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So my neighbor asked me to come over and help him out with a home plan that he has been thinking of building. They just built a house a couple of years ago, but I guess they are gluttons for punishment. They are looking at another lot up the hill and are starting over. We took a ride across town to a home he liked. It had some great curb appeal, and you could tell the home owner [who had the home custom designed] had really thought things through. Turns out the homeowner is related to a well known interior designer in the area. You can really tell when a home is well thought out. I have been in homes that are around 1400-1500 sq. ft. that feel like they are 1800 sq. ft. just because of the way they are planned. Its really importan Read more
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Published On : 06-24-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
Find a house plan with good use of space
When Jake and I sit down to design a new home plan, we start with square footage.  We put all of the features that we desire, then we get rid of as much dead space as possible.  We know houses have to have hallways, but there are ways to shorten them and make them as useful as possible.  By doing a few things like this, we are able to get more bang for our buck.  Afterall, the main factor when bidding a house plan is square footage. There is simply no way to get around square footage.  Elegant or ugly, you still have to pay for square footage. As you browse through take notice of the designers ability to use space wisely.  Some designers place a lot of emphasis on u Read more
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Published On : 07-16-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
Home Plans - How to Use Space
One of the trickiest things about designing a home is being able to take advantage of and/or eliminate extra space. Many home plans are quickly drawn to get the home in the ground, without giving much thought about how to use the space, and make it not only appealing but functional to live in. For example, when designing the home I currently live in I tried to consider the placement of furniture and traffic patterns, but also the lifestyle of my family. As a result I have a great room area that I feel is not only architecturally pleasing, but also meets the needs of my family. We have a nice built in entertainment center that can easily be hidden behind cherry cabinet doors when guests arrive, but is centrally located so that when we'r Read more
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Published On : 08-16-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
Window Wells: Smart Home Design
Window wells are one of those things that a lot of people don't really think about during the design phase of a home plan. I personally don't like having deep window wells right next to the front porch, they aren't usually pretty and they are a hazard for visiting kids. When laying out the basement I try to place the window wells away from the porch and if possible none on the front of the home at all. This allows you to build up the grade around the front porch and have unobstructed flower beds. This doesn't always work as easily as I might make it sound, but if you can lay out the floor plan so that the window wells are on the sides of the home (the sideyard is generally least commonly used) it works out great.   Read more
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Published On : 09-28-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
Saving Space by Creating a Space
Here's another design idea as you think about your new home. In a homeplan I recently designed, we incorporated a computer nook adjacent to the greatroom and kitchen area. This great little space has been a huge benefit in our home as we no longer have to dedicate an entire room to the family computer. We can also keep tabs on what our kids are doing, and whoever is using the computer when paying bills or surfing the web, can still be a part of the family activities in the room. In this particular homeplan, it worked out to have an extra deep cabinet above the computer desk where a printer and other equipment can be stored. Messy cords are tucked away inside the wall, hidden from view. I am now building another home and this computer n Read more
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Published On : 12-29-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
Home Design Idea for the Kitchen
Here is a picture of a home design idea. In this home the kitchen was in a large open room along with the dining and great room. The advantage of this type of house plan is that when entertaining or just hanging out as a family, those that are in the kitchen are a part of whats going on in the family room and visa versa. Generally if the host or hostess of a get-together is in the kitchen cooking, friends and family tend to congregate around the kitchen. The disadvatage to a home plan with the combined rooms, is that not everyone is really good at keeping the kitchen spotless. With a raised bar like the kitchen below, dishes and the sink are somewhat hidden from view so its easier to keep a presentable kitchen area. It also keeps things fro Read more
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Published On : 01-04-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
How Will Your Furniture Fit?
How Will Your Furniture Fit?   Considering exactly where your furniture will fit in your new home is a must.  The size of a room can be deceiving.  Just because a room is large, doesn’t mean it will accommodate your current furniture.  I would suggest that you measure your furniture and pencil in your furniture on graph paper.  Decide where plugs and switches will need to be located.  Some people simply have large pieces of furniture.  It will come down to selling your furniture or paying to redesign a house plan, plus pay for the added square footage.  We recently designed and built a home for an Air Force couple.  They have lived in many parts of the World and have accumulated a lot of Read more
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Published On : 04-22-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
How To Spot a Good Buy
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, particularly when it comes to buying a home. Features that attract one home-buyer may repel another. However, the one feature of interest to every home-buyer is price. Getting the most home for your money is paramount. The real problem is figuring out whether that fixer-upper on one street is a better buy than the home in next-to-new condition two blocks away. That’s why knowing what to look for before you buy can save you time, energy and money down the line. The first step is figuring out what kind of house you need. A good buy is only a good buy if it meets your current and future living requirements. Before shopping for a home, decide how much space you and your family require. How man Read more
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Published On : 04-30-2005
Author : Steve Donegan

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