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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.

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.

Window Treatments Complete the Look of Your Dream Home—and Save You Money

If your chosen house plan offers lots of windows for light this also means the potential for high heat gains and losses as the seasons change. But worry not—there are several options for window treatments to save you money that can complete the look of your home at the same time.

 Awnings

custom house plans/ window treatments

Awnings are versatile structures built onto the outside of your home above the windows. These days they are typically made of synthetic fabrics which are treated for water and mildew resistance, which greatly extends the life of your awning material.

It is also possible to have awnings built with solar panels, thus maximizing the energy efficiency of the construction. These tend to offer a more seamless look with the outside of the home, as opposed to having a few solar panels mounted to the roof. They serve the same purpose as fabric awnings, in that they block and redirect sunlight from entering into the home through the windows. However, they are storing energy at the same time for use elsewhere in your home. It is a very efficient, if sometimes costly, option.

Blinds

Custom House Plan- Window treatments

Inside blinds are affixed to the tops of windows and can be raised and lowered to adjust sunlight entering the room. Exterior blinds are usually made out of steel, aluminum, wood, or vinyl. These are also mounted atop the windows and are lowered into tracks; when the blinds are fully lowered, the slats come together to block the light. If partially raised or lowered they can help with air ventilation and indirect light levels.

As a general rule, blinds are more successful at blocking heat in the summer months than they are at keeping it in in the winter.

Drapes

Custom Home- Window Treatments

While most people will consider draperies in their decorating schemes, they often do not realize that material and aesthetic choices have a big impact on the heat levels in the room. Simply sewing a light-blocking panel to the back of each curtain can make a huge difference in summer heat reduction and winter heat retention. For maximum efficiency, drapes should be allowed to hang down to the window sill or the floor, and should be affixed to the wall at the top, thus sealing in the air between the window and the fabric.

Overhangs

Custom Home- Window treatments

If built properly, overhangs can be one of the very best heat solutions your house can have, especially if you are working with a large southern exposure. Overhangs can direct sunlight away in summer and allow light to enter in winter, but use caution: well-designed overhangs are usually built in during the home construction process, as they require a high degree of expert knowledge to place them appropriately.

Some of the elements to consider when adding overhangs are the latitude of the property, illuminance levels, window size and type, and regional climate. When you choose a house plan that can be customized your architect can include overhangs that meet the placement requirements for energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal.

 

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.