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Earth Month Tip of the Week: Heating and Cooling

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April is Earth Month and each week we are giving you tips on how to improve your home’s energy performance. This week, we tackle half of a typical home’s energy bill, heating and cooling. Heating and cooling your home can comprise half of your home’s energy bill, but maintaining that system can save you money and improve your home’s energy performance. Here are a few things to think about when you are using your home’s heating and cooling systems.

Check for Air Leaks

One of the first steps to reducing energy waste and saving up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling bills is to check for air leaks. This will increase the comfort of your home and save you money by not letting the hot (or cold) air escape.  You can seal air leaks by caulking or installing weather stripping, you can even install an energy efficient door or storm windows.

Cherry Creek House Plan

The Cherry Creek house plan is an ENERGY STAR® rated house plan with lots of features on homeowner’s wish lists. Among the highlights in this house plan are large bedrooms with walk-in closets, secondary bedrooms with private dressing rooms and vanities, and a kitchen with an over-sized island and eating bar. This house plan also features a dining room to accommodate a large table arrangement perfect for entertaining and a see-thru fireplace that shares a wall with the living room.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are ideal for people who are away from home at set times throughout the week. A properly programmed programmable thermostat can save you about $180 a year on your energy bill.

Nest Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat such as a Nest® can save you up to 20 percent on your energy bill. Substantial savings when you consider heating and cooling compromises half of your home’s energy costs. Their Nest Leaf™ appears when you are saving energy, so you never have to guess about your thermostat’s energy efficiency.

Clean or Change Furnace Filters

A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make your heating and cooling system work harder to keep you warm.  A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which can lead to expensive maintenance costs and early system failure.

Ideally you should check your filter every month, especially during the winter and summer when they are in heavy use.  At minimum your filter should be changed every three months.

Lamare House Plan

The Lamare house plan is a charming Craftsman style home that achieves energy efficiency through ENERGY STAR® rated materials and green building practices. This house plan is designed with effective use of insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction, and efficient heating and cooling equipment.

Keeping your heating and cooling system maintained is a great way to save on your energy bills. Building an ENERGY STAR® rated home can also help you save on your energy bill. An ENERGY STAR® compliant home can reduce your home’s energy cost by 20 to 30 percent and The House Designers ENERGY STAR® rated house plans include all the calculations you need to meet the stringent ENERGY STAR® standards in your local area.  Browse our collection of ENERGY STAR® rated house plans and see if you can find your next green home.

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Earth Month Tip of The Week: Smart Lighting

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Lighting is very useful in so many ways. Inside great task lighting is very important in your interior design and adequate outdoor lighting can help deter break-ins.  We recommend CFL or LED lights for energy efficient lighting.  We also recommend that you replace your five most-used light fixtures with ENERGY STAR® products.

GE Reveal Kitchen

Great lighting makes all the difference and the GE Reveal® light bulb is not only energy efficient but also makes your home’s décor shine. GE Reveal® bulbs makes your whites whiter and allow the patterns throughout your home to pop.

Of course, you also want to make sure you turn off your lights when not in use. For this reason, it is a good idea to considering motion –detector lights for your outdoor lighting and timers inside, that will turn your lights on in the morning and off in the evening.

Redwood House Plan

The Redwood house plan is an ENERGY STAR® approved plan. The exterior lighting shown here will keep the homeowners safe and also illuminate baths and steps so guests can avoid injury. You can use motion-detectors so the lights only turn on if there is movement outside.

If you want to take it one step further you can install a light control system.  The use of a smart phone or tablet means that you will no longer have to worry about if you left that light on upstairs. Many home automation systems offer lighting control as part of their package but Lighting Control from SAVANT® Systems is one of our favorites.

SAVANT Systems Lighting Control

SAVANT® Systems offers a wide variety of award-winning use interfaces including some Apple® iOS control apps, to create beautiful complimentary lighting as well as automate landscape and security lighting, and respond to variable sunsets times throughout the year. SAVANT’s® Lighting Control system also gives you the ability to adjust light for video conferencing.

Lighting is a quick way to makeover your house, whether you replace the bulbs or you are looking to install dimmers, there are many ways that you can have a beautifully lit home and save money at the same time.  Whether you are in a new home or one you have lived in for several years, take a look at your lighting and see if you if you can make a few energy-saving changes.

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NKBA Reports Contemporary Kitchens on the Rise

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In 2014, the order is simple lines, less color, and little ornamentation, at least where kitchens are concerned. The National Kitchen and Bath association released a report on kitchen trends based on their 2014 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Survey and it revealed some interesting results.

