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Introduction to this blog.
Welcome to the home designer blog at The Plan Collection. My name is Jake England. I've been designing homes for many years in the Cache Valley, Utah area. I have worked closely with a large local home builder designing homes of all sizes and styles. This experience has increased my understanding of the do's and don'ts of home design, and how they have a direct impact on the home's value, functionality and sellability. My plans for this blog include a closer look at some of the key principles that in my opinion make a house plan into a home, some information on arcitectural styles, some things some people don't think of when designing a home, and more! Check back often, I hope I can share something useful with you as you search for a great Read more
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Published On : 06-23-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
More casual introduction from the Home Designer.
Well, some of my collegues here on the blog have given a little more freindly intro to who they are. So I guess I'll do the same. I'm Jake England. I've been married for about 7 yrs. I started dating my wife about 11 or twelve years ago, still love her like nothin' else. We have three cute little girls. Yes three. Its quite a handful, and my home is overwhelmingly feminine at times. Can't wait until they are teenagers. I'm so glad to be their dad though, we sure have a lot of fun. My family and I enjoy the outdoors a lot, and my little girls love to ride in Daddy's '79 Landcruiser. I have to admit, I may have had some influence on Jake Smith's addiction to the classic car he mentioned in his intro. I have sentimental ties to Read more
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Published On : 06-24-2004
Author : Steve Donegan
House Plans
Jake is a great guy.  He has spent the past few weeks dealing with our obnoxious home plan changes.  An enormous amount of effort is required to get everything just right.  It amazes me how someone who understands architecture can finesse a home plan into something that is perfect.  I am glad that I don’t have to do all this myself.  I don’t have the vision to turn this: Into this: Thanks Jake Read more
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Published On : 08-12-2004
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
Snow, snow and more snow.
Yesterday we woke up to about 18” of snow in our driveway and spent most of the morning shoveling out ours and other driveways in the neighborhood. I felt bad for my neighbor, who was given a snowblower by a family member. He tried it out for the first time yesterday and a part broke right off. So he borrowed some bolts and whatnot from me to get it fixed. Once it was all back together, he couldn't get it started. So another neighbor helped him dismantle the carburator, clean it out and get it all in working order again. He finally got it started as his wife and I were finishing up shoveling his driveway. I told him the way things work out, we probably won't get any more snow now that he has his machine fixed. But, I wa Read more
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Published On : 01-10-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
Peeps Research
This post has nothing to do with home building or house plans.  I just happened to find a funny website dedicated to the research of Easter Peeps.  It is a group of university students who have way too much time on their hands. Happy Easter Read more
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Published On : 03-26-2005
Author : Steve Donegan
Landscaping, Make or break a great house design.
I have been thinking about how to landscape the land at my new home. As a reult, I've spent a lot more time noticing how homes are landscaped and what I think works and doesn't. I've decided that how a yard is landscaped can either accentuate a great home design, or make it seem not so nice. Of course this is just my opinion. But, since this is my blog, that is what you are going to get. If a landscape is done properly, it will compliment the style of a home, accentuate its architectural elements and can make the visitor feel much more welcome and at home. I'm not offering any answers to the problem of how to do this correctly. I'm a home designer, not a landscape architect. My suggestion is to get some help from someone that has had some Read more
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Published On : 06-01-2005
Author : Steve Donegan

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