house plans tips from architect

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House Plans Tips


1. Make sure all rooms face the right direction according to the Sun path, privacy, and best lot views.

– Locate the main living area on the South-West to enjoy the sunset after work.  

– Place kitchen towards the East, so you can get the morning sunlight.

– Locate bedrooms in the most private side of your lot. Keep bedrooms away from the main living area to reduce noise and increase privacy. 


2. Keep an open floor plan with a kitchen on the side.

The living room and kitchen are the two most important rooms in the house. Make the entire living area as one open space, so the house would feel more spacious. In an open house floor plan, the light will flow further inside making the house much brighter. Keep the kitchen partly open to the living room, so you don’t see all the kitchen mess directly.


3. Kitchen layout.

Create the most efficient kitchen according to the food preparation sequence and eliminate wasted steps. The concept entails a triangle connecting your three main work areas in the kitchen: the refrigerator, the sink, and the range. Food preparation process: 

– Taking food out of the refrigerator

– Washing food in the sink

– Preparing food 

– Cooking

– Serving food


4. Higher ceiling in the living room – add clerestory windows.

Ceiling height is as important as the square footage. Make the main living area ceiling higher than the rest of the house. The main living area will feel more spacious and you could add clerestory windows for the sky view and the sunlight. Keep 10′ ceiling for all other rooms.


5. Protect house indoor air from garage pollution.

A house with an attached garage has much higher CO concentrations than homes without an attached garage. The mudroom is a great place to hang coats and leave dirty shoes but it also can be as a transitional area between polluted garage and the house.  Make sure your mudroom is well ventilated.

To Do:

– Add mudroom as a transitional area to stop garage air pollution.

– Seal up the shared house-to-garage wall. 

– Install an exhaust fan in the garage and mudroom.


6. Add separate garage storage room.

In the U.S. 9% of households currently rent a self-storage unit, out of which 67% live in single-family homes and only 27% live in apartments. People who live in single-family homes have a garage and 33% also have a basement in their homes. However, these people still need the extra storage space, so add one while building the house.

According to the National Association of Home Builders the average cost to build a home per square foot is $85.65. If 10’x10′ storage rent costs $1320 a year, then to build 10’x10′ garage storage would cost an additional $8565 which would pay off in 6.5 years.


7. Locate laundry closer to bedrooms – not garage.

The good house plan is all about functionality. To save your time, make a laundry accessible straight from your master closet and accessible from the hall for others. For two-story homes place your washer and dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms.


8. Make sure you have enough natural light and good natural ventilation.

To ensure daylight hits the whole room, there should be at least 20% of glazing per whole room floor area. Natural light cuts down on the need for artificial light and therefore can save energy. In the winter, warming sunlight can cut on heating costs. 

Natural ventilation must equal 5% of the floor area, which means that 5% of floor area windows you could open to ventilate the room. Keep in mind that natural ventilation reduces mildew and mold.


9. Add covered porch by the house side.

Spending between 120 to 179 minutes a week in nature or just being outside can lead to significant health benefits. This would include – improves blood pressure, improves your short-term memory, lowers stress, eliminates fatigue, helps fight depression and anxiety, improves the ability to focus.
To spend more time outside, build a covered porch or deck. Plant trees and flowers in your backyard to bring a nature feeling. Take your daily activities outside such as reading a book or eating dinner after work.

Locate covered porch on the side of your house, so the living room windows are not shaded. In this case, the living room would have more natural light and will be brighter inside.

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