5 Big Ideas for Small Kitchen Designs


Whether you’re downsizing, living more responsibly or just simplifying – you are joining a growing number of Americans who are moving into smaller homes and seeking innovative kitchen designs. Sarah Susanka is credited for starting the anti-McMansion movement back in 1997 with her book “The Not So Big House.” A small home is considered to be 1,400 square  feet or less. But current TV shows like “Tiny House Nation” (on A&E’s FYI channel) showcase house plans as small as 150 square feet. Fortunately most of us aren’t going to that extreme. But it might feel like it when it comes to our favorite room, so let’s go over some ideas to help.

small kitchen home design

One of The House Designers’ best-selling small house plan is the Sutherlin Ranch House Plan 5458, featuring a well-appointed kitchen with snack bar for its compact size.

Maximize your Storage Capacity

Install pull-out pantries or swing out storage units within the cabinetry to make room for more items in less space. Place Super Susans (Lazy Susans sturdier, larger sister) in corner cabinets to make use of former dead space by putting everything within reach. Install pot racks to free up cabinets and show off your cookware. Consider to-the-ceiling cabinets with hidden step ladder storage as part of your kitchen design. One question you might ask yourself before making this move is “do I really need all this stuff?” When you have less space to work with, that becomes an obvious answer.

affordable house plan

This small craftsman house plan took 1st Place in The House Designers’ 2012 ENERGY STAR competition and offers 3 great kitchen floor plan options.

Light it Up

Use warm, incandescent under cabinet lighting to brighten up counters. Ceiling task lighting not only serves a function, but also creates depth to open up a small room. Additionally lighted, glass front cabinets add to the illusion of a bigger kitchen, plus will showcase some of your favorite pieces. Consider adding windows to an outside wall or even to a connecting room to bring in light or extend the feel of the room. Replace a connecting door with a glass door, or remove the door altogether. Mirrored tiles are popping up in backsplashes of small kitchens. And white or light colors always make a room seem bigger.

Right-Size your Appliances

Take advantage of high quality, smaller appliances from some of the leading manufacturers. 18” dishwashers (standard in Europe), 36” built in side by side or 30” freezer on the bottom refrigerators are more in line with a small kitchen. Consider adding a shelf under the counter for a small microwave or incorporating a microwave oven drawer to eliminate the over the range microwave. A combination wall oven and induction cooktop offers more versatility, with the added benefit of more counter space when the cooktop is not in use. In very small kitchens, designers recommend moving the refrigerator to an adjoining pantry (gasp). It’s not as drastic as it sounds, especially with the addition of a refrigerator drawer or two in the kitchen for easy access to necessities.

affordable small house plan

You don’t have to sacrifice high-end appliances and cabinetry just because you have a small kitchen floor plan. This ranch house plan features Wolf® and Sub-Zero® appliances as well as KraftMaid® cabinets.

Utilize Adjacent Spaces

Speaking of thinking outside the kitchen, consider freeing up more of your cabinets by storing lesser used items in a nearby hutch or closet. A roll away island with casters doubles as a game table paired with barstools in the family room. If the kitchen is open to the family or living room, consider hanging a piece of art on a wall without cabinets to bring it all together as one big room.

Rethink the Kitchen Sink

New 30” to 36” sinks are designed with food preparation accessories that allow you to work within the sink area, giving you additional, much-needed counter space. Chopping, grating, rinsing and draining activities now can all take place in one spot. Sink accessory products like chopping boards, prep bowls, strainer baskets and cutlery holders are also available to retrofit your existing sink. Some kitchen designers are challenging the common wisdom that the sink must be under the kitchen window. Consider installing the sink in a “dead corner” which allows more usable counter space, as well as the clean line of an uninterrupted counter to give the illusion of a bigger space. If you just can’t give up your window, don’t. But how about installing your induction cooktop into that dead space?


Man Cave Design Ideas for Father’s Day


John Gray, author of 1992’s “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” is widely credited with coining the phrase “man cave.” And maybe if Wilma had carved out a little space for Fred way back when, he might not have been so cranky.

Architects and designers are seeing a growing request for space where dad can escape from work and stress.  A special place for him to relax and recharge.

This classy, yet fun and functional space is themed for those that love to play cards. View additional photographs of other great spaces in the Cariati House Plan from The House Designers.

