Tag: house plan

Bellmoore Plan

Trend Spotlight: Laundry Access From Master Bathroom

Have you ever browsed a house plan that seemed contemporary and stylish… but not quite the right fit for you? At Frank Betz Associates, we don’t just hold our new home design plans to the highest standards of construction and design — we hold our knowledge of what you want to the highest standards as well. 

 

No matter how small, a desirable home trend can make all the difference in the look and feel of a living space. This week, we want to highlight a home feature that we’re proud to incorporate into our plans: laundry access from the master bathroom. Take a look at how this unique shift in design enhances the way you live every day:

 

Lavista Park Plan

 

In a house plan like Lavista Park, you and your partner don’t have to lug laundry up the stairs to get it done. With a laundry room conveniently placed off of your gorgeous master bathroom, you can simply throw your clothes into the wash in the morning after getting ready or in the evenings while unwinding. Imagine: after soaking in that luxurious tub, you would only have to walk a few steps to get your laundry… not up the stairs.

 

Bellmoore Plan

 

Having your laundry close to your bedroom, as opposed to on a separate floor or near the kitchen, makes a lot of sense. Easy access means less hassle — and who wouldn’t want to take the hassle out of doing laundry? After a load is finished, all you have to do is fold is up and take it right into your bedroom. And if you’re not a fan of laundry baskets, no problem; taking “trips” to and from your laundry room is as easy as can be.

 

Holston Ridge Plan

 

If you have a growing family or are planning to start one, laundry days become more frequent than ever before. With your laundry room an entire floor away from your children’s rooms upstairs, you never have to worry about a late-night load of laundry waking anyone up. Especially when you have a newborn, you’ll want as much sleep as possible, which means keeping them far from your washer and dryer will work wonders for everyone.

At Frank Betz Associates, we pride ourselves on creating house plans that live the way that you do. If you’re ready to move into a home that caters to your modern design preferences and personal needs, we’re right behind you. For more information about our house plans, please call 888-717-3003. We can’t wait to meet you!

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR HOMES’ CURB APPEAL

Walk down any residential street and it’s the homes that make up most of the scenery. How your home looks from the curb point of view makes a statement. It’s a first impression that conveys a lot about who and what lives inside. Whether you’re looking to maximize your home’s curb appeal because it’s going on the market or you just want a great looking home, this article can help you get there.

Aspen Ridge Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Knock Knock

The front door is most often the centerpiece of a home’s front exterior. As people approach your home, they’re headed for the front door. As a major focal point, you should create a front doorway that is both strong and welcoming. Depending on your door type, this can be achieved with a fresh coat of paint or stain. While well-crafted hardware that includes the door knob, knocker and even the doorbell can dramatically contribute to the overall look of your front entry way. Long story short, a great front door is a must for curb appeal.

Azalea Farm House Plan- Frank Betz

A porch that says, “come on up.”

If your home has a front porch, it already has a head start in the curb appeal department.

Nothing says “come on up for a visit” like a well-appointed front porch. Taking into consideration the style of your home, furnish your front porch with comfortable chairs or even porch swing. Potted and hanging plants and other attractive ornaments like windchimes, a door mat and sculpture are additional ways to turn up the welcome factor in this out-in-front space.

Heritage Pointe House Plan- Frank Betz

Landscaping matters.

Attractive landscaping means more than just freshly cut grass. From the curb, is there a path leading to the door? Make sure this path is well kept and even. Trimmed bushes, flowering plants and carefully pruned trees all add up to create a beautiful landscape. And remember, it all starts at the curb. The sidewalk and driveway are also important areas to keep looking neat.

Maplegrove Cottage House Plan- Frank Betz

A detailed approach.

Another step in increasing your home’s curb appeal is sprucing up the architectural details. These include any elements that can be seen from the curb. Make sure that any fencing is in order, the roofing and gutters look good and light fixtures and hardware are working and clean.

Even a neat mailbox can help. These items may seem insignificant alone, but together they have a substantial visual effect.

 

New Albany House Plan- Frank Betz

What a difference a color makes.

