Building Your Home on a Smaller Urban Plot

So, you’ve bought a small piece of land in an urban area and are looking to build a home. Urban areas tend to have less property available, and plot sizes can be small. Even in this situation, you can make a roomy home that’s perfect for you. Let’s look into how you can successfully build your home on a smaller urban plot.

The first thing we want to focus on is the internal layout of the home. Concentrate on your floorplan and how to use each space efficiently will be paramount to the perfect home. You will need to create spaces that can meet multiple needs, like making a guest bedroom also double as a utility room or a study that can double as a game room. You don’t want to fall into the trap of cramming too many bedrooms on the second floor or too many rooms on the first floor, or your ground and upper floors may become out of sync, which can negatively affect the flow of the home.

Some out of the box ways of thinking regarding homes include the Low-Profile Homestyle. This involves building rooms below the ground and adding some green space above it. The street view is a single-story home with a basement to utilize all space available. You can use every part of your area above ground for the kitchen and a living room and add the living spaces underneath like your master/guest bedrooms and a study. You can add a courtyard with any available space on your ground floor to create more of an open space feeling. Keep in mind the logistics of this sort of design, like where your sewage line is and if you’ll have to install a pump or to ensure your builders are aware of any storage space issues as they build.

The other more traditional way to utilize your space is the multi-story home. You can build up instead of down and get a two or three-story building on your new plot of land. With this style of build, you will want to try to get open staircases scissor-style to give you more of a sense of free space in your home. You can also utilize roof space, though you will want to ensure that your roof is constructed the correct way, usually attic roof trusses, to design a “roof room.”

Concerning the permitting and zoning of your plot of land, you will need to reach out to your local municipality during your planning process to ensure your build goes smoothly. Many cities accommodate smaller home builds, however zoning codes and house ordinances can be very specific, so don’t skip over the details. Construction codes will be what you want to ask about, and the contractor that you have chosen to assist with building your new home should be able to help with any rules or regulations that you need to follow.

What’s Different about Custom Cottage-Style Home Plans?

Custom Cottage-Style House Plans – what to look for

Cottage style home designs evoke a picturesque storybook charm. They combine informality, efficiency, and are woodsy. They embody vertical board-and-batten, gable roofs, stucco walls, bay windows, shingle, balconies, and small windows.

Custom cottage-style homes are an affordable option for first-time homeowners looking to make the most out of their block of land. Cottage homes feature several great advantages. The cottage homes offer individuality and clients are able to create a timeless feel of what they love in their homes. They have a practical and highly functional design, with open plan layouts modern cottage-style homes are spacious while at the same time remain cozy and comfortable. Cottage-style homes are low maintenance and offer easy care, an owner can enjoy free time without unending cleaning or gardening plus other chores. With just minimal creative ideas you can create a wonderful street appeal for your cottage home because they’re designed to fit narrow blocks. Decorating can be expensive, but cottage-style homes come in handy because size is a factor hence, spending much won’t be a problem. With just a little spent, you can make your cottage house look marvelous.

The downside to cottage-style homes is they are small and a big family can’t fit in, so for people who love bigger spaces it is not an option. Creating a custom home also can be time-consuming.

What’s Different about Custom Modern/Contemporary Home Plans?

Modern/Contemporary House Plans – what to look for

Custom made/contemporary home plans today are simply homes made to fit an owner’s taste. Basically any architectural design that is popular currently can be customized. Modern contemporary home plans embody a blend of all trendy architecture that showcase sleek lines, minimal details, monochromatic color scheme, open floor plans, large windows, efficient natural lighting, and elegant outdoor living.

When it comes to modern-day living, contemporary home designs are the go-to for most people. There are a number of good reasons to choose contemporary homes. The first advantage is they are uniquely made to fit the client’s needs with a variety of options to choose from. Spaciousness is a major feature. In modern home plans space is used efficiently and it compliments the whole structure both inside and outside. Lovers of natural lighting are well covered with contemporary homes, large windows facing the south side of the house are put and help with cutting down energy costs during summer months. The homes feature aesthetically pleasing design while at the same time minimizing unnecessary add-ons. Contemporary homes are eco-friendly hence recycling energy wherever possible.

The downside to custom made contemporary homes is they are expensive and take a bit longer to construct. There is an added cost of hiring an architect and contractor. It is difficult to get the home appraised for the total construction cost.

