Category Archives: Small House Plans

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.

Home Gym Design

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.

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.

Search our large selection of house-plans-with-home-gyms

Nine Breath-Taking Ideas for a Summer Fireplace

For most folks, the summer months are too hot to justify using the fireplace, and for others these traditional built ins are not functional during any time of the year. Either way, a fireplace is designed to draw your eye and creates a central focal point in the room. Even when not in use, resist the temptation to ignore your fireplace in warmer months. These nine suggestions will get you ready for a summer fireplace that stands out in a crowd.

  1. Plants

    summer fireplace

    Plants add a pop of color and vibrancy to a space that can be dark and cool.

During the summer months, go big and green with vibrant indoor plants like ferns, ZZs, and ivy; or build a succulent garden with jade plants, cacti, and hens and chicks. Choose funky pots and layer them in the firebox where they will stay cool during the hot months while bringing a pop of bright summer color to your great room.

 

 

summer fireplace

The fireplace can showcase items of special importance.

2. Artwork Display

For large sculptures or statues, use the natural eye-catching design of the fireplace for displaying these large pieces. Opt for a simple design so as not to detract from the artwork itself and the space transforms into a stunning shadowbox.

 

  1. Light up the logs!

    summer fireplace

    Use string lights to illuminate wood logs.

Stack real firewood in the firebox and use either tea light candles or thin strings of white lights to illuminate the space. For candles, use a drill to create “holders” in the wood for the tea lights and make certain that the logs are stacked in a completely stable fashion to minimize any risk of tipping while the candles are lit. Alternatively, wind wire-strand lights around the logs for a fairy-light look on a nearly invisible strand.

  1. Photo Display

Organize framed photographs of various sizes and heights in the fireplace to draw attention to the things that matter most to your family. Use mix-match frames and color photos of people and places for a funky, casual look, or use matching frames with black-and-white images for a classy, minimalist feel.

  1. Occasional Tables

If you have a small side table or console table not is use this could be the perfect place for it this summer! Setting an occasional table in front of the fireplace bring the space forward and provides a display space for lovely items or an additional resting spot for drinks and plates during a summertime gathering.

6. Wood Storage

summer fireplace

Artistically stacked wood makes a lovely display and doubles as wood storage.

Consider stacking firewood in the fireplace over the summer in a decorative way, using up the entire space for a fitted wooden panel. The play of stone or brick with natural wood is both interesting and functional. For a funky feel, paint the ends of some or all of the wood logs in bright colors to accent other statement pieces in the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Shelves

    summer fireplace

    Book shelves in the fireplace make for a compelling conversation piece.

Simple shelves installed into the fireplace can be either temporary for a summer display or permanent for a non-functional fireplace. Fill the shelves with books for an unusual library or display books of special import for a bookshelf that is both functional and aesthetically compelling.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Cover it up!

If you’re not inclined to use the firebox for a display case this summer, or just didn’t get around to cleaning it out, you can always cover it up with a solid screen. Find something made with natural materials such as wicker or woven grass for a summertime feel.

  1. Mirrors

    summer fireplace

    Mirrors expand the space and maximize light.

Mirrors might be the single best way to help a small space feel larger. Like with the shelf suggestion above, you can either go permanent or temporary with this idea. A mirror the same size as the fireplace can be mounted against the back wall to visually expand the floor space and reflect the room back to the viewer. Alternatively, mirrors in frames can be layered in the firebox to reflect light at different angles and brighten the space.

 

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Save Money With Solar Panels

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.

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.

Front Doors for Every Taste

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.

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

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.

Happy Mother’s Day

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.

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

Small House Plans are Smart House Plans

Building a home is one of the most daunting tasks a family will ever go through. There are so many questions, so many unknowns and a tremendous amount of anxiety over what and how to build your dream. And always, the penultimate desire is to have the best possible home for the best possible cost. More and more, people are turning to the positive benefits afforded by the smaller home to address these concerns. Plans for smaller homes are becoming increasingly available and growing more popular all the time. The demand for small house plans is growing steadily and their popularity illustrates this shift in consumer preferences. It is becoming well-known that small house plans are the ideal place to start when embarking on the foray into building a home to suit your dreams.

With so many unknowns and variables, more and more people are choosing to go with smaller domiciles. The smaller house has a lot of merit when compared with some of the truly massive miniature castles on the market today. With growing concerns over energy consumption, ecological footprints and green living, the smaller home is often an answer to these concerns in and of itself. The idea that “bigger is better” is falling by the wayside in a cultural movement that calls for more responsible stewardship of our limited, and thus precious resources. The smaller house, like the smaller car, is by its very nature not only more affordable to you, but also less costly for our already overtaxed, overburdened environment. These are the kind of careful considerations designers and architects are now putting into their small house plans with you, the consumer, in mind.

Having considered how smaller homes offer an answer to many of the concerns and anxieties that arise when you first begin to contemplate building a home, let’s take a closer look into the benefits of small house plans. House plans are now widely offered through a variety of venues from hardware stores to online, searchable archives such as on offer through Monster House Plans. With 23 556 plans available on our site alone, you, the consumer have a great array of choices to suit your needs and ideas. In keeping with the philosophy of the smaller home, small house plans abound. These plans are carefully drawn up considering the best possible stylistic, architectural and construction options available through the work of leaders in the industry.

While searching through our small house plans you can rest assured you are looking through the best in what the housing design world has to offer. Efficiency is absolutely key. With the amount of knowledge and expertise that has been used in the development of house plans over the many years of their existence, these plans have grown steadily more refined. Redundancies have been cleared away. New techniques and technologies are considered. All in all, the value contained within the small house plans available rivals that of much more costly custom designs.

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When you are looking for the best possible smaller home for the best possible cost, small house plans are clearly worth your consideration. At Monster House Plans, we have a vast selection of small house plans for you to choose from.