If you are in the new construction phase or perhaps adding on to an existing home – consider an extra bay or a tandem garage space either beside or behind the garage or adding a room above. Building a pool house, with extra space for dad, is a win/win for everybody. Be sure to place the patio barbeque near the glass sliding door so he can keep an eye on the game while grilling for the family.

Detached studios are popping up everywhere with full bathrooms and even kitchenettes for the man who likes to tinker with recipes or offer snacks to his guests. This space serves double duty with overnight company simply by adding a pull-out sofa or daybed.

This homeowner decided to turn their 5-car garage into a fun workspace with a jumbo flat screen, double lifts for their sports cars and a large workspace/wet bar. You don’t need this much garage space to create a cool space to work and hang-out, but this luxury house plan offers some inspiring ideas that can be scaled down. Take a look at House Plan 5123 .

There are plenty of options if you don’t plan any structural changes – finishing a space in the basement or attic is affordable and can produce remarkable results. Once junior finally moves out, his or her bedroom converts nicely into a man cave. Pre-fab sheds are also popping up as an affordable getaway for dad.

Once the physical space is determined, the real fun begins. Nearly all man caves start with a giant, flat screen TV. And from there we add:

  • Speedy Wi-Fi
  • Surround sound
  • Gaming systems
  • Stereo equipment
  • Sound proofed walls
  • Darkened curtains
  • Tiered flooring for theater seating
  • Extra flat screens strategically placed to never miss a play

A friendly drink is often part of a man’s dream cave and there are many options to fit his personal style:

  • Wine rooms or wine cellar and wine cooler appliances
  • Mini fridges
  • Wet bars
  • Hide-away wet bars
  • Cigar walk-outs
  • Home brewery spaces

Additional considerations for the customized man cave:

  • Urinals in the bathroom confirm this space is his.
  • Gym equipment encourages healthy ways to relax.
  • Virtual driving ranges and Wii Sports can keep dad on his game year ‘round.
  • Temperature control is important for his comfort and happiness.
  • Steam rooms and saunas are a great idea for the dad who has everything.

Man caves have, well, evolved over the years. Women have their gourmet kitchens, craft rooms, reading lofts or writing nooks and are encouraging the men in their lives to have their space too. It’s important to dedicate this area to him. He shouldn’t feel the need to compromise or blend with the décor of the rest of the house. This is his retreat and should reflect his interests and style. If he wants a place to play video games, jam with friends, sit in silence, check the stock market or smoke a cigar – this is his “no judgement” zone.

The saying goes “happy wife, happy life.” Add a happy husband to the mix and you just might find yourself on Nirvana Street.

What Do Baby Boomers Look for in a House?


Compared to previous generations, baby boomers often have more income, are healthier and more active and are more likely to continue working or even change their careers later in life than their predecessors. Indeed, they are breaking norms in how they stay busy and fit and refuse to slow down as they age. This is why many in their fifties or sixties have different needs than what used to be considered typical when it comes to their homes.

While a majority of boomers are planning to “age in place,” many are thinking of moving into new homes. What exactly are the styles and features that baby boomers tend to look for in a new house plan?

This brand new ranch house plan features a split bedroom layout and an open floor plan.


Although most boomers will want an abode that is spacious, most of them will opt for a single-family and single-story house. This will be more accessible and convenient, especially when they are older.

Open Plan

An open concept for a baby boomer home is more practical. This is because there will be fewer walls and barriers that might restrict their movements or worse, cause accidents. Aside from that, it will be more convenient when having family and friends over as an open floor plan allows owners to be able to multitask, for example cooking in the kitchen while entertaining guests in the living area. This means you can expect people in their fifties or older to prefer a house with a free-flowing concept.

With Style and Value

Many people nearing retirement age want to prioritize a home’s style and value over features that will make it easier and safer for aging individuals to move around the house, including stair lifts, handrails, etc. This is because they too want to be able to sell their property at a good price in the future. So you can expect contemporary settings, modern amenities and luxurious appointments that will make their abodes feel as if the residents are on vacation year round.

This brand new craftsman ranch house plan packs plenty of luxury into its 2,233 square foot design.

Ample Space

Downsizing is not an option for many aging individuals. This is because they want more space for all of their belongings, including the travel mementos they have and will be getting as they travel the world. They also plan to entertain friends and family from time to time, which will require ample space in the house. Most importantly, they want a place that doesn’t restrict their movements.


