26. February 2015 17:01
In response to the unparalleled economic events of the past seven years and in an effort to mitigate damaging financial impact on our families, we have all made difficult choices. Many of us have chosen to once again support our [More]
23. June 2014 07:34
Part IV in our series - Avoiding Common Regrets When Building Your New Home.
5 Modern Ways to Reduce Wasted Space in Your Floor Plan
Building a home is exciting. You get to create your perfect space - a place where your family will make lots of wonderful memories. However, this can also be a stressful time, too. You don’t want to make decisions you will soon regret, and need to make sure the home comes together perfectly.
All the little design details in a home can be changed, but the floor plan will remain constant without some major renovation. So, before you get too worried about what paint color to choose and which light fixtures to buy, let’s focus on the layout of the house. Whether you are building a 2,500 square foot home or one that’s over 12,000 square feet, you need to figure out the best use of space.
Not every square foot is created equal. Your floor plan can and should be created to make the most out of every single square foot. Many home designs can lead to a lot of wasted space, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take control of the floor plan and use every inch effectively to create a house plan with no wasted space.
Knock Down the Walls
Some home designs have multiple small rooms. If it is not imperative to your lifestyle, knock down a few walls and open up the area. Open floor plans are the way many modern home designs are leaning and are on the ‘must-have’ list for many homeowners.
Knocking down some walls can increase the size of high-traffic areas, so you use the space more effectively. If your family spends a lot of time in the family room, knock out the wall separating the family room and kitchen. It will open up the space and make the main room appear larger. If the house plans show two rooms where you only need one, take down the divider to make one room larger and ensure there's no wasted space.
Ditch the Dining Room
Every older home has a dining room. It was part of the lifestyle of the time. Husbands were home from work at 5:00. Wives had the house clean and supper on the table. The children gathered ‘round and dinner was served in the dining room.
Modern families are more likely to have each parent working, kids with after-school activities and extra-curricular events and no one getting home until 7:00 pm. Even then, family members are trickling in at different times. The days of eating in the dining room every night have come to an end for many families. This large room is only being used two or three times a year for holiday dinners, which isn't the best use of space.
If the floor plan of your home
includes a dining room and your family lifestyle has no need for a formal place to eat your meals, Why not take this opportunity to rethink the entire room and dining experience. You can omit it completely or you can repurpose the space.
This room can be turned into an office, a playroom, a craft room or just about anything else you would actually use on a regular basis. The key to not wasting space is creating spaces that you will actually use.
Ideas for Putting Square Footage Where it Counts
In most modern families, a lot of time is spent in the kitchen and family room, so you should expand the available space. The kitchen is a natural gathering place, so feel free to add some square footage. Extend the wall in the kitchen a few feet, even if it makes the guest bathroom a little smaller. Widen the family room, even if it cuts into the entryway.
Most square footage should be used in the main living areas of the home. It is okay if your rear-entry foyer is just big enough for a bench and some lockers for coats and shoes. It is okay if your bathrooms don’t have enough space to host a fashion show. Cutting square footage from secondary spaces makes the high traffic areas more open and enjoyable.
Consider your Needs
Picture Courtesy Mother Nature Network
Every family’s needs are a little bit different, and certain requirements can result in specific changes. If you have young children running around, you may want to add a little width to your hallways. If you have teenagers you may want to add an additional room for watching TV and playing video games. If you are the king and queen of entertaining, you can add space to the family room or a guest bedroom.
The key to each room in your home is purpose. If a room serves no real purpose, it is a waste of space. If you think you will use a room, but aren’t sure what for, it may languish untouched for years. In order for space to be well-used, it must have a function.
Think Outside the Box
Many floor plans are strikingly similar. If there is something you’d like to change about the traditional layout, change it. Don’t be scared to step away from the norm. Just because a floor plan has a certain number of rooms or distribution of space does not mean it is set in stone. Feel free to personalize it and make adjustments. After all, it is your home and want a no wasted space house plan.
If your lifestyle doesn’t need a certain room, take it out. If you require more space to make an area more livable, add it. The biggest key to not wasting space is to cater your floor plan to the needs of your family. If a space has a purpose, keep it or increase it. If it doesn’t, kiss it goodbye and use the square footage elsewhere.
25. February 2014 09:51
The moment you’ve waited for has arrived, keys are in hand and your builder is eager to show off the finished product. You are flooded with a mixture of emotions, relief, joy, exhaustion and you can’t wait to finally move into you brand new home!
Three months later, and for the most part you couldn’t be happier…well except for…
We’ve all been there, whether it is our first car or picking a major in school; we wish we would have done something a little different. When it comes to building a new home, what we thought we wanted doesn’t always end up meeting our needs.
So, whether you’re building your first home or you are a recent empty nester looking to downsize, join us as we take a look at how to avoid making some common regrets in your dream home.
