Here is What We’re Seeing with Hot Trends in House Designs

Here is What We’re Seeing with Hot Trends in House Designs

Here is What We’re Seeing with Hot Trends in House Designs

photography by Lisa Russman

The home trends that most excite us these days are those that match our guiding principles behind custom house design. For us, space should be to bring families together, not separate them. And, you and your needs should define house designs and plans. Not all trends in house design are relevant for the typical family today, but we think these will appear in new and exciting ways in our clients’ homes in the coming few years.

Space for Work
Modern house designs must include spaces for work as, more than ever before, people are working as freelancers or telecommuting. There are actually two trends in one here that we love for families in need of workspace, one of which we’ll talk about below.

If your land and zoning allow for it, you might want to consider a backyard work shed. Detached workspaces are low-cost but efficient ways to create a dedicated room for concentrated work time. Garden sheds are getting an elevation in status as these multi-functional spaces can also serve as guest rooms or teen hangouts as your needs change. With a small footprint and efficient use of space, backyard getaways like these create purposeful space for those who need some separation to work productively.

Open Spaces with Flexible Uses
Our love for open, flexible-use areas stems from our understanding of how families use space to share and cohabitate. We love rooms that accommodate the chaos and discoveries of family life while also meeting the needs for entertaining, cooking, and working at home.

Powerful house designs use open spaces to create flow, allow for zones that meet different purposes and use visual details and organization of space to add interest and inspiration. We specialize in custom plans which reflect the way our clients work and live, and open spaces provide flexibility for the vibrant life that makes a house a home.

Having flexible space means you can work comfortably from home while also keeping an eye on the kids’ activities or monitoring the stove, and you can shift gears whenever you need. The added benefit of these flexible spaces is they can change and adapt with your family over time. Rather than having dedicated spaces for specific purposes, this design strategy means you can use your living space in whatever ways meet your family’s needs now and in the future.

Space for All Family Members
House designs should consider the needs of your entire family, which includes even the four-legged members. If your home contains a canine companion, then you will love this new design trend. Having a specific dog-washing space in your home is excellent for keeping the mud and grime your dog brings into your house at bay.

Incorporating a pet wash in your garage, mudroom, or other space is a simple detail that can control the chaos of cleaning your pet. These areas are also great for cleaning muddy boots or any of those messy jobs you don’t want to track through your house to the bathroom or laundry area.

Small Spaces
Just because you have a smaller budget does not mean you have to skimp on architectural design for your home. Smaller homes are becoming more families a more popular entry point into a housing market that is increasingly more expensive. The challenges we love about small spaces are the opportunities to get creative with solving problems for our clients. Not only must nearly all the areas be multi-use in smaller homes, but factors like energy efficiency, simplicity, and organization become even more crucial when we design your home.

Your home isn’t just a place to sleep and eat, it’s the epicenter of your life, and we’re always interested in ways to combine form and function to solve problems for modern families. What challenges can we help you solve?

You hired a residential architect?! Smart move!

You hired a residential architect?! Smart move!

You hired a residential architect?! Smart move!

photography by Lisa Russman

While all architects design spaces to meet human needs, residential architects specialize in designing homes that create harmony and safety for families. Working with the right professional can help you create spaces that meet your requirements while building a home that is beautiful and practical. If you want to make the most from your house’s architectural design, you need a residential architect, and here’s why.

What Does a Residential Architect Do, Exactly?
Unlike the design of workplaces and commercial facilities, residential architect design specializes in creating living spaces for use by families. Your residential architects’ mission should be to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces for families of all sizes. How you take advantage of your home’s spaces is unique and special, and the design should be, too.

Because the structure of homes is very different than that of commercial spaces, residential architects have to be knowledgeable in electrical and HVAC needs for residences. Plus, they should be experts in zoning regulations, building codes, and the use of materials in residential spaces, so you don’t have to be.

And while all that is the nuts and bolts of residential architecture, what residential architects really do is work with families just like yours to exchange ideas, then translate your needs and desires into a beautiful plan for your home. What turns a mediocre design into great residential architecture is when client and designer are partners in the process. Your architect should build your home only when he or she feels they can thoroughly understand your needs and create a design that will match those.

