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Resources: About Architectural Styles | Types of Houses | Interior Design Styles | Interior Design Ideas

How many total square feet do I need?

There are advantages and disadvantages to larger homes.  The average size house is 2,500 square feet, but what is right for one family may not be best for another.  More bedrooms, bathrooms, a home office, a craft room, and a play room may sound alluring, but it costs more to heat, cool, furnish, and clean more rooms.  It often becomes more of a question of functionality instead of size.  Families who are designing homes can think about their current home.  What works and what does not, what would you change?

How many bedrooms and bathrooms are ideal?

Obviously, everyone living in the home will need a bedroom.  Also ask yourself if you plan to have more children, if so, make sure there are more rooms.  Also think about how often guests visit your home.  It is a good idea to have one or two guest rooms.  Another thing to consider is including a multipurpose room.  Make a room that can be used as a craft room or play room, but has a hideaway bed or futon ready for a guest.

It is a little trickier to decide on the number of bathrooms.  One bathroom per person is not needed, but a good minimum to consider is one bathroom per floor, plus a private bath off the master bedroom.  Also think about if you would like a private bathroom near a guest room or a powder room located near your lounging or dining area when entertaining guests.

Which floor should the bedrooms be located on?

Think about what is ideal for your situation.  If you have small children and want to be near them, having all bedrooms on the second floor might be best.  If you are getting older, consider putting the master bedroom on the main level so that you can limit trips upstairs.  A guest room on the main level could also be a great idea, especially if you often entertain elderly guests.

Where should the laundry room be?

The most important considerations for the location of the laundry room is access to electrical, plumbing, and ventilation.  Don’t forget the draining and ducting needed, plus the laundry room will need a sturdy and level floor.  Placing the laundry room next to a kitchen or bathroom makes use of water supply lines and drainage.  The location should also be somewhere that is close to living areas to save time doing laundry, but far enough away that the noise from the machines will not be disturbing.

Which foundation is best?

The three main types of foundations are slab, crawl space, or full basement.  There are pros and cons of all types of foundations and some are better suited for certain lot conditions or climates.  Crawl space foundations are better for dry climates and for use on sloped lots.  Slab foundations are not a good idea in cold regions, however slab foundations are more energy efficient, less expensive and are cheaper to maintain.  It is more difficult to remodel homes built on a slab, as it is difficult to reach the plumbing that becomes embedded in the concrete.  Basements can provide more living space and a shelter for extreme weather, but are susceptible to moisture and water damage.  If basements are mostly unused, they are also wasted square footage.

What special features should I consider?

A few special features to consider include vaulted ceilings, adding a pantry and mudroom, utilizing southern exposure, including outdoor living spaces, utilizing normally wasted space for storage, built in shelving, a designated home office, including his and hers closets, a central vaccuum system, extra outlets, and an expanded garage.

What is the best layout for entertainment?

An open and flowing floorplan is best for entertaining.  Think of a main floor with a great room that flows right into a custom kitchen and dining area.  It is also a great idea to have one of these spaces open up to an outdoor living area so that guests can move freely and mingle in all areas.  Also be sure to include a powder room nearby for guests to utilize when visiting your home.

What is the best place for the water heater and furnace?

When building a new home, it is a huge advantage to be able to choose where these large appliances go.  If your home will include a basement, this is a great place to create a room for the furnace and hot water heater.  If not, the garage is a nice place to include an alcove that can be designated space for these appliances.  A final option to consider is to build a utility room somewhere in the home.  This can be a joint room with laundry facilities or a separate one.  If there is no room to spare, a crawlspace or attic can be used, but are not ideal spaces.

How can this home be modified in the future?

It never hurts to leave flex space for future additions to the home.  One never knows when elderly parents or adult children may need a place to live.  Think about an unfinished basement, space above the garage, or the ability to extend out the back of the home if ever necessary.

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