The last thing boomers want in a house is boredom. They will want to play golf, engage in sports, work on their crafts and hobbies and even cultivate a garden. Many fifty-something homeowners will want to have home gyms or nooks where they can meditate or do yoga. So there will be a yard or garden, a workshop room and family room, and other purpose-driven spaces.


Currently, many baby boomers are living well in larger, more luxurious homes. Although these may become harder to maintain once they hit retirement, this doesn’t mean that people will settle. Boomers will want houses with high-end finishes in close proximity to services and amenities.

Less Maintenance

Even with ample retirement savings and a pension, boomers will prefer a house that requires less effort and money to maintain. They will also want to make their dwellings more energy-efficient. This can be achieved by using energy-saving lighting and appliances, insulating the home properly and using energy efficient doors and windows.

With baby boomers’ earning and spending at a high level, they will expect homes that will fit their lifestyles and their needs perfectly. Enjoy browsing our collection of empty nester house plans.

Building a Garage: Placement and Size Specifications


A garage is a great addition to any home for many reasons. For one, an attached garage protects you from the weather getting to and from your car. And obviously it protects your vehicles from weather as well, especially important if you live in the snow belt or there’s a risk of hail. It can act as additional storage for lawn tools and such. Most of all, it can add great value to your property. In fact, though a garage costs around $30/square foot to build an owner can recoup up to 65 percent of the cost of construction at resale. The garage is a ‘must have’ for many buyers.


House Plan 2138 is a versatile small craftsman house plan with an optional attached 2-car or 3-car option. This best-seller house plan features 1,698 s.f. and a bonus area above for 1,028.

However, to ensure that your garage addition is exactly what you need, you have to consider the size and placement. Read on to find out more about these considerations.

  1. Budget

How much money do you have set aside or marked to invest in your garage project? Of course, everything else will be dependent on how much you can afford to spend on materials, labor and decoration.

  1. Family’s Needs

Will you use the garage only for parking cars or also as a workshop? The design and layout of the garage will need to meet these needs in order for it to be functional. However, if you are planning to sell your house in the future it is best to consider general needs, like shelves placement, access, etc. Additionally, if your garage will be used as a workspace you should also consider its cooling and heating, electrical and even plumbing systems.

  1. Layout

The layout of your garage should maximize every usable space. This means that there should never be odd angles or low rooflines within the floor space. Installing shelves, storage cabinets and workstations could be difficult or impractical if these are not considered.

  1. Size

The standard size for most single garages is 12ft wide by 22ft long while double garages are 18ft wide by 22ft long. However, you can always choose to make yours wider and longer to make enough room for more than one car and put in a workstation. The rule of thumb here is to build bigger when in doubt. The extra space can be used for storing garden equipment, bikes and sports equipment. But keep in mind that a garage that’s too big can also take away considerable square footage off your property.

  1. Design

The design of your garage should complement your house. This is because a mismatched parking area, which may be due to size, architecture or finish, could reduce your property’s resale value. In other words, your house and garage should have common elements, including types of doors and windows and the exterior finish.

Another important consideration for your garage’s design is whether it will be attached or freestanding. A garage that is attached to your home is more convenient, since you won’t get wet or cold when getting inside the house from your car. It is also less costly because it will make use of an existing house wall, and electrical hookups etc. will be simpler to make.

A detached parking area on the other hand offers benefits as potential fuel/exhaust fumes, noise and road dirt are kept away from the house.

  1. Zoning regulations and building codes

It is important to know the laws regarding building garages in your area. Some places, for example, may restrict owners from building a garage that’s too close to the edge of the property. Similarly, other parts of the country might only allow certain driveway designs, roof heights and the like. Builders and architects will be able to advise you on these requirements.

By carefully considering all of the above, you and your family will be able to enjoy the benefits of a well-planned garage.

Lovely Front Porches


When you hear the words “front porch,” you might immediately picture a simple farmhouse porch with a couple of rocking chairs and other rarely used furniture. This may often be the case, but a well-designed house can make a front porch an extremely useful feature and provide other advantages.

