Do you feel as though you don’t have enough room for all your belongings? Maybe your home has grown cramped and feels small? Luckily, you don’t have to move or perform significant home renovation to solve these issues. Rethinking the space you already have is a great way to give yourself more storage while creating an inviting and open feel within your home. If you’re unsure where to begin, here are a few ways to maximize the square footage your home has to offer.

Change the Perception

There are a handful of ways to create the illusion that a room is bigger, brighter, and more open. Through color and layout design, you can transform any space in your home to not only utilize the most space possible but also give it the specific feel you’re looking for.

Utilize Color

If your room feels small, there are plenty of ways to open it up. You can try using paint as a means to make a space feel bigger. Soft tones of white, blues and greens, can not only enlarge a room but also give it a more inviting feel.

As an additional tip, ensure your wall trim and moldings are a lighter color than your walls as it will give the illusion that the walls are farther back, making the room feel big and open. If you’re not looking to paint, you can also change up your flooring to give your room a new feel. Wide planks or large tile flooring with a darker tone can also enlarge a space.

Revamp the Design

The layout of your furniture can also make a difference in your living space. If you have large, clunky pieces that close off walkways and the view of the room, it will seem cramped and small. Opt for multi-functional pieces that you can tuck away when you’re not using them.

Corners can be awkward spaces that can sometimes be difficult to fill. You can find desks, cabinets, bookcases, and accent tables that can all tuck away into the empty corner of your room. These are viable options for a home office space, as well as a means to increase your storage capacity. If you’re looking for something more simple, consider an accent piece such as a chair or lamp for you to enjoy.

Rethink the Kitchen

If you have a large room that feels lackluster and not fulfilling its true potential, consider a minor remodel. For a room such as the kitchen, the options are endless. In most cases, you may feel as though you don’t have enough cabinet and counter space, or maybe your kitchen as a whole feels tight and cramped.

An easy solution for these issues is to replace your cabinets. The cost to install new cabinets is, on average, $100 and $500 per cabinet. By installing new cabinets, you’re able to reconfigure the layout of your kitchen, performing a major remodel—such as moving appliances and running new plumbing. Compared to other remodeling costs, replacing your cabinets is a budget-friendly project to help you maximize the space of your kitchen.

You can also choose between options such as rolling islands and kitchen carts. These can provide you with additional workspace, as well as storage for when you need it the most.

Consider Storage Options

Your home can be full of hidden gems that you transform into additional storage space. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for ways to maximize your space without buying new furnishings for your home. A few ways to add storage in your home are:

Implement Storage Benches

Whether you decide to commit to construction and install a built-in or you buy a freestanding bench, this can help you fill empty walls beneath windows and awkward corners. It’s also a versatile piece that combines both style and function. Additionally, you can utilize benches in many rooms of your home as a means for storage, organization, and extra seating.

Check Under the Stairs

Based on the space beneath your stairs, you may find the perfect opportunity to utilize the extra space it has to offer. Based on the location of your stairs, you could use this space as a pantry, a laundry room, and—for any pet lovers out there—a den for your furry friend to relax.

This is a unique space that you can transform into anything you see fit for you and your family. You could also implement cabinets, drawers, and pullouts to create extra storage to hide in plain sight.


Ultimately, maximizing the space you have in your home is all about being creative and working with what you have. By implementing unique storage, design elements, and redesigning your space, you’ll be able to have a more functional and open home.

The face of suburban living is changing. The days of residential developments from new home builders are slowly, but steadily, replaced by custom home builds.

Part of the reason for this shift is a change in the buyer profile – millennials are now at prime buying age, and they’re quickly becoming the face of new homeowners across the country.

The other aspect of the shift is their changing priorities: More individuals than ever before are prioritizing convenience and quality over size and status. New home buyers are looking for sturdy and high-quality upgrades that will last for decades.

These priorities are not limited to a millennial’s ideal home preferences. If any of these show up on your personal preferences for a home, then a custom home could be an affordable and highly creative pathway to home ownership. However, like any worthy undertaking, there is a process behind the project.

