Friday, November 13, 2009

Design Challenge for a 2000 SF House Plan

Lately I have been getting inquiries for modestly sized new home designs that feature main floor master bedrooms. A search of the web reveals a gazillion main floor master bedroom plans - but most are massive or ugly or both. So I decided this might be a good opportunity to design a new plan fitting this unique need, and to illustrate for you a little bit of the design process at the same time. So let's get started.

The design process I use typically involves the following phases:
  • Programming
  • Schematic Design
  • Design Development
  • Construction Documents
Today we will start with Programming. Programming really means just identifying a list of functional needs and qualities that you would like to see in your home. I'll start with a list that reflects the kinds of requests I have been receiving.
  • Modest plan size - as close to 2000 square foot as possible.
  • Open floor plan - Living, Dining and Kitchen spaces very connected with each other.
  • Mudroom with space for hanging coats and sitting for putting shoes on.
  • Laundry space should be on the main floor.
  • A main floor master bedroom with walk in closet and bath. The bath should have a walk in shower, but not necessarily a tub (the days of the jacuzzi tub seem to be over).
  • Spaces that are functional, but not over sized.
  • A reasonable sized entry porch.
  • A screen porch with spaces for eating and sitting.
  • A main floor powder room.
  • Possibly a den or away room - if space allows.
  • An attached 2 car garage - possibly with some additional storage space.
  • 2 additional bedrooms on a second floor.
  • A shared bathroom for the 2 upstairs bedrooms.
  • A basement that could allow future expansion space.
  • Beautiful home but not overly complex. Should be reasonably economical to construct. The house plan should be simple, yet unique.
That's a pretty good list for now. But I wanted to leave room for your thoughts. So please feel free to comment. Did I miss anything? Throw your 2 cents in.

Next posting I will update the program with your relevant comments - and we'll see some initial design thoughts.


  1. Housing plans are great if they are simple. Whenever, they are small, you need to keep things simple.

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  2. You might want to consider the landscape/hardscape as well -- specically the relationship between public/private space. This transition will be even more important with a smaller home (assuming a smaller lot).

    Great blog!

  3. I will be looking forward to seeing what you come up with! My husband & I are starting to discuss building a new home, and he will not consider a second-floor master - this is non-negotiable item for him. And as you say, most of the plans I've seen are huge, ugly, or both.

  4. Could you also include space a possible third bedroom above the garage? Possibly a bigger kitchen plan than living room since it seems that most of our family and others I talk to congregate in the kitchen. Also, possibly a walk-in pantry. I love the idea of a smaller home. Most estimates we have been getting to build are $130 a square foot so you can do the costs for just a 2000 square foot home. A lot of the cost is in the foundation so I would be very interested to see what you come up with.

  5. My pet peeve is the master bath opening directly onto the master bedroom, so if one of you gets up before the other, turning on the light in the bathroom wakes the other spouse....

  6. This is exactly what we are looking for too. I love your plans most of them have the master on the upper floor. I also love the idea of lots of light, good pantry, less upper cabinets in the kitchen and a good sized living room!