Category Archives: Home and Garden

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House Plans – Prioritizing Requirements

House plans need a great deal of attention because there are some basic elements that are necessary inputs in a house plan and they cannot be missed. A basic knowledge about architectural guidelines and building plans will allow you to make a few initial sketches yourself. Even otherwise, making a rough plan of all the spaces you want to incorporate in a new home and consulting a professional architect ensures that the plans are of sound design and viable.

There are some basic design concepts and elements that are to be kept in mind while making a house plan. The primary factor that is a common element in most house plans is keeping in mind the ‘future’. Making provisions for changes in lifestyles must be upfront and enough space and viability placed on them. All these have to be considered within the space available with sufficient allocation for a garden or yard, children’s play area or just enough open space to chill out on a summer evening.
Some basic requirements regarding drawing up house plans include the following to be able to prepare a budget and see if it is alignment with your finances.

• Measuring the amount of space available for building
• Visualizing the plan vis-a-vis the number of floors
• Upfront flow of the house i.e. number of rooms and placing which room where in the house
• Children’s areas – keeping in mind they are going to grow up and need more space
• Parents or aged dependants
• Passageways
• Utility areas – includes storage areas like pantry, laundry, garden shed etc.
• Staircases
• Installation of green environment factors / eco friendly measures – rainwater saving, solar energy panels etc.
• Flexibility to rearrange rooms based on architect’s / builder’s inputs

The keyword in drawing up house plans is ‘priority’. Aspects like providing a strong foundation is very necessary even if the current plans do not include more than one or two storeys for now. Adding additional floors can be done later but the foundation is the ‘all important’ factor that all plans hinge on. Similarly, installation of energy savings measures and appliances should be done in the first phase. Prioritizing necessities helps sticking to budgeted expenses; slight variations notwithstanding. Add-ons that are not on ‘first priority’ can be added later provided your financial situation allows it but you should be able to manage fine without those, if necessary. It is one of the important things to remember.

The Process Of Getting House Plans

When you hire an architect to design your house the design process goes through a series of steps. Here are the steps:

Site analysis

The architect visits the site of construction and surveys it in order to come up with a plan. If you had a design in mind before, the professional will let you know whether it will look good on your location. The professional will also let you know the changes that you need to make to the original design.

Depending on the size and look of the plot, the architect will let you know where the doors, exit, fence and other amenities will be located.

Information gathering

Once the professional has visited the site he/she will research as much as he/she can about the constructions allowed in the area. The professional will research to know the designs, stories, amenities and materials allowed in the area. After finishing the research he/she will call you and let you know of the developments made.

Schematic design phases

This is the most recognized phases in the design of houses. The architect puts the house ideas into paper and draws the floors, elevations and other house features. To make it easy for you to understand how the house will look like, he/she creates 3D images.

To proceed to the next step, the professional presents the schematic drawings to you and you should thoroughly go through them and make the necessary changes.

After verifying the drawing, the architect now develops permit documents. The professional refines the drawings and puts everything into place. The professional also puts together a team of consultants. The consultants are composed of engineers who offer advice on the materials needed to make the house.

The architect puts together the final document and presents it to you. After you have verified them and given the go ahead, he/she submits them to the county government in order to get the building permit.

Construction

Once you have the building permit you can now start constructing the house. If you don’t have a contractor in mind the professional will help you in finding one.

When the construction is progressing, the architect will be regularly visiting the site to ensure that the construction is going according to plan.

Conclusion

These are the steps that an architect follows to come up with a great looking house plan. To ensure that your plan is excellent and professional, you should ensure that you hire a certified professional.

Go Green! All You Need to Know About Getting Environment Friendly

Considering the rising global temperature and the soaring costs of consuming electricity, people have embraced the fact that saving our natural resources for the future is the need of the hour. With the ever-changing environment around us, it’s imperative to be ecologically mindful and dynamic. It’s significantly more imperative when you consider the amount of money you can spare by building a green home. The strategies and ways you can change your home from a huge consumer of natural resources into something environment-friendly are straightforward and basic ideas. All that you can consider with a specific end goal to spare energy can be executed by an expert builder.

