Tag: floor plans

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MUDROOM DESIGN

Similar to an airlock on a space station, the mudroom is a vital transition area between the outdoors and indoors. Coming in from outside, it’s a place to take off and store your outerwear and other daily belongings. When leaving your home, it’s the last stop to gear up with the needed essentials. Coming or going, a well-designed mudroom is an essential part of any home.

Kensington Creek House Plan- Frank Betz

A heavy traffic area

One of the keys to a properly designed mudroom is making sure it’s located adjacent to the most used entry way. Consider what door your family will be using the most often and that is the place for the mudroom. This is probably the area where everyone’s shoes, boots, gloves, coats, backpacks, keys and hats will live. So, it should be designed into the floorplan according to convenience and easy access to your home’s most popular doorway.

Barrington Hills House Plan- Frank Betz

Everything in its place and a place for everything

Accessibility and organization are two very important components to a functional mudroom design.
Built-in shelving and cabinets are nice for storage. While racks and hooks to hang coats and hats make getting in and out of the house more efficient. If there is room for a bench, not only will it provide a comfortable place to sit while removing shoes and boots, but with the right design, the area under the bench can be utilized for storage, as well. Installing a small mirror is also a nice amenity, for a last-minute look before you head out the door.

Ingrams Mill Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Size is relative

Beyond location, the size of your mudroom should be determined by the number of people and pets in your home. Remember, with each person comes at least one set of shoes, a coat and hat. And for our
four-legged family members, you’ll need room for a leash and outdoor toys. If there’s space for its own room great, but a mudroom can be designed into a hallway, laundry room or larger closet.

 

Pine Meadow House Plan- Frank Betz

Durable materials

The very definition of a mudroom describes a place where muddy and wet clothing is taken off before entering the rest of the home. It’s there to protect the rest of your home from the outdoor elements. With that, a mudroom should be designed using materials that can handle dirt and moisture. Tile flooring or an easy to clean rug will help keep things tidy. Metal hooks and wire baskets are also moisture resistant features that make for durable storage and organization.

Wellstone Place Floor Plan- Frank Betz

All told, the mudroom should be designed for function. It is a place to keep outdoor clothing and any other daily items used outside the home. But just because the mudroom is designed for utility, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be attractive and complement your home. Incorporating the same color pallet and material styles will help weave this room into your home’s established décor. Yes, it is a mudroom, but it can be a beautiful room, as well.

WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER CHOOSING AN ARCHITECT/DESIGNER

You’ve made the decision to build a new home. That was the easy part. Now’s the time to find and choose an architectural firm. If you have a home design style in mind, and you should, you will want to look for a firm that has experience designing that same kind of home. You can compile a list of firm options by asking the owners of local homes you admire or searching architecture firm websites in your area. Once you have identified a number of candidates, you will want to set up in-person meetings. By meeting first hand with the perspective firms, you will be able to get more information and gauge the working chemistry. You’re about to begin an intensive working relationship that will last months, so feeling comfortable with your architect or architects is highly suggested.

Design Phase
Once you have chosen your architect, you are ready for the initial design meeting. It’s a good idea to bring a house design wish list of wants and needs including photos and/or material samples. This will help your architect or designer get a feeling for your style vision. After this first meeting, the architect will compile the information and use it to create a preliminary home design with floor plans and elevations. A follow up meeting or meetings is advised to allow for your feedback and enable the architect to make the needed design updates.

Embry Hills House Plan- Frank Betz Associates

Documentation Phase

With your custom home design nailed down, the architect can move on to develop the working drawings. These are the drawings needed to obtain a development permit. Once approved, a structural design is then created to include your selections for exterior materials and finishes. Solidifying the floor plan, materials and finishes will also help the architect calculate a more accurate, overall project budget.

Frank Betz Material Workbook

Permitting Phase

After completing the documentation phase, your architect can now get a development permit. That permit allows them to create site plans and drawings needed for a building permit. These new drawings include more detailed floor plans, exterior elevations, exterior and interior details, sections, roof and electrical plans. After acquiring a building permit, the builder now has a green light to proceed with the construction process.

Heritage Pointe House Plan- Frank Betz Associates

Construction Phase

During this final and increasingly active phase, your architect/designer should still be available to oversee various aspects of your home’s construction. Being there throughout the construction process to make sure the home design is built according to the plans, can be very advantageous. A competent architect should also serve as a consultant on interior details like lighting, plumbing, hardware, glass and finishes.

If you are new to the home building process, choosing the right architect can make everything go more smoothly. An experienced architect will help you through every phase of the home building process. From taking your ideas and creating a design concept, to properly documenting the house design for the needed permits and finally getting through construction to the finish line, an architect will be one of the most important members of your home building team. Take the time to vet the right person or firm. Your new home and your sanity will be better off.

