Design Your Own Home June 12, 2024

The Key – Home Floor Plan Design

Curb appeal – how the attractive, alluring, or captivating a house looks from the outside is a vital conern for many homeowners, but what can be surprising is how the floor plan is actually the key to the whole design. The spaces within the matrix and the use of those spaces is the driving force of a home floor plan design and the flat floor plan is the representation tool which is used to being the process.

Floor Plan Layout

When we being a design, we start with a flat floor plan layout based on our initial conversation with a new home owner. While things like bathrooms and bedroom counts, living spaces and kitchen elemensts are the most obvious, the circulation of how those spaces will fit together and within what configuration are the deciding factors that dictate how the exterior will look. Dress-ups like porches, stacked gables, or dormer styles do affect the exterior design but the driving force is really the floor plan behind the whole layout. The achitectural design concept of form-follows-function, meaning that the functions that will happen within a space, are the first thing to be determined.

Within a simple floor plan all door and window openings are noted as well as the sizes. While this may seem unremarkable, theses notations on the flat floor plan dictate how the exterior will look once the 3D house design is activated. AutoCAD is a 2-dimensional design program that allows only flat surfaces. While very accurate, it is more appropriate for technical drawings. AutoDesk did the design world a tremendous service when Revit was added to the design software. This program allows us to not only accurately portray a flat plan design, but then it allows us to activate the 3-dimensional aspect and plug in roof pitches, materials, door and window styles, colors, and so much more to translate that flat floor plan into 3D virtual reality.

3D House Design

3D house design software of today can even provide visual walkthroughs of a house, extrude the houses in layers removing or ‘hiding’ that layer to reveal what the structure looks like without the roof, or with only framing showing, or with a solidty showing rooms and walls while the roof is removed allowing a peek into the house before it ever leave the computer screen.

While all of these are fascinating to explore, how does this help the homeowner? The 3D home design first of all allows the home owner to have a much more informed idea of how the house will look upon completion. Secondly, it provides the level of detail that contractors need in order to provide accurate material, labor, and cost projections. Thirdly, it is often the required level of documentation that must be presented to homeowners associations and city or county officials to gain building permit approval.

Understanding the Floor Plan Designer Process

Taking the time to review a floor plan and really consider how the house fits together is such an important step. I can’t emphasize this enough. Sometimes owners are fixated on the exterior appeal that they don’t spend enough time examining and thinking through the floor plan. It can double the cost of the preliminary designs when an owner causally reviews the floor plan, agrees to move forward to the elevations, and then double back and want to change the floor plan extensively after the elevations have already been started. Taking the time to iron out changes first in the floor plan will make the design process much easier and more efficient than trying to see the 3D rendering and then go back and rework the floor plan.

Another key to understading the floor plan designer process involves a level of trust. Recently a homeowner hired us for a 1000 square foot vacation cabin placed on a walkout basement. The flat floor plan shows a broken staircase with a landing and three or four steps extending into the living area on the first floor. The owner questioned why a straight staircase could not be used. The answer is with the narrowness of the footprint of the cabin and the desired location of the staircase there was no way to fit it all into that space without breaking at a landing and turning the staircase. If a stright run staircase can be included either the stairs would have been too steep to meet code or they would have extended up and hit the person’s head on the floor rafters of the first floor subfloor. So if you see something that looks different than what you anticipated be sure to ask. There is probably a structural reason that something had to be modified.

Flat Floor Plan Design

So even if you find a flat floor plan design unengaging, still take the time to look at room sizes, how the spaces are located in relation to one another, and which direction the rooms face. If you don’t like to be awakened by the bright Montana sunlight streaming in the master bedroom window at 5 AM in the summertime, then maybe that bedroom should be moved elesewhere. Orientation of the house, surrounding elements like roadways, and sun exposure are things that impact the satisfaction of a house just as much as having enough bedrooms or a large enough kitchen. The floor plan designer has probably put more thought into your floor plan than you have. So take the time to insert yourself into that floor plan. Take a tape measure and meaure out rooms where you live and ask yourself if a space is too big or too small. And above all, don’t fall into the trap of focusing on the exterior elevations before being satisfied with the form-follows-function driven floor plan.

Venture Home Design