Just as you wouldn’t trust a delicate surgery to your local taxidermist, you should not trust the design of your most substantial financial investment to anyone but a skilled residential architect. You will live, work, play, and thrive in your home for years to come, so why would you trust its design and realization to anyone but a trained professional?

Architectural Building Design Can Improve Your Life
Designing a custom home provides you with the opportunity to build a house that can help you live happier and healthier. Another reason hiring a residential architect is a smart move is that we can ensure your home provides clean air for you and your kids and is constructed using healthy and safe materials. Don’t trust the health and safety of your family to anything else.

Great Residential Architecture Can Save You Money
Another benefit of working with a residential architect is we can help you prioritize your wishes for your new home into the best possible options for your budget. The right architect can also help you create an energy-efficient home that will continue to save you money for years to come.

By maximizing your fuel savings and lowering your carbon footprint, residential architects help you use fewer resources to live the lifestyle you desire. For example, your designs could take advantage of steel framing, making use of the most recycled material on the planet. Other green and recycled materials are available, and your home can be good for you as well as the planet.

Residential Design is Unique
What we love most about designing new homes for families is that it gives us a chance to create unique spaces that match the rhythm and pulse of each family unit. Homes are places to explore your possibilities, to live out your dreams, to discover the unknown together. The right space provides you with limitless experiences to connect with one another.

Passionate, qualified residential architects understand that homes are spaces for connection, love, and real living. Families should define the home, and we rejoice in the opportunity to make that happen.

Nailed It!—Here's Your New Home Construction Arsenal

Nailed It!—Here’s Your New Home Construction Arsenal

Nailed It!—Here's Your New Home Construction ArsenalBuilding a new home, whether on your own lot or as part of a new home development, comes with many challenges. By knowing what to expect, having a detailed plan, and following up on each piece, your construction project will run smoothly, and you will definitely have the home of your dreams.

Those who have built their own home would agree there are many dos and don’ts for tackling this type of project. Here are a few to consider to help you avoid builder’s remorse and have a successful home-building experience. Let’s start with the things to avoid when planning and executing new residential construction.

The Don’ts of New Home Construction
1. Don’t skimp on structural components. Your budget should allow for building the safest and most structurally-sound house you can afford. Materials that need to withstand loads, weather, and other forces should be of the highest quality. Skimping on some design elements can help you stay within budget, but details like windows, doors, siding, roofing, and cabinetry are costly to maintain and replace if they fall apart suddenly. Choose the best you can afford on these vital components.

2. Don’t neglect your lighting. Take advantage of natural lighting options, like windows and skylights, whenever possible. Plan for lighting early, and consider how light changes throughout the day will influence the functionality of your spaces. A well-lit home is safer, more inviting, and functions more effectively.

3. Don’t forget to plan for electrical and HVAC. Let’s face it, these hidden systems are easy to ignore, but they are also challenging and expensive to change once construction has begun. Consider all current and possible future uses of your space when designing the electrical plan, and be sure your HVAC system will keep your home at a comfortable temperature, safe from moisture, and ensure your air quality for many years to come.

4. Don’t let someone convince you to make changes that aren’t right for your family. You’re the expert on how you use space and what you need. Building a new home allows you to create the design and layout that will work best for you, so stand your ground when others try to convince of something you know is not right.

The DOs of New Home Construction
When considering building in a new home development or on your own land, here are some things you should know before breaking ground.

5. Do have some extra cash set aside. No matter how thoroughly you plan, unanticipated costs will probably occur. They can come from unavoidable increases in labor or materials, surprise complications, or a design element you find mid-project but want to incorporate. Setting aside some extra dollars, without adding them to your proposed budget, prepares you to be able to complete your project on time.

6. Always track every expense. Spreadsheets are your best friend while undertaking new home construction. Record everything that is purchased or invoiced throughout the entire project. To avoid surprises, share this with your contractor regularly, to be sure you are both on the same page regarding expenditures.