 

Should I have a Design in Mind Before I Find a Builder?

To have, or not to have a home design in mind before finding a builder. That is the question. Regardless of the correct answer, as a person or persons about to take the bold step of building a house, you are probably going to have an idea of what type of house design you’d like. Given those preferences, it is very unlikely that you will approach a builder without at least some of those ideas in mind. That said, there are reasons for and against how defined your home design desires should be when looking for a builder. Here’s a few of them.

Gentry House Plan- Frank Betz

Pros

Having a definite design idea for your new home can be an asset when looking for a builder. It will allow you to focus your search only on builders who are accustomed to building that type of home. For example, you would not want to hire a builder who specializes in building modern homes, if you have your heart set on a farmhouse style. Builders typically have a select range of styles they are familiar with working on. You will want to make sure your style is in that range and preferably go and see examples first hand.

Additionally, with a house design in mind it’s easier to get competitive bids from builders. Having built that style before, they know what to expect from a time and materials perspective. This will provide more accurate bids for your new home to compare with other builders.

Summergrove Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Cons

There are a few downsides to having a predetermined house design, however. For one, your pre-selected house plan may not fit your lot. That may mean working with an architect to create another house plan design or adjusting the present one. This will require more time and expense in the long run.

Some builders tend to have better offers if you use one of their home designs. If your design is much different, you may not benefit from these discounts. Working outside their parameters tends to drive up the cost.

You might also encounter the fact that your desired plan does not fit your future neighborhood’s Home Owner’s Association requirements. Most of the time, an HOA will have its own pre-requisites for home designs. That’s especially true if you want to build in a neighborhood that has a set style. Your design just might not fit in.

Wellstone Place- Frank Betz Associates

Conclusion

Taking into account all the pros and cons, getting bids using your new home design and with builders’ options may be an optimal solution. Either way, being flexible with your design expectations is always suggested. Building a new home is a process. And if you stay fluid, your home’s design will evolve for the better.  Above all, take your time on the front end. Figuring out what you want design-wise, in the middle of a build can not only lead to longer build times, but could negatively effect the end result. In the end, it’s quality that matters the most. So whatever home design you and your builder pursue, attention to craftsmanship should be the ultimate priority.

 

What do I need to ask a Potential Home Builder?

 

So you’re ready to build a new home. One of the first steps should be to pick a builder. If you live in a decent sized town or city, there is a good chance you will have a lot of potential options. There are many things to consider when making the choice, but by asking the right questions of the candidates, you should end up with the best builder for you. Here are some question topics to keep in mind:

References

Besides being licensed, the best builders will always have a wide array of references. It’s a good idea to meet the builders past clients to not only view the builder’s craftsmanship but also get an insight into their customer service. Industry websites can also be a reference source for the local area. A builder who is not forthcoming with references is a major red flag.

Catawba Ridge House Plan- Frank Betz

Do they allow customization or do you have to agree with standard finishes?

A good home builder will always offer the ability to customize your design. You probably want your home to be a reflection of your taste and style. Standard finishes may work for a car, but you shouldn’t have to settle when building a home. A qualified builder will use standard finishes as a starting point, and be open to customization from there.

What warranty does the builder supply?

Builder home warranties are a must. When interviewing each builder, be sure to get the length and coverage of their warranties. Your new home’s products, systems and components should all come with extensive warranties. Make sure your builder will honor the warranties and provide ample service if needed.

Beaufort House Plan- Frank Betz

Pricing

Builders price building a new home a number of different ways. Do they calculate everything per square foot, do they have a flat fee? If you customize, will there be additional costs? Will they keep you up to date on the costs as you go through the building process? It is important to have a thorough understanding of a builder’s pricing before you commit to working with them.

Frank Betz Material Workbook

Estimated time length for the project

A building time frame is another piece of information you should have before choosing the builder. You don’t want a builder who will take too much time, but on the other hand, you don’t want someone who will rush through your job. A fast build often means reduced craftsmanship and lower quality. If your builder has his hands full with a bunch of other homes, that may mean less time and attention to your home build. Finding a good balance between the two is a solid choice.

Bucknell Place House Plan- Frank Betz

Overall, it is a good idea to interview as many builders as possible. The more questions you ask, the better. The answers will help you make a better informed decision. With the right questions you will find a builder that fits your style, temperament and budget. If possible, spending a bit more for the right builder will pay off in the long run. After all, this is your new home we’re talking about.

Home Designs for Small Lots

Building a house on a small lot does not mean you have to compromise on style and space.