Here are 9 questions you need to have answered when building a house:

  1. Can You Afford The Construction and the Contingencies?
  2. What Type Of Custom Home Will Have the Best Resale Value?
  3. What Are Your Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves?
  4. Do You Need An Architect And A Contractor/Builder?
  5. Do You Need a Kitchen?
  6. What Do You Know About Your Chosen Lot?
  7. Is Your Current Lifestyle Stable?
  8. What Is and Isn’t Included In the Costs?
  9. Is There a Process For Communicating Through the Building Phase?

Money Questions
Building a custom home is a significant investment of both time and money. The National Association of Home Builders says that the average completion time of a custom build is around seven months, but if your home is larger it may take closer to two years. You have to count the months ahead of the process when the actual decision-making and applications for permits occur.

It’s hard to price out a custom home build because all the major decisions are in your hand. The quality of builder you will use, the number of crewmen and project managers, the designers, the materials for exterior construction, and upgrades for the interiors are all examples of factors that could change the final price tag. A custom build may work out to between $100 to $400 per square foot.

Every decision you make on a custom build affects this bottom line. There are so many small and large choices you’ll need to make, so don’t overwhelm yourself at this stage. Ask yourself two basic, foundational questions.

1) Can You Afford The Construction and the Contingencies?

The construction of your home includes several considerations including the cost of labor, the cost of materials, your contractor’s fees, installation, the crew, your floorplan, municipal zoning, and building permits.

Keep in mind the contingencies. These are special and often unexpected circumstances that may crop up and delay your build schedule. Sometimes, if a build gets delayed, this could increase the overall costs. Be prepared to respond to these situations as they come up.

Many homeowners will look at the price tag of all the materials and resources that a custom home will cost and consider this part of the “money question.” However, the total cost for all construction, materials, and labor, call for something even more important: a steady cash flow.

If you don’t pay your contractor and their team, your work could stall and only pick up again once you’re back in the green. Worse yet, your contractor team may not be available when you’re ready to resume. Cashflow is the most important thing to consider when you first plan out your custom home build. If you can sustain the project through allocated finances week to week, your home will finish on schedule and at cost.

2) What Type Of Custom Home Will Have the Best Resale Value?

While some homeowners are looking to design their “forever” home, others will choose a custom home that has a good resale value. Resale value depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The location
  • The upgrades included in the home
  • The decorative elements
  • The exterior’s materials and design
  • The home’s floor plan

For example, some areas are far more popular for their choice in colonial-style homes than ranch-style homes. If you build a home that reflects this preference, it’s far likelier to sell quickly.

If you know that you may consider moving or selling your home in about a decade after its construction, then you may want to stay away from more unconventional floor plans such as an A-Frame.

Design Questions
The design of your home is closely related to the materials and cost of your home. Once you know what your budget is, you’ll be able to pinpoint which features you’re looking for and which rooms your dream home must have.

Keep in mind that design is not just aesthetic or decorative. The design of a home has a lot to do with how long its materials will last. Smart design choices can also help increase energy efficiency and keep your home well-insulated or ventilated. The design of a custom home is not just how things look but how those elements work for you.

3) What Are Your Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves?

Every homeowner embarking on a custom home project should create two lists of priorities. These are negotiables and non-negotiables. To decide on your design priorities, ask yourself a set of guiding questions such as:

  • Do we entertain a lot?
  • Does our home need to accommodate multi-generations?/Aging-in-home options?
  • Exterior and interior style choices? (farmhouse, A-frame, cottage-style, etc.)
  • Sustainability and energy efficiency?
  • Do we want low-maintenance exteriors?
  • Is space the most important factor for our family?

The answers to these questions can help you make general and granular decisions. For example, if you know you need extra square footage, you’ll need to choose a larger floor plan. If you decide that your parents will move in and age in-home, then you may choose lighting, staircase fixtures, bathroom additions, and even raised countertops with their safety and accessibility in mind.

4) Do You Need An Architect And A Contractor/Builder?

Questions about design can get confusing and very specific. You may also come across particulars about a lot’s elevation that may require more specialized knowledge. Any changes, alterations, or additions you may want to make to a chosen floor plan call for an architect/designer, or even a structural and/or civil engineer. These specialists can help ensure that your structure is sound and built to last.

While the skeleton structure of your home may require an architect, the interior may call for an interior designer. If you have the room in your budget for an interior designer, you can hire this individual right at the outset of your custom home build, or toward the end. If you’re hiring them later in the build process, they will have to work with the room configurations you already have.

5) Do You Need a Kitchen?

As a home’s most social and lived-in area, the kitchen is a significant space that sets the tone for several other rooms. The dining room, living room, and great room may all be physically separated, for example. However, their use and configuration can depend on the choices you make in your kitchen.

Custom kitchens are becoming increasingly popular because the skill levels and priorities of families are changing. Some homeowners love cooking and need to have a country kitchen, complete with the latest appliances. Others want a minimalistic aesthetic and prefer that their countertops double as a cutting board.

These preferences affect your home’s floor plan and design. You’ll need to decide how long you plan to spend in your kitchen and what you want to be doing when you’re there. You also need to make sure to choose a floor plan that is spacious enough to incorporate everything you want in your dream kitchen.

Lifestyle Questions
These are the “big picture” considerations that you should be asking yourself before your project ever gets off the ground. The answers to these questions will reveal to you just how committed you are – and need to be – to see your custom home to the finish line.

6) What Do You Know About Your Chosen Lot?

Specific details about your chosen land will tell you what kind of foundation you can lay, what kind of beams the soil can support, and whether you can have a basement area or cellar in your floor plan.

If your home sits on a slope or a hill, your architect or certified contractor can help you plan your construction. A home built on a slope, for example, could be prone to soil erosion, flooding, and disruption to its exterior structures like decks and driveways.

7) Is Your Current Lifestyle Stable?

It’s not the most obvious question but it’s one of the most important considerations. You’re building a custom home, and a large part of your decision should be about your happiness. To make sure that a custom home is the right choice for you, consider the following questions:

  • Will we be moving a lot, or can we see ourselves living here for more than a year after the build?
  • Can we commit to the timelines (which will likely go over) for construction?
  • Are our relationships strong enough to bear the pressures of a longer-term construction period and process? Do we have a solid foundation of trust between us and a method to communicate when conflict arises?

There are so many unexpected issues that come up during a custom build that you will need patience, persistence, and commitment to make it through successfully. If you can’t see yourself living here long-term, for example, then you may have to question whether all the work is worth it.

Construction Questions
Even if you choose your own floor plan, it’s important to vet your builder or contractor thoroughly. Judge their quality based on details like past client testimonials, previous custom build projects, warranties provided, and project management best practices. You may even want to ask for proof of certification and licensing.

8) What Is and Isn’t Included In the Costs?

Cost inclusions affect your cash flow. If you can’t forecast items that are going to be included (and excluded) in the build process, you can’t budget for them. When unexpected additional costs come up, you need to know how to respond and how to allocate money for these purposes.

Your contractor should be able to give you a very detailed timeline, list of materials and resources, and built-in check-ins or meetings to communicate progress. This shows that your contract also has a project manager on the team or is skilled enough to understand the management aspect to a custom build.

9) Is There a Process For Communicating Through the Building Phase?

You could liaise with a construction project coordinator, a project manager, or be in direct communication with your contractor or builder. Regardless of whom you’re working with, custom builds are complicated processes that need to have a consistent communication process. Find out who your point of contact will be, what the contact methods are for regular and emergency issues, and how frequently you can expect updates on the build.

You should also be very clear on what your role is, what your contractor or builder expects from you, and by when.