First up we take a look at the kitchen.
5 Areas to Consider When Designing Your Kitchen
Depending on where you are in life, can make a big difference not only with what you need in the kitchen but what you want as well. If you love to cook and you have a large family, you might want to double up on the ovens. Or you may be recent empty-nesters, and you are downsizing your collection of bowls and plates. Whatever the case, here are the 5 most important things to evaluate and pay close attention too.
1. Size: Storage space, cabinetry, pantry 2. Placement Sink & Appliances3. Appliances 4. Flooring5. Colors, lighting (Not enough light)
As you begin reviewing options for your kitchen, keep in mind the following 5 areas to avoid any major regrets.
Kitchen Size & Storage Space (Cabinets & Pantry)
Getting the kitchen size right can go a long way to avoiding any potential regrets lurking around the corner. Nobody wants to start cooking in a kitchen and feel cramped, nor do you want to look around at your massive room and feel as though you missed out on an opportunity because of your gargantuan kitchen space.
Take some time before you sit down with you builder to discuss with your spouse what each of you is expecting out of your kitchen. You’ll be deciding the overall size as well as storage space. Do you want a corner kitchen pantry? How many kitchen storage cabinets will you need? Getting the size and space right is key to feeling happy with your finished kitchen.
How many dishes will you need? How often will you be entertaining? How many meals will you be preparing each week? Although it can be hard to hit the sweet spot when it comes to storage space, it is usually better to err on the side of too much storage space.
We all want to get the most out of the kitchen. One thing I hear often about building your own home is,
“You don’t always get what you want but you get what you ask for.”
I think there is nothing in the house more applicable to that as you are considering the size of this space you’ll want to think about the layout as well. Addressing simple questions such as functionality, design and placement of appliances, can help you get the most out of your kitchen. Especially if you are looking at one story home plans, this decision is even more important.
Take some time to really understand what you like and don’t like in the kitchen. If you’re like me and enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you’ve probably already been making mental notes of what you do and don’t like about your current kitchen. Don’t stop there! Write down any ideas you have, spend some time in your family and friend’s kitchens, and consult with your builder.
Sinks & Appliances
Sink location and the number of sinks in a kitchen has evolved considerably the last couple of years. As the beautiful sink above illustrates.
While you’re deciding on what type of sink to get, you may not be spending as much time thinking about where to place it. We recommend giving a lot of thought into where your sink will go. Deciding on the type of sink and placement of that sink should be a joint decision. Look at the positives and negatives of the positions you are considering and talk to family and friends about what they like and don’t like about their sink.
Ditto for your appliances! Dishwasher placement in kitchen design is often one of the biggest challenges. Getting applicance placement right the first time will help you avoid possible headaches down the road and help you enjoy your kitchen to its fullest.
Flooring & Countertops
We all have preconceived ideas on what we like and want. When it comes to kitchen flooring and counters, most of us probably have a preference, whether it is hard wood floors and marble countertops or bamboo floors and soapstone countertops.
Whatever your preference or preconceived ideas are, you should take some time to understand what kitchen flooring options are available to you and fit your budget. In most cases this will help you avoid regretting your floors and countertops.
Lighting & Colors
Far too often lighting is one of the last things new home builders worry about, especially in the kitchen. Invest additional time and research into understanding how the light fixtures will play in your space. Over the sink kitchen lighting should be at the top of our list of design choices. You’ll find that most experts recommend using a mixture of fixtures to layer the light in the kitchen.
As you make your lighting decisions don’t forget to factor in the color of your walls, floors, cabinets and countertops. How will these colors affect the overall look and feel of your kitchen? How will they appear in each layer of lighting? While you can change the colors of our walls and cabinets on a whim, it can be more of a challenge when it comes to your floors and countertops.
Prepare Now to Avoid Any Possible Regrets
As you begin planning your kitchen, come prepared with your ideas. Know what you want and need. Don’t leave the decisions up to the builder.
Spend some time looking at the kitchens of your family and friends, and keep track of what you like and don’t like. You are building a home for you and your family, and the time you spend investing in understanding what you want and need, will pay off in limiting if not eliminating regrets and making you a happy new home owner!
Sooner or later after building a home you will say “I wish I had thought of that!” Sign up to our HER Home Thought of the Day to make sure you don’t say that (as often) after building your next home.
What do the Colors on your Walls Say about You?
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home
10 Design Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Your Kitchen
Kitchen Flooring 101: Find Your Material Match
Kitchen Countertops 101: Choosing a Surface Material
30. December 2013 07:40
Published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, HER Home’s Thought of the Day is derived from our audience feedback as well as real-life experiences of the Her Home staff. This email series is designed to answer the question -- "I wish I had known about that!" This Monday, Wednesday, Friday email places in your inbox, solutions to common home building questions, design ideas, and insights into products to put into your new home or remodel project.