7. Be sure to ask questions ahead of time, and always know what you are signing. Because planning is crucial when building a new home, asking questions before you begin construction will avoid mistakes, confusion, and costly fixes. Contracts with builders, architects, and sub-contractors are essential for your protection, but you must understand the agreement before signing it.

8. Always hire professionals with the right knowledge. An expert architect and a trusted, licensed contractor will be your two most significant assets on any new residential construction project. These professionals have the experience and expertise to plan and execute your vision for your new home, and they will build that house on time and budget.

For a Timeless Look, Here Are Our New Home Design Basics

For a Timeless Look, Here Are Our New Home Design Basics

For a Timeless Look, Here Are Our New Home Design Basics

photography by Lisa Russman

New home plans that are in balance with their environment while also being functional and straightforward will stand the test of time. Creating new home designs that not only meet your needs today but also well into the future, as your family grows, allows your home to grow and evolve with you.

Classic architectural details and clean lines never go out of fashion. If you look at homes designed several decades ago, those that still feel fresh and timeless include simple features and design choices that emphasize functionality and balance.

Select new house plan designs that are simple and straightforward. The personalization of your new home comes from focusing on one or two main focal points in each room and on the exterior. Selecting neutral colors for your overall palette means your house won’t feel dated in just a few years, and you can create interest and personality with the addition of bold accents in a few, well-selected locations.

You can customize the look of your brand new home design with a single focal point for each space. Depending on the room, that point could be a piece of furniture, an architectural detail, meaningful artwork, or an outstanding view. These focal points become easy to update over time, leaving the timeless backdrop untouched.

Clean, uncluttered spaces are also timeless in their usability. While function can change over time as your needs evolve, you want a home that can be lived in and used now and in the future without significant alteration. New home plans with open designs and spaces with multiple purposes can serve your family’s needs well into the coming decades, creating flexible areas of your home that evolve from homework space into a home office, from playroom into a teen hangout.

Functionality also means using materials that will stand up to years of use as new home designs should comfortably serve families for decades to come. Well-chosen materials ensure lasting beauty and usability.

Brand new home designs should strive for balance in all areas, including both within each space and also within the surrounding environment. The proportion of elements creates harmony, and a professional architect can help you achieve this. Use of natural light, indoor plants, and natural building materials create a balance between outdoor and indoor elements, making your home feel a part of the environment in which it sits. New house plan designs that incorporate windows, skylights, natural fabrics, hardwoods, stone, and other organic materials will still look and feel fashionable many years from now. You create functional, simple spaces when you opt for these design elements.

Balancing classic features along with trendier pieces also adds personal touches. The combination of vintage and modern elements allows for the recycling of used goods, the personalization of any space, and the creation of timeless rooms that reflect your passions and interests as they change.

Design choices that create a lower impact on the environment also reflect balance. Using less water, generating fewer waste products, and utilizing green technologies improve your home’s efficiency and increase its balance with nature.

Selecting the Right New Home Design
What matters most, though, is that whatever new home design you choose fits your lifestyle and makes you happy both today and twenty years from now. Have fun with the design process and make it your own. Using these guidelines, you and your architect can create a design for your home that will surely stand the test of time.

OMG—The Cost of Building a Home Can Get Crazy!

OMG—The Cost of Building a Home Can Get Crazy!

OMG—The Cost of Building a Home Can Get Crazy!

photography by Lisa Russman

Building a new house is your opportunity to design and create a home that looks and functions in ways that meet your needs. Buying an existing home often means additional work and sometimes requires compromises to get the design, layout, and features you want. Without thought to sightlines and openness, you could miss out on the small, treasured moments your family values.

These added expenses are why so many turn to new construction to achieve their dream home. Calculating the costs of building new vs. buying existing construction can be a little confusing, though. To create a house that is perfect for you and your family, while also fitting your budget, requires an understanding of all the factors that can influence home building prices.

It is easy to assume that buying land and building a house costs roughly the same as or even less than buying existing construction, but this not always the case. Building costs vary widely and, if left unchecked, can increase the cost of your new home well beyond your budget or the price of comparable houses in your area. To accurately determine the price of building a home, you must consider these five major things that can affect the expense of new home construction.

