Using an Old House as a Guide – One of the easiest ways to start is to think about the home you currently live in. Brainstorm all of the things that you enjoy about your current home that you’d like to see in your new one. Use a layout of your current home to expand and map out what you would change if you were turning it into your dream home.
Value Engineering – Everyone has a budget, and there are many ways to cut down on costs when it comes to choosing your floor plan. The more geometrically simple the home is, the more cost effective it will be. Have you ever heard the term “cutting corners?” The closer your home resembles a square box, the lower the cost will be. Bay windows and other bump-outs will increase your costs. If you’re thinking of a walk-out basement, make sure you are building on a hill, or you’ll be paying an excavator to alter your site. Another thing to be alert for is the way in which living floor space is calculated. Check whether or not the builder has included room and loft spaces with low rafters as living floor spaces; such spaces are sometimes not included in living area calculations. Try to compare “net to gross” ratios (total space compared to usable space) between plans. No need to run a calculation, just eyeball plans for unnecessarily large halls, walkway areas, and the like.
Lifestyle – Consider your activity level and how often you’ll be utilizing your outdoor spaces. Do you do a lot of entertaining? You may wish to have porch access from your kitchen to engage in al fresco dining. Do you need a formal living room, or will a relaxed family room be sufficient? It’s critical to determine where a TV will go especially when dealing with a smaller floor plan in absence of a media room. Do you want a fireplace as a focal point, or would you prefer it tucked off in a corner? Will this be your retirement home? Consider grouping all of your most used rooms on the bottom floor, leaving the upstairs for family and friends when visiting. Try mapping out where your current furniture would go in the new floor plan. You’ll want to make sure you have space for a large dining room table if you entertain large groups of people and allow room for headboards and nightstands in relation to windows.
Accessibility – Make sure that things will flow easily in your home. Consider daily activities and what layout would make these run smoothly. For example, when bringing groceries inside from your car, you’ll want your garage to enter into a mudroom, and then into the kitchen. Make sure your laundry area is where you want it to be. How far do you want to haul your laundry back and forth? Consider your storage space. Many timber frame homes contain no attic because of the vaulted ceiling spaces. If you’re also planning on a fully finished basement, where will you store your unused items, such as holiday decorations? You may need additional closet space. Pay close attention to the linear footage of the cabinets in your kitchen and make sure there is sufficient storage space.
Privacy – Make sure you consider the separation of parents and children. If you have young kids, you may wish for their room to be very close to yours, but as they grow older, you may want to give them more privacy. Do you want the master bedroom to be secluded away from other bedrooms? Consider the location of public bathrooms. A small floor plan with the master suite on the first floor may only include one bathroom off the master bedroom. Would you want guests using this bathroom, or would you prefer a small half bath added to the floor plan?
There are dozens of things to consider when designing or choosing your floor plan. Following these simple tips should give you a good start on the process. If you have questions or need further advice, your Regional Project Manager will always be available to help you along the journey to your dream home.