None of these questions should deter you from your dream home. Instead, they should help you get clear on the commitment, time, and financial resources you will need to make your dream home a reality. Custom home builds are a wonderfully creative process, and the end result can feel very rewarding.

The key to making a custom build both affordable and seamless is to plan, prepare, and then plan some more. Start by keeping your costs low and allocating your money towards your list of non-negotiables.

When you begin with a house plan from Monster House Plans, you’ll have access to thousands of house plans. From here, you can narrow your search using our Advanced Search feature and choose a plan that meets your design requirements and cost budget. Make your custom dream home happen this year with a plan that starts you off on the right foot. Browse Monster House Plans today!

In the past year alone, “how to build a house” was the second-most popular home improvement-related search on Google. It’s safe to say that more than ever, Americans are hooked on the idea of designing their own homes.

There’s just something so satisfying about having a place to truly call your own. After all, you get to have a say on all of the critical parts. You can choose the perfect location, the right floor plan, customized design elements, and enjoy the home for years to come.

If you’re one of the many Americans looking to design from scratch, then you’re not alone. But before you get started, there are a few things you have to consider before you attempt to build your own home.

1. Find the Perfect House Plan

When you picture your perfect home, what do you see?

According to most homebuyers, open concept living is at the top of the list, closely followed by timeless designs like hardwood flooring and plenty of storage. Whatever it is you envision, there’s a floor plan out there with your name on it.

With thousands of floor plans available online, it’s easy to find the one that is just right for you. Best of all, you can customize your search by important features like bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, or even wine cellars! Most companies also offer custom floor planning, where an architect will speak with you about some of your must-have features.

2. It’s All About Location, Location, Location

You might have heard the saying “location, location, location” a few times before. Coined by real estate tycoon Lord Harold Samuel in 1926, the famous expression holds true that homes can be higher in value solely based on its location — a staggering 91 percent of people said location is the most important factor when buying a home!

The right location often includes important features like safe neighborhoods, friendly neighbors, and good schools. Beyond that, though, are some of the other most-wanted factors in an ideal neighborhood:

  1. Low home value to income ratio
  2. Good public school ratings
  3. Fair median monthly housing cost
  4. Reasonable cost of living grade
  5. Residents with a college education

And sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll find the right piece of land in the perfect neighborhood. At this point, you should consult with a professional who can survey the land. They will be able to tell you whether it is accessible to the city, if it is leveled, the right size for your floor plan and if it’s without any zoning restrictions.

3. The Direction Your Home Will Face

The property you choose will also impact the direction of your home.

The direction a house faces might not be the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind — but it should be high on your list. The direction in which your home faces will directly impact how much sunlight you get, and therefore your heating and cooling costs. Homes that were oriented to face the sun had a 10 to 20 percent increase in savings on heating costs.

But the question is: which way is best? If you’re unsure which direction to face the home, then it might help to know more about where you can expect the sun and shade. The United States is in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that the sun offers the most light in the south, and is shadier in the north.

Since the sun shines year-round on the south, many builders recommend orienting the home this way so that the main rooms can get enough natural light. The south side of the house is also where patios and pools should be constructed. Bedrooms are generally on the northern or western end of a home where there is more shade.

4. Choose a Simple and Timeless Design

Remember that at one point, your grandmother’s ivy wallpaper and popcorn ceiling was popular! But as styles evolve, it’s crucial to pick the right elements without getting dated too quickly.

Even those with an eye for interior design might feel overwhelmed when choosing how to style their home. After all, there are so many trends and ideas to try out — and they’re everchanging. But the key to the right design is to choose something timeless or easy to update as the years go on.

“Interior design is like a three-dimensional game of chess: You have to think about space both vertically and horizontally,” says interior designer John Saladino. “You have to break down these rooms and create spaces with a human scale.”

With that said, it’s important to take advantage of each inch of space in your new home. Be sure to optimize space by adding plenty of closets, built-in cabinetry, and a basement or garage.

5. Always Consider the Cost

The million-dollar question is: How much does it cost to build your own home? Unfortunately, there is no set number on how much it costs to develop and design your own home.