Finally, and quite important, is your home’s paint. Freshening up the exterior of your home with a shiny new coat of paint is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to boost its curb appeal. Shades of green and brown blend well with most landscapes. Light and dark tones of blue also work well to instill a look of calmness. And if your home is modern or traditional, white is a nice way to emphasize clean lines.

 

There are many simple ways to increase your home’s curb appeal. Start by standing on the curb and observing your home from an objective perspective. You’ll be able to identify key issues that can be easily addressed. With a little time and elbow grease, your home can be looking its best to you and anyone who happens by.

 

DESIGN TIPS FOR YOUR NEW LAKE HOUSE OR MOUNTAIN HOME

Building a home where your family spends most of its time can be a project of a lifetime. Building a second, vacation centered home on the water or in the mountains is an adventure on a whole other level. A vacation home is just that, for a vacation. With that means every facet of the home’s design should be geared to comfort and relaxation. This article will help illustrate some of the best practices when designing your dream vacation home.

Kensington Park Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Rooms with a view

 

Whether it’s on the water or in the mountains, the positioning of your vacation home should always be oriented to achieve the maximum view of the natural surroundings. When designing a floor plan, locate the most frequently used rooms toward the back of the home. This includes the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Take advantage of the beautiful scenery by installing as many large windows and glass doors as possible. Not only will this expansive glass optimize your view, but the natural light can reduce electricity bills. Less used rooms like the garage, laundry and bedrooms should be situated toward the front of the home.

Summerlake Floor Plan- Frank Betz

The positives of a sloping lot

 

Due to their remote locations, vacation homes are often set on rougher terrain. This usually means the lot will be located on a hill or mountain. These slopes can work in your favor if planned correctly. By putting the foundation into the slope and building upwards, you’ll have at least two stories that are open to the views and sunlight. A proper retaining wall will be needed to address water drainage from the downward slope.

Tillman Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Make every square foot count
Because it’s a vacation home you’ll want to maximize every inch of space. If you like to entertain, friends and family will probably be visiting and staying overnight. Designing a terraced home with multiple levels will allow you to pack in as many sleeping quarters as possible. Basement bedrooms are also a less expensive way to make room for guests.

Blue Ridge Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Outside is the new inside

Your vacation home will hopefully be located smack dab in the middle of nature’s beauty. To best enjoy the surroundings, try to include as many exterior spaces as possible. Porches, decks and even outside kitchens and fireplaces are great ways to enjoy nature in functional comfort. An abundance of fresh air and sunlight are the keys to relaxation. A true vacation home will take these resources into account and blur the line between the indoors and outdoors.

Summerlyn Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Designing a vacation home is a perfect opportunity to push the bounds of creating a dwelling that embraces the tranquility of the natural world. A home with expansive views of the surroundings, cozy and ample sleeping quarters, as well as generous outdoor amenities should all be cornerstones of the design. Again, this home should be a place of serenity and outdoor fun. So, design with nature in mind.

5 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Work for You

 

Most of us spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen. In the last few decades, the kitchen has evolved from a purely utilitarian space to a central gathering area for the whole family. Having a better organized kitchen will enhance not only the efficiency of the room, but also its livability factor. As the workhorse of your home, maximizing the use of every inch of its space is important. Below you will find a list with 5 effective ways that will easily make your kitchen more enjoyable.

Hanover Pointe Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Organization Is Key

A great kitchen and an organized kitchen are one in the same. With so many items from food to flatware, having a defined place for each is a must. Beyond typical cabinetry and drawers, including a pantry for dry goods, open shelving for plates, bowls and glassware, and hanging racks for cooking utensils can bring needed order to the kitchen. Wine and spice racks are other examples of how you can increase organization, where everything is easy to find.

Ansley Cottage Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Space to Work

Kitchen storage is one thing, but you’ll also need room to work. When it comes to preparing meals, the more surface areas to cut, chop, peel, dice, and clean, the better. There are many countertop options that are very durable and easy to clean. Depending on the square footage of your kitchen, a central island can provide more room to work, as well as to dine. Small desks are also a common feature in the modern kitchen.

