In the mid-19th century, farmhouses in the United States numbered in the millions.
However, as developers built subdivisions on farmland, these homes began to disappear steadily from the landscape. Today, there's a resurgence of interest in farmhouse style. The irony is that original farmhouses are sometimes torn down to make way for modern copies like Design K-44.
Design K-44 has some welcome updates, such as a two-car garage, built-in closets and indoor plumbing. The garage might not be updated enough, though, since it's barely deep enough to comfortably accommodate SUVs and longer automobiles, especially if you keep other gear in the garage.
About 10 years ago, I built a house with a similar-sized garage and held my breath while a prospective buyer inched her luxury car into the garage bay. She had very little space to spare. Even a foot or two more of depth would make a difference here.
The kitchen is modern in Design K-44, but not very highly evolved. There is little storage for jumbo items, turkey platters and crock pots. For a house this size, the cramped kitchen in Design K-44 is disappointing. It also is closed off completely from the great room by a dividing wall. Resist the temptation to remove this wall, though. It supports the upstairs floor and provides a spot for the TV to go in the great room.
Our great-grandparents generally didn't have great rooms with vaulted ceilings. However, we expect more drama in our homes today. We pay a price, though, in wasted space and heating bills. If vaulted ceilings are not your style, consult with a building designer or architect to re-design K-44 with nine or 10-foot ceilings that are more typical of many older farmhouses.
If privacy is important to you, the location of toilets next to front porch windows may not be very appealing. Imagine visitors ringing the doorbell, not getting an answer, and doing the all-too-human thing: peeking in the windows to see if anyone is at home and beholding a startled homeowner who is otherwise indisposed.
Before building any plan, put yourself in the shoes of visitors. Then you'll appreciate such features as a wide and welcoming porch (seven or eight feet is ideal), an easy-to-find front entrance, a private secondary bath and a comfortable guest bedroom.
Don't make the attic an afterthought in Design K-44. Add windows for light and ducts for heating and cooling. What for? For all the children who have played in attics on rainy days ever since the first farmhouse was built.
(For more advice and reviews on the Web, click on www.houseplanadvisor.com)
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.