Design Your Own House Plans

When you have the opportunity to build a new home, the desire to design your own house plans goes along with that. For the last twenty plus years that I have been doing designing and drafting for both residential designs and for our sister company, Cowboy Log Homes, I don’t believe that anyone has ever ordered a stock plan exactly the way it is drawn. Why? Because each person is unique and with their own wants and needs that deserve to be reflected in a house design. Added to this are the site specific ramifications that have to be considered. The design for a house on a steep slope is different than the needs of those that are on a wide flat lot.

Problem: “I want to design my own home plans, but I don’t know how!”

Perhaps you have found yourself in this situation… you want to design your own home but paper and pencil, or a simple program like Microsoft Publisher allows you to drawn some lines, but this is far short of what you need to make working house plans. And what about wall thicknesses, clearances needed for bathrooms, widths of hallways, etc. Pretty soon you find yourself with lots of ideas but lacking an effective way to drawn them and without the knowledge of technical things like are listed above.

Solution: Hire a House Designer

Solution: The solution is to take time and draw out whatever ideas you have. Then come to me with those ideas and allow me to use my knowledge of building codes and my drafting software to take your floor plan layout and turn it into a custom home plan that meets your needs while also tailoring it to the job site conditions and situation.

The owners who take the time and invest some money up front for designing a custom home are by far happier with the final result, are armed with official looking documents that spell out both the aesthetics – how the home looks in both elevations, sections, and plans, and structure – the structural house design that supports the home that you are building. Then the owner can move forward with HOA approval, obtaining building permits, and getting costs from contractors.

Floor Plan Layout

From my experience, the best home plans start out with a floor plan. Deciding where things go, what rooms need to connect to other rooms, etc determine how the whole matrix will fit together. Sometimes I use a simple bubble diagram to do this. Taking circles, labeling them, and drawings lines between different areas creates a flow of the circulation which can aid in laying out the floor plan. One homeowner came to me with a square floor plan and said they liked it but they wanted a few changes. In the end the entire floor plan was redesigned. Choosing the general location of things like a great room and how the bedrooms attach to that main living space greatly dictate how the entire house will fit together.

For a main living area, many custom home designs that I have done focus on a central living area – AKA the great room. This living area is a combination of the traditional living room, dining room, and kitchen and is unsubdivided by interior paritition walls. This great room can be located on one end of the plan or in the center with wings opening to each side. In my opinion, the log home plans were very instrumental in introducing this idea and home layout to the residential construction world over the last 30 years.

Each time a start a custom home design I begin with a floor plan. The floor plan includes door and window locations. We work on modifying that floor plan until you are satisfied. Then I start on the outside elevations and incorporating a structure that can enclose that area effectively. The predetermined door and window locations greatly aid in the development of the exterior.

Designing Cost Concerns

If you have ever spoken with a licensed architect, you may have been shocked with the amount that they charge. Most recently I was quoted 8% of the total building cost. That is absorbanant. My design cost a fraction of that and I provide all the same services that the architect charges. I think it needs to be understood that a licensed architect is allowed to do high rise buidings, large commerical projects, etc. But you need a home designed, not a mega-mall. That is where I can assist. Often I charge a per square foot price instead of an overall cost. I also provide a plot plan, detailed material lists, and often can help you local a builder. And those are the same things that a builder charges $$$ for. I also bring 25 years of general contracting experience to the table with dirt-do-done residential projects. My designs are both practical and easy to build from, accurate and informed. Often owners tell me my work is better than an architect becuase of the practicality and first-hand job site experience that I bring to each project.

So if your desire to design your own home has led you to here, please reach out. We enjoy working with customers and seeing their ideas turned into reality and infusing those ideas with our years of construction experience to make a custom home that both resonates with your specific needs and the unique building location.

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