Aspen Ridge House Plan- Frank Betz

Dedicated Spaces for Small Appliances

A kitchen can easily look cramped and cluttered if small appliances end up in the wrong places. While it’s nice to have coffee machines, blenders, choppers, mixers, etc., they can take up valuable countertop space. This will reduce your workspace and make the kitchen appear smaller. Establishing dedicated spaces for these appliances and storage for less commonly used machines is a recommended solution.

Saint Denis Floor Plan- Frank Betz

 

An Open Floor Plan Will Expand the Size of Your Kitchen

If you want to make your kitchen appear larger, take advantage of an open floor plan. This will connect your kitchen with other living areas in your home. An open kitchen enables better interaction with family members in adjacent areas, like the living room or den. As stated before, the kitchen, especially an open kitchen, has become the heart of the modern home.

 

The importance of proper appliances

Modern technology has seen incredible advances in the common kitchen appliances. Items like in-counter dishwashers, convection ovens, gas stove tops, microwaves and smart refrigerators are just a few of the must haves for any new kitchen. It’s better to spend more for high-quality kitchen appliances. They will not only last longer, but offer a broader spectrum of features that will help you save time and effort.

Northfield Manor Floor Plan- Frank Betz

If there’s any room in your new home that desires more thought and attention to detail, it’s the kitchen. As the most popular space in most home designs, effort should be made to create a comfortable and easily workable environment.  The right kitchen can make your home. And if you ever opt to sell, a great kitchen is always a winning feature.

PLAN MODIFICATIONS – DO I NEED AN ARCHITECT OR CAN MY BUILDER JUST MAKE CHANGES IN THE FIELD?

Building a new home is an exciting but complicated process. What begins as simple drawings on a page, evolves into an ever-changing and growing endeavor. Because of that, anticipating the need for adjustments during the building process is paramount. Retaining an Architect throughout the whole project can be expensive, but worth the money when it comes to making big changes in the field. On the other hand, a qualified builder with a solid and detailed set of plans should also be able to handle in-field building adjustments. The following article will touch on some recommendations for managing variables during your build.

Ansonborough House plan- Frank Betz

It’s all in the plans

If there’s one element that will set the tone for your entire home building process, it’s the building plans. Making sure your house plans are complete, detailed and correct will save you both money and time in the long run. A skilled Architect will deliver comprehensive plans that can take into account shifting build variables. Before the build begins it’s a good idea to get your builder and Architect together to review the plans and discuss any possible variations. The planning stage is where you will have the most time to make adjustments. Once the building process starts, things start to kick into a higher gear and time becomes a precious commodity.

Heritage Pointe House Plan- Frank Betz Associates

Accurate plans mean accurate bids

Another benefit to a well-crafted set of house plans comes into play during the bidding stage.

With the details included in a thought-out home plan, builders are able to deliver more accurate bids. Square footage and floorplans are a major factor in the bidding process, but material specs and finishes are also instrumental calculating costs. A more precise timeline can also be better developed when it comes to material lead times.

Kensington Creek- Frank Betz

Red-lining your plans

The term red-lining refers to making changes to an existing home plans with a red pen. This process is an easy way to record and plan for changes in the field. Sometimes these changes are taken and formally redrawn into the house plan, but more often the marked-up plans are used as is. The builder is usually responsible for red-lining. They are knowledgeable about local codes and what can and can’t be adjusted in the field. Red-lining is a cost-effective method of making changes. They can be done on-site where time is money.

Frank Betz House Plan- Hemlock Falls

Mistakes mean money

Making changes during a home build comes with a price. But mistakes in the field are infinitely costlier. It’s another reason meticulous and comprehensive house plans are worthwhile. While no home build happens without hiccups, open communication between the Architect and builder can help mitigate the effects of mistakes in the field. Sometimes what looks plausible on paper doesn’t always work well in the real world.