Cutting expense in necessary

With a specific end goal to have a productive green home, you should have the capacity to cut expenses when required. This implies utilizing less power and attempting to dispense with the items that negatively affect the earth. Despite the fact that it’s undeniable that there are numerous practical approaches to become environmentally viable, some of them are frequently overlooked. Here are a few of the top reasons why you ought to become green:-

  • You can take out the anxiety that accompanies paying high month to month bills.
  • Sparing cash for different things such as excursions, events and trips.
  • Lessening your carbon impression.
  • Empowering others in your family to spare energy by wiping out the utilization of particular things amid peak hours (keeping pace with what your energy provider has laid out).
  • You can use your savings to do whatever you want.

Eco-homes are on the ascent. The effect of ordinary constructed homes, wasteful structures and non-renewable assets is degrading biological systems, conduits, air quality and the strength of people and animals around the world. Engineers, developers, manufacturers and retailers are offering their services to meet the ever increasing demand for properties which are not conventional.

A few individuals surmise that practicing environmental awareness can be an excessive or troublesome endeavour. In any case, there are such a large number of various strategies that individuals run which can offer you some assistance with saving both money and the exertion that goes into making a broad, environmentally friendly energy plan for your home. Some of these techniques are regularly overlooked by individuals who make energy efficient plans since they are just so straightforward and disregarded. These techniques are:-

  • Powering off any lights or apparatuses when you don’t use them.
  • Purchasing just recyclable holders and reusing plastics for nourishment stockpiling.
  • Having safe and environmentally friendly choices for things such as amusement. Diminishing the overutilization of the TV or the Internet is likewise an awesome approach to saving up on costs.

A Guide On Duplex House Plans

A duplex is a structure where two house units share the same central wall. In some cases the duplexes are designed to share a vertical wall. Although, the house is designed to accommodate two households, its size is that of a regular house.

During the design stage, each housing unit has its own driveway, garden, entry and all the other features that a house needs to be self sufficient.

Building plans

There are two main plans that you can go for:

Two stories: it’s also known as the full duplex design. Here you have a structure that is two stories in height. The plan has entrances on both the front and back of the building. Inside, the first floor will have the common rooms such as kitchen, den, dining room, bathroom and living room. The second floor is designed to serve as the area for bath and bedrooms.

Half duplex: from its name, this is plan that doesn’t have a second floor. Just like the full duplex, there are two entrances: back and front. There are some creative architects who design the house to have side entrances instead of the traditional back entrances.

Getting the duplex house

You can buy an already constructed house or construct one yourself. To make the decision on the best plan to go with you need to know your needs. For example, if you are single or only living with your spouse you don’t need to have a large house-the half duplex is enough for you. On the other hand if you are living as a large family you need to have a large house and the full duplex is a good choice.

If you are constructing your house you should hire an architect to design it for you. The cool thing with constructing your house is that you can customize it to be different from the traditional duplex houses. You should do your research and ensure that the architect you are working with is experienced and has worked on other related projects before.

You should note that duplexes aren’t allowed in all areas. If you are interested in only constructing a duplex house you need to consult with the local authorities to find out if duplexes are allowed in the area.

Conclusion

Duplex houses are great investments and if you have some money there is no reason you shouldn’t invest in them. To give your houses a unique look you should work with an architect with the ability of coming up with interesting designs.

Everything You Need To Know About South Facing House Design

A south facing house plan is believed to make you feel relaxed and be financially strong. When designing this house you should ensure that the door is situated in the south or at the 4th Pada of the south direction. The reason for this is because there is a strong believe that when the door faces south, it’s a sign of good omen.

