Cliff May, an architect in California, designed the first ranch home about 60 years ago. It was patterned after Spanish farmhouses. Design K-37 is a modern ranch with a very formal facade. A design firm from Atlanta -- where classical homes are popular -- created Design K-37.
Although Design K-37 is designed for a warm climate, it can be adapted to chillier regions. Ask a designer to create a coat closet near the front hall, as well as a secondary linen closet for comforters and flannel sheets.
Design K-37 is a move-up home. Designers often use certain amenities to communicate a sense of luxury in move-up homes. One is an eye-popping closet in a master bedroom. The closet shown here is none too impressive considering the size of this home. If you give up the sitting area in the master bedroom, though, you could have two walk-in closets. Other common luxury amenities are a three-car garage (as seen here) and -- if a home is two-story -- a staircase with extra design details.
With some structural changes and the help of a designer, you could gain usable space above the family room in Design K-37. You might have to forgo high vaulted ceilings downstairs, though. To achieve an airy look without vaulting, consider using flat (or stepped) nine-foot ceilings.
Two secondary baths (albeit lacking a linen closet) in Design K-37 is a great idea. It reduces bottlenecks in the morning and gives guests more privacy. This reminds me of the results of a recent survey conducted at a Canadian exhibit about the history of the flushing toilet: of the more than 13,000 people who attended the exhibit, 4,668 preferred their toilet paper rolled off the top, while 8,654 said they like their toilet paper rolled off from underneath. Know what that means? If three Canadians move into Design K-37, one of the bathrooms will have toilet paper rolling off the top.
It's fun to look at a plan and wonder how it will live when real people -- with their quirks, preferences and winter coats -- move inside. Before buying any plan, always evaluate how well it accommodates your personal reality. If this is difficult for you to do, consider hiring an independent plan consultant who can spot pros and cons before you build or buy.
(To receive a copy of Emily's 32-page booklet, "Getting the House Plan You Want," please send $4.95 (includes postage) to HPR Services, P.O. Box 1143, Reidsville NC 27323.)
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