Panola House Plan- Frank Betz

Taking the initial home design through a completed build is never a perfect process. Plan modifications on site will always be a factor. The right builder can address these modifications but keeping your Architect in the loop can assist in the needed adjustments. Again, thorough house plans before the build will always result in a smoother project, but a cohesive Architect and builder team is vitally important to handling and solving variables in the field.

 

DESIGN TIPS FOR THE BEST FINISHED BASEMENTS

For the home owner that needs more space and amenities, finishing out the basement is a great solution. The basement is already part of your home’s structure, so from a cost perspective it’s usually less expensive than adding to the footprint of the house. As you begin to plan the renovation, there a number of key design factors to consider. This article will highlight these ideas to help you get the most out of this exciting endeavor.

Ambrose Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Planning before all else

Even if you just want to build out a room or two, a comprehensive plan for the whole basement is advised. Not only will it give you a full view of what you have to work with, it will make the future renovations much easier. As with any home renovation work, be sure to get the proper permits before the first hammer is swung.

Falkirk Ridge Floor Plan- Frank Betz

A dry basement is a happy basement

First and foremost, when planning a basement renovation make sure there are no water issues. Because most basements are below grade, moisture is often a factor. Solve any moisture problems before the renovation, or there’s a high probability you’ll see continuous damage to the finishes of your new space. When finishing out the walls, using insulation with a vapor barrier will aid in moisture protection.

Gastonia Floor Plan- Frank Betz Associates

The purpose

Another part of the basement renovation planning process should be a careful assessment of how each room is going to be used. Will there be bedrooms, a kitchen, theatre or a wine-cellar? Each kind of room will need the appropriate amenities. Bedrooms will need an egress window or door, closets and bathrooms, while media rooms call for special lighting and other electrical nuances. Even a small kitchen will need the appropriate plumbing. As for the utility areas like the water heater and HVAC units, leave those unfinished. These spaces need ample access for inspection and/or repairs.

Kenthurst Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Let there be light

Since most basements are below ground, proper lighting is always an issue. Whenever possible, open areas up to natural light. This can be achieved by large windows or sliding glass doors. Recessed lighting in a drop ceiling, positioned near the outer perimeter of rooms, will provide ample light and make the rooms appear larger. Lighter color paint will also create the illusion of more light and space.

Custom Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Drop that ceiling

Often acquainted with commercial properties, there are many drop ceiling options that look very nice in a residential setting. This design method will enable you to hide HVAC ductwork, electrical and plumbing lines. And as stated above, it’s the go-to method for recessing lights.

Boulder Summit Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Finishing out the basement is an efficient and cost-effective way to add much needed space and features to your home. Be sure to plan the renovation as you would the rest of your home. The extra time and planning taken up front will make all the difference in the end result. Soon you’ll be enjoying your new basement and reflecting on a job well done.

NEW INNOVATIONS IN PROTECTING YOUR HOUSE FROM A STORM

Your home is a place of refuge. A place where you and your family should be able to feel safe from the outside world. Part of feeling safe is the protection your home provides from inclement weather. It is shelter in its truest form. In the following post, we’ll discus home building methods and materials to help protect your home and family in the event of a strong storm.

Woodlwan Floor Plan- Frank Betz

When it comes to stories, less is best.

To begin with, a one story home is more storm resistant than two to three story homes. Being father from the ground puts these homes at greater risk to damage from high winds. Wind damage accounts for a large percentage of weather related incidents. Of course, your home’s exterior materials weigh heavily on their level of protection. A brick home will offer more protection than a wood or siding exterior home.

And if budget is not an issue, reinforced concrete structures are the most storm resistant.

Kensington Creek- Frank Betz

The roof over your head.

Another major factor in a home’s storm protection capability can be found in the roof. Like one storied homes, moderately pitched roofs have less exposure to wind. They reduce uplift and help reduce wind drag. When it comes to roof types, a hip roof is a better choice than a gable roof. Hip roofs have performed better in wind tunnel tests and can even garner an insurance discount. Regardless of the roof type, there are new and better methods of securing the roof to the structure of your home. These include, galvanized-steel hurricane clips, structural straps, ties, and joist hangers.

