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New Year, New Home: Finding the Perfect House Plan

Tips on Finding the Perfect Home to Fit Your Lifestyle, Family Size, and Overall Needs


From the simple and classic one-story home to the very large and elaborate ones, most people have specific ideas of what their perfect homes would look like. Images have been sketched in their minds long before the first piece of brick or wood is laid on the foundation.


If you’ve decided that 2015 is the year for your dream home, here are some tips to help you find – or build – the home that fits your family’s size, lifestyle, needs, and budget. 



1.  Home is where the heart is.  While some people also think of a home as an investment, remember that it is primarily a place for your family – a haven of comfort, warmth, safety and security. Choose a house plan that is wonderful for family living - and make it a delightful, inviting and welcoming home for the kids and adults alike. 


Front Elevation Photo of this European House (#153-1987) at The Plan Collection.  Front Elevation Photo of this European House (#153-1987) at The Plan Collection.

A charming one-and-a-half story European style home with a courtyard and covered front porch includes four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, three garage bays, an outdoor grilling porch, and a Great Room that flows into the kitchen, dining area, and living space. Imagine the family relaxing and spending time together in the comfortable living room. (Plan # 153-1987)


    Living room of this country style home.

Cover yourself with a quilt and curl up on the sofa in the family room of this four-bedroom country ranch house.  (Plan # 141-1211)



2.  Stay within your budget.  You’ve always had a picture of your dream home – from its exterior to the interior layout, furnishings and fixtures. It’s easy to go overboard and buy something more expensive. Remember, the first rule of thumb is to examine your financial situation, determine a budget – and stick to it - and allow some flexibility in your finances for any surprises down the road.


Grand French Colonial home.  Photo of this Craftsman home - love the flowers!

You may like the looks of this two-story, four-bedroom French Colonial home (left) (Plan #106-1181)… but, your budget dictates scaling down and going for this delightful one-story, three bedroom Craftsman style that offers flex space for expansion (right) (Plan # 109-1013).




3. Find your style.  Whether you’re starting out, have a family and small children, ready to retire with grown children returning to the home, or living with elderly relatives, there’s a house plan out there that fits your lifestyle, needs and income.  Are you leaning toward a one-level home or a two-story plan; a simple ranch/farmhouse, a Mediterranean style, French country, modern contemporary, or a beachfront home? Your style preference and the region you live in will dictate most of the financing and furnishing options. 


Farmhouse at dusk. Love the porch.    French country style home at dusk.


If you fancy living in a farmhouse (left), this is a delightful choice – with its gorgeous porch and stone-based columns, an inviting foyer that opens into the dining area, a private deck and other amenities, including extra space (Plan #165-1090). The French style home (right) has more than 5,700 square feet of living space- making it perfect for growing families and entertaining (Plan #161-1022).



Gorgeous home.    Texas Hill Country ranch home.

You may prefer a two-story contemporary home (left) with an open floor plan that comes with four bedrooms, a sundeck, modern kitchen and lots of space for expansion (Plan #168-1088).  Or a Texas-style one-and-a-half-story house plan (right) may be more to your liking. The house includes three bedrooms, an attractive courtyard entry, covered front and rear porches, a patio, and bonus space (Plan #117-1094).



4.  The neighborhood matters.  As the saying goes in real estate, “Location, location, location.”  Check out the immediate neighborhood and surrounding areas before committing to such a serious and long-term investment of your money, time, and efforts. Is the home near a busy street? Is there a lot of noise in the area? Do you like the community and its residents? Does the neighborhood offer things that you need – and want? Consider schools, recreation/centers, churches, grocery stores, hospitals, and so on. Above all, will you – and your family – fit in with your neighbors and be happy living there?   



5. Flexibility and room for growth.  Look for a house plan that gives you the flexibility to expand. These days, even “starter” homes include bonus rooms that can serve multiple functions – such as home offices, hobby/guest/family/play rooms. An open floor style makes the most sense because it allows the family to mix and mingle freely; and parents to keep an eye on little children.      


Garage space can also be converted into work rooms or a loft suite with sleeping quarters, kitchen and bathroom. This space comes in handy when grown children decide to return to the family home.



142-1051 front photo

This one-story traditional “starter” home can become a “forever home” because of the flex space it offers. It has three large bedrooms, two full baths, a bonus room, loft space in the garage, and room for an optional patio or deck in the back (Plan #142-1051).


Perfect mountain style ranch home.

A one-story mountain style ranch house has five bedrooms and four baths and a basement with unfinished space – ideal for future needs and flex space (Plan #163-1055).


The main level floor plan of this mountain style home.  Basement level of this mountain style home.


Above are floor plans of the main level and basement level layouts of the mountain-style ranch house in the photo directly above (Plan #163-1055).



6. Think of the future – and plan for a “forever home.”  When you choose, then buy – or build – your perfect home, think long-term living.  Ask yourself if you can – and want – to stay in this house for a long time. Will this home fit your needs and lifestyle within the next decade or longer? Is it flexible enough to allow expansion, renovations, and modernizations for a “forever” home – one that can stay in the family for generations – like the ancestral homes of yore? Many new house plans designed today address these specific questions.


This inviting two-story, four bedroom country home has a welcoming courtyard and garage entry with benches and lockers. Walk through the front porch into the foyer that leads to the kitchen-family room, sunroom and spacious deck. On the second floor is the vaulted master suite and a master bath with whirlpool tub, walk-in tiled shower, a private toilet and an enormous walk-in closet (Plan #165-1094).



7.  Check exterior and interior fixtures.  So, you’re ready to make that crucial decision – a new one or an older one in a very nice, quiet and friendly neighborhood? Don’t rule out an older home – the previous owner may have renovated the kitchen to your heart’s content or added some fixtures that you’ve always wanted in your home. Be prudent and practical and make certain that all exterior and interior elements meet your specifications and expectations.


Take a look at the exterior and interiors of these homes to get an idea – when buying – or building- your “forever” home.    


European style lodge home.  Kitchen and great room flow together in this lovely home.

A one-story European style home has an exterior of rock and brick, barrel arches and timber beams (left). The Great Room – with the kitchen – is spacious and just ideal for small and large events. There is a basement with a recreation room, wet bar and room for two more bedrooms (Plan #135-1060).


Lower level recreation and entertainment room.  Billiards room on lower level of this home.

The fully finished and furnished basement includes a family room, wet bar and billiards table (Plan #135-1060).


Traditional ranch home.   Living room of this ranch home with flat screen TV over fireplace.

A four-bedroom ranch house plan has a hipped roof and brick exterior. Three bedrooms are on one wing while the master suite occupies the other side of the home. It comes with a lot of amenities including a home theater, a formal dining room, two fireplaces, and a grilling porch (Plan #153-1210).


Country style kitchen with eating bar.   Screened-in griling porch.

A modern kitchen with a peninsula eating bar… and the grilling porch (Plan #153-1210).


Master bedroom. Love the lighting and how peaceful it is.   Master bathroom suite with huge tub and flat screen TV.

The master suite – with its very large master bath - is privately situated on the other side of the home (Plan #153-1210).



It’s time for action – as you’re now ready for your new home in this new year!




Footnote: The lead image in this article is that of a one-story, 4-bedroom ranch home with a wrap-around porch, Plan #136-1000. To view more, click here.


January 06, 2015

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