Harrisburg House Plan kitchen

The Harrisburg house plan’s kitchen has contemporary elements with a bit of nature tied in. This simple lines are on-trend the NKBA’s report. Plenty of storage means minimal clutter, making this kitchen ideal for a modern lifestyle.

Contemporary kitchens are expected to be the fastest growing kitchen style of 2014, with 62 percent of respondents saying they are seeing an upswing. At the end of 2013, transitional kitchens were at the head of the pack in 2013 by a small lead.

Tree Top Treasure House Plan Kitchen

The Tree Top Treasure house plan doesn’t just comply with the NKBA’s findings of contemporary kitchens being on the rise but its center island is a feature in demand for many homebuyers.

Not only are the styles of kitchens becoming simpler but the NKBA had some other insights:

  • 56 percent of respondents were using accessible or universal design alongside easy-maintenance features in their kitchens.
  • Two-thirds of kitchens incorporated some kind of docking or charging stations as well as an office or desk area.
  • 56 percent of NKBA kitchen designers included a flat screen television in their kitchen projects.
  • Regarding energy-saving appliances, NKBA designers, 60 percent expect to see demand go up and 47 percent see the market expanding for water-saving kitchen faucets.
  • 70 percent of respondents expect to see the demand for quartz countertops increasing.
  • Wood was the most specified kitchen flooring in 2013, and continues to be in 2014.
  • Stainless steel is the most popular sink material with porcelain enamel as a close second.
Norcutt House Plan Kitchen

The Norcutt house plan has a professional style kitchen with a walk-in pantry. We love the simple layout and exceptional storage space in this house plan.

The NKBA survey also included some of the most in-demand kitchen features, including: induction cooktops, steam ovens, French-door refrigerators, bottom-freezer refrigerators, touch-activated faucets, electronic faucets, and LED lighting.

Feeling inspired to design your dream kitchen? Head on over to The House Designers and check out our fabulous kitchen house plan collection. Like the idea of contemporary style? Then maybe the contemporary house plan collection has just what you are looking for. Take a peek and let your imagine design your perfect home.

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NAHB Reveals Most Popular Features For New Homes

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April is New Homes Month and to celebrate the National Associations of Home Builders (NAHB) surveyed builders from across the country about what features they were most likely to include in a typical single family home in 2014.

They shared the results earlier this week revealing that the top priorities of a 2014 include convenience, livability, and energy efficiency.

Terrebonne House Plan Great Room

Among the desired attributes of a new home is a great room. The Terrebonne house plan has a beautiful great room as well as a central island kitchen, and a luxurious master suite.

“Newly constructed homes can suit the specific requirements of today’s home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly in the press release. “And now is a great time to consider buying a new home, as consumers can take advantage of competitive home prices and low interest rates to find the perfect new home for their families.”

Halstad Craftsman Ranch House Plan Kitchen

The kitchen of the Halstad Craftsman Ranch house plan not only features a center island but also a double sink and a granite countertop. All features that made the list of the most desired features of a new 2014 home. The plan also includes a great room, lots of closet space, and a porch.

Builders are including features that are practical and functional in the lives of today’s home buyers. Some of the most popular features include:

  • A walk-in closet in the master bedroom
  • Low-e windows
  • A laundry room
  • A Great Room.
  • Granite countertops
  • A double sink
  • A central island in the kitchen
  • Private toilet in the bathroom
  • Linen closet
  • ENERGY STAR® rated appliances
  • Programmable thermostats

Additional features you might see in a new home include ceilings at least nine-feet high, a front porch, outdoor lighting, and a patio. You can find house plans with lots of these features in The House Designers’ Top Selling House Plans collection. Take a look and see if you can find your dream home for 2014.

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Three Smaller Luxury House Plans | house plan

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A luxury house plan doesn’t have to be a mansion. While they are typically large and expansive you can find lots of moderate sized house plans in our luxury house plan collection. In fact, recent trend in the housing industry is to design smaller house plans with luxurious upgrades and details. While our collection of luxury house plans come in a variety of exterior styles one thing they have in common is that they all have over 3,000 square feet of living space. Here are some smaller house plans in our collection that maintain luxury and elegance.

Westover house plan

The Westover house plan is a cut above average.

With luxurious details you will swear this house plan stepped off the pages of an architectural magazine.  Showcasing rooms with fresh, new, interior design, the Westover house plan gives you innovation and classic elegance.  Not only does it offer amenities like a master bedroom with direct access to the wet bar and study, but purchasing this house plan also gives you two different upstairs layouts and an optional basement. A completely customizable house plan, the Westover gives you luxury and customization all in one.

