Architect Designed House Plan vs Stock House Plans

You may be one of the growing number of people who want a home that has the quality and craft that only architectural plans can provide, without investing the time and/or money necessary to have an architect create a custom design for you. To quote Sarah Susanka — author of the highly acclaimed book The Not So Big House — from an article she wrote for Fine Homebuilding titled “Why architects should sell house plans” (something they’ve never done before), “Many of these people [potential stock plan purchasers] want the quality that comes with the Ralph Lauren or Liz Claiborne label, without having to hire Ralph or Liz themselves.”

Until recently, people wanting to build a new home have had just two choices: hire an architect or a professional designer; or purchase one of the tens of thousands of generic stock plans available in magazines and on the Internet. Now there is a new and exciting alternative that provides the quality of an architect-designed home plan for the price of a stock plan.

First the definitions: Our (architectural) plans are complete working drawings by licensed architects and designers, created for a specific family, that enabled that family to build a one-of-a-kind home. The plans originally cost tens of thousands of dollars to create (architects typically charge 10 to 15 percent of the total cost to build!), and took six months to a year to produce. The vast majority of stock plans, however, were created as inventory, to be sold to builders, developers and private parties via stock plan websites and magazines. In most cases there was no client involved in their creation, and no house was built from the plans prior to them being offered for sale. The plan’s “cost” is the time the designer spent drawing them with a CADD (or similar) software program, with slight changes made to produce many different versions. Both types of plans include enough information to enable a builder to construct a house. But the similarity ends there.

It starts with the way they were created. Architectural plans are the product of countless hours of conversation, interpretation, drawing and design. A family with specific real-life needs worked with the architect, who then translated those needs into a beautiful and functional home design. Neighborhood surroundings, climate, topography and personal aesthetic are all taken into consideration. A design is created from scratch to fulfill that family’s requirements as well as their dreams.

Our dreams are often larger than our bank accounts, so an important part of the architectural design process involves highly efficient use of space and resources, to help clients stay within their budgets. Serious thought is put into the size and location of rooms, doorways, stairs and hallways, and into choosing construction materials, fixtures and building techniques. The reduction of unnecessary square footage that results from efficient design provides immediate and significant savings (click on the question titled “Why is space-efficient design so important?” for a more complete explanation). The architect’s training, past experience and ingenuity are all employed to satisfy his or her client’s needs and desires, while staying within their budget.

Architectural plans also provide much more detail than stock plans. The builders start with much more information, saving them quite a bit of time and effort, and thus saving you quite a bit of money. [Please note that “detail”, as it’s used here, refers to the amount of information the builder is given to work with, not to how complex and intricate the designs are.]

Lastly, there’s the aesthetic difference. Architects often refer to their drawings as the “artwork”, and the homes created from them are often as much sculptural as structural. Interiors and exteriors express a quality of thought and ingenuity not found in standard designs. Architects go through extensive education and training to be able to think and design in 3D, creating spaces that are balanced in scale and proportion, that “feel” right, and that provide for views and lots natural light. The result is a home that is beautiful, space and energy-efficient, functional and comfortable. There is nothing generic about architect-designed homes. Each is unique, and each has character.

We are proud to represent an ever-growing number of award-winning architects, and the exceptional designs they have created. Hopefully one of their homes plans will fulfill both your needs and your dreams.

Selecting Deck Railing Designs That Match Your Style

Most people invest a lot of time and energy into finding the right deck railing designs for their home. Fortunately there is a wide selection of free deck railing designs available on the web for you to choose from.

The first step toward selecting the right design for your railing is deciding the right design for your porch. Here are some things to think about when deciding the best porch for your home:

1. Consider your lifestyle. A porch is a key element for many homes. Your lifestyle will determine how large a porch you need for example. If you spend on enjoying long afternoons entertaining friends and family outdoors, you may need a larger surface to work on than if you plan to seldom use your porch.

2. Decide the best place for your porch. For most this is the front of the home or south facing. However some prefer to watch the sunset on their porch so this will dictate location.

3. Select the right materials. Once you decide on the right porch you’ll need to select materials for both the porch and the railings. Most people opt for railings crafted or wood or metal, though you may consider other materials. You’ll want to look for designs that match the style of your home. Some railings and porches for example are better suited for contemporary style homes than Victorian style ones.

Popular Free Railing Designs

Most people save their money for equipment not for buying designs for their railings. The most popular porch designs often involve wood. Wooden porches and wooden railings often complement both contemporary and Victorian or other style homes. While wood does require some maintenance over time, so too do other materials like wrought iron. Some find the upkeep for wooden railings less tedious than the brushing required to keep iron railings rust free.

Your choice of materials may also depend on your environment. Some prefer metal railings because they live in low moisture areas and prefer something durable and weatherproof. Metal designs may also appeal to individuals looking for intricate or ornate fixtures to incorporate in their porch. Here are some additional considerations when selecting a design for your railing:

• Consider the cost and expense of deck railing designs. The more intricate the designs and more closely tied to the architectural style of your home the more expense you may incur.

• Consider tying rail design into lighting and otter home features.

• Be sure to match railing design to the overall porch floor plan of your home.

• Consider the ease of installation, the strength of the design and its functionality before buying

Top 5 Home Improvements To Add Value To Your Property

Many homeowners in the UK take out a homeowner loan to carry out home improvements every year, and there are a number of popular improvements that can really add value to your home, making your loan a very worthwhile investment. With the right improvements you can enjoy increased comfort and practicality whilst you are living in the property, you can add to the appearance of your home, and you will find that the value has been boosted considerably if and when you decide to sell your property.

Amongst the top improvements that can add value to your home are:

1. Converting loft space. Often loft space goes to waste, and gets used to store junk, but imagine the extra usable space you could enjoy with a loft conversion. Not only will a loft conversion enable you to enjoy the benefits of a larger home, but it will also add considerable value to your property. You can use your loft conversion for anything from an extra bedroom to a study.

2. Adding an extension. This is another way to add additional room to the size of your property, so if you have the space then an extension could prove to be a great idea. You will enjoy a larger property, and can increase the amount of room that you have downstairs as well as upstairs. This is another great way to make the most of your homeowner loan by adding value to your property.

3. New kitchen or bathroom. The kitchen and bathroom are rooms that are often scrutinized by potential buyers. They are also rooms in which you spend a great deal of time. Creating the right look and ambiance for both of these rooms can be easy these days, and with a choice of great kitchen and bathroom designs available you can make these rooms look and feel perfect.

4. Replacement windows. Many people can be put off buying a property if the windows are shabby and old. Not only do they look bad upon first impression, but they also affect the light, heat, and comfort levels in your home. Replacement windows, such as double glazing, can help to increase energy efficiency and can improve the lighting, ambiance, and appearance of your home.

5. Heating. Having the right heating system in place is another important factor when it comes to the comfort and sale ability of your home. For most buyers central heating is a must these days, and by having central heating fitted you can enjoy cozier winters, a warmer home, and a more sellable property.