Small House Plans – Design Basic House Plans
Don’t skip this step – if the plan you’re considering isn’t suited for the soil conditions on your site, you could spend thousands of dollars to have the plans modified accordingly.
Sun Most homes are designed with the primary family living spaces at the back (kitchen, breakfast room, family room). These are the rooms you want sunlight in; the rooms with all the expensive windows. And you’ll get that sunlight through those windows, too – if the back of the house faces south. That’s where the sun is, remember? If your lot is on the south side of the street, great.
Depending upon the soil conditions and slope of the lot, the sewer line may be too high to allow gravity flow from a basement, especially if you’re planning on having a bathroom in the basement. In such cases a “grinder” or “ejector” pump may be required to lift waste to the sewer height – at a cost of several thousand dollars.
Soils drain and retain water differently, and soils have vastly differently capacities to bear structural loads. In most areas, you’ll have to show the building department that your foundation is designed for the local soils conditions.
Pre-designed, stock house plans are a great way to get quality construction blueprints at reasonable rates. Customizing them to suit your own personal style and functional needs make them an indispensable means towards achieving an affordable new home.
These are just a few basic jumping off points for you to start thinking about before you begin working with designers. Other factors such as planning for outdoor activities and garage space are also somethings to consider. Here are some low cost tips to work into a design to maximize your space.
Several types of private sanitation systems are in use today including the traditional septic tank and leach field, aeration systems, and “mound” systems. They can vary widely in cost, and not all health districts allow all types. The choice of system will also be heavily weighted by the soil type and slope of the lot, and the available area(s) for the system. A typical leach field system will require a large clear area for a primary and second field.
Most house plan services will be happy to “flip” your plans for you if that will give the living spaces a better orientation to the sun. If the plan you’ve chosen is drawn on CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) software, then flipping the plan is easy. For hand drawn plans, you’ll have to make “reverse” prints yourself – easily done at your local reprographics (blueprint) shop. In Chapter #9 “Buy The “Right” Set Of Plans”, we’ll talk more about flipping floor plans.
This same method applies to the style and treatment for windows and doors. Double hung windows with shutters and standard 6-pane grilles depict a more traditional appearance, while casement windows with prairie style grilles are more suitable for contemporary homes. Adding specialty windows such as arches or ellipses is yet another way to incorporate your personal design preference.
Many owners of sloping lots want to take advantage of that situation by including a “walk-out” basement in the plan. It’s a great way to increase the space in your house for a relatively small cost. The steepness of the slope will partly determine how much excavation and/or fill is necessary to create the walkout.
First of all, if you want the design firm that is selling the house plan to provide customized modifications, it’s best to start with a plan that comes closest to having a floor plan layout that you want. This will keep the changes within reason. Extensive structural reconfiguring of a floor plan can become costly and only confirms the fact that the plan was not right for you in the first place.
1- How many bedrooms do I need?- Additional children or in-laws coming in the future?
2- How many bathrooms are needed?
3- What are my storage requirements?
4- What size/style home can my property support?
5- What is my budget?