Clearfield House Plan

Have a sloped lot? You will find that the Clearfield house plan is perfect for those a hillside design

What do you get when you combine Craftsman style with hillside design? The Clearfield house plan, of course. This stunning design perfectly fits a sloped lot and gives you lots of style. On the home’s exterior horizontal lap siding with stone and cedar shingle accents decorate the exterior while a cover porch introduces the front entry.

This house plan also features lots of luxurious amenities. The office features built-ins and corner windows for ambient light while the fireplace, media center, and window seat offer a cozy place to read or relax. The dining room has a recessed area for a hutch and double French doors that open up onto a wide deck. Other luxurious amenities like a laundry room, mudroom, a wet bar, and a wine cellar round out the luxurious amenities making this home extremely desirable to modern homebuyers.

Aspen Creek House Plan

The Aspen Creek house plan is a stunning one-story plan you will be proud to call your home.

Walk into the Aspen Creek house plan and you will find a luxurious foyer flanked by a cozy study and with coffered ceilings and built-ins. On the other side of the foyer is a guest bedroom with a full bath and walk-in closet.  Two family bedrooms have direct bath access and walk-in closets in close proximity to the one- and two-car garages.  A cooking patio is towards the rear of the house with game room just steps away, perfect for entertaining guests.

The main living area includes a family room, kitchen, and keeping room creating an open floor plan separated only by the breakfast bar. With two corner fireplaces located in the family room you are sure to find yourselves cozy on cold winter nights. In contrast, several windows allow for well sunlit rooms and gorgeous views to the outdoor lounge and cooking area, making this home ideal for all seasons.

The elegant master suite caps off this house plan on the left side of the home, featuring a luxurious bathroom with his and hers vanities, a separate shower, corner garden tub, and a generous wardrobe area.  This house plan also has private entrances that lead from the master suite to the study and the outdoor lounge. A utility room completes this luxury floor plan.

Whether you are looking for a sprawling estate of a small house plan with luxuries built in, you are sure to find something that suits your fancy in The House Designer’s luxury house plan collection.

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Five Favorite Dining Rooms from the Architectural Digest Home Design Show | dining room

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One of the attractions at Architectural Digest Home Design Show this weekend was the DIFFA Dining by Design gallery. A walk through the gallery showed us different takes on a dining room from the elegant to the avant-garde and modern. It gave us plenty of ideas for how to decorate a dining room in one of our house plans or even an outdoor living area. Here are three of our favorite dining rooms from the Dining by Design Gallery.

Ralph Lauren Dining Room

The Ralph Lauren design in the DIFFA Dining by Design gallery is classically elegant.

Ralph Lauren

Upon entering the DIFFA Dining by Design gallery, we were immediately drawn to the Ralph Lauren display. The setting was mostly white with some soft accents but a series and a series of flameless candles in jars created the perfect mood lighting for a calm dinner. We also really liked the floral chandelier hanging over the table. A floral chandelier won’t work in every setting but we loved the idea of a stunning and unique chandelier to finish the space.

Diane Von Furstenberg Dining Room

The mix of color and patterns in the Diane Von Furstenberg living room was immediately eye-catching.

Diane Von Furstenberg for Kravet Collection

Playing with colors and patterns can be intimidating but Diane Von Furstenberg has it mastered. This dining is brightly colored with a great mix of patterns.  This setting could be perfect as your outdoor living room as an informal dining space. The soft benches and comfortable pillows are inviting and the bright pink tables create a great energy in the space.

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Calvin Klein’s take on a dining room reminded us of a minimalist and slightly Asian design.

Calvin Klein

The Calvin Klein display was another display that caught our attention. The table was low and the tones all natural. The result was very understated look that we fell in love with. We thought a dining room like this would be perfect in an Asian inspired home, or for a beautiful outdoor dining room.

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White and metallic surfaces with a beautiful lighting fixture drew us to STUDIOS Architecture.

STUDIOS Architecture

STUDIOS Architecture put out contemporary dining room in a design that seemed effortless. A metallic table and simple white place settings made this dining room classic and modern looking.  The basket weave metallic chairs add a touch of texture and a white garland above the table adds a festive touch.

Fashion Institute Of Technology Dining Room

The FIT dining room looking more like a piece of art than a dining room, but we loved it for that.

Fashion Institute of Technology

At first glance the FIT display with in the Dining By Design gallery looked like a rustic shipwreck with a bit of macabre influence. When we looked closer we realized the dining room was themed after Disney’s Pinocchio, particularly the scene where Pinocchio’s ship was swallowed by the whale.  Not only did we think this was a clever design but we loved the elements involved. The ropes and lantern lighting fixture was one of my favorites and the beautiful wooden table with rope on the corners tied it together.