1. Your Building Site.
The price of land varies significantly, even within the same community. The cost of building your home depends on the condition of your lot. If you need to improve the soil conditions, deal with conflicting utilities, or discover buried storage tanks, your construction costs can increase, sometimes significantly. When buying land, always investigate issues related to wildlife and historical protections as well as flooding zones.

2. The Materials You Choose.
House construction cost calculators can give you rough estimates for building costs, but these often do not take into consideration whether the materials you select are available nearby. Choosing readily-available materials can mean a substantial reduction in the overall building cost, and these touches can also help your home feel as if it is part of the local environment when well-integrated into the design. Buying in bulk for fixtures, tile, and other materials not only unifies your design across your home, but you save more when you buy in larger quantities.

3. The Cost of Labor.
The location of your new home influences labor costs. As the cost of living rises in an area, so will the price you pay for skilled labor to build a home. Talk with your architect about local labor pricing, including recent fluctuations or projected increases. An architect can help you design a home that fits your growing family while maximizing the use of space to create a home that feels larger but doesn’t cost a fortune.

4. Your Timeline.
An extremely ambitious building schedule increases costs, as does one that experiences significant delays. Building a realistic and well-researched project schedule for your home’s construction will help you stay on budget and avoid overtime or increased indirect costs. Working with a professional architect and reliable contractor helps you stay on schedule and budget.

5. The Right Architect and Contractor.
Selecting an architect who understands your family’s needs is crucial, but the right firm will also ensure proper adherence to the construction schedule. They will be knowledgeable about local materials and have strong relationships with reputable contractors in your area. The right architect will oversee every aspect of your new home’s design to fulfill your vision of the perfect place to live. When buying land and building a house, costs can skyrocket quickly without constant oversight, which is why a professional architect and licensed contractor are vital.

These and other factors impact your decision in the debate between building new vs. buying existing construction. Understanding all the elements that affect the calculation of new house construction costs can not only save you money but also help you create the home of your dreams.

How to Design a Master-Suite Addition That Increases Your Home's Value

How to Design a Master-Suite Addition That Increases Your Home’s Value

Long gone are the days when a slightly larger bedroom can be passed off as the master in a home. Now, buyers and homeowners expect to find a spectacular retreat: a place where they can shut the door and get away from everything else. While many people go on vacation to find that type of peace, you can create an oasis in your own home through a master-suite addition. A master bedroom is more than just a place to sleep; it’s an extension of your living space that needs to be functional and practical while still relaxing. But before you design your own addition, consider these points, which will increase your home’s value:

1. Budget wisely
You’re probably wondering just how much is a room addition? The cost of the average master suite can range between $50,000 and $125,000, depending on finishes, build size, and overall cost of construction in your area. With such a wide range of cost, it’s easy to see why some homeowners might shy away from such a build. Most homeowners will only recoup 50% of their investment in a new master suite when they sell, but if you budget smart, you could end up with a lot more.

By setting a budget for your master-suite addition, you can dictate the size of your project, determine material options, decide if certain DIY projects are feasible, and create a remodeling project that adds value to your home. A budget is just a starting number, so don’t let it overwhelm you if it extends above what you can comfortably afford. There are many products that look like higher-end finishes but are half the cost. So, if you want a luxury look but can’t afford the high-end prices that come with it, you’ll have options that are significantly cheaper as you design your own addition. This will help you save significantly on your budget, and will add significantly more to your home’s value.

2. Design a practical floor plan
Every master-suite addition needs a solid floor plan with a well-thought-out design. Floor plans are an integral part of your build because you need to be sure that everything you want to be included will fit and that the rooms will be functional for everyday life. A master-suite floor plan should easily accommodate a queen- or king-sized bed, nightstands, a dresser, ample closet space, and a full bathroom.

Put some thought into the areas you walk through the most in your bedroom. Do you want to be walking back and forth from one side of the room to the other to get from your closet to the bathroom? To keep everything organized and cohesive as you design your own addition, consider placing the closet close to the bathroom or have your walk-in closet be attached to your master bathroom.

