5 must-have features for today’s house plans


As we approach the end of the year, now is a good time to take a step back and see where things are right now with house plan design. To get some additional insight on the trends, I’ve spoken with a myriad of home plan designers who were quick to share what’s in high demand right now. All of the plans mentioned can be found online at BuilderHousePlans.com.

Jason breland

1. Modern farmhouse exteriors warmed up
People still love the modern farmhouse look, and it shows no signs of slipping off its top perch on Zonda’s house plan sites. But what do you do when there is a sea of ​​trusses with white siding in the market? Warm up the exterior with Craftsman-style details.

In fact, many of the top-selling house plans this year feature sturdy trusses, earthy accents, and other Craftsman-like details on their exteriors. Take a look at the top-selling design of 2021 (through September), which was also the # 1 selling plan in 2020. Why is this relatively simple farm (plan 430-184, designed by House Plan Zone in Hattiesburg, Mississippi ) continue to captivate customers?

“The outdoors is trendy enough to ‘wow’ farm lovers, but transitional enough to remain relevant when the farm craze wears off. The clean, simple exterior has endurance, ”says Alicia Luebbers of House Plan Zone.

Customer Meghan Jordan agrees, noting that her family receives “so many compliments from our passing neighbors and friends that they love the clean exterior of the farm”.

James bruce

2. Offices, offices, offices
A home office is now an essential – or two, as multiple office spaces become more and more popular, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey.

Hobbs’ Ink’s Janet Hobbs often includes desks in her designs, such as the study pictured above in plan 935-5. His questions to clients quickly get to the heart of the need. “The couple will be hemming until I finally ask, ‘Do either of you have video or phone meetings? Then the valve opens and one of them exclaims, “She’s so loud when she’s on the phone!” or ‘He’s pacing up and down, and it’s driving me crazy.’ ”

She notes that “a home office can be a nook in a hallway, a completely separate building, or anything in between, as long as the solution we come up with clearly separates them from whatever is going on in the house. “.

Architect David Wiggins also includes desks in several of his designs, including the 120-270 plan, which features an office that opens directly onto the porch. “Even before COVID, home offices were a necessary part of the home for entrepreneurs at heart. Keeping your life balanced means being flexible and efficient with your time, and home offices are a great way to do that.

Courtesy of SW Morgan Fine Home Design

3. Barn Living (or at least the look)
Interest in the term “barndominium” and similar searches has increased dramatically over the past two years, according to Google Trends.

Sam Morgan, who designed the garage plan with living space shown here, explains the story behind this design (plan 1060-82): “The original client of this project was looking for a barn-style store to accompany the new one designed for. them. The plan was to build the store first and live in the apartment upstairs while they built the house, ”then they would have the apartment to use as rental property.

While some barn-style plans feature utility spaces like workshops or oversized garages, others simply suggest the idea of ​​a barn with their roof lines. And it’s unclear how many people looking for condominiums actually want a traditional steel framed structure rather than just admiring the sleek look. Either way, the rustic barn vibe is clearly drawing attention right now.

Courtesy of Nelson Design Group

4. Streamlined simplicity
This simple and modern plan by Jonesboro, Arkansas-based Michael E. Nelson Designs (plan 923-166) includes 1,131 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and a very sleek modern exterior.

“The tall transom windows let in natural light and lots of wall space, giving this little gem street appeal,” says Steph Nelson.

A few other shots around this size or a little bigger have also become popular over the past year. Matt Clancy, sales manager for Zonda’s house plans group, points out an obvious reason: the cost.

“Due to the explosive price of materials since last year, people have realized that cutting corners (literally) would help lower their overall construction costs,” Clancy said. “While building with less square footage is an obvious solution, simplifying the overall shape of the house can also result in significant savings. “

Courtesy of Royal Oaks Design

5. Functional luxury
Especially with a simple design, you have to make it special. Many popular designs today achieve this by adding thoughtful details in highly functional areas of the home, such as the dressing room or master bathroom.

Here’s a good example: This Minnesota-based Royal Oaks farmhouse (plan 51-1162) dedicates space for storage and relaxation as opposed to formal entertaining. The hard work area near the garage entrance presents homeowners with a water bath, laundry room, office area (with window) and porch access. Meanwhile, the master bathroom creates a ‘wow’ moment with separate vanities and a central tub.

According to designer Kieran Liebl of Royal Oaks Design, “This plan features a large two story room with an entire wall being a sliding glass door leading out to the 317 square foot back porch. It has a beautiful open flow that allows communication throughout the living space, while several built-in elements and attention to detail add to the overall luxury feel of this home.


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