So what was your favorite dining room from the Dining by Design gallery? My personal favorite was the Pinocchio setting by the Fashion Institute for its innovative use on a theme. Share your favorite dining room with us below and then let your creative juices flow by browsing our house plan collections, including our outdoor living collection.

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A Look at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show | interior design

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This week, we are headed to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show (ADHDS) in New York City. ADHDS is a one-stop-shop that offers consumers a rare opportunity to see over 300 of the top interior design brands under one roof. Here are some of the unique offerings we are excited about for this show.

Artisan_Fire_Pizza_Oven_2014_w_tablescape_Kalamazoo_Outdoor_Gourmet

Take a look at Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, an exhibitor at the MADE Pavilion. Their Artisan Outdoor Pizza Oven brings old-world pizza oven cooking to the modern outdoor kitchen. The stainless steel gas-fired pizza even is designed for a countertop, requires no installation and cooking temperatures are reached in as little as twenty minutes for ultimate convenience. After a forty-five minute preheat this powerful backyard pizza oven can make a Neapolitan-style pizza in under three minutes.

The MADE Pavilion

With a variety of limited-edition, and one-of-a-kind objects and furnishings the MADE Pavilion is sure to treat. The curatorial team has searched high and low to interior design studios and workshops across the country to meet artisans and see their products. The MADE 2014 Pavilion features a mix of undiscovered gems (half of the exhibitors are new) and key returnees.

Keeping in line with the top interior design trends the pieces mix contemporary and modern styles with traditional ones. The MADE Pavilion is also an excellent examples of the trend towards original, small-batch production.

Bertazonni Range

Add a pop of color with the Bertazonni Professional Series Range. Pictured here in yellow this wide-format range has a cooktop with six burners including a dual-ring power burner, high-efficiency burner, and separately controlled flames. The balanced air flow convection provides even heat distribution for multi-level roasting and baking. and a triple glass door minimizes heat loss. (They will be giving away one of these ranges throughout the show. You can come by Booth #169 or enter here.)

Beautiful Kitchens

There are quite a few appliance manufacturers coming out this year.  We are excited to see the Bertazzoni booth. A 132-year-old family-owned oven manufacturer, they will be exhibiting their Speed Oven, which combines a convection oven, microwave oven, and broiler into one sleep appliance while cutting cooking time in half. Bertazonni is also giving bringing their award-winning Arancio (orange) Professional Series range. This range was the winner of the acclaimed 2013 GOOD Design Award and finalist at the 2013 Interior Design Magazine Best of the Year Awards in the best kitchen appliances.

NativeStone Sink

Native Trails’s NativeStone™ sinks, shown in Farmhouse 3018, gives you a fresh take on a farmhouse sink.

Unique Home Furnishings

The MADE Pavilion isn’t the only exhibitor that will be showing off unique functional interior design. Native Trails is a company that provides sustainable fixtures for kitchens and bathrooms. At ADHDS they will be debuting three sinks made of their new and innovative NativeStone™ material. These sinks, made of jute and cement weigh 40 percent less than sinks made of standard concrete. Not only do these sinks look unique but they are handcrafted by artisans using a multi-stage process. Native Trails also uses recycled copper to make one-of-a-kind sinks.

All of these and plenty other products will be on display at the 2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show. If some of these fixtures inspire you to start thinking of your new home’s interior design, take a look at The House Designers collections of outdoor living house plans or fabulous kitchen house plans.

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Jump into Spring with 10% Off House Plans | house plan

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Spring is coming and we are offering 10% any plan package over $500 to celebrate. Just use the code “Spring2014” at checkout. If you find your dream house plan but you need to have it modified, we are offering 10% off modifications instead. So take a look, browse the site, and see if you can find your dream home.  To get you started here are a few of our top selling house plans.

Wyndsong Farm House Plan

The Wyndsong Farm house plan offers cozy cottage appeal with efficient design.

The Wyndsong Farm house plan is a beautiful country style home perfect for picturesque lots. The views can be taken in through the outdoor entertaining area that is perfect for barbecuing. Inside is a cozy and private master suite with a large walk-in closet, dual sinks, and a garden tub.

The family room is vaulted and home to a see-through fireplace that adds ambiance to the dining room. A formal stair draws your attention to an upstairs landing. The top of the landing splits and goes a future bonus or bedrooms, or the main second floor area. Two designated bedrooms share a bath with dual sinks and a separate bathing compartment.

Lexington Ridge House Plan

The Lexington Ridge House Plan is an inviting home with Craftsman styling and upscale features.

If you like a Craftsman house plan, take a look at the Lexington Ridge house plan. Front and rear covered porches provide useable outdoor living spaces and a vaulted great room with built-in cabinets provides an efficient and well-equipped main living area. The kitchen is a great place to entertain guests with an island and eating bar.