You should ensure that the master bedroom and the over-head tank are located on south west corner. When designing the master bedroom you should be cautious that you don’t compromise the space for the front elevation design.

You should leave enough open space in the east and north sides. You should avoid leaving a lot of space in the south as it’s a sign of bad things. You should also avoid constructing a septic tank, water sump, garden or porch in the southwest direction.

Some of the best things to construct in the southwest direction is the office or shop. Locating the two in this direction is a sign that you will prosper and improve your financial situation as a proprietor. When designing the shop or office you should ensure that the south wall is much taller than the north wall. This is to bring in better results.

When it comes to the septic tank, you should construct it on the northern side of your house. To avoid contamination you should ensure that the septic tank is 15 feet away from water sump or borehole.

To avoid bad luck, the staircase should face south, west, southeast or northwest corner of your house. It should never be in the northeast corner of the house.

More things you need to do

If you are yet to buy a plot you should buy one that slopes from south to north. If you don’t know the directions of the area you should ask your architect to help you out.

You should locate the kitchen in the south-east or north-west corner. When cooking, you should face towards east or west.

If you like having a garden you should locate it in the southwest corner. You can plant trees in this direction, but you should ensure that they aren’t too tall covering your house.

Conclusion

As you have seen, there are many tips you need to consider when designing a south facing house. To get ideal results you should work with a certified and experienced architect.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Residential House Plans

A residential house is any facility that is designed for living-not business. The house ranges from a one bedroom house to an apartment building with hundreds of units. While the houses are of different sizes and come in different designs, there are a number of common factors that you should consider when coming up with the right design for your property. Here are some of the factors:

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is your way of living. Before you choose a given plan you need to consider the size of your family, occupation, presence of handicapped people, and the number of people you expect to be visiting you. For example, if you have a large family and you like working from home, you will not only need to have a large house with large rooms, you will also need to have many rooms that you can convert into an office.

Budget

How much are you planning on spending on the house? You should sit down with your architect and come up with designs that won’t cost you a lot of money. The design of the house greatly determines the amount of money that you will spend in the long run. Complex designs are by default more costly.

Government regulations

It’s not uncommon to find regulated residences. The regulations limit you on the size and type of house that you can construct in an area. The cool thing is that many architects will let you know of any regulations in the area. If the professional is unsure of the regulations, it’s upon you to research and find out.

Topography

This is the physical appearance of the natural and artificial features of an area. These features include: soil, rocks and other features. The architect should guide you on the design of the house after visiting the construction site. From observation and tests, the professional should know how deep the foundation can be and how important features such as drainage systems will work.

Conclusion

To have a good design of your residential house you need to pay a lot of attention to the architect you hire. As rule of thumb you should ensure that the professional has a degree or Masters degree in architecture. You should also ensure that the professional is certified by the relevant regulatory body.

While you can find good architects by doing local online searches, the best and easiest way of finding a great professional is through referrals from friends and relatives. This way you not only know the professional side of the architect, you will also know his/her character.

Make Sure You’re Hiring Trustworthy Builders to Work on Your Home

Your house is the most important space to you. Your builders and project planners should know and respect that when they enter your home to work on it for you, and should make every effort to make you feel secure in what they are doing to create a high quality end product.

A Cowboy builder doing a botched job is every home owner’s nightmare, leading to disruption leaking into every part of your life. Keep your home and family safe and coy with reputable builders, here are some tips in choosing and checking a builder’s reputation.

Before you hire a Builder

Be wary of unrealistically low or fast estimates – an attractive price will grab anyone’s interest, but if you’ve planned your build properly you’ll have a rough idea of how much the work should cost, incorporating materials and labour. An estimate too much lower than this should definitely be looked into, where is the saving being made? Is it true that some smaller companies who don’t earn over the yearly threshold don’t have to pay tax, so some smaller quotes may be accounted for by that, though an honest smaller company will always be forthcoming with information of this kind. Don’t be afraid to ask about quotes too far above your original plan too – were your original plans not inclusive of certain aspects of the build? Or are there some parts of the budget that are unaccounted for?