  • It can meaningfully connect a home’s interior to its exterior.
  • It may serve as a real extension of your living space.
  • It could be used as a nice cozy spot for an al fresco breakfast.
  • In season it’s the perfect place for entertaining guests or neighbors.
  • It can transform the appearance of a house, no matter its style or age.
  • It can add a beautiful dimension to an otherwise austere facade.
  • It will boost a home’s curb appeal and add personality.

Enjoy additional photographs of this classic country House Plan 5678 with a beautiful wraparound porch.

As you can see, there are many benefits to be had if you have a lovely front porch on your house.

Now, if you’re planning to add a front porch to your property, here are some things you need to consider:

  • How would you like to use your front porch?

This will help you determine how big your porch needs to be. For example, a veranda with only a small breakfast table and two chairs does not require a lot of space. But a porch for dining and entertaining will take up more space on your property. Hence, it is important to consider how much room is needed if your yard is smaller.

  • When will you usually use your porch?

You might want your porch to be usable all year round, so consider including details that will allow you do so. However, you have to keep in mind your region and climate, as these can determine the placement of your porch, materials to be used and even the design.

  • How convenient do you want your veranda to be?

The entry to and from the portico into your house should be conveniently placed in order for it to be easily accessible. An easy path leading to and from the porch will encourage good traffic flow. This can be achieved by installing large patio or French doors that are also great sources of natural lighting for your home.

  • What do you need to consider in terms of safety?

Each state and city has their own sets of rules and regulations for residential and commercial structures, which include porches. In colder places, for example, the foundation of a portico should be deeper than the frost line to ensure the structure will stay intact as the soil freezes and thaws. This is why it’s important to work with architects and licensed contractors to ensure that your veranda will comply with industry standards.

  • How do you want your porch to look?

Beautiful 3-story coastal House Plan 9323 with two large covered porches. Enjoy additional photographs of this new narrow lot design from The House Designers.

If you hire licensed architects to create a layout for your porch, it will be designed with scale and proportion in mind. But to give this home feature a personal touch, you can search for inspiration online and then, discuss the things you want with your designer. To give you some good ideas, here are some charming porch plan types to explore:

  • Rustic – Typically, you’ll find rich wood textures in this kind of terrace. It may even have a fireplace made of stones to give the space a log cabin feel.
  • Seaside – This porch is the perfect spot to enjoy the stunning view of the ocean and surrounding areas. You can install large French doors to allow more natural light in.
  • Screened – Screens make your veranda more useful as it can be used more often and for more activities. Plus, it’s a protected spot where little kids can safely play.
  • Open – An open porch is a breezy porch as it has little barriers to let the wind and sun in. This is the best option for homes with breathtaking views.
  • Classic – This is characterized by brick or cement columns and floors with wood railings. This is also an open and airy space.

Once you have made up your mind about the size, design and other elements of your front porch, be sure to work with a trusted architect to ensure the best result.

What Makes a Split Bedroom Floor Plan Ideal?


If you and your family are in search of the perfect house plan, you might have come across the term “split bedroom floor plan,” especially with older designs. It was in the 1950s and 1960s when the split-level floor plan began to gain popularity in the suburbs of America. Although the design is basically derived from the ranch style, it was a fresh and modern take on home styles of the ‘50s. Aside from that, families moving into upscale neighborhoods were looking for grander homes.

affordable ranch house plan

House Plan 5458 is an affordable ranch home with split bedrooms and an open 1,492 design. Explore this popular design by The House Designers.

The split bedroom house plan refers to a design where the master suite is isolated from the rest of the other bedrooms as well as common areas, including the living room, dining room and kitchen. The location of the rooms is what makes this floor plan unique compared to other house styles, and the split bedroom design typically features living and eating areas with an open plan concept, making the home look and feel more spacious, comfortable and functional.

Today, the split bedroom floor plan is no longer considered modern, but is still quite practical. Here are some of the reasons this type of house plan is attractive:

  •   Affordable

This is one of the main reasons a lot of homeowners are still drawn to this house style. This house style costs less to build because of the absence of several interior walls, a common feature in open concept plans, reducing the quantities of construction materials.