This house plan also features a hall bathroom equipped with dual lavatories for convenience and a master bedroom with raised ceilings, corner tub, and walk-in-closet. As an added bonus there is a shop area off the garage for projects and storage and future space upstairs that can be a playroom or extra bedroom. With all of these features the Lexington Ridge house plan is a flexible home with lots of options to choose from.

Verona House Plan

The Verona house plan is an attractive timber-style three bedroom ranch house plan with lots of curb appeal.

Perfect for a newlywed couple or a pair of empty nesters, the Verona house plan is designed to meet the needs of the modern home owner.  Not only does this ranch house have lots of curb appeal, but its efficient use of space means that it can still include a bonus room over the garage and cater to indoor and outdoor living needs while still being energy efficient. With a luxurious gourmet kitchen and outdoor cooking area you will be right at home in this small house plan.

If these house plans tickled your fancy take a look at our collection of top-selling house plans. Or if you have another architectural style in mind, feel free to browse our collections. You are sure to find something that you will love. The sale ends on March 31st.

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Three Beautiful ENERGY STAR® House Plans | house plan

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Green is the color on everyone’s mind this week. With St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday you are sure to see a lot of green clothing and decorations, but what about house plans? At The House Designers we have an exclusive compilation of ENERGY STAR® approved green house plans. All these house plans have been selected from our collection bestselling house plans and have been augmented to meet the strict ENERGY STAR® requirements. Building a house plan from this collection can save you 20 to 30 percent on your energy bills. Not only will you decrease your usage of fossil fuels but you will be contributing to the preservation of the environment. Take a look at some of these beautiful house plans and view the collection for more beautiful designs.

Cherry Creek House Plan

The Cherry Creek house plan is a beautiful Craftsman cottage that incorporates many new features requested by customers.

The Cherry Creek house plan has a lot to offer its owners. Among the highlights of this house plan is a kitchen with an oversized eating bar and lots of counter and cabinet space. A dining room allows you entertain all your guests with space for a large table arrangement and includes an attractive see-through fireplace shared with the family room.

The Cherry Creek house plan also includes large bedrooms with walk-in closets with each secondary bedroom having a private dressing area with a shared tub and toilet.  The master suite includes a walk-in shower that is showcased behind a garden tub.

This house plan also has an easily accessed utility room located off the main entrance to the home from the three-car garage. There are also built-in cabinets to keep keys, mail, and coats conveniently stored upon entry to the home.

Boddington House Plan

The Boddington house plan is well designed with European appeal.

The Boddington house plan is beautiful inside and out. Large timber trusses flow through the interior of this house plan offering a beautiful mountain cottage aesthetic. That isn’t the only thing to like about this house plan.  The Boddington house plan is designed to offer exceptional living areas suited for entertaining and a covered lanai provides an opportunity to extend your living and entertaining space to the outdoors.

The upper level of this house plan offers bedrooms with private baths and walk-in closets. Top it off with a generous loft area and bonus room and you will have plenty of space for your family to grow.

Traverse House Plan

For a house plan with a more modern exterior, try the Traverse house plan. Inside you will find a welcoming grand foyer and every amenity you can imagine.

If you want a more modern exterior you can look at the Traverse house plan. A covered porch and multiple focal windows give this house plan lots of curb appeal.  Step inside this house plan and you will find a welcoming foyer and a generous dining room attached to a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen. The kitchen itself is a chef’s delight with abundant counter space for food prep and entertaining.  An L-shaped island s filled in with a rounded glass serving bar. The kitchen in this house plan also includes sliding panels to hid spices and oils and the sitting area has access to the deck and informal dinette.

The kitchen isn’t the only thing to get excited about in the Traverse house plan. The expansive great room is perfect for warm, cozy nights with a fireplace and multiple windows.  Other amenities in this house plan include a study, walk-in pantry, walk-in closet, storage lockers, cabinetry, seating, and an oversized garage.

These are just a couple of the many house plans that you can see in our ENERGY STAR® collection. Whether you are looking for a smaller house plan or a larger estate you are sure to find a plan that you will absolutely love.

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Most Popular Home Features of 2014 | house plan

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Browsing for a house plan for your next homebuilding project?  A recent press release from the National Association of Home Builders detailed the popular home features of 2014. The first quarter of 2014 is about to come to a close and we are starting to see some homebuying trends. Here are a few things that new homebuyers want in a house plan.

house plan

The master suite in the Bahama Breeze house plan features large windows, presenting the opportunity to use low-e glass.

Home buyers like features such as a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, low-e windows, a laundry room and a great room.