A Reluctance to write down a Quote or Schedule – Having a quote in writing is a contract between you and the builders, outlining an intention to keep to the planned works. Of course, if the build comes across some issues that are not the builders’ fault and you discuss any additional or reduced amounts of work with them, this can change, but make sure to have the changes written and signed too. If a builder or contractor refuses any written confirmation of estimates, it’s an opportunity to mess you around. You are well within your rights to insist on a written estimate from anyone you are employing to work on your house. Make sure that all materials and jobs are listed on a broken down quote that covers all work you want done.

Look out for an unwillingness to disclose contact details – Refusing to give a last name and contact number, or the information of their project manager is not reassuring but some disreputable builders will dodge the question by insisting that they do not have to disclose this information. This is not true, you have the right to request enough information to check the builder or building company’s history including any declarations of bankruptcy and court cases. Withholding contact details and open information about the company points to a reluctance to be looked up.

Beware of paying upfront or in cash – Again, some builders who work a limited number of hours and have a yearly income of less than the taxable threshold may not need to pay tax and so are able to ask for payment in cash. However, builders and companies should be forthcoming with this information, and any larger companies should be paying tax. Asking for a cash payment may be a sign that they are dodging tax, and could point to them cutting corners elsewhere. Paying upfront requires a huge amount of trust, money is needed to buy materials to carry out the building work of course, so be prepared to be asked for money early in the process for that, but paying in full before any work has begun isn’t a practice attributed to most trustworthy builders, beware of construction workers and companies who ask for this.

Can you always get in touch with them? – If you’re having trouble contacting the builder or company before work begins, what’s to stop them disappearing during the job? This is a common complaint from victims of cowboy builders, that the work begins and then stops, leaving the site in a disruptive state of disarray that has a tremendous effect on both lives and bank balances. Look for a company with a website showcasing previous work that checks out under investigation, testimonials and references, full contact details and, above all, a company or builders who are easy to get in touch with and trace.

Be wary of unnecessary changes to your planned work – Experienced and creative teams with ideas for home improvement that fits in with your own vision is a wonderful addition to your project. However, if every aspect of the planned work is not up for debate and your contracted builders are changing your designs, this could be a method of trying to upsell you something you don’t want. Another method of scamming more money out of you is finding mysterious problems with the house, materials or designs and asking for more payment to fix these ghostly issues. This is a fine line to tread, as there may indeed be issues that were unknown to you before now, so if you are unsure about advice you’re being given, don’t be afraid to get a building surveyor in to take a look and a second opinion.

If you are unsure about the builders or contractors working in your home at any point, trading standards are easy to contact and quick to respond to queries, do not hesitate to call them.

Advantages of Natural Stone Cladding

Stone cladding is a method of covering the walls using synthetic or natural stone veneers. Everyone wants the latest happening thing, whether it is a smartphone or natural stone veneers! Trends never die as new products are invented pushing older ones to oblivion. People tear down old looks and install hyped products, bringing luxury to their homes forcing others to follow the trend to avoid looking out of touch. For those with budget constraints natural stone cladding is the smart renovation option that saves money and beautifies homes too.

Stones are not only beautiful construction materials, but also investments as they enhance the resale value of your home. You may be surprised that even tenants look for homes with modern amenities and trendy designs. However, using natural stone veneers excessively is also not advised as they make your home look crowded. Installing only where they are required is a sensible option which saves time, money, and also makes your home look exquisite.

Stone claddings help you access luxury at lesser cost and keep up with the times. Here are some advantages that go along with these revamping materials.

Protection from weather

Constructions made of concrete are vulnerable to the action of environmental agents such water, heat, and microorganisms. Covering the walls using stone veneers shields your wall from degrading agents and makes it look exquisite.

