream home, look for ways to balance beauty and function. Often the most aesthetically pleasing choices are embodiments of these two elements in harmony.

Outside Dining

As these first warm evenings of a warm springtime begin to occur, many of our families feel the urge to take our dinner plates outside and enjoy this in-between season.

When it comes time to plan for your outside eating space, there are many things to remember in order to prepare for the best use of your space. Does your chosen house plan boast a large porch or desk area? Is it an enclosed patio, or is there merely an overhang? Features such as these are worth considering in preparation for a time when you’re faced with bothersome insects, or rain fall on a pleasant evening.

If you enjoy playing the host, consider building a deck or patio area that can not only support many people at a time but is also in close proximity to the kitchen for ease in dinner service. These modified porches make entertaining a simple and enjoyable affair by providing ample space for preparing and serving meals; rather than running back and forth from the house to the patio, your time is freed up to focus on your guests and the meal you are serving.

By thinking of these spaces as extensions of your home you become empowered to evolve an evening out into the yard with ease. Whether it’s a simple dinnertime affair on a weeknight or a larger celebratory event, expanding your home area to include your outside space is one of the very best ways to maximize your investment with adaptive spaces.

This is just the beginning of the season of longer days and hotter temperatures. Whether you’re escaping the heat of the house in the afternoon or taking in a cool evening breeze, remember how you will use your yard and porch spaces when choosing your dream house plan. With a bit of foresight, these areas can be built in conjunction with your house project, saving money and time in the long run.

Home design has always centered around the family unit. In this way, the legacy of domestic architecture can almost be read as a social history as much as it is an industrial one. Over the decades and centuries family structures have evolved as the world has changed. Some of the classic American house plan designs reflect this changing social reality. The Craftsman, for example, was a very popular home in the early industrial stages of American suburban life and the layout reflects the changing roles for mothers working inside the home. No longer were homes owned solely by the wealthy, and the lady of the house often did not have servants to manage the previously extensive housework. The kitchen and pantry areas were restructured to be navigated by a single person, and the big open windows overlooking yard spaces also denote the multitasking that was required of these new arrangements.

House plan design almost always centers on the movements of a family through the house. As we see design evolve, it is almost always the result of changes in life movements. For the last many years the priority has been on flexible space as family structures change and roles of parents evolve. Home offices and in-law accommodations are on the rise as families adapt to new challenges and find creative solutions to their needs.

This is one of the best parts of my job: designing homes that successfully meet the needs of today’s families, and to recognize the hard work that goes into making that house plan into a home. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to say thank you to all the moms out there: whether you’re a mommy or a nana; whether your family is biology-based or blended; if you have more than two generations under one roof; if you work both inside and outside the home…. thank you for filling these many structures with love and support for all the growth we all continue to do.