But there are general estimations that offer a good starting point. For example, the average house size is about 2,400 square feet. With the average price per square foot at $100, you can expect to pay $240,000 including labor and material costs. This does not include builder profit and overhead if you are planning to hire a professional builder.

To get a true estimation, you’ll have to do some homework by researching local contractors. The good news is with Monster House Plan’s cost-to-build tool, you can easily get an estimate of how much your favorite floor plan will cost to build in your specific area within +/- 10%.

However, be sure to put aside enough money in case something unexpected happens. So, try to avoid spending every last penny on your dream home and set aside at least 10 percent of your budget as an emergency contingency.


When it comes to building and designing your own home, you’re sure to run into some trial and error scenarios. But as long as you carefully consider the five important rules before you build your home, you’ll be on the right path.

But for most, the fun part is finding the perfect floor plan — and with thousands of floor plans available, it’s never been easier to find your perfect home. Monster House Plans has a plethora of exterior and interior floor plans in dozens of design styles, ranging from contemporary to cottage, and everything in between.

What are you waiting for? Find your perfect house plan today!

The average cost of building a house on your own from scratch can range between $100,000 to more than $350,000.

When you picture your dream home, what do you see? Maybe it’s a pool in the backyard or perhaps it’s an in-home movie theater. Whatever your favorite characteristics are, there are eleven key features that the majority of homeowners want in their perfect home:

  • Central air conditioning
  • New kitchen appliances
  • Walk-in closets in the master bedroom
  • Granite countertops
  • Hardwood floors
  • Ensuite master bath
  • Kitchen island
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • A house that is less than five years old
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • One or more fireplaces

However, it’s nearly impossible to check everything on lists like this when it comes to searching for your perfect home. That’s why thousands of people each year decide to build their own home.

3 Reasons Why People Build Their Own Homes

Building your own home might sound intimidating. After all, there are extra costs and a lot of work that goes into the construction of a new home. But nearly 51,000 Americans decide to build their own homes every year based on three main reasons.

Reason #1: It’s Cheaper (In The Long Run)

Upfront, a new home can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But with a newly-built house, you can expect to pay less for many things, like utility bills by opting for energy-efficient options.

Reason #2: It’s Exactly What You Want

Buying prebuilt is definitely an easier option, but that means you’re compromising on upgrades and necessities you might want. Many people prefer things like big kitchens, tons of storage space, and heating and cooling at the touch of a button. These features weren’t standard a few years ago, which means they’re hard to find in homes today.

When you build your own home, you can add anything you want to a blueprint, like bonus rooms, garages, or even an elevator!

Reason #3: It’s Personal

Lastly, many Americans build their own home because it’s got that personal touch. A home customized to you will reflect all the time and effort that was put into building it, serving as a place where you raise your family for generations to come.

How Much Does It Cost To Build a House?

The most important thing to know before building your own home is that the cost ultimately depends on the size of the house and what you want to do with it.

Although these numbers can vary greatly, here’s a general breakdown of how much you can expect to split the budget between the necessities:

  • 25% for material
  • 25% for labor
  • 25% for land cost
  • 25% for builder profit and overhead

To put it in perspective, a typical single-family home is about 2,500 square feet. With the national average at $150 per square foot, you can expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $150,000 to $400,000 for just the square footage.

  • Small (around or less than 1,000 square feet): $150,000 to $180,000
  • Medium (around 2,500 square feet): $250,000 to $380,000
  • Large (over 3,000 square feet with accessories like windows, porches, and several roofs): $415,000 or more

These estimations don’t include labor, construction, or design costs. That’s why it’s essential to become familiar with what to expect when building your own home.

Before You Build

Creating a budget is one of the first things you have to do before the building begins.

But since the market changes all the time, it’s wise to double-check your area so you can get an idea of how much it might cost to build your home. You can use our Cost to Build reports to get an estimate of the costs you can expect, broken down by labor and material, eliminating guesswork.