Energy-efficiency is also key, with homeowners craving ENERGY STAR® rated appliances, programmable thermostats, and ENERGY STAR® rated windows ranking high on their list of features.

house plan

Take a look at the Siena house plan’s kitchen. It’s large enough for a gathering yet functional for everyday family needs. The house plan’s exterior texture is reflected in the stone arch detailing around the cooking area and the island features a vegetable sink. A warming drawer rounds out this luxury kitchen for extra functionality.

In the kitchen, granite countertops, double sinks, and a central island continue to make the cut this year.

Other features homebuyers want in new house plans include first-floor ceilings, a front porch, exterior lighting, and a patio.

house plan

The Palladian house plan is nothing but welcoming. This house plan’s front porch is accented with traditional columns and arches. Cross the front porch into a center foyer with opposing den

Using these features you are sure to construct a home that will stand the test of time. Whether this is your first building project or you are a seasoned builder you can rest assured that you will find a house plan that you and your new clients will absolutely love.

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Benefits of Using Reclaimed Materials | reclaimed products

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Building green is the hottest home construction trend and you can make your home even greener by using reclaimed products in conjunction with our house plans. Not only do reclaimed products save resources but they give you a sense of character and history that you can’t get with off-the-shelf products.  But there are other benefits to reclaimed products that you might not think of.  In addition to keeping these one-of-a-kind items out of landfills here are a few other benefits of incorporating reclaimed materials into your house plan.

Anna's Garden house plan kitchen

This beautifully kitchen from the Anna’s Garden house plan is the perfect place to use a reclaimed hardwood floor or maybe a recycled tile backsplash.

Durability

Compared to new products, reclaimed products, especially old-growth wood, are much stronger and will last longer. Old wood is based on growth life and the tightness of the grain. The tighter the grain is the more durable the wood is, making old-growth wood much stronger than the fresh wood from the big-box stores. Old wood has also settled and shrunk into a more permanent form, creating less of a hassle down the road.

Fireclay Recycled Glass Tiles

The water-y look of Fireclay Recycled Glass tiles gives this traditional inspired kitchen a contemporary coastal-chic vibe. Fireclay’s glass tiles are made of 100% recycled glass by local artisans in California. All the glass is locally sourced and uses VOC-free pigmentation processes.

Low-Maintenance

Reclaimed products require less maintenance simply because they have already become worn over time. The result is a storied look that is becoming increasingly popular. It’s especially great if you are going for a rustic look in a new Craftsman or farm house plan.

Boddington House Plan Living Room

This living room is part of the Boddington house plan. Not only is it gorgeous but it is also energy efficient. If you think you can’t find a place to use reclaimed materials in your home, think again. You can easily purchase a reclaimed butcher block counter for your kitchen or use reclaimed wood beams instead of new beams for a more storied appearance.

Sense of History

People love the idea of using eco-friendly materials in their building, but they also like the added character and nostalgia that’s achieved with reclaimed products.

Elmwood Reclaimed Timber Wide Plank Wood Flooring

Reclaimed wood flooring from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber is handcrafted one plant at a time. Reclaimed flooring imbues a look and feel that cannot be matched. All of the reclaimed wood flooring from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber is 100% reclaimed from old barns, buildings and rural structures. Here you see a stunning antique white oak floor. Antique floors are specifically reclaimed from structures that pre-date the 1930s and are handpicked by a dedicated staff.

Whether you are looking to build your home off the grid, make your home as green as possible, or you simply want your new home to have a sense of history, using reclaimed products is the perfect solution for you. Take a moment and browse through The House Designers collection of energy-efficient house plans, these designs would look great with some reclaimed products as accents.

 

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Three Perfect Empty Nester House Plans | house plan

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Our empty nester house plan collection is for couples who have likely retired and their kids have moved out. Now is their chance to enjoy life and with these house plans, mostly one-story and under 3,000 square feet, they can do just that.  Most of these homes feature large master suites that are ideal for pampering and relaxing. No matter what style you want this collection has a bit of everything from traditional, to southern, contemporary and cottage. The finest house plans with a bit of luxury are what you’ll find in this collection.

Merriweather House Plan

The Merriweather house plan is a traditional Craftsman design with the latest in efficient design and sustainable practices.

If you want your next home to be energy efficient and still have some Arts and Crafts charm, then the Merriweather house plan is for you.  As a truly sustainable and efficient home, it integrates timeless appeal with modern efficiency; resulting in a home you will be happy to call your own. The focus of this house plan is the central Great Room and informal living spaces that are the focus of this efficient plan.  The layout promotes warm and welcoming gathering areas indoors and out while allowing each family member a private portion to retreat to.  With efficient design solutions, such as minimal hallway use, a rear facing Southern exposure and a window layout that maximizes natural daylight this home is sure to make you proud while still being warm and inviting.

