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!
23. April 2013 08:09
Whether we realize it or not, our bathrooms are very personal—which means if there are two of you using that bathroom, there’s a potential for misunderstanding and conflict.
Take the vanity and sinks. Years ago designers recognized the preference for his and her sinks in the master bath. That alleviated some of the schedule conflicts over who used the sink and when, but also led to more countertop clutter. His mouthwash…her make-up…sometimes it’s so crowded you can hardly tell what the countertops look like!
Splitting a single vanity with two sinks into two separate vanities, each with their own sink, is desirable.
Last time we discussed how having two separate vanities provides highly prized personal space in the owner’s bathroom, particularly eliminating conflict over countertop clutter. But what’s the most desirable layout for the two vanities? We show four options below.
Plan 50020illustrates the two vanities in-line, separated by a built-in dresser or linen cabinet.
Plan 50001 has the sinks positioned opposite each other. Some people really like the fact that when the two mirrors face each other, you can easily see how the back of your hair looks in the opposite mirror!
Plan 42158 staggers the two opposite-facing sinks, eliminating the likelihood of brushing up “cheek-to-cheek”.
And plan 50031 has the two sinks back-to-back, providing a true sense of “me” space.
Which is best? Only you can decide that!
1. April 2013 08:28
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.)
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!
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% APR
mortgage 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.
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.
9. October 2012 10:39
In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation! Entertaining has taken on a new priority, but entertaining preferences are highly individualized. Builders need to understand your entertaining style. And you need to make sure your builder gets your style.
We've refer to homeowners who enjoy formal entertaining as "Claires". Sophisticated finishes and open layouts are preferred, but Claires look for a sense of room definition. Outdoor spaces are often considered an extension of the indoor socializing, so the indoor/outdoor connection is key.
"Elise" is the name we've given to traditional buyers whose entertaining style tends to focus on family get-togethers or having a few close friends over. Conversation is key, as is getting everyone together. Flexible, free-flowing eating areas which can expand by adding another table are favored (think big, family Thanksgiving dinner gatherings.)
Fun-loving, "Maggie's" entertaining style revolves around "doing". It could be movie night at her home, or cards or pool. It could be a scrapbooking party or other type of "girls' night out". Maggies may have trouble seeing themselves in your home until they know where the big TV goes. Then there's her kids' entertaining space to consider. When she's got friends over, where will her kids go if their friends are over, too?
From lighting to soundproofing issues, entertaining influences design more than most people realize.
To learn more about the buyer profile described in this post, read about Finally About Me and take the quiz to learn your buyer profile.
20. September 2012 14:18
2002 - 2012 the Decade of Change! Part II
In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation. Just as you wouldn't get too excited over going to purchase a brand new car and being shown a new 2002 Pontiac Aztek, how excited should prospective buyers be touring a model home from a design that's 10 years old?
So what's different in home design today?
Example--Rear Foyers! As the most often used entrance into the home, coming in from the garage can no longer be viewed primarily as "utilitarian". The front entry foyer is designed to be something special, as much (or more!) attention should be paid to the rear foyer.
- Storage. Beyond the expected coat closet, what about all the "stuff" you carry in with you? A "drop zone" is ideal for liberating your kitchen from such clutter! So what's a 'Drop Zone'?
- Convenience. A seat or bench for removing shoes. Insignificant? Buyers don't think so!
- Special amenities. Do you have pets - cats or dogs? Think about adding a pet zone to the rear foyer.
See examples of drop zones, pet centers, and rear entry foyers. No longer should you bring people through the laundry room to get to your kitchen. The rear entry foyer changes the experience when you bring family and friends in from the garage!
6. September 2012 13:03
Over the next few weeks we will be looking at what has changed over the last 10 years in home design. Topics will explore the lessons we've learned as well as newer design trends and popular product choices.
In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation! Homebuyers want bigger garages, yet the average home being built has gotten smaller.
Narrower lots continue to dominate in many markets. Alley loaded garages are not applicable in most situations. So, how can you keep the garage from overpowering the front elevation?
Garage Placement: Bringing the garage flush with or even recessed from other elements of the front elevation de-emphasize the garage's impact on the home.
Garage Door: Why does everyone default to the same raised 32 panel garage door? An aesthetically pleasing garage door can be a focal point, rather than an eyesore!
Garage Access: Building lots may permit, or even dictate, entering the garage from the side. A newer trend is to combine front- and side-entry garages, minimizing their effect on the home's curb appeal.
Focal points: Adding horizontal fascia lines or a shed roof in a front facing gable over a garage minimizes the visual effect of that gable. Changing the siding pattern and/or the addition of louvers breaks up the massing of a front-facing gable over the garage. The addition of a dormer in a gable roof over the garage takes the eye to the dormer and away from the garage.
Next time, we'll talk about the idea of "flex" spaces.
28. August 2012 14:07
You and your friends walk into a model home with a gorgeous fireplace flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows at the back of a tall great room. “Wow!” remarks one of your friends. Another (who actually thinks the room is a bit predictable) is trying to envision a more contemporary fireplace and window grouping. Your best friend is thinking about all of the natural gas it takes to heat that space. And you’re wondering how you would ever clean those 17-foot high windows!
The example illustrates how your personality influences your perception of a home. As the Her Home and Woman-Centric Matters! teams at Design Basics identified, women tend to exhibit one of four primary home buyer personas. What’s amazing is just how much of our core personality is shows up in our homes! Once you’ve identified your strongest personality type, you, your builder, or your remodeling contractor can focus on things that will likely be very meaningful to you and avoid wasting time with things that probably aren’t very important. It’s fun…and more than a little revealing into why you like what you like!
We have several articles and a short 5-minute quiz elaborating on Finally About Me and your new home personality. Read more . . .
7. June 2012 14:36
While the debate rages on over garage size and placement (see this month's White Paper for solutions), an emerging concept is to design a tandem 3rd stall and show an option for finishing off that space. That way, buyers can understand the trade-offs: more storage or additional living space!
We would love to hear your feedback on a new plan we're developing, the Windsor Cottage, which illustrates this very concept.
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them here!
Without moving exterior walls, what would you design differently (for example, add window(s) in the dining/living room)?
9. May 2012 07:40
As I've aged my knees and back seem to be complaining more and more. You'll be thankful if you look again at your dishwasher placement and the size & height of your toilets in new construction and remodeling.
Raising your dishwasher
Raising the dishwasher has numerous appeals, which all end with "...and your back will thank you!" It may be to add storage under the dishwasher for infrequently needed items. Or, it may be to make the dishwasher more convenient and easier to load and unload for individuals of all ages and abilities.
If a raised dishwasher is in your future plans, think also about what goes atop the dishwasher. Set within an island, the countertop over the dishwasher may be flush with a raised eating bar (unless the entire island work surface has been raised.) Situated the dishwasher against a wall, other options, including additional storage, come more clearly into view. Raised dishwasher ideas.
Different size bowls
It’s surprising how many people overlook the issue of the toilet size for their home. Okay, maybe it’s not as fun as selecting lighting fixtures, but comfort is too important of an issue to forget. As compared with standard round toilets, elongated toilets are about two inches longer, which many adults feel is a more comfortable size. Petite individuals and children sometimes feel elongated bowls are too big.
There’s also the issue of hygiene, and men strongly prefer the elongated toilets. Finally, consider space. Some baths are designed with a little “room” within the bathroom for the toilet, and the extra length of the elongated toilet may interrupt the door swing into that toilet space.
See Kohler's Highline Classic Comfort Height Toilet
Keep these things in mind and your knees and back with thank you!