After you’ve created a budget, you’re free to move onto the next vital steps in the process:

  1. Purchase the property, which averages $3,020 per acre
  2. Develop house plans and designs
  3. Obtain a building permit, which averages $1,043 nationally
  4. Get construction insurance
  5. Begin building!

Quick tip: When construction begins, you will want to set aside about $4,000 for contingency. This stash is for when anything unforeseen, like delayed construction, issues with the building, or an unexpected cost of materials.

Here are where the high costs come in: you’ll spend the majority of your budget on the foundation, framing, installation, labor costs, and interior design.

Foundation: $4,000 to $12,000

Although it would be great to begin building as soon as you purchase the land, it’s likely that the land needs to be prepared for construction. This might include excavating or flattening out the area.

If the land is ready for construction, then it will have to begin with the foundation process, where the workers will pour concrete to serve as your home’s base. Depending on the size and whether or not there is a basement, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $12,000.

Framing: $1,500 to $6,500

The bare bones of the house completely depend on the sizes and locations of each room in your home. Larger homes with more rooms will err on the more expensive side, whereas smaller single-family homes will only cost a couple of thousand dollars to frame.

Major Systems Installation: $30,000 to $40,000

Major systems include electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling).

Let’s break it down:

  • Septic tank: $5,500
  • Ductwork: $10,000 to $14,000
  • Plumbing: $11,000
  • Electricity: $10,000

These are essential to the functionality of your house, which means that a good chunk of your budget will go towards it.

Interior Finishes: $65,000 to $85,000

It’s finally time for the fun part! Once the major systems, insulation, and the framing are all complete, you will begin to see the final touches of your home come together.

Here’s a breakdown of the interior costs:

  • Cabinets and Countertops: $12,000
  • Doors, Trims and Mirrors: $11,000
  • Flooring: $10,000
  • Painting: $7,000
  • Appliances: $4,000
  • Plumbing Fixtures: $3,000
  • Lighting: $3,000

Since kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms in a home, it’s easy to spend a little extra. However, it’s important to keep your interior designs to about 30 percent of the entire budget. To be sure, you should discuss and enforce your budget with your designer to avoid going overboard.

Final Touches: $15,000 to $20,000

Although the home looks complete on the inside, the outside is far from finished. It will be time to clean up the construction mess and tend to the landscaping design. At this point, driveways and decks will be added if part of the plan.

  • Landscaping: $6,000
  • Driveway installation: $5,000
  • Porches or balconies: $3,000
  • Final cleanup: $2,500


Building a home is no easy task, but it’s become desirable to many people around the world. The idea of customization, saving money, and having something to call your own is plenty of incentive to build from the ground-up.

However, the idea seems daunting since many people aren’t sure whether or not they can afford it. It’s important to understand that depending on the size of the home and quality of materials, you can expect to spend between $200,000 and $500,000 on labor costs, permits, major systems, construction, interior finishes, and final touches.

If you’re considering joining the growing trend, there’s only one place to start: pick out some of your favorite floor plans to envision what your dream home could be!

Almost every home you see has a garage attached, usually tacked on to the front of the house. And as our cars get bigger, so too does the standard size of a garage. Spaces for three cars is not uncommon, and use of extra space for seasonal storage. Who could do without such space when building their dram home? A home seems almost bereft without the addition of a garage. Where else are we to park our cars, tuck away yard tools, and set up wood shop work benches? Providing an informal entrance to the home, often via a mud room or utility room, the garage is a frequently used, necessary part of many homes. But garages can be unsightly, awkward, or simply in the way of a carefully designed dream home exterior. Despite its many functions, the garage is arguably the least attractive part of your home’s exterior.

Solutions abound for this particular problem. Garages can be tucked around the side of the home, be situated at the rear, or be built as part of the lower level of the house, completely removing the necessity of a separate garage. Yet other house plans hide the garage in plain site, including such design features as bay windows, small covered porches, and cottage-style landscaping features.

