Square one : The real estate agent's mantra "location, location, location" rings true even when you're building from scratch. From privacy to orientation, your lot is likely to influence which plan you choose. "Theoretically, it's best to start by finding a lot because then you'll have a clear idea of what square footage will and will not fit on the property," says Robert Martin, Architecture Editor at Southern Living. "It's a dangerous proposition to try to gooseneck a house into a lot that's really not ideal for that plan."
Beach House Plans : Beach house plans usually result in homes that have a very distinct look. The architectural style that is the foundation for most beach house plans varies from Spanish to Mediterranean to Traditional styles. Beach house plans therefore, can reflect a wide range of interests. Some reflect the area where the house may be built. For example, many coastal home plans created for homes on the southern East coast (think Florida) are crafted with the idea that the home will be on stilts as a measure to help guard against hurricanes and other tropical storms. Stucco exterior styles or Mediterranean styles are not uncommon of coastal home plans fashioned for customers living on the West Coast. Many beach house plans also include special features such as large bay windows and outdoor living spaces.
When you decide on a house plan, you're also choosing a way of life. Do you host dinner parties often, or do you only step inside the dining room on holidays? Today, many families forego a dedicated formal dining room. Instead, a casual eating nook connected to the kitchen accommodates week-night meals, Little League pizza parties and all their entertaining needs. If you work from home or have school-aged children, an office or study may be a necessity. Think about the rooms and how you and your family will use them.
There are dozens of other house plan style categories, such as A-Frames, Mission, Contemporary, Southwest, and Tudor to name just a few. A web search for house plans yields a mind blowing number of searchable sites. Most of these allow you to search for house plans, by style, number of bedrooms, baths, with or without a garage, or by sq. ft. of living space.
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