Part IV: What are the most popular floorplan features?
One of the most popular questions that people ask when searching for that “perfect” house plan is “What are (currently) the most requested floorplan / home features that people are looking for”?
This particular question is one that is quite difficult to answer, in absolute terms, since each person/family can be in a completely different stage of life (senior vs. younger, families vs. individuals, etc), can have different livability needs, and can have incredibly diverse tastes in home style, building materials, etc.
As such, I’ll try to provide you with several general trends, as they are, for today’s current crop of stock house plan.
#1: Livability – The first key feature is that of Livability. Today’s home buyer/builder wants a homeplan that fits the way that they conduct their daily lives. For many younger families, that can mean a re-purposing of a formal dining room into a children’s play area or much-needed home office.
Another livability enhancement might be that of incorporating an open floorplan layout that better facilitates the interaction and close relative proximity of the family unit. Large amounts of storage space and large walk-in closets are also a feature that most home buyers are looking for in their next house.
#2: Floorplan Flexibility – Many of the more progressive stock plan design firms have realized the inherent need of floor plan flexibility, and have met those needs by including a number of multi-use type spaces in their floorplans, including flex-spaces and bonus rooms.
Generally speaking, a “flex-space” is exactly as its name implies. A flexible-space which can be used for a purpose most needed by the individual / family living in the house at the current time. The room’s function might change over time, due to the family’s current needs, but typical uses include an children’s playroom, home study, extra storage, and/or an extra bathroom.
Conversely, a “bonus room” is usually created (by designer’s intent) due to an inherent feature of the particular design style. For example, a house with a traditional style might utilize a relatively high-pitched gable over the garage area of the home. The “unused” space created by the gable and the relative location of the “bonus space” in the overall floorplan, can create a usable space that, if appropriately accessible via stairs in the floorplan layout, can create a extremely useful livable space, which would ordinarily have been included as part of the attic.
This type of space represents a extremely good value in a price per square foot regard, as its relatively inexpensive to additionally build since the core structure of the space has already been built (the floor via the roof of the garage, and the ceiling via the vaulted interior roof of the house).
#3: Split-Floorplan Layout – There are two basic types of floorplan layouts, which are primarily differentiated through their inherent treatment of the master bedrooms suite vs. other bedrooms vs. public space (i.e. great room, den, kitchen, etc.).
The first type of floorplan layout is a traditional layout whereby the master bedroom/suite is usually located on the same side of the house as the other bedrooms. The logical grouping of the home’s bedroom spaces, within a relatively-contiguous location in the floorplan, lends itself to several different design styles of homes, and may be an alternative for particular groups of home-owners, including families with infants / small children and/or retired couples with little need for multiple bedrooms, who utilize the extra space as a small home office which is conveniently located.
Both the primary advantage and disadvantage of this type of layout relate to the location of the master bedroom vs. other bedrooms. For example, if you prefer more privacy in the master suite OR you have teenage/college children in the house OR “name your specific condition here…”, the traditional floorplan layout would probably not be the best choice for you.
Alternatively, the split-floorplan layout addresses the shortcomings of the traditional layout by physically separating the master suite from the other bedrooms, and many times, from the more highly-trafficked public areas such as the kitchen, great room, and eating area. It is this feature that has made the split-floorplan layout increasingly popular with today’s home buyers.
The primary advantages of this type of layout is that of its relative privacy and sound-deadening benefits that such a physical room arrangement can provide. The downside to this floorplan layout can be that it is sometimes a little more difficult to implement in the home design, especially on narrow lots, since certain floorplan spaces and features only lend themselves to positioning in a relatively small number of locations in the home.
For example, a foyer is normally located off the front of the house…the great room is usually (though not always) positioned in the rear center of the house to provide views of the property….the additional bedrooms are usually located in close-proximity to one another since they normally share bathrooms, etc, etc..
The combination of all these type items increase the complexity of developing a solid split-floorplan house plan design that meet all of the livability features of today’s home buyer. Regardless of these type items, the split-floorplan layout continues to enjoy exceeding popularity with today’s group of stock homeplan purchasers.
#4: Ease-of-Maintenance – The relative time constraints of today’s family unit is at an all-time high. Many families now include two full-time working parents, additional outside work commitments, professional commitments, family commitments, and 2.5 children of varying ages. Time is a extremely precious commodity for which home maintenance is ranked right below doing your taxes and going to the dentist for a root canal.
Today’s homeowners want a home that is, not only, aesthetically pleasing and functional, but also includes modern building materials and design features that utilize the most current research developments and minimize the amount of maintenance (i.e. cleaning, painting, replacing, etc) needed over time.
One example of these type low-maintenance building materials is hardy board, which is a type of exterior covering similar, in look, to wood siding but made from an extremely durable concrete base. Hardy board/plank is the trade name for one brand of concrete fiber siding, however there are numerous other similar brands.
The product does not rot or deteriorate, and with proper installation and maintenance, appears to last for very long periods of time without deterioration. Additionally, the hardy board siding does need to be painted or re-finished, as any dirt, etc. can simply be washed away with minimal effort.
These type products can help to improve the quality of life of the home owners by minimizing the time and related costs associated with maintaining a home.
The floorplan trends and “most-requested features” listed in this article convey the general interests of today’s current stock house plan purchasers. It should be noted that certain parts of the country will include construction practices / demographic profiles / disparate geographical characteristics which is in stark contrast to those same characteristics evident in a different part of the United States.
In these instances, you can be assured that a designer has already developed a stock home plan design to fit your needs. A design that provides an excellent value, all the features, and a lower price than that of a fully-custom set of houseplans.