There are many house plans that offer solutions such as these. Clever garage designs abound in the library, and by selecting both the style of home you are looking for and the rear-entry garage selection you will access a tailored search filter with hundreds of house plans with out-of-sight garages. Remember also, that any house plan design can be customized to your specifications with the help of licensed architects.

Whether your dream home is lined with a Southern style wrap-around porch, a New England row of columns, or the handcrafted touches of a Craftsman home, a discreet garage enhances the curb appeal of any house.

The cost of building a new home can seem daunting at the outset, but there are a number of clever ways to keep costs down without cutting any corners. Use of salvaged building materials is becoming a popular money-saving trick many builders and contractors are offering.

Building materials and fixtures salvaged from old buildings first go through an evaluation process to ensure their quality remains intact. This deconstruction process can be quite lengthy but it often worth it in the long run when considering the reduced cost of materials. It is also a way to collect valuable old materials such as old growth timbers that are no longer available in other venues.

In addition to the cost benefit, there is an environmental benefit as well, as using materials already designed for construction save in terms of both the time is takes to generate new materials and the time it takes to process them as waste.

Salvaged building materials like beams, stairs, and framing supplies can save lots of money on home construction.

Salvaged building materials like beams, stairs, and framing supplies can save lots of money on home construction.

More than just wood timbers are used in salvage projects. Fixtures such as door knobs, sinks, bath tubs, and hinges are frequently resold for use in new home construction, as are actual building materials like bricks, concrete blocks, insulation, roofing tiles, wall paneling, molding, and baseboards. Considering the vast array of building materials that can be purchased from salvage yards and resellers, much of the new home you seek to build can be constructed with these repurposed items.

By using a combination of salvaged building materials and new, state of the art supplies, your dream home can be as unique as your family and be accomplished on a reasonable budget as well. Especially when considering the materials for low-visibility projects, look into salvage yards for low cost alternatives to brand new materials. It is important to work with a reputable contractor when purchasing refurbished building materials, or to buy from a credible retail location to ensure you are getting the highest quality.

Contact us today to find a house plan you’ll love!

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. Floor 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.

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The split-level home has long been a popular choice in the American landscape. Beginning in the 1950’s, with lots getting smaller as the home owning population grew, the sprawling Ranch-style home was getting more difficult to build and more expensive to maintain.

Early Ranch style homes evolved into the more modern split-level.

Early Ranch style homes were large, sprawling homes that required large lots; the split-level evolved out of this horizontal design and a need for more space.


Existing homes were modified and new homes being built kept the long lines and horizontal orientation of the ranch and prairie home but added more compact design concepts. The resulting home offered more interior living space on a smaller lot by stacking levels and using short staircases as conduits between gathering spaces. Now instead of a two story home, the house is divided at mid-height creating a third level and allowing more options for how to divide the space.

Most often, a split-level home will maintain those traditional ranch-style details like overhanging eaves and low pitched roofs. But considering the many ways a space can be differently utilized when stacked, there are several modern designs now entering the market with quite a high level of popularity. There are also new ways of utilizing the split-level design. A side-split denotes a split-level house plan where the two floors are visible from the front elevation of the home, while a back-split appears as a single-story from the front; only in the back are both stories visible.

Perhaps the most popular benefit of a split-level home design is the ability to divide living areas. For many families with children at home, a lower level with bedrooms or recreation space for games is a perfect way to lower the noise level and keep kids safely entertained yet separated from gathering adults. The daylight basement is another benefit of this design. Finished above-ground space that can be utilized for a number of purposes is appealing to many families, as future needs cannot always be predicted. Bonus space that can be used later on is a comfort to many.

Whether the traditional design or the more modern look is appealing to your family, split-level house plans have come a long way since their early needs-based inception. They continue to serve the modern family unit with efficiency, clever design technique, and classic exterior appeal. Click here to learn about the wide variety of house plans we offer!