With the right home plan and design strategy, you will be able to best utilize every available square foot. By eliminating any wasted square footage, you can build a home with all the typical amenities and living space of a home built on a regular lot. Best practices for building
on a small lot include the following:

 

Positioning

With the small lots usually found in denser urban areas, you will have less leeway on how you position your new home on the land. When possible, a south-facing home is preferred. This position will allow the most light and warmth from the sun. Installing large windows to capture the light is also recommended. Not only will it help with warmth, the natural light will brighten those front rooms making them appear larger. That said, if you live in a hot climate, you will want to minimize your southern exposure either by positioning the home, using blinds to block the sun and extending your roof’s overhang.

Cherbourg House Plan- Frank Betz

Think Tall

More often than not, small lots are usually thin and deep. Take advantage this layout by building your house with two or more stories. Most narrow lot homes have footprints no wider than 40 feet. By building stories and thus stacking your living spaces, you will maximize the amount of house for your lot. These home plans locate the main living areas like the family room, dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor, while the bedrooms and full bathrooms reside on the second or third.

Morningside Manor Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Open Up

Since homes designed for small lots are usually not wide, the structural load of the home can be carried on the exterior walls. This allows for more open floor plans. By opening up common living spaces like the kitchen, dining and family rooms, light and air flow freely to create the appearance of a larger space throughout. Using higher ceilings and large windows also go a long way to achieving this effect.

Clarksville House Plan- Frank Betz

Amenitize

Building costs for homes built on small lots are usually less. One way to take advantage of this cost savings is by adding upscale amenities. Kitchen appliances like high-end refrigerators and stoves often feature streamlined designs that save space. The same goes for washers and dryers in the laundry room. Adding smart systems like temperature and light control are also nice space saving touches that add comfort and efficiency.

Holly Ridge Floor Plan- Frank Betz

As people desire to reduce their commute and live closer to work, small urban lots are steadily increasing in popularity. Though these small lots may appear restricting, they should not dictate a small house. There are many home plans designed specifically to maximize every inch of space. These homes provide ample living space with all the trappings of larger homes. Coupled with locations in more walkable and vibrant areas and the lower cost of upkeep, small lot homes are becoming a more attractive option.

 

 

How To Ensure a Timeless Design

 

When designing a home, there is a number of different aspects to consider. Most home buyers want a modern design with staying power, something that won’t fade out of style as the years pass. This can be a difficult assignment for a home designer. ‘Modern’ doesn’t necessarily mean timeless though, and trends fade as the years march on. If you want a timeless design for your home, you will need to actually think inside the box. Because when it comes to home design, the tried and true ways are often still the best.

Kenthurst House Plan- Frank Betz

Accept Traditional Design Standards That Are Established, Don’t Veer Too Far Off Course

Everyone wants their home to be unique, but there are certain proven methods that have become established for a reason. They work both from a style and a functionality perspective. So when you start the design process, do not throw decades of design practice out the window. You can still have a one of a kind home while sticking to more traditional design standards. Venturing too far outside the established norms can turn your home into a funhouse, something that will really come back to bite when it’s time to sell. Keep it simple here.

Havenbrook House Plan- Frank Betz

Traditional Designs Have More Acceptance and Appeal To Buyers When It’s Time to Sell

Unfortunately, you cannot just think about your own personal preferences when it comes to home design. Especially if you are a first time home buyer. Unless you plan on living in the house for the rest of your life, you need to consider what the design will do to the resale value. Sure, a gothic style might appeal to you now, but it could turn off potential buyers later on. The Colonial, Georgian, or Victorian styles have proven to stand the test of time and will entice future buyers down the road.

Baldwin Farm House Plan- Frank Betz

Timeless Designs Can Be Fresh and New Without Losing Traditional Appeal

Know that your new home is not destined to be cookie cutter. Traditional designs can be updated with new ideas and still hold their timeless appeal. For example, you can borrow bits and pieces from traditional style and use them to give your modern home a more classical appearance. Use neutral color schemes and motifs to give rooms a traditional feel. Also, elements like granite and wood give even the most modern houses a nod to the traditional. And as far as furniture is concerned, done tastefully, it is okay to mix traditional furniture with modern architecture and vice versa.

Witherspoon House Plan- Frank Betz

Regardless of your home design preferences, traditional styles are tried and true and have mass appeal to potential buyers. Traditional design aesthetics like room placement, ceiling height, and window choices to name a few have stood the test of time for a reason. They work and can work incorporated in to most other home styles. Mixing in traditional features will give your house a timeless appeal, not to mention the resale value you are looking for.

Why Buying a New House is Better than Renovating

You may love your current house, but there often comes a time when you would like to make some changes. Those changes may include adding rooms, opening walls, or just an overall fresh look. And while you may love parts of your home and its location, it does not always make sense to stay. These are common dilemmas that prompt many homeowners to make a crucial choice – buy a new home or renovate the current home to meet their needs.

