Today's world is paying closer attention to home designs that include some form of green elements to help protect our planet. That might mean that house plans are prepared to make the home totally constructed from renewable or recycled resources, or partially so. It can also mean that great attention is paid toward making it highly energy efficient. Then there are those homes that combine all the above and are fully self-sufficient.
Energy efficiency is the most desirable aspect of any home designs these days, whether the homes are created from the most environmentally friendly materials or not. House plans are being drawn up to include the most beneficial levels of insulation, and the designs themselves take into consideration the best flow of heat and air. Even the appliances placed in these homes are selected for their energy efficiency.
Homeowners often request that contractors use recycled materials so that they get the look and feel they are after while at the same time saving trees. Eco-friendly materials can be used throughout the home and that does not have to stop with those members that hold the house together. Even the counter tops used in kitchen and bath can be made of paper stone and other materials that have been repurposed to mimic the look of granite.
It is the appliances, such as washers, dryers, air conditioners, stoves, refrigerators, and smaller electrical appliances that can make the most difference, and this is where home designs can make a big difference even when you are just refitting an older home. The most important label to look for would be the Energy Star label when it is time to purchase new appliance. Be sure to recycle you old ones if they are still working by giving them away or selling them at garage sales.
Furniture is another element in your home that should not be overlooked in design plans. Most people, when it is time to redesign the look of the home consider purchasing brand new furniture. That could mean that the older furniture will end up in the landfill. Buying new tables and chairs, desks, sofas, bureaus and other items can be very expensive, and we are talking about going green here after all.
When furniture is outdated or worn, it can actually be reworked to bring it back to like new quality. If it can be repainted or reupholstered why not give it a try. You already know it will fit in the room. It is even possible to reconstruct items by changing contours or adding different legs so that most items will have a new look.
Flooring is one of the most critical elements of any home designs. Here is where you can really go green with all the new materials that have been created for this purpose. Cork and bamboo are products that are well received by green activists, and they are just as if not more durable as other hard woods.
As a rule, it is not more costly to go green, and in fact in most cases it does save money.
You may have decided that, in order to get the house you've always dreamed of, the best idea is to hire a respected residential architect. However, you may have some reservations, especially as you think that you might not be able to understand the designer's jargon, in order to have meaningful conversations. While the architect has been trained to visualize spaces in 3 dimensions based on technical drawings, you may have some difficulty doing the same. Don't let these issues handicap the design process! Let me try to help out with some clarification of some of the terms you may encounter during your dealings with your architect.
Types of Drawings
As you go through the design process, your architect will present a variety of drawings to you, to present the design options. Some of these may make more sense to you than others, so here's a quick overview of the major drawing categories.
Plans - This is likely the most familiar drawing, as it presents a horizontal "map" of the spaces. Conceptually, imagine taking a building and slicing it right at about waist height, then looking down; that is what a Floor Plan is meant to show. A Reflected Ceiling Plan, on the other hand, imagines that the floor is covered with mirrors, so instead of looking down you're really looking up to see the ceiling features. One other plan type is the Site Plan, which shows the property and locates the new features, often demonstrating that Zoning rules such as a minimum setback or yard depth is being met.
Elevations - An elevation is close to what the building will actually look like, since it doesn't involve any conceptual slicing. Rather, it shows the building in a vertical plane, as though you were standing far away and viewing it with a telescope (in other words, without any distortion caused by perspective). In the real world, of course, we always view things in perspective, meaning that elements closer to us appear bigger than elements further away. Exterior Elevations show the outside of the building, while Interior Elevations show a limited portion of the interior (such as one wall of a living room where the fireplace sits).
Sections - Section drawings are somewhat like x-rays of a building, intended to show what is going on within the hidden spaces. Similar to how Plans are drawn by imagining a slicing of the building horizontally, Sections imagine a slice (usually vertical) happening wherever their "cut line" is, as represented on a Plan or Elevation. A Building Section will extend the cut line all the way across the building and show the entire width of it, whereas a Wall Section just cuts across a single wall to show how that wall is built.
Details - Details can usually fit into one of the above categories (Plans, Elevations, Sections) but they tend to show only a limited condition, at an enlarged scale so that more specific information can be presented.
Schedules (drawings) - While not as common for residential drawings sets, sometimes Schedules may be used to present information. In this sense, a Schedule has nothing to do with time, but rather it is a table or spreadsheet that lists a number of similar items. For instance, a Door Schedule will list each door and describe its qualities, such as what kind of hardware it will use, or its size. By doing so, this information does not have to appear on the other drawings. A Room Finish Schedule will describe the finish materials used on each wall, ceiling, and floor surface.
Schedules (construction) - Your architect will use the time or calendar sense of the term Schedule when discussing project timeframes, and will be able to work backwards from your targeted completion date to determine when the various phases of the Design Process (see below) need to be complete. If your architect also provides Construction Management services, then a more detailed Construction Schedule can be developed as well.
Renderings - This refers to a more artistic image which attempts to show the building as it will be experienced, often in 3D perspective and full color. As a non-technical drawing, it is of lesser value to your builder, but it will probably be the best way for you to envision the space. Renderings take time to produce, though, so ask your architect if you want to see one. In addition to static renderings, with computers a "fly-by" can be produced, which is a short video in which the camera moves around or through the building.