Crystal Falls house plan

There is only one way to describe the Crystal Falls house plan: modern needs packed in traditional design.

The cozy front porch leads into the spacious foyer of the Crystal Falls house plan.  You can see a large circular staircase and formal dining area upon entering and a butler’s pantry assists a large gourmet kitchen for your entertainment needs.  A commercial range, built-in refrigerator, and large cooking island make this kitchen perfect for the aspiring gourmet.  A convenient, yet private, master suite shares views to the rear of the home and the master bath sports a large walk-in closet and an oversized shower with a seat.  Other features include a functional utility room located for maximum efficiency and an isolated bonus room for noise reduction.

Lado del Rio House Plan

If your dream is to live on a lake or river front property then the Lado del Rio is a great option for you.

This charming design might look like a cute cottage but don’t count it out just yet. The Lado del Rio house plan features wide open planning and room to grow and the charming design has plenty of room for everything you could need. Front and rear porches create comfortable outdoor space while inside you find everything from an office or flexible space, and a master bathroom with walk-in shower and closet. The secondary bedrooms are also oversized and have access to a “jack and jill” bathroom.

The designed found in the empty nester collection give you all the luxuries you want while keeping your home’s footprint minimal. Take a look through The House Designers empty nester house plan collection and find the perfect home for the next stage of your life

 

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New Study Says, Green Homeowners are Satisfied | house plan

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A new study presented at IBS 2014 revealed the truth behind green homes. Building a green home is one of the hottest building trends, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) commissioned a study to reveal homeowners feel after purchasing their green homes. The study focused on overall satisfaction and whether or not they would recommend purchasing a green home to others. This groundbreaking study is the first to explore customer satisfaction among green homeowners.

Farnsworth House Plan

You will feel like a duke or duchess in the Farnsworth house plan. The Farnsworth house plan is a beautiful French country house plan that includes everything from an eat-in kitchen to a formal dining room to great room and secluded den. Our favorite feature in this house plan is the gourmet kitchen that hosts an island with a vegetable sink. The open floor plan allows for a great view of the fireplace and entertainment center in the great room and a walk-in food pantry and a butler’s pantry situated between the kitchen and the dining room.

“Historically, studies have focused on interest in green among buyers in the market or on trends as reported by industry professionals,” said Matt Belcher, Co-Chair of NAHB’s Energy & Green Building Subcommittee in the press release. “While that’s certainly important information for all those in the industry, it doesn’t always get to the heart of what new buyers want to know, which is: ‘How satisfied are green homeowners with their decision?’ This data provides groundbreaking information that can be of value to the general public as well as the industry.”

s'Fondare Estate house plan

The S’Fondare house plan is a beautiful cottage with plenty of curb appeal that blends traditional with contemporary. The wraparound porch welcomes visitors into a slightly contemporary foyer with a grand staircase on the upper level. An over-sized family area makes this house plan perfect for a growing family and the lanai gives a young couple the perfect place to entertain with an outdoor fireplace. The homeowners will have privacy in this house plan’s master suite that has access to its own private terrace and a master bath with garden tub and walk-in glass shower provide spa-like relaxation.

The findings of the study say that 94% of green homeowners would recommend a green home to a friend and 92% would purchase another green home.  Among green homeowners 71% believe that green homes are higher in quality overall and 55% knew that their home may cost more than a non-green home but believed that the benefits outweighed the high cost.

But the most important thing, satisfaction is still high with 90% of green homeowners satisfied by knowing they “did the right thing” in buying a green home.

Pipestone house plan

With a striking design and exquisite touches, the Pipestone house plan is a great green house plan option. A spacious covered porch welcomes visitors while inside this house plan boasts a highly functional floor plan for entertaining as well as day-to-day living. From a spacious gourmet kitchen and formal and casual dining spaces to built-in cabinetry, fireplace, and a home office the Pipestone house plan has style and function all wrapped up in a beautiful Craftsman exterior.

Green homeowners also gave feedback on what influenced their decisions to buy a green home and the features they value the most. Among those were: low utility bills, energy efficiency, and better insulation. If these rank amongst your top needs in your new house plan take a look at The House Designers’ collection of ENERGY STAR® approved house plans.

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Design Trends for 2014 from the Best in American Living Awards

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Design trends were honored at IBS 2014 when nearly ninety-two single family homes, apartments, condos, and remodeling projects were honored at the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) Gala. The winners demonstrate that they are at the forefront of the innovative design trends homebuyers will see over the next several years.

