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Part four of our comparison of three top-selling one-story home plans around 1,600 square feet in size, examines these designs through the Entertaining, lens, the third of the four “lenses” that home buyers tell us they use to evaluate a home’s livability.  Of course, different people have different entertaining preferences (formal/casual, indoor/outdoor, conversation-based/activity-based, etc.)  But whatever type you enjoy, they all center around places in the home we gather.

The Shelton Farm’s entertaining area is wonderfully open, bringing everyone together.  With room for a pull-out wastebasket next to the sink, its 7-foot island with snack bar is the most accommodating of these three home plans.  The family room’s ceiling increases from 9-foot to 10-foot high, and positioning the fireplace in the corner provides unobstructed views out the back.  With no walls or obstructions, this design’s dining area can temporarily expand into the Family room for big holiday meals.

The Shelton Farm, plan 42392

The Shelton Farm, plan 42392, 1603 sq. ft.

“I love having the island facing the windows to the back and the covered patio is a “must.”  But I would add windows on the side of the dining area for more light."

At 80-inches wide, the Jensen Falls’ front entry is the roomiest of these three designs.  It also features a 10-foot high ceiling which extends through the kitchen, family and dining rooms, furthering this home’s feeling of spaciousness.  The Jensen Falls boasts the largest Family room of these three plans, and like the Shelton Farm, this layout features a corner fireplace alongside two tall windows. 

Jogging the dining room out the back provides room definition as well as space for a hinged door leading onto a 15’-8” x 12’-0” covered deck or patio – perfect for entertaining, grilling out, or taking in a remarkable sunset.  However, that door swing will impact your table and chair placement (unless you specify an “outswing” door.)  Both the Locklear and Shelton Farm utilize sliding doors onto the rear patio or deck.

The Jensen Falls, plan 29385, 1676 sq. ft.

The Jensen Falls, plan 29385

“When we entertain, everyone seems to end up in the kitchen, and I can see friends gathered around the island. And when I’m working at the island, there’s lovely views out the back, of the fireplace, and the big TV next to the fireplace directly opposite.”

Thoughtful touches are evidenced in the Locklear’s front entry, where sunshine streams through a sidelite, a closet accommodates your guests’ coats, and a high ceiling is carried through the family room, where tall windows flank the fireplace.  Importantly, only the Locklear provides a guest (powder) bathroom.

Locklear recessed display

A recessed display (between the coat closet and staircase) frames your favorite artwork or photos.

The Locklear, plan 42074, 1635 sq. ft.

The Locklear, plan 42074

“I want to look out my kitchen window and be able to see my kids playing in the back yard.  I also don’t want the sink or dishwasher or cooktop in my island because it’s the perfect prep space.”

And the winner is…The Jensen Falls (for Entertaining).  The Locklear is missing a second eating option, as there’s no island snack bar in that plan.  A very close second, the Shelton Farm’s slightly larger kitchen and eating area lost out to the Jensen Falls’ wider, more welcoming entry and larger Family room.  We’ll look at “Flexible Living” – the last of our four lenses – in our next blog post and crown the winning plan!

For more resources on thoughtful design and products:

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