3. Make the bathroom an oasis
Creating a relaxing and soothing spa-like bathroom is a remodeling project that adds value to your home. While you don’t have to pick the most expensive finishes or materials, choose ones that offer clean lines and a timeless look as you design your addition. Glass-enclosed showers and freestanding tubs make great first impressions and also offer more usable space. Another must-have are dual sinks—people want at least two sinks in a master bathroom. Not only does it keep the peace, it gives the bathroom a more luxurious feel. Bathrooms are rooms that sell homes because they are such an integral part of daily life. If you plan on living in your home for several years before selling, a master-bedroom addition will also add to your happiness while living there, especially since the bathroom oasis will be for just you and your partner.

4. Consider the room’s layout and spacing
Furniture placement and simple design choices can make a big impact, not only for you as you live in your new master-suite addition, but also for a potential buyer in the future. Everything you do as you design your own addition should increase your home’s value, which means you need to be making smart choices. While kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, bedrooms are just as important to the overall feel of a home. If a bedroom seems small and crowded, no one will want to spend time in there.

The layout of your room is completely dependent on its size. If a room is smaller, concessions will need to be made regarding what furniture can be utilized and what goes where. When you have a larger space, you have the luxury of playing around with different furniture placements. The main layout of a bedroom focuses on the bed itself and usually two side tables to anchor the space. Placing the bed along a wall will open up space in the center of the room. It will also allow for the most light to enter the room with minimal obstructions. Your bed size may be a factor in how your bedroom is organized. A larger bed will eat up more space in the room, so other furniture pieces like a dresser or armoire might need to be downsized to effectively accommodate the bed.

Many people forget about spacing in a bedroom. You want to be able to move around your bedroom with ease, meaning you won’t be bumping into furniture. Even if the room is small, you’ll want to leave ample walking space around the perimeter of the bed. Rooms that don’t have proper spacing often feel small and cramped.

5. Make the master suite an adult space
It’s important to keep in mind who is using the space as you design your own addition. An adult space may require some additional décor and more attention to function, while a child’s space might be more playful with areas meant for imagination and growth. The layout of an adult master suite will be vastly different than that of a child’s. For example, an adult bedroom will be an area to relax and de-stress with cool and calming colors, meaningful accents, and functional space to get ready for the day.

For your child’s room, there should be more open space to play, with a twin bed most likely placed against a far wall to open up the middle section for toys and games. Children will be less concerned with the amount of closet space and will most likely want bright and vibrant colors on the walls to express personalities or quirks. A child will want more movable space than an adult since their bedroom will serve multi-functions as a hangout space, play area, homework section, and eventually rest.

6. Use design to your favor
The design of a space can significantly impact the floor plan and spacing available within a room—and is an integral part of this remodeling project that adds value to your home. Your choices in this area will also play a role in the overall feeling of the space, whether it’s light and bright or cool and warm through paint choices, fabrics, décor, and furniture. While paint isn’t part of a floor plan, it will affect the appearance of a space, meaning it can make a room feel larger or smaller. Big furniture pieces in a dark room will make the space feel cramped and have a negative effect on the layout of a space. A room painted in lighter colors could handle slightly larger furniture because the room would be brighter and feel less crowded.

If you plan on selling in the near future, you have to think in terms of a buyer, meaning neutral choices and layouts that show off how much space is available. If you have too much furniture in a space, but don’t need it, try removing a couple of non-essential pieces and see how it transforms the space.

Any addition to your home will involve serious planning. Pick up a few home-design magazines to gather inspiration on what you’d like to see in your new master-bedroom suite, and search Pinterest for ideas. Then consult experts to help you design your dream master suite. Sweebe Architecture can provide you with a free consultation that will help to put your mind at ease and provide ideas you likely haven’t even considered when considering your master-suite addition.