  •   Peace and Privacy

For parents who want more privacy, this type of floor plan may work best for them. This is because the master suite will be located some good distance from the rest of the rooms in the house and away from heavy foot traffic. The living and dining rooms and kitchen, which get the most noise, will all be located in another area of the house, minimizing the noise traveling from one room to another. This means that your teenagers can conveniently entertain their friends while you enjoy some peace and quiet in your own room.

split bedroom floor plan

This 3 bedroom split bedroom layout enjoys a center living space and formal dining room. There’s plenty of room for future expansion above in House Plan 5558. Take a look at this popular country ranch house plan.

  •   Space

Generally, in split bedroom design plans floor space is used more efficiently. There are no hallways to separate the rooms, which could make a home look smaller because the sleeping zones are divided by the living area, great room, dining room and kitchen. As a result, the common spaces can be made bigger to accommodate a range of activities like entertaining guests, playing games and relaxing by the fireplace.

In this home design, the house can look and feel more spacious because it generally uses cathedral ceilings in the great room. This could accommodate more or bigger windows and skylights to let more natural light in, giving the house that sophisticated appeal.

  •   Upkeep and Adaptability

Maintenance and upkeep will be straightforward in split bedroom home plans. You can easily access most of the working parts of the house, making cleaning, repair and upgrades less tedious and less costly. Aside from that, customizing or renovating the house will never be a problem because it can easily adapt to the changing trends in décor and interior design. For example, you can give an old home a new lease on life by using modern minimalist details, like recessed lighting instead of a massive outdated chandelier in the middle of the living room.

Split bedroom house plans have many benefits. This is why these types of homes offer excellent resale value. In fact, it is still quite popular to a lot of homebuyers.

Add Appeal to Your Home with These Design Tips


Your home may have been built using a floor plan that’s common in your neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean it can’t stand out from the rest of the houses in your area. By learning more about architectural styles and adding complementary design elements, you can infuse character and beauty into your home to set it apart.

country house plan

This classic country House Plan 5678 features a beautiful front covered porch featuring Fypon columns shutters and trimwork.

  • Be mindful of proportions. For example, the width of the shutters used in pairs on a window should be half that of the window, and must have the same height as the window.
  • Baseboard should be as high as the ceiling. Aside from that, the baseboard molding must always be larger than the frame built around a window or door.
  • Install chair rails to make any room look taller. Chair rails are moldings that prevent the backs of chairs from rubbing against the wall. From the floor these should be a third of the way up the wall and should be a half to one inch more narrow than the casings.
  • Hanging curtains higher than the windows can make a room appear taller. Use colorful draperies to add more character.
  • Add storage units wherever you can, but do it with class. Add purpose to an empty area near a bay window by transforming it into a reading nook. Install seating that doubles as storage for old magazines, toys, etc.Take advantage of open shelves to store and at the same time, display favorite collectibles. Airy shelves don’t just keep your space clutter-free, but also add charm to your home.
  • Accentuate a basic kitchen with architectural details. If your cooking area lacks flair, frame its windows with wide moldings and spice up your cabinets with carved legs and cornices.
  • Use natural wood or bamboo flooring. Not only do these last longer than synthetic materials, but they also add personality to your interior. For heavy traffic area use machine-washable rugs to keep the space warm and inviting.
  • Classic Georgian style front doors can be enhanced by capping its panel with an intricate crown supported by decorative pillars. You’ll find thousands of excellent quality millwork elements at Fypon®.
  • For a Victorian style home, add appeal to it by using ornamental spindlework on the porches and patterned shingles on the roof.
  • Highlight the unique style of country cottages with clapboard shingles for siding, or wood shakes for siding and roofing. Also, add wide white trim for window shutters.
  • Go for the finished look and feel of a Mediterranean-style home with decorative accents, like round columns, tiles and stones. Also, consider planting lush gardens and installing a stunning fountain outside your house.
  • Keep your home’s traditional look with updated building materials that last longer and require as little upkeep as possible. Polyurethane, for example, is a lightweight and, not to mention, cheaper alternative to wood. Aside from that, such materials are easy to install and can be resistant to insect infestation, moisture and weather conditions.

With a bit of trim here and there, your home could have the appeal and character it truly deserves.

To get the best value for your money on window and door trim, as well as other millwork, check out what Fypon® has to offer.


Preparing Your Home for Spring


Finally, you’ll be able to toss your thick jackets and bulky boots into your closet. After a long winter that brought snow as high as your car, spring is definitely a welcome change.

