I think you could tinker with Design J-89, reduce its size on the main floor by almost 100 square feet and not sacrifice a single amenity. That's because there's excess space in the long bedroom hall, the entry and the kitchen of this appealing home.
Don't eliminate these essential features. Just make them more efficient. You can do this with the help of a residential designer or architect, who can rework Design J-89 and still respect the copyright. How much money will you save? In many markets, construction costs are running $70-$100 a square foot. Eliminate 100 square feet, and you could save close to $7,000-$10,000, minus the fee for a redesign.
Design J-89 illustrates one simple way to save money when you build a home: Don't build more house than you need. Another way to save money is to buy the smallest lot you need, that will still afford privacy and value. Design J-89 is less than 50 feet wide. Although your community will probably require additional buffers of land (called "set-backs") between this home and its neighbors, you still won't need an enormous lot for Design J-89.
Like many narrow-lot designs, though, Design J-89 features a front-loading garage. If you have some extra width to your lot, load this garage from the side. Eliminating those front-facing bay doors will create a faade that welcomes people, not just their automobiles.
There's potential living space beneath the roof in Design J-89. You already have roof dormers and an interior stairwell, so why not use the second story by asking your contractor to add a bonus room?
A bonus room upstairs will provide extra storage, as well as play or home office space, at about half the cost per square foot as space downstairs. Sure, it will cost a little more (remember, you saved money by eliminating some wasted space downstairs?) and will probably require a deeper roof pitch and necessary structural support. However, a usable second floor will qualify Design J-89 for the "move-up" league a lot faster than an oversized entry will.
(For a free list of more than 50 web sites featuring thousands of house plans, please contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org or at House Plan Review Services, P.O. Box 1143, Reidsville NC 27323.)
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