Taking the plan from blueprint to dream house : A builder may provide a ballpark estimate of construction costs from a study plan, but he or she should consult the working drawings to give a more accurate figure. Many variables can affect the bottom line, including the choice and availability of materials, labor costs, choice of finishes and degree of detail. Ask several contractors for competing bids. If you've got the vision but not the bankroll (at least at this time), it may be wise to choose a plan with bonus space that can be built out as finances allow. Be sure to allot a portion of your budget to landscaping and finish details. Architects and interior designers recommend that you don't skimp on the seemingly small stuff. Higher-quality trim and building materials may trump extra square footage. "Good, insulated windows may be costly initially," Martin says, "but over the long run, they're going to save you money on your power bill." Crown moulding and custom cabinetry can make a stock plan feel like it was designed specifically for your family. After all, it's the personal touches that make a house feel like a home.
Complimenting your lifestyle : Before delving into the thousands of plans available today, evaluate your current living situation. Look around and ask what works and what doesn't. Consider which features matter most to you and which floor plan best accommodates your family's lifestyle. "Does the floor plan live the way you live?" Martin asks. Are you an empty nester who's ready to downsize? A single-level ranch home might be your answer. Is this a house where you expect to raise a family? Check out plans that feature great communal spaces as well as a private master suite. Would you live outside 12 months a year if you could? Pick an airy floor plan with plenty of porches and more windows than wall space.
Log Home Plans : Log home plans are often crafted with the romantic in mind. Most log home plans have a rustic feel, built on traditions. Log home plans will incorporate natural elements into the style including use of wood, stone and glass to create a home that reflects the spirit of the forest. Log home plans are popular because homes built with logs are great insulators against cold weather. Most log home plans are custom designed for homes in areas of the country that experience cold snaps during the winter months.
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.