 

 

Impact resistant windows

In a storm with high winds, home damage can result from flying objects. Wind-borne objects can reach speeds of well over 100 mph. Windows are one of the most vulnerable to these projectiles. It’s recommended to install impact resistant windows that break and hold their fragments rather than sending glass through the house. Wood slatted shutters are also a preferred way to protect these areas of your home.

 

Gramercy Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Strong garage doors

Often overlooked, the garage door is a home feature frequently damaged by a storm. Typical two-car garage doors are subject to fail in storms with high winds due to their large size and relatively weak materials. Though they may cost a little extra, there are many storm resistant garage doors on the market.

 

Keep the water out

Powerful storms bring a large amount of rain with them. This wind driven rain can penetrate a home at points from the roof to the foundation. Properly sealing the roof, windows and doors, as well as ample ground drainage go a long way in protecting your home from water intrusion.

 

Swinging doors

Keeping doors closed during the high winds of a storm should also be a priority when building a storm resistant home. Doors that swing outwards were shown to drastically out perform the normal in-swing door set up. Doors that fail during storms can result in water damage and even create change in your home’s internal air pressure. This air pressure disruption contributes to the possibility of roof uplift and internal structural damage.

Mahogany Springs Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Extreme weather is always a cause for concern when it comes to safety in your home. Current building innovations can be used to strengthen potential weak points to protect your home and more importantly, the people inside it.

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.

Must Have Safety Items for Your Home

Our homes have always been a place of refuge and comfort from the outside world. But since we spend so much time there, it’s also a place where accidents can happen. We do so much to keep our families safe outside our houses and often neglect the dangers present right under our noses. By taking a few simple precautions, you can make your home a much safer place. Here’s a few items to consider just in case of an emergency.

Greythorne House Plan- Frank Betz

 

Fire extinguishers – Plenty of common appliances and accessories can be fire hazards if used improperly. Ovens, microwaves, even curling irons can pose risks if left unattended. Make sure you have fire extinguishers present on each floor and test them once a year.

 

First aid kits – Accidents are inevitable, especially if young children live in the home. They might get their hands on a sharp knife, get a finger pinched in a window, or touch that hot curling iron we talked about above. To treat cuts, bruises, and burns, keep a complete first aid kit in the house. A proper first aid kit will contain band aids, antiseptic spray, antibiotic ointment, sterile bandages, gloves, medical tape, and a thermometer.

Smoke, CO, and Radon alarms – Sometimes it’s the things we can’t see that pose the biggest threat. A smoke detector needs to be present in every room in the house, but don’t forget about CO and radon alarms. Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, but very deadly after exposure. You should probably test these alarms every six months to ensure working batteries.

 

Deadbolt locks – Keeping unwanted guests out of your house is a top priority for all families, but not everyone can afford a sophisticated security system. However, most of the time a quality deadbolt lock will dissuade most bad guys from getting inside. Place one on every door that faces the exterior of the house.

 

Brookwood Park- Frank Betz Home Plan

Wi-Fi Thermostats – If you travel a lot, a Wi-Fi thermostat will regulate your home’s temperature without you being present. You can adjust the heating and cooling levels right from your phone. No more burst pipes in the winter!

 

Emergency contacts list – You aren’t always going to be home when bad things happen, so leave an emergency contacts list in plain sight for anyone in the house to see. Include the numbers for police, fire, ambulance, and any friends or relatives who live close by.

 

Non-toxic house plants – This is a must-have for any home with pets. Make sure no small children or fluffy friends get sick from nibbling on your plants.

Abbotts Pond- Frank Betz Floor Plan

Disaster kits – If bad weather knocks out your power, you need to be prepared. A good disaster kit contains water, food, blankets, batteries, flashlights, first aid kits, and tools.

 

The essence of a home is a place of safety and comfort. Incorporating the above items will not only help protect your family, but go a long way to giving you piece of mind. To achieve the age old maxim of Home Sweet Home, you should start with Home Safe Home.