Beautify walls affordable

Numerous color combinations and features make stone veneers the attractive choices for homes. Stone wall clads are an inexpensive way to give your walls, the most beautiful revamp.

Heat resistance

Natural stones absorb radiation and release them gradually, keeping the room temperature constant, helping you avoid dependence on room heaters. When used outdoors, they resist temperature well and remain strong for years.

Non-porous

Stone cladding are non-porous materials which protect your walls against attacks of environmental agents, thus enhancing the life of your walls.

Man-made

Stone cladding are composites of stone pieces glued together as tiles. Stone claddings can also be man-made, usually of concrete, resembling the looks of materials such as wood, stones, ceramic, etc.

Easy customizable

Unlike stone, tiles are easier to cut and customize, saving you of troubles of heavy cutting work.

Light on walls

Stone tiles are heavy and many times not viable options for old buildings. In earthquake prone zones they are not advisable the construction becomes vulnerable to damage and are lighter with look good as well.

Enhances life

By protecting your wall against moisture and degrading agents, natural stone veneers add years to your construction.

Low cost

Cheaper compared to stones, but they are in no way less attractive.

Stone cladding is the latest trend among home owners that is sure to stay for some time. These are cost-effective ways to transform your home with little efforts and money. They enhance the life of your home and are safe options for constructions in vulnerable zones.

Tips for Choosing the Right Layout for Your New Custom Home

When designing a custom home for you and your family, there is a huge variety of options to choose from, which can be exciting but also sometimes overwhelming. One of the most important parts of your design is deciding on a floor plan for your property, so here are a few tips on settling on a final design for this.

Of course, it is important to find both a good architect and a good custom home builder, both of which will be able to provide you with advice tailored to your specific needs and tastes. Discovering your own needs and preferences first, however, can help both with the conception of the design and also in the finalization of all the details.

The first thing that you should do is to think about your specific needs when designing the floor plan of the home. This can be a lengthy and difficult process, so the best thing to do is break your brainstorming down into several steps.

You can start by thinking about how many rooms you need, the size of the rooms and where they should be positioned in relation to each other. Without settling on any specifics, you will be able to get a broad idea of what you need, and then be able to play around with the final design.

It is important to consider the future of your home too; many people who design custom homes forget that their family might expand, or that their home will need to be adapted for any aging individuals living in the property.

If you are part of an expanding family, think about having extra bedrooms in place for new family members. You may also need to have spare rooms in place for guests that come on a frequent basis. For those with potential decreased mobility, having space to install mobility equipment can be an important consideration to make.

Space is also a big factor. You may require a large master bedroom or a large living area, or instead prefer living in smaller-sized, cozier place. In regards to room positioning, you many want all the bedrooms to be close together, or have children’s bedrooms placed far from the adults’ ones. Think carefully about all of these different factors.

It is important to remember that, when building custom homes, budget is often the only real limit that you have, but that this will come in to play sooner or later and you will need to compromise. If you enjoy having a lot of space and want a big home, then you may need to compromise on some things elsewhere, such as decoration and finishes.

On the other hand, you may want to spend your money on finishing the interior of your property with luxurious and high quality furnishings. Make sure that you account for these in your design and build budget, and be prepared that layout-wise you may have to compromise on the perfect interior space.

Another important aspect of your home layout is where all your items of furniture will go, as well as appliances such as washing machines, stoves, sinks, bathtubs and much more. If you are struggling to imagine what each room should look like, look through home design magazines to get an idea of what your ideal living room, bathroom or bedroom will look like.

This can help you narrow down a few ideas to work with when you are putting your plan together. You may see a stunning open kitchen/dining room space that you want to replicate and then find it much easier to place all your other rooms around this one centerpiece.

These are just a few tips to help design your new property. Do not forget, however, that there are many professionals specialising in custom homes – from architects to custom home builders – who are knowledgeable and eager to help you in your choices and decisions.