Living in small home designs doesn’t mean it has to feel that way. It also doesn’t mean that the house has to look small either. I had a client to tell me that they wanted a ranch house, but wanted it to look like a two-story house. The statement was funny, but I understood what my client was trying to convey to me. Basically, the couple wanted the coziness of a one story home with the look and feel of a two-story home. So how do you go about doing it?
From a design stand point, you would have to manipulate different elements of the exterior and interior of the house plans to achieve this goal. This involves forward thinking of the floor plan layout as well as the style or styles of architecture the designer will employ. Once the desired home style is determined, you can then begin the floor plan concept. The two have to work harmoniously otherwise the design will look awkward.
On the exterior, you have there primary options in which to utilize. You can increase the roof pitch to add more height to the overall building. Anything above a 7:12 roof pitch will present a large girth. The second option is to play with wall heights. Having 10 foot, 12 foot, or 14 foot tall walls can break up the monotony of a single level building quite nicely if done sparingly and in-line with the styles of architecture you are mimicking. The third exterior option is to use tall windows to break up the horizontal lines. By doing so it allow your eyes to travel vertical giving you a sense of height.
The interior of small home designs are indirectly affected by what happens on the exterior. You are still afforded several options there as well though. One huge option is ceiling treatments. With one-story house plans there are no rooms above and all you have is attic space. This gives you the opportunity to include tray ceilings or vaulted ceilings giving you more interior height. A second interior option would be to design the house using an open floor plan concept. Minimize the use of non-load bearing walls to let rooms flow more freely. It also allows for more natural light to enter the home too. In conjunction with the second option, the third option includes minimizing the number of rooms in a small house. Nothing makes a home more congested than small, choppy, and dysfunctional rooms. Outside of bedrooms, make your living areas as large as the design will allow and consider making some of the spaces multi-purpose.
Using these techniques, anyone can make small home designs look and feel bigger. It all starts with the design of a good set of house plans.
Professional Building Designer and owner Design Evolutions Inc., GA, specializing in residential design. Visit online at http://www.designevolutions.com
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