houseplangallery.com

House Plan Gallery Expert Interview Series: Flexible Home Design

Free Dream Home Success Kit from HousePlanGallery.com!

 This is an transcribed excerpt from an interview that I did with Home Ideas magazine a few months ago.   In the interview, we talked about flexible home living spaces and about what the current trends are in using more flexible floorplan layouts in residential home design.

What follows below are the questions from the reporter, and my responses…  I hope you like it, and please be sure to send me an email with any other questions you have…

Lets get started…

When you design a new home plan how important is it to design a floor plan that allows the homeowner to choose how they use the spaces provided?
=======================================

Its extremely important, and one of our primary considerations on every new plan we design.  Since our homes are typically in the 1400 to 2500 sq ft range, we want to make sure that the home can fit the needs of a growing or changing family, and to make sure to minimize wasted space in the floorplan.

In addition, we want to make sure that the home fits the needs of, not only a family, but also retirees, empty nesters, or just single individuals in a way that makes sense for them…

In homes of this size, every square inch of the living space is needed and we’ve always tried to provide a very flexible floorplan layout where the usages of the spaces can evolve to meet the current and future needs of the homeowners…

How important is it for the house plan to be flexible enough that the homeowner can make changes as their life changes i.e children, empty-nest, office space, additional bedrooms (in-laws) etc.
=======================================

Very important.  Over time, every person’s life changes and every family’s needs change.  We realize that, and thats why, in our designs, we try to minimize the “labeling” of different living spaces to a particular usage, at least where possible.Â

For example, in the past, we might have labeled a room off the great room as a “dining room”, and even though that room could certainly be used for that purpose, we’ve found that labeling that room in that manner is actually a turn off to many younger homebuyers..  Dining rooms are not important for many of our buyers, which are many times younger families with children, so they would much rather use the space as a kids playroom or a home office, for example.

For whatever reason, when we label that room as a dining room on the floorplan presentation, many people seem to get that usage stuck in their mind and sometimes its difficult to get that specific “dining room” usage out of their mind so they might automatically discount the house plan and move on…

What we try to do, to better illustrate the versatility of the space, is to label that type of space as a “flex space” which then implies that the space’s usage can be whatever the homeowner wants it to be… and then they can also change its usage over time…

Is it pretty standard to include a bonus room in a house plan?
=======================================

We think it SHOULD be, however its not for many designers… We know that, especially if you have a smaller home design with a roof design that can easily allow for the inclusion of this space…typically over the garage area, we always try to include this feature because its a HUGE value-add for the homeowner.

  As I had noted earlier, the majority of our designs are in the 1400 to 2500 sq ft range so having a bonus room space as an option, is a tremendous selling point for a plan.

Its a great way to get alot more space in a home for very little additional cost…

If the homeowner’s budget is tight, then they might choose to just build the stair portion up to the bonus area, and that could just be used as a convenient way to access the attic area until a time when they actually wanted to build out the space..

At the point where they want to build out the space, all they would have to do is finish out the walls, ceiling, and floors of bonus room, which is a fairly simple and inexpensive process (esp when compared to doing an addition), and they could just continue using the existing stairs…

They then have, typically, between 200 and 500 additional square feet that they can use for a kids playroom, another bedroom/bath, a large home office or anything else…

Probably 90% of our home designs include bonus room spaces, whether included or optional, and we find that probably 70% of our customers go ahead and build out these spaces initially, because its not really that much more money to do in the beginning while your building the rest of the house…

Most popular flexible spaces are?
====================================
Probably home offices are #1, then kids’ playrooms, then guest bedroom spaces, then dining rooms.

How challenging is it to design a small home that still offers flexibility?
====================================
It can be very challenging.. Again, when you’re talking about plans in the 1400 to 2500 sq ft range, every square inch counts so you want to make sure that you first have all the essentials like a large great room and kitchen, an eating area off the kitchen, plenty of storage, large closets, comfortable bedrooms, a utility room and pantry, etc.

At the same time, you need to take into consideration all the “other” spaces that might be good options for identifying as a flexible space..

Some good examples of flexible spaces in a smaller home are bonus rooms, rooms off the great room, multiple large closets in a master bedroom where one might be sufficient, sitting room areas that might be better used as storage / home office / etc.

Its definately challenging to provide high levels of flexibility in a small footprint, but we think we’ve found the balance in our floorplans…

Outdoor Flexible Spaces….trend to including outdoor living spaces to house plans?
====================================

For the size homes that we typically design, outdoor flexible spaces are not typically a primary consideration of our buyers.. We always include a comfortable outdoor living space which might be a large covered porch, and/or might include a large screened in porch or patio, and thats what our primary customer is looking for…

And thats basically, a simple, inexpensive design that provides them with everything they need to comfortably spend time outdoors with their family…

I would recommend your customers check out our house plans: the HPG-20002-1 traditional ranch house plan, the HPG-2067-1 craftsman house plan, the HPG-1752-1 country style ranch house plan, and the HPG-2200C-1 french country house plan for examples of some of our most popular flexible home designs…

House Plan Gallery Expert Interview Series: Flexible Home Design
Rate this post

Tags: , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply