Staff Picks: Our Favorite House Plans

By Dan Gregory

Warm Craftsman style and a large triangular island in the kitchen are some of the features that made this design a favorite. Plan 892-13

Our general manager Arend asked everyone on staff the following question: "If you were to build, and live in, any of our house plans, which plan would you choose? Why?" And here are the responses, as a way to help spark your own list of criteria for the house plans that speak to you. Also note how some include the modifications they would add, which reinforces the point that each stock plan is really a way to jumpstart a customized design. 

Plan 892-13, shown at the top of the post and in layout below, attracted Aurora. Here's what she said:


"I can’t help but love the rugged, Craftsman-y look that’s so popular right now. There’s a reason that it finds such wide appeal – it comes off as warm, down-to-earth, yet simultaneously a bit elegant. The island in the kitchen, unlike most islands, which put all three or four seats in a row, puts two seats at a right angle to two more seats, thereby making it easy to carry on a conversation with your snacking companions. The dining room is big and open, it would be used constantly. This is really just a larger version of the open dining room that we have now, which makes it easy to jump up and grab a condiment or bring over a platter of
food.

Similarly, the great room’s openness appeals to me, while the fireplace adds coziness. I’d want to add a tub in the master suite and perhaps shift the walk-in closet away from the bathroom (I always worry about moisture affecting clothing in such configurations). Otherwise, the outdoor access is a nice touch, as well as the easy proximity to the laundry room. The two additional bedrooms would suit our purposes quite well: one as my home office, and the other for guests. Upstairs, that bonus room would hold a ping-pong table for my husband!"

Matt chose Plan 140-149. "
I’ve loved this plan for years!

The sprawling Modern Rancher with high ceilings and immense covered outdoor space would be a great plan for entertaining, and for housing guests. I love the office off the master suite, and the huge open

kitchen/dining/living area. When I first started noticing this plan, I envisioned something like it for my wife and our two daughters. There is a great separation of living space that would work well for older kids. I also love this plan because I worked closely with a customer on her plan modifications. The original batch of photos that were uploaded came from this build, and the customer kept in touch, telling me all about her homebuilding experience. Having conversations after the build is something we rarely get to do, and it gave me more of a real-life understanding about this great plan when I chatted with her numerous times.

If I were to build this house today I would also have to make substantial modifications, adding two additional bedrooms on the master suite side, and a huge garage / workshop area. As many customers who like this plan also suggest, I would want to turn the large screened porch into a second living room area."

Plan 120-162 caught Dan's eye.

"There are a few core features I’m looking for in an ideal house: open floor plan, mud room, walk-in closet, guest suite, and outdoor space. And I prefer the asymmetrical and sometimes quirky styling of European and

Victorian plans. Plan 120-163 brought it all together with a particularly appealing design that blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor spaces. Two sets of family spaces – family room downstairs and den upstairs – add flexibility for play, entertaining and home office options."

Courtney singled out Plan 888-10. "I would pick this one because I love the farmhouse style so much.

I feel like this plan has a classic look to it - in 20 years I would still love it. It has many outdoor living options with two porches in the front and two in the back which is key in Texas! The open-living area on the first floor

is a plus. I think the square footage of the home is the perfect size, not too big, not too small. Also, I have seen homes designed by the architect of this house n person and they are just beautiful!"

Jason was drawn to Plan 51-141 for the way it promotes "an active social life, 
healthy lifestyle, and comfortable functionality. With an office I'd also be able to meet my professional obligations, and finally have a place to put all the books I have gathered over the years.

I really like the pictures of the house, especially the screened in porch with the pool, I would enjoy that space (although I'd definitely go the extra mile and have an over the top landscape scheme). For improved outdoor living, I would also add an outdoor kitchen area. Health in mind and body is important, the exercise room &

meditation room encourages physical & spiritual well being. A cooks kitchen (appointed with commercial grade appliances of course), and a huge open great room/dining area means I could entertain a large group of friends & family. Upstairs, a huge open rec room area, with a place for billiards (although I'm more of a ping pong table and/or air hockey guy), a complete wet bar, and a theater room all combine to provide a variety of fun things to enjoy...Some key things I'd add in addition to the outdoor kitchen: complete fiber optics throughout the structure; folding glass walls at the back of the main floor great room/dining area; smart glass windows throughout, and radiant heating." 

Geoff opted for Modern Plan 498-6.

"I like the modern look, open floor plan and connection to the outdoors with lots of windows and outdoor entertaining spaces (deck and patio).  Some things I would change would be: 1. Reduce heated square footage to somewhere around 2,500 sq. ft. by not finishing as much of the downstairs space in lieu of a nice

sized semi-finished artist studio/workshop.
2. I might expand out the main level at north side and reconfigure master suite switching locations of Master Bedroom and Bath to take advantage of view. 3. Would eliminate main level office space and possibly back up kitchen wall to edge of pantry for more common living space. OR I would make part of that space closet space for washer dryer to move it up from downstairs (don't really need a laundry tub) 4. Maybe turn upstairs bedroom into office/music studio space but keep closet and bathroom for additional bedroom potential for future resale appeal. Guests could stay in downstairs bedroom for more privacy. 5. Bump back wall out a couple feet for a little more common living space. Set on the right piece of property I could really see myself calling this home."

Jimmie went for Plan HWEPL76975.

"I really like the wood/shingle exterior. The layout of the floor plan is good.  I do not ever want to have a

separate living area again. The nice open space of the kitchen/family room fits the bill with the covered lanai off of the back. Also the master suite separated from the other bedrooms."    

Plan HWEPL77017 spoke to Shannon. 

" I love that it is 1 story and has so much room to entertain, both inside and outside.

I also like the 4 car garage for all of our extra stuff to be stored."

And finally, Arend selected Plan 888-15.

"I absolutely love the farmhouse modern style and 888-15 is just that!  The attraction continues with the numerous transitions to the outdoors from every room on the main level. The large open living area allows the

family to be in one place, but not bumping into each other. Having two kids, I also like that the ancillary bedrooms are upstairs (away from exterior access) and the master bedroom and laundry are both on the main level. An added bonus is the upstairs office/loft area that overlooks the Great Room."    

Fri Dec 16 00:00:00 PST 2016