3 Things to Consider When Remodeling a Ranch House

3 Things to Consider When Remodeling a Ranch House

Sometimes a ranch home starts to lack the luster and functionality it had when it was first built. Maybe you love your neighborhood, but the house you purchased feels dated and tired. This is often the case with older ranch homes that have choppy floor plans that don’t suit today’s modern lifestyles, which can also make them harder to sell. Often times, a remodel is all that is needed to make a tired ranch home feel inviting and functional again. Here are three things to consider when remodeling a ranch house:

1. Strive for an open floor plan

An open-concept floor plan is the phrase used to describe a home’s layout where the kitchen, eating space, and living area are all open to each other with clear lines of sight from one space to the next. Today’s families spend a great deal of time in these three main areas of a home. Having an open floor plan allows the family to interact more intimately with each other or with guests, while utilizing each space individually. You can maintain open conversation and eye contact rather than shouting through walls. This is especially beneficial when entertaining. An open-concept ranch remodel also makes a space feel larger by removing walls that can make it feel choppy and closed in.

2. Stay true to characteristics of a ranch house

Remodeling a ranch house doesn’t have to be overwhelming—you can still stay true to the original characteristics of the ranch house. Take your time with choosing upgrades and finishes that will suit your lifestyle, yet offer timeless value. It is easy to see something online and immediately think it will work with your ranch remodel ideas, but that is not always the case. Your ranch house likely boasts some features that other homes don’t have such as no stairs, wider doorways, and seamless thresholds, which are important for those with mobility issues. These features will help make spaces flow smoothly from one room to the next in your remodel. Another idea is to take advantage of the lower roof line of a ranch and add skylights to bring in more natural light. Do some research, and gather ideas from other ranch house remodels that grab your attention.

3. Consult an architect

When remodeling a ranch house, it is important to maximize the use of space. Sometimes the lot the home was built on has room for additional square footage provided the proper permitting can be obtained. However, it is common that a remodel must occur within an existing footprint. In both cases, it is a good idea to consult an architect to determine the best layout for your needs. They can stay true to your desired style while optimizing functionality. Removing walls when working an open-concept ranch remodel can sometimes present issues with lost storage or space to hang art and pictures. An architect can help find solutions while updating the interior. Many times adding a front porch and changing the elevation of a ranch home adds usable square footage and interesting curb appeal to change the entire feel of a ranch house, but there may be a need for added bedrooms or bathrooms. Let an architect relieve the stress and guide you in making these decisions for your ranch remodel.

There are countless other ideas and considerations when taking on any remodeling project. These are just a few. You don’t have to try remodeling a ranch house totally alone. Allow experts to help. It will save you stress and time in the long run. Prime Draft Studio can provide you with a free consultation that will help to put your mind at ease and provide ideas you likely haven’t even considered when thinking about your remodel.

3 Ways to Create a Fun and Practical Attic Remodel

Is your family growing a little too fast for your space? Do you have an attic that can be converted into usable living space? It may be time to complete an attic remodel that can boost the square footage of your home and create additional living space for your family. Many homeowners have discovered attic renovations as a way to expand square footage and create unique spaces for their family without expanding their home footprint. Renovating an attic gives homeowners the opportunity to get creative and design a one-of-a-kind space. You can truly make this space anything you want it to be, whether it’s a playroom for the kids, an office for you, or a guest room for the grandparents when they’re in town. So if you’re quickly running out of space due to a growing family, here are three ways to create a fun and practical attic remodel:
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5 Things You MUST Include in Your Master-Suite Addition

A master-suite addition is a great way to free up space in your home. A master-suite addition gives you more privacy and your kids and guests more freedom. After an experienced architect firm has helped you get complicated zoning issues out of the way, you should think about what you want to include in your master-suite addition. To makes things easy for you, we’ve come up with five things you MUST have:
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The Best Architectural Remodeling Projects for Any Home

If you’ve decided to take the plunge into an architectural remodeling project for your home, you’ve come to the right place. Perhaps you had hopes of moving into a bigger, updated house and found it too costly. Or maybe you just want to spruce up your home to make it more comfortable. Either way, an architectural remodeling project offers many possibilities for the whole family. It can also offers many worthwhile benefits such as more living space, curb appeal, comfort and energy efficiency.
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