There are many phases to the design process, during which the expectations for the drawings presented will vary. You may be familiar with the notion of an architect sketching out some concept on a napkin while talking at a deli, but in the real world it takes a lot more detail than that before something gets built.
Master Planning - While not as common for residential architectural projects, this refers to a process of using estimated building sizes and other assumptions to lay out a guiding plan, usually for an entire site onto which multiple projects are going to be built. Because it is concerned with general configurations, buildings or rooms may be represented by single-line boundaries, and may not include doors and windows. The amount of detail is arbitrary, as too much detail can hinder the process at this stage.
If you are getting a renovation or an extension for your home, then this is a perfect opportunity to make your property more creative and more 'you'. When you get an extension you can really make your home into your own, and you can really experiment with different looks and things that you might otherwise not have been able to have. By getting either, you are making your home completely unique and you are making it more than ever into an extension of you and your personality.
The problem though is that many people don't take full advantage of this and don't exploit the opportunity to make something really unique. Instead they'll just make one of their rooms a little longer, or they'll just add on a guest room - which really is a terrible waste. Here then we'll look at some more inspiration for your more creative additions to your home.
There are many additional rooms you can get for your home that would be more unique and exciting than just a guest room. For instance if you've always wanted a home gym or a study, then here is your opportunity. Likewise if you want to make a space for a walk-in wardrobe then why not just go ahead and do it? Or you could even make something that only you would want - for instance if you like carpentry then why not have a room for carpentry? If you love sea life then why not have a scenic 'aquarium' type room? Don't be a slave to convention - think about what your dream home would have and then actually build it.
Looking online for inspiration is a great way to come up with ideas for quirky and exciting rooms that you will really use. For your kids you could have a ball pool and some soft shapes and recreate an indoor playground for them, or if you work from home then you could have an office pod - a small glass office that lives at the bottom of your garden and that will give you somewhere to work that's away from the chaos in the home.
Where to Extend
If you are extending or adding rooms then there are lots of different places you can add them. You don't only have to extend into your garden - you can also extend onto your patio at the front or even upwards in order to add an upstairs if you're a bungalow, or to increase the size of the second floor if you have some spare roof. And why not even go one step further and go from a two story house to a three story house? Or at least two story and a loft conversion?
Shape and Layout
Likewise the shape and the layout of your rooms can also be more original than just the standard square or rectangle most people go for. Could you benefit from having doors to the garden and a terrace in your bedroom? Or a small space at the end of the room where you could sit and work at a desk? Speak with your designers and let your imagination fly, you'll be surprised what's possible!
Different types of architectural house plans are available online. Make sure you have a clear idea of these before buying a home. Read on to find out more about different home styles.
Several architectural styles are present in houses. Some of these may draw inspiration from the past, ranging from Victorian to modern designs. Some builders, however, may consider regional attributes, owner's personal tastes, and floor plans online when it comes to designing the overall appearance of the home. Floor plans may also vary on the style of the property. Here are some home styles you might want to know:
These properties became popular during the Industrial revolution, as builders began using new materials and technologies to create luxurious houses. Ornamental parts also became low-cost, as mass production and transit became available. Victorian homes have distinctive accessories from different eras, usually coming from the 18th and 19th centuries.
These properties often have large protruding bay windows that come in hexagonal or octagonal shapes. These also have intricate gables and rooflines, which sets it apart from other home styles. Several Victorian homes also have arches and painted windows, which resemble medieval home styles. Other variations also became popular, including the Tudor designs that feature stuccos or stone architecture.
The interiors of these properties are often grand. You will find Victorian home plans detailed with heavy golden mirrors, marble fireplaces, and smooth plastered walls. Colors may also range from light to darker tones, depending on the home's design.
Originating from 19th century India, these medium-sized homes often feature a one-story floor plan with a wide veranda. Bungalows are ideal for people with impaired mobility, as the home has no stairs between living spaces. These also offer more privacy compared to two-story homes. Builders often plant trees and shrubs to block the home from outside view.
Bungalows often have low-pitched gable roofs, overhanging eaves, spacious front porch, supporting columns, brick walls, and fireplaces. Many people choose this style from online floor plans because of its cozy and eco-friendly designs.
Architects describe the interiors of bungalows as spacious. These properties usually have open floor plans, which allows easy traffic and efficient use of space throughout the home. Decorations may range from vibrant to darker tones, depending on the owner's preference. Bungalows, however, do not possess the same grandeur as Victorian homes have.
Colonists who came to America brought different architectural traditions and cultures with them. Using available materials, colonial builders constructed homes that will meet the landscape and climate of the new country. This led to the construction of colonial homes.
These homes usually have symmetrical exterior columns that support the roof. Although the initial models have wooden exteriors, builders began using available resources like stone and brick to construct more stable colonial homes. Colonial home styles from every region may have different designs, ranging from French to Spanish architecture. Their interior designs are also comparable to Victorian homes. Some of these may have smooth marble floors, chimneys, and walls. Colonial homes may also come as a single or multi-story property.
Choosing a home style
Choose the home style carefully, whether you are a veteran or a first-time buyer. Consult architects or builders about architectural house plans. Obtain a floor plan that features photos, colors, and descriptions of the property's exterior and interior. Consider your tastes when choosing a home design. Think of the location of the property-make sure it can withstand the climate and landscape conditions.