Aside from a chance to enjoy the outdoors, spring is also the perfect time to prepare your abode for summertime. Use these helpful tips in spring cleaning, decorating and organizing to ensure a comfortable home through the season’s rising temperatures.

#1 – Double-check window and door insulation

Although spring weather usually doesn’t require heating or cooling, there may be days when it feels warmer. Plus, you’ll most likely be using your air-conditioning system in the months ahead, so it’s only right that you make sure you don’t waste money or energy because of drafts. The best thing to do is to double-check the condition of your insulation system. Make sure weather strips are still usable, that there are no cracks on glass windows and all doors and windows are fully sealed.

#2 – Use your air-conditioning sparingly

Days will be hotter as we approach summer, which means that you’ll be using your AC more. This can increase your energy use, which could translate to high electricity charges. To minimize energy use, invest in a good thermostat to help you adjust the temperature according to a pre-set schedule. Additionally, you can install ceiling fans that run in a counterclockwise direction as this blows air downwards, helping you minimize the use of your cooling system.

#3 – Take advantage of air outside

If you have large windows, you can open these to let more natural light in and make the most of the cool air outside. This also allows hot air out, making your space feel much more comfortable without relying too much on your AC system or electric lighting. To prevent direct sunlight from overheating your interiors though, install blinds, shutters or curtains to block some of it.

#4 – Take a look into your attic

Sometimes warm or cold air can be circulating up in the attic, which can considerably affect the temperature of the rest of the house. So invest in proper ventilation to insulate your home.

#5 – Replace your HVAC’s old filter

Replacing your HVAC’s filter regularly is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to make your home as energy efficient as possible. This removes clogged dirt in your air-conditioning unit and allows the equipment to run much more efficiently. You can buy reusable HVAC filters, which you need to rinse regularly. This is can be more expensive up front, but is more practical since you don’t need to throw it out once it becomes riddled with dust.

#6 – De-clutter

Clutter is one of the major things that can make a house look and feel hot and uncomfortable. To allow air to circulate properly in your house, make sure to get rid of clutter in every room. Get rid of the things you’ve hoarded and kept, but aren’t using since you got them. Not only will this let air flow freely inside your home, but it will also leave you more space for a much needed makeover. That way, you’ll be able to decorate your home with a spring/summer feel.

Important spring preparations to keep in mind:

  1. Dust ceiling fans, corners and even moldings.
  2. Wipe light features with a damp cloth to get rid of dust.
  3. Clean windows and tops of doors to ensure they’re spotless.
  4. Clean tables, countertops, bookshelves and wall décor.
  5. Clean blinds and furniture pieces.
  6. Vacuum baseboards, rugs and carpets.
  7. Use a gentle cleaner to clean hardwood, tiles and linoleum.
  8. Vacuum air-conditioning vents to remove allergens.
  9. Remove cobwebs from every corner of the house.
  10. Wash light shades with mild soap and water.
  11. Replace light bulbs, if needed.
  12. Trim bushes and trees outside your house.
  13. Install outdoor lighting
  14. Pressure wash windows, siding and garage door.
  15. Clear patio, porch and deck.

New Home Construction: Deciding Whether to Build Up or Build Out


Building a house requires you to invest a considerable amount of money. This is why it’s important that you take the time to consider the design as well as the features you want to have in your own house.

Affordable ranch house plan

This stunning one-story House Plan 5086 is compact yet functional, with an attached garage and 1,528 square feet of living space.

One of the considerations you need to make when it comes to choosing a design is whether to build a single-story or two-story house. Which one will suit your needs best? This is the most crucial question you need to ask yourself to determine which option to choose. However, the answer will depend on a large number of factors.

two-story craftsman house plan

This gorgeous two-level House Plan 2325 allows you to make use of the garden area for outdoor living.

Things to consider


Many people might immediately think that building a two-story house would be more expensive than a single-story. This may not always be the case. Deciding on building a two-level home allows you to build your dream home on a smaller lot, which can be more affordable. A two-story design allows you to add considerable square footage to your home without the additional costs of roofing and foundation. Choosing to go with a single-story home can mean that you’ll need a considerably sized lot if you are planning to build a large home. Consider how much money you have in the bank and how much you are willing to borrow when deciding which floor plan to go for.

small ranch kitchen floor plan

affordable floor plan

This small affordable ranch house plan offers an open floor plan and functional kitchen with access to the covered patio.