There are no definite answers as to why buying a new house is better than renovating. There are cases when renovation is the right call and when buying a new home is the best option. However, buying a new house does often work out better than renovating due to the following reasons:

The Easiest Path 

It is much less of a hassle to purchase a new home. You will know exactly what you are purchasing. There won’t be a worry about hidden issues such as termite damage, leaks and foundation problems. And if there are problems that arise, a new home comes with a warranty from the builder. A new home includes the peace-of-mind that major components like HVAC and kitchen appliances are all new and under warranty. It is also easier to finance a new home. Renovations are usually paid for through a second mortgage on the house. These need a higher credit score for approval and have shorter payoff terms. Getting a loan for a new house is usually easier.

Rosemore Place- Frank Betz House Plan

Cost

While it may seem cheaper than a new purchase, you should consider a few things that come with renovation. To begin with, do you have the time and propensity to deal with contractors and manage renovation costs? The majority of home renovation projects bring unexpected complications, budget overruns, and stress. With a new house, you will know the exact cost and be able to move right in and continue on with life.

Hanover Pointe- Frank Betz House Plan

Value

A home renovation can and should add to a home’s value. While one can recoup some or even most costs during a home’s sale, there are still no guarantees. Buyers and markets operate in cycles. And if you are on the down end of a cycle when you go to sell, you may not see that beneficial return on your renovation. Home renovations are usually made to improve lifestyles and living conditions. With that said, emotion becomes a driving factor. And emotion is rarely accurate in a financial situation. You will likely reduce ownership costs and enjoy more improved and modern features of a new home without the difficult renovation experience.

Greyhawk- Frank Betz House Plan

You should now have a better perspective on why buying a new home is the better call. For convenience, practicality, and cost-efficiency, a new home is typically the right path. As one of the major purchases in life, it pays to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is best for you and your family. But in most cases, buying new makes the most sense over time. And who doesn’t love a new house!

 

 

Choosing A Houseplan

A little neighborly advice for choosing the right house plan.


Building a new home can be an exciting and sometimes daunting experience.
However, deciding to start with a proven and well-crafted house plan is a great first step. Purchasing a house plan will go a long way to making your home building process less stressful and more successful.

 

To begin with, there are thousands of house plans available. Choosing the right one will make all the difference, not only to fit the needs of you and your family, but the homes marketability if and when you ever choose to sell. With a little planning before you pick a plan, you’ll be on the right path to laying out the welcome mat.

Tried and true considerations for choosing a house plan:

  • What are your lifestyle needs?

  Do you have a family? If so, how big? You’ll need a certain amount of bedrooms and  
  bathrooms. And if there are more children planned or relatives who visit often, you should   
  also plan for that additional living space. The interior size needs of your future home is one of
  the most important factors when choosing a house plan.

Chestnut Springs House Plan- Kitchen and Keeping area
  • What’s your style?

  From traditional to contemporary to rustic, there a many different house design styles.

  And each style has its own type of house plan. Your furnishings, and neighborhood can also

  affect the type of house plan you choose. For example, mid century modern furniture may not
  be suited for a traditional farmhouse style home.

Summerlake House Plan – Rustic Elevation
  • Where will your house live?

  In addition to the surrounding neighborhood style, the size and shape of your lot is a major

  factor when it comes to choosing a house plan. If you like the outdoors, you’ll need a plan
  that allows for outdoor space like a yard, garden, patio, decks or even a pool. A house plan  

  needs to comfortably fit the lot and the natural surroundings, while addressing additional

  uses for your property. Factors such as the width and depth of your lot and whether it’s flat or

  sloping will dictate the type of house plan. Also, if privacy is a concern, the right house plan

  with the right layout is a must. Nobody wants to their kitchen staring into the neighbor’s  

  bedroom. And vice versa.

Falkirk Ridge House Plan – Courtyard
  • Got space?

   Space and its uses are key when determining which house plan is best. Are you into cooking?   
   Then maybe a house plan with a larger kitchen is a must. Will you need a home office,
   storage areas or other special interests that might call for certain space needs? These

   usability details need to be considered not only for your enjoyment but future owners.

Northfield Manor House Plan- Office

 

Taking the time to carefully consider what you want out of your new home is guaranteed to make the whole building process easier. Choosing a house plan that fits these needs, pushes you to think about your house from the inside out. Elements like exterior details and interior finishes are easily adaptable to most house plans and are easier to plan once the floor layout, room count and lot orientation are nailed down. Think of them as the icing on your new, house cake.

Kensley Downs Photo Realistic Rendering