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Nate Seppala
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Nate Seppala

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What Design Elements Make a Small House Plan Feel Big?
Several factors contribute to the popularity of small house plans in the U.S. For context, let’s remember that today’s average home is still much larger than the typical American home in the 1970s. Indeed, in 2010 the average new home was 44 percent larger than the average home in 1973. Still, heating costs, environmental concern, limited access to credit and shifting lifestyles are pushing many buyers to seek smaller home plans.
A smaller home has a smaller carbon footprint and therefore requires fewer natural resources for heating, cooling and other daily living requirements. Some homebuyers are looking at the eco-friendliness side of this equation; others simply want to save money on heating and cooling. A larger home of more than 3,000 square feet in size is much more expensive to heat than a compact cottage.
At the same time, many Americans are so saddled with debt that they’re loath to take out more credit than is necessary. A larger home typically requires a larger credit line. (This is one reason average home size actually decreased during the height of the recession from 2008 to 2010.)
Finally, lifestyle changes have shifted Americans’ square footage desires. As we age, we tend to need less space. The National Association of Home Builders’ annual “What Home Buyers Really Want” study has revealed that buyers under 35 years of age want an average of 2,494 square feet, while those “better than” 65 seek just 2,065 square feet in their small house plans.
If you’re planning to design a smaller home, you should recognize that less square footage doesn’t have to feel smaller. Here are some of the design choices that will make any home live large:
Vaulted ceilings. Vaulted ceilings make any room feel significantly larger. For a little extra flair, consider a barrel-vaulted ceiling, with a radius angle connecting the two roof planes. Or, for a truly magnificent effect, opt for a dome-vaulted ceiling. Whichever style of vaulted ceiling you choose, you’ll find the resulting space to be airy and spacious.
Open layout. Doorways and walls take up space, while an open floor plan reclaims it for you. With an open kitchen/dining/living area, even a small home plan can feel expansive. Plus, an open floor plan encourages togetherness among family members.
Indoor/outdoor connection. Nothing feels bigger than the great outdoors. Homes with strong indoor/outdoor connections naturally feel larger. Large windows with simple dressings will help create a good connection to the outdoors. Also, look for small house plans with sliding or French doors and built-in patio areas.
Clerestory windows. Any windows that are placed above eye level will lend a small home extra spaciousness. Throughout time, home designers have understood that high windows create excellent natural light to help make spaces appear larger. One design element to keep in mind: Clerestory windows won’t compromise your privacy.
Minimalism. Clutter is the enemy of spaciousness. To make your home feel bigger, opt for contemporary, minimalist design, and look for small home designs that include plenty of built-in storage.

www.midlinbuildersllc.com
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Nate Seppala

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Tips To Help You Choose Who to Build Your New Home
 
The key to a smooth, successful home building project is a great working relationship your builder and your design team. Home building is fraught with pitfalls – plans that change, issues with suppliers, approaching deadlines and more. These tips will not only help you choose professionals you can trust, but also show you how to build a strong relationship with them.
Consult with both the designer and the builder early on. When both designers and builders are a part of the project from the beginning, everyone can agree on priorities and long-term goals. This means less conflict later on, and more importantly, fewer changes that result in lost time and money.
Don’t make changes to the plans without consulting the designer. What seems like a minor detail to you or the builder may actually be a key element to the success of the design. Always include your design professional in the discussion.

Communication is key, and it isn’t so much about holding regular meetings, updating everyone with progress reports or staying in constant contact via phone or email. Rather, it’s about choosing a builder who communicates desired changes with the designer before construction starts.

Choose professionals not for the price, but for their professionalism and understanding of your goals. When sub-par builders cut corners, it’s often because they take the decision-making into their own hands so that they can make their jobs easier and make sure that their quoted costs work. Sub-par designers, on the other hand, often produce designs that don’t include some of the details that builders need to produce the final home. Designers appreciate builders that consider all of the design elements that have been included and understand that there is a valid reason for each. Builders appreciate designers that have the time and organizational skills to deliver workable and thought-out construction drawings well in advance of construction.

A strained relationship between the future homeowner, and the general contractor benefits no one. Poor communication leads to mistakes and misunderstandings that end up costing thousands in labor and materials. Use these tips to help you build a strong relationship with the right professionals.
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What Design Elements Make a Small House Plan Feel BigWhat Design Elements Make a Small House Plan Feel Big? Several factors contribute to the popularity of small house plans in the U.S. For context, let’s remember that today’s average home is still much larger than the typical American home in the 1970s. Indeed, in 2010 the average new home was 44 p
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