We had some great responses to our topics in 2013. Here is the 'Best of" for 2013.
All square feet are not created equal (part 1 of 2)
All square feet are not created equal (part 2 of 2)
The biggest architectural element on the front of your home...
The "disappearing" home office
Your walls will thank you
Why one-story homes usually cost more
Enjoy. Be safe. See you in 2014.
Subscribe to HER Home at Thought of the Day here.
23. October 2013 10:39
MORE ABOUT REAR-ENTRY FOYERS
6. June 2013 10:40
It's our current poll. It's a simple question. Do you prefer open floor plans?
Here's an example of a popular open format floor plan. It has lots of the natural light, ease of mingling with others and feeling like we’re all connected.
Sound travels in open layouts and I don’t want everyone to see my home isn’t always neat and orderly.
Each format appeals to different people. Each has great amenities. Each has drawbacks. Which do you prefer? Take the poll now!
6. May 2013 07:48
Rear foyer with openhooks and cubbies
According to a 2011 study by Recon Analytics, people who have an attached garage go in and out of their home using the door between the home and the garage 92% of the time, rather than using the main entry door. Yet, many new homes focus lots of attention of the front entry foyer and treat the entry from the garage almost as an afterthought!
The rear foyer entry from the garage deserves no less design attention than a front foyer. It serves as a vital transition space, a place to remove and store coats, backpacks and computer bags, shed shoes, and keep clutter out of the kitchen. Unless there is simply no other option, you probably don't want the washer and dryer in your rear foyer either (who wants to trek past the dirty laundry-and be reminded of all that work-every time you arrive home?)
Ask your builder or remodeling contractor about incorporating a rear foyer in your new home or remodeling project!
Organized Rear Foyers
Home plans with Drop Zones
1. April 2013 08:28
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Design Basics' "Hester" is a popular 3-bedroom family plan. It's also possible to build this home with a second master suite, shown as the "Sadie" plan. (Yes, the dual owner's-suite version does utilize storage space from the original design's garage, but if doing this conversion as a remodel, the contractor will build that closet floor accordingly.)
#29344 - Hester
Whether new construction or remodeling, dual owner's suites and independent in-law suites are increasingly in demand. It might amaze you to find out just how many committed, happy couples choose not to share the same bedroom. It could be conflicting schedules, medical conditions or simply snoring, but the need for getting a good night's sleep is paramount to a good life.
Plan now to stay in your dream home!
7. March 2013 08:47
What is the Woman-Centric Matters!® Approach?
Our woman-centric approach is based on customer feedback, mostly from our women customers. We’ve been inspired to design our homes with innovative solutions for enhanced livability and style. We have a new understanding and appreciation for women’s preferences of products selected for the home.
In addition, we help home builders and remodelers use this approach to:
Take the customer’s experience from stressful to delightful.
Accomplish more with their marketing dollars.
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26. December 2012 16:33
Why buy new, now?Historically low interest rates expand your purchasing power significantly. For example, a $200,000 30-year mortgage at a 5% interest rate (APR) is $125 less per month than a 6% APRmortgage payment. Or, you could opt for a larger home or $20,000 in upgrades and still keep the payments lower than the 6% APR mortgage.
Lower total monthly housing costs. Land costs have eased as have prices for some building materials. Stiffer building and energy codes combined with product advancements mean cheaper utility bills and lower homeowner insurance rates.The financial implications are often the first aspect looked at, but there are lots of other reasons to look at new construction rather than an existing home, including:
Quality of construction. More stringent building codes are just one of the reasons today’s homes typically offer superior quality compared to older homes, making your new home more pleasurable to live in.Design flexibility. Some things that just aren’t feasible to change with resale homes, like garage size, basement ceiling heights, wider doors or open, entertaining floorplans.Product choices, advancements. When building new, there’s a gamut of products to select from in making your home uniquely yours, based on what’s important to you—such as quieter and safer products, high technology…healthy alternatives...new construction is a hands-down winner!Avoid maintenance hassles and cost.
New homes are typically lower maintenance due to the products used. Composite decking, tilt-in clad windows and laminate flooring, all give you back a little more time. Then there’s the expensive repairs associated with older homes such as replacing worn-out appliances, roof shingles, carpet and furnaces.Energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. Homes built today are as much as 60% more energy efficient than homes built 20 years ago, contributing to a more comfortable home. Your energy efficient new home can help prevent the release of tons (yes, TONS!) of greenhouse gasses per year, while helping conserve our energy resources. Advanced building products such as engineered wood and recycled product choices such as carpet made from discarded plastic water bottles further help protect our environment.
Don’t settle for less. Finally, one of the most important reasons for buying new is getting exactly what you want in your new home.