“The BALA winners always redefine excellence for the home building industry,” said 2013 BALA Judge Chairman Victor Mirontschuk, president of EDI International in New York City. “We are proud to recognize these companies and individuals for their creative and distinctive approaches to their work.”

Some of the new trends that homebuyers can expect to see in 2014 include:

Seligman House Plan Kitchen

Check out the Seligman house plan’s kitchen uses multiple shades of white and metallic accents for an airy crisp feeling.

White on White

Layering white on top of white is a new approach in many kitchens and bathrooms. Everything from flooring, backsplashes, counters, fixtures, and appliances are all going white. The result is a fresh and light feeling. To add some clean lines and a modern feel European cabinetry and shiny surfaces are also making their presence known with this trend.

Bold Exterior Colors

Bold exterior colors are making a comeback in exterior painting and design. Whether it is through the color of paint or through a mix of cladding materials, doors, windows, porches, shutters, and trim, a dynamic exterior is making a comeback.

The Antonio House Plan

The Antonio house plan has a lot to offer with an open floor plan, three bedrooms, and an island kitchen. Add some luxurious appliances and you will have your dream home in no time.

Luxurious Amenities

Single and multi-family communities are now being designed to be fully loaded with over-the-top amenities that appeal to homebuyers.  It is a growing trend that today’s homebuyers want to feel as though they are living in a 4-star hotel, so builder and developers are offering features such as a lazy river, a pool for dogs, electric car charging stations, spas, dog parks, concierge services, and great outdoor spaces.

Specialty Lighting

Specialty lighting pendants are fixtures are another design trend this year. Whether it involves a custom or a stock fixture, designers are finding ways to showcase lights as pieces of art rather than a functional element.

Renaissance House Plan Patio

The patio of the Renaissance house plan is the perfect place for a family barbecue. Add an outdoor kitchen and you will be able to entertain seamlessly.

Blending Inside and Out

Outdoor living spaces have been gaining some appeal for a while now, and the lines are continuing to blur. Outdoor living trends are no longer limited to areas with warmer climates, but are instead being seen across the country. We are currently seeing many homes being built with movable glass walls, gourmet outdoor kitchens, and interior courtyard pools.

These are a few of the design trends emerging for 2014. Some are growing out of old trends and some are new but one thing is for sure, we are excited to see where they go. Take a look through some of our collections and see how you can incorporate these trends into a fabulous kitchen house plan or a great outdoor living house plan.

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Three Beautiful Colonial House Plans | house plan

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It’s President’s Week and we are thinking about historical house plans here at The House Designers.  The term colonial house plans refers to house plans that are either authentic or derived from the Colonial period in America. Colonial architecture in America was influenced by England and Europe and these house plans vary widely in terms of influence but have a few united characteristics. Colonial house plans tend to have more formal, balanced exteriors and are usually two-stories but aside from that there are plenty of options to pick from. Here are three of our favorite colonial house plans.

Westover house plan

The Westover house plan has the stately appearance of a Colonial house plan with an innovative layout.

A cut above the historical colonial house plans, the Westover house plan is a beautiful home that  looks like it just stepped off the pages of an architectural magazine. With a main floor that showcases rooms with fresh new designs. We are sure you will love the Westover house plan’s innovative layout of the master bath’s tub and shower and a master bedroom with direct access to a wet bar and study. Additionally, this house plan gives you two options for the upstairs layout an optional basement to give you plenty of choices. One thing is for certain, this house plan won’t leave you wanting for historical influence or modern amenities.

Carrington house plan

The Carrington house plan is more than just a pretty face.

The Carrington house plan is remarkable with its brick exterior but inside it is fit for entertaining and a growing family. Off of the foyer is a formal dining room and living room.  The kitchen is situated towards the back of the home with an angled island dividing the open floor plan from the grand room and bayed morning room. The grand room offers direct access to a terrace through a pair of French doors. The master suite is located on the ground floor with private access to the deck. Upstairs are three suites, each with their own walk-in-closet, perfect for older children or a growing family. Downstairs this house plan hosts a guest suite and recreation room.

Hawthorne House Plan

The Hawthorne house plan is both affordable and elegant.

With 1,695 feet of living space, the Hawthorne house plan packs a lot into its classic two-story design.  The Hawthorne house plan’s layout is both functional and flexible providing a spacious living room, a screened porch and a workshop. In addition to the abundant living areas on the main area little details have been added for convenience. How about a shower after you enter from the garage of workshop? The rear stairs lead to three bedrooms and a large bonus area that round out this house plan.

Take a look at the rest of the collection here to see more of the colonial house plans including a fair share of Georgian and Federal inspired house plans.

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