What’s Different about Custom Colonial Revival Home Plans?

Custom Colonial Revival Home Plans – what to look for

When designing or choosing a home, most people like to choose an aesthetic when it fits in their budget. One of the most popular aesthetics of architectural style is Colonial Revival. The Colonial style often gets its popularity from the eloquence of old fashioned architects. Early Dutch and English settlers originally created this style for their homes, so it brings back parts of late 19th century history.

Colonial Revival is actually a mixture of a few different architectural styles; although they are all American. You have probably seen this style of home building before, as they most notably have roof forms like gambrel, gabled, and hipped. Some architecture is rigid and difficult to remodel, but this form of Colonial Revival makes remodeling a bit easier.

Entrances, Windows and Features

The entrances to Colonial Revivals are typically decorative and notable, but the windows are quite simple. Oftentimes, these homes are built out of brick and stone. These homes are spacious, but the downside to the space is that the multi-level architecture forces the space to be divided into many smaller rooms. If you are looking for a home with large ceilings for skylights or ceiling decorations, this will also be a con to you, as the ceiling is typically only vaulted in the entryway.

Colonial Revivals can be an awesome blast to the past if you are interested in the aesthetic, and the main cons of this style of home have to do with dividing space and limiting decorating styles. However, if this style is up your alley, it is sure to create a homely feel for your family.

Custom Homes With Aging-in-Place in Mind

We often advise prospective home builders, and specifically those over a certain age, that they need to think through what they want with their older selves in mind and potentially aging in place. Often, people are ready for this conversation, though not always. In either camp, they are always surprised by what we mean. This post is mainly for self-serving purposes, providing us with a resource to send to clients so that we don’t have repeat the same things over and over.

1. Living Fully on the Ground Floor

No matter how big the house is, you’ll want to really consider creating the space such that as you age you can live on the main floor and not mess with stairs. This may seem obvious, but we are surprised by how few people understand this. As you age, you become less mobile, and stairs can prove difficult.

Stairlifts are not that expensive to install or retrofit, and they have come a long way in the last 30 years, but they sure can make a house look terrible.

Elevators are a popular option. They are expensive, and you really what to install these going in. Retrofits are doable, but can be extremely difficult in many situations.

As a final note here, this can be just a moot point if you have a view that can only be realized on the top level. Not much you can do there, except to build in an elevator.

2. Wire for Everything – And this Includes Medical Alerts

For the last 20 years or so the industry has been installing conduits in an effort to wire for everything. 15 years ago, we were worried about surround sound and alarm systems. Today, it is wifi and tons of plug-ins for mobile devices. We knew a couple decades ago that we could not predict the electrical demands of the future, so we have been wiring bigger boxes and making it easy to install the next greatest thing without tearing apart the house.

However, something that homeowners have been neglecting since always is wiring for medical alert devices. It can be a touchy subject, but these alert systems are just a little different from the standard wiring in that they need a central location for the system to attach to the electrical panel that is also central in the home. Then there are typically satellites units that just plug into the wall and communicate with the main system–that in turn alerts the company that something has happened. Long story there, but always wire for this because it will likely be needed and it can be fairly difficult to retrofit.

3. Discretionary Concerns with Tubs

This goes both for standard hot tub/jacuzzis as well as jacuzzi tubs and general bath tubs. A lot of falls happen here, as the standard construction has people stepping over the sides of the tub or up into the hot tub and then back down. While wet.

If possible, try to get the hot tub to be installed in a manner where you can step down into it. This might require a deck around it (with stairs up to it) or some other configuration, but it has been proven to be the safest design.

There are tons and tons of walk in tubs these days. That link shows a few from Home Depot. But really consider this. These are easy to wait for, as the removal and installs are pretty straightforward. However, these have reduced fall rates by quite a bit.

4. Do a Wheelchair Tour

People really hate this suggestion, and we sometimes don’t offer it because it is such an awkward conversation. We often send people this piece about creating a wheel chair accessible home. It is difficult to get people to take a wheelchair tour of a home they are designing, but when we can, we ask them to get a wheelchair and go into every room of their current home. It is a really good hueristic that you can’t truly understand until you feel how narrow doorways are, halls, and the room between furniture.

If you can think through this possibility while in the design phase, and then design the whole house with this in mind, it is easy for us to make a home just seem grand that meets ADA requirements, as opposed to just a home with wide doors and hallways.