When deciding on the design of your future home, you’ll need to take note of the rooms and features you want included. If you were anticipating living with your elderly parents or in-laws, a single-level home without stairs would be more functional for the whole family. Having all rooms on the same floor also means gives everyone easy access to everything. If you want more flexibility, a two-level home would be perfect. Consider having the master bedroom on the first floor planning on spending your golden years in the same house. Extra bedrooms and flexible space on the second floor will give everyone some privacy.

Accessing Your Family’s Needs

Your lifestyle should be one of the considerations you need to make when choosing between a single-story or two-story house plan. This also includes the size of your family as well as your children’s ages. For example, families with small kids usually want to have their bedrooms and bathrooms in one area of the house, while those with teenagers want to have separate rooms.

If your family likes to entertain, a single level home with a wide foyer leading to open living space would be perfect.

To recap, here are the advantages and disadvantages of two-story and single-story homes:


  1. Great for people with small children.
  2. Perfect for aging couples or families living with older in-laws where stairs can be challenging.
  3. An open floor plan provides easy access to all rooms.
  4. A one-story home has high resale value.


  1. You can easily double or triple your square footage with a second level and basement floor plan.
  2. Allows you to separate living and sleeping areas.
  3. Is great for building in urban areas or waterfront areas where narrow lots are plentiful.










Product Highlights from IBS


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We just returned from the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas and we saw a lot of new and innovative products that we could not wait to share with you. Here are seven of our favorite new products from IBS this year.

1. Lumber Liquidators® Bellawood Hardwood Flooring Collection

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Lumber Liquidators Bellawood Hues Gunstock Oak

This year, Lumber Liquidators® expanded their Bellawood Hardwood Flooring Collection to include 140 new colors, including the Gunstock Oak pictured above.

2. SnapPower Guidelights

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Snap Power Guidelights

We love the new SnapPower Guidelights! They took Best in Show and Best of Indoor Living Product this year at IBS and rightfully so. They aren’t just beautiful but they also they also provide great accent and safety lighting. This year they also introduced the SnapPower Charger which will be available on the market in March 2015.

3. Schlage® Sense™ Automatic Door Lock

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Schlage Schlage Sense Bluetooth-Enabled Lock
We love Schlage’s® smart door locks! This year they introduced Schalge Sense™, their first Bluetooth-enabled lock that is easy to use and install with no-monthly fees. Just like their other smart locks, this lock is also able to store up to 30 unique codes but has the added benefit of being compatible with your favorite Apple® device.

4. GAF® Roofing Sienna® Lifetime Designer Shingles

Best from the International Builders' Show -- GAF Roofing Sienna Lifetime Designer Shingles

GAF® Roofing brought their Sienna® Lifetime Designer Shingles to the show this year. These shingles feature affordable luxury and sophisticated design. A unique, specially designed color palette accentuates the shingle’s natural appeal and Diamond Cut™ granules add dimension and depth.

5. Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet™ Outdoor Dishwasher

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Outdoor Dishwasher

Love to barbecue? Does your dream home feature an outdoor kitchen? You can now cut ties with your indoor kitchen with the help of the industry’s first Outdoor Dishwasher from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet™. With an extra-large capacity and a system designed specifically for cleaning outdoor dishes this will be a welcome addition to any outdoor kitchen.

6. LAMPS PLUS® Possini Euro Strada Red Art Glass LED Mini Pendant Light

Best from the International Builders' Show -- LAMPS PLUS Possini Euro Strada Red Art Glass LED Mini Pendant LightWe love the Possini Euro Strada Red Art Glass LED Mini Pendant Light from LAMPS PLUS®. The red art glass combined with a beautiful chrome hardware are perfect for adding a dash of color and a contemporary statement to your kitchen design.

7. Wellborn® ColorInspire Cabinets

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Wellborn ColorInspire Estate Collection

Want to inject a little bit of color into your kitchen, bathroom, or built-in cabinetry? Then take a look at Wellborn’s® ColorInspire program! Choose your favorite color from a collection of Benjamin Moore®, Sherwin-Williams®, and Valspar® paint chips to get cabinetry that expresses your own unique style.

This is just a sampling of our favorite products from this year’s show. Sign up for our Home Ideas newsletter to see more of our favorite products.

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