In addition, good stock plans come with a detailed inventory, which you can use while you're developing out your dream house. This is important for two reasons: you can look at the materials used to build your house and determine whether your budget will stretch to accommodate them, and you can get a very good idea of where to upgrade and downgrade materials.
Streets and topography may be the main determinates of a house's orientation, but it's also a good idea to consider sun exposures when possible. A homeowner might reorganize a floor plan to take advantage of morning and afternoon light. Martin says that covered porches that face a southern exposure can help block out heat and sunlight.
Another item which is often missing or lacking in a set of house plans is comprehensive and accurate dimensions. We have always strived to provide more than the minimum amount of house dimensions so that it is easy for the owner and builder to layout a home on its building site. We will even calculate point to point dimensions (using trigonometry) for homes which have lots of odd angles to them (as opposed to a simple rectangle layout). Not all architects or designers will go this "extra mile," so it pays to check these things out beforehand.
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.
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