Inverted floor plans have a long history of providing functional protection. Recent construction innovations and clever design trends have brought this practice back to the forefront of home floor plans in a variety of settings.

Perhaps the oldest examples of inverted floor plans are the castles of ancient Europe. A design of concentric circles- the outer moat, the stone wall surrounding the grounds, and stacked structures ending with the Castle Keep, offered several layers of protection from invading enemies. This innermost tower, the castle keep, was typically where the family slept. It also provided, one supposed, the best and most expansive views of the kingdom.

Castles were some of the first inverted floor plans, with sleeping quarters on upper floors for safety and warmth.

Castles were some of the first inverted floor plans, with sleeping quarters on upper floors for safety and warmth.

Fast forward to a more modern view of the world, in which single family homes dominate the landscape. Early examples of this show homes built around a single multi-purpose room, used for sleeping, cooking, and as a gathering space for the family. Families that could afford a slightly larger home would often position a loft above this main room to use as sleeping quarters, where the rising heat from the central fire would maintain warmth through the cold nights.

In today’s world, this natural vertical progression has lead most home plan designers to place bedrooms on the upper floors, and living areas on the main floor. And while there are some stylistic deviations, such as a first-floor master bedroom, many styles of house plans accept this template.

And it works for many families. Regional construction, however, has kept the inverted floor plan alive and well. In coastal areas, the low country lots, and areas where rising river levels threaten the foundation, inverted floor plans make the best use of space. A view-driven plan will often feature main living areas on the highest levels of the home, in order to see above a neighbor’s house or over the tree line. In hot and humid places, these upper floor are uniquely able to capture breezes while discouraging pesky insects who tend to congregate at lower altitudes.

Rooftop in an inverted floor plan home.

Roof decks make the most of seasonal weather.

It is no surprise then that most of the inverted floor plan models you see are either Coastal floor plans, Beach floor plans, Florida plans, European floor plans, and Modern or Contemporary floor plans. But an inverted floor plan is for more than just coastal properties. Even the more traditional house plans can make use of this design, as many of them draw from European design concepts.

Modern designs are beginning to make use of this feature as a way to make the absolute most out of available space, including outside areas like roof decks and balconies. And with modern amenities like elevators and dumb waiters, the logistics of spending most of your time on the upper floors are simply settled.

There are a number of factors that make an inverted floor plan the preferred choice for many families and builders. Whether its intent is to access sweeping views, to capture cool breezes, or to elevate the main gathering spaces for maximum light and openness, the inverted floor plan has evolved into one of the most efficient use of space available.

Building your dream home is often a very exciting process. As you witness each phase of construction you draw ever closer to the completion of your goal. But there can also be moments of uncertainty: did I choose the right home for my family? What if things change in a way I haven’t foreseen?  No one is better suited to anticipate the future needs of your family than you are. Even though you are uniquely qualified for this decision, unexpected changes occur in the life of a dynamic family. Having the ability to meet those changes head on provides a welcome comfort. For many families, the best way to mitigate this anxiety is to choose a house plan with built in expansion options, or flex space.

The cost and headache of building an addition on to your existing home can be dissuasive and discouraging. The perfect house plan for today’s changing family dynamic will include spaces for growth that can be finished at a later date when the need arises. House plans with unfinished basement levels offer open space that can be defined in any way your family needs, or can be left open for a generous rec room, storage, or craft space. Yet other house plans include the structure for additional bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, walk-in closets, and outdoor patios for an easy transition from flex space to living space.

Whether planning for your aging parents or in-laws to move in, or transitioning into a work-from-home or self-employed arrangement, or the knowledge that your young children will one day want their own bathroom: having undefined space built into your dream home offers growth potential with ease.

Life is full of exciting opportunities and unexpected moments of change. The feeling of having flexibility on your side makes it easy to meet those opportunities with a positive outlook. A custom home plays a large role in terms of meeting the future needs of your family. By harnessing your unique ability to predict upcoming needs and changes, and including space for the unforeseen, your house plan can serve you for many years to come.