Georgia

In designing this home plan for Georgia, I imagined warm breezes, the smell of freshly cut grass and the relaxation of late summer afternoons. And so, the family area extends to the outdoors on each side. A pergola-covered outdoor dining area lies off the kitchen and a covered terrace with an outdoor stone fireplace lies off the living room.

Georgia Front Elevation

The master suite is spacious and elegant, with its own access to the terrace. The master bath provides for every comfort including a generous dressing room. The laundry room is conveniently located on the first floor, along with a big pantry, mudroom and powder room. A private study completes the first floor, set in a quiet corner for times when needed.

Georgia First Floor

The second floor is large enough for three large bedrooms, each with ample closet space, a loft and a compartmentalized bath.

Georgia Second Floor

With a bit of Southern charm, this is a true dream home in which to raise a family.

Next home design….Idaho.

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Picturesque Michigan

This home design is meant for a scenic location such as a hillside or lakeside. It could be either a primary residence or a vacation home. It’s exterior has a modern appeal with rustic materials to complement natural surroundings.

Michigan Front Elevation

The first floor is arranged for family comfort with spacious areas for living, dining, lounging and enjoying the views. A large deck off the kitchen expands the living space outdoors. When the air is chilly outside, back-to-back central fireplaces will warm the home on both levels. Multiple window seats offer cozy nooks for curling up with a favorite book.

Off the dining room and kitchen is the mudroom, powder room, pantry, laundry, a roomy garage and stairs to the basement.

A short, private hall, leads to the first floor master suite with ample amenities including a sitting area with access to the deck, two closets, and a master bath with a large glass shower and wide vanity.

Michigan First Floor

On the second floor are three large bedrooms with ample closet space and a shared bath that you’ve probably noticed is a common feature in my designs. The best part about the second floor is the loft space overlooking the living room below. A common area for the kids or guests, the loft can be a lounge area, game room, media room, whatever the family desires. An added bonus is the set of french doors with a shallow balcony to take in the scenery from the height of the treetops.

Michigan Second Floor

This is one home where I would love to spend long weekends and holidays, for certain. I can already smell the cedar, pine and fresh air. Ahhhh!!!!

Next week…midnight train to Georgia!

The Finer Points of Connecticut

I hope you are enjoying this series of posts… a dream house for every state in the US!

When I was younger, from about twelve years old, my hobby was to spend hours looking at books of home plans and dreaming of which one would be mine when I grew up. Then I began drawing my own, dozens, then hundreds of plans. This series is a collection of my favorites, and this particular one, Connecticut, is one of my favorites of the favorites!

Connecticut Front Elevation

With a bit of European flair, the front view is full of fairytale charm. With a stucco finish on the exterior walls (commonly referred to as EIFS these days), windows with diamond panes, and a hip roof, all this home needs is a colorful cottage garden to make it worthy of a scene in a romantic film.

Connecticut First Floor

The floor plan is ideal for a family with children of any age, young to adult with their own children in tow. This is a true gathering place for the extended family where everyone comes together for important events and holidays. Yet, it is quite comfortable on regular days, too, with areas for all of the modern family’s needs.

The living, dining and kitchen are connected, yet each is defined as it’s own space with columns. A separate study near the entry foyer has double french doors so that it can be open to expand the living room, if desired. Off the kitchen is a generous mudroom for all the sneakers, jackets and sports equipment. A large pantry is next to the mudroom along with a door to the back yard for easy access to the grill or wood pile. If a garage is required, a detached one can easily be added off of the mudroom wing, as well, as long as the property has the room for it.

On the other side of the first floor is a private master suite with a large dressing room and pretty, light-filled bathroom. There is also a set of french doors leading out to a private patio area at the back of the house. If desired, the suite is large enough to add a fireplace, too. How lovely would that be?!

Connecticut Second Floor

A beautiful open stair, with a window at the landing overlooking the backyard, leads up to the spacious second floor. A loft greets one at the top, which can evolve from play room to game room to media room to library as the family grows and hobbies change. Three large bedrooms also have large closets, big enough to accommodate whatever life brings (or most of it). One smaller bedroom is still roomy enough for a set of fun bunk beds. And a compartmentalized bath makes it possible for more than one person to occupy it at a time.

As in most of my plans, the basement is a bonus space for a family/play room, hobby room, wine cellar, storage, mechanical, etc.

In my portfolio, this plan holds the longest record as my own personal dream home. If you could design your own dream home, what would it look like? What are all of the elements you would want to include? What are your visions of favorite life moments you would have there? These are the things I think of when designing a home. Truth be told, it’s my mental happy place!

Next week….picturesque Michigan.

OOOOklahoma!

When I was ten, my family took a road trip from our home in Kansas to a relative’s home in Texas. We drove quite a ways through Oklahoma, but I don’t remember much other than learning the term “tumbleweed” and being really excited when we finally saw the sign “Welcome to Texas”.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma isn’t commonly thought of as an exciting destination. Therefore, for this state’s home design in my portfolio, I wanted to make it a place where a family would find comfort and happiness every time they turn into the driveway.

With that in mind, I remembered an old Victorian house in a neighboring town to where we now live that is painted in many bright, cheery colors. Whenever we drive by it, my daughters will say, “Look! There’s the ice cream house!” It truly does remind us of a big ice cream sundae. So, I took a little of that vision and applied it to Oklahoma’s house design in hopes it would have a little of the same appeal in the midst of a vast, monotone prairie.

Oklahoma Front Elev

With the appeal of a traditional farmhouse, yet updated to fit in today’s neighborhoods, the front view of this home is quite welcoming. I see it as the gathering place for all the kids on the street, with bats and balls and bicycles galore.

For the many sets of feet running in and out, the floor plan is well thought out. The rooms are defined with several points of entry to keep footprints contained and to a minimum during the busy days, then transforming to a cozy respite for more relaxing evenings. The first floor offers everything that’s needed to accommodate a young family without wasting space.

Oklahoma First Floor

The second floor hall feels more spacious with a railing overlooking the stairs below. Off the hall are two generous sized kid bedrooms and a compartmentalized bath to allow for the comfort of multiple users. And a closet for a stackable washer and dryer eliminates the need to heft full laundry baskets up and down the stairs.

The Master Suite has two bays, adding charm to the parents’ private quarters. A light-filled dressing room leads to the master bath with a large steam shower.

Oklahoma Second Floor

For those who like to think ahead and have options, it wouldn’t be difficult to add a room above the garage. Don’t forget the basement for extra storage space and a play area for the kids on rainy days.

Isn’t Oklahoma looking like a great destination now? It is to me!

Next week…..the finer points of Connecticut.

Sir Washington

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Sir Washington is a sweet little homestead meant for a hillside surrounded by evergreens. He has an air of the friendly, gentleman neighbor with a freshly pressed suit and cedar accents. One might almost sense a twinkle in his eye when climbing the steps to the entrance.

Inside, the layout is tidy and cozy, remaining comfortable from a starter home to a family home to the empty nest. An open living, dining and kitchen area is the central gathering place. There are a few different options for the kitchen, including a peninsula island instead of the square island that is shown.

A small library nook is tucked in neatly next to the stairs on the first floor, leading to a private study that can also double as a guest room. In the private corner of the first floor, there is a sizable master bedroom that opens up onto a wide back deck that spans much of the length of the house at the rear.

The craftsman style stair leads up to two bedrooms on the second floor, then down to a family room in the basement, adjacent to the “underground” garage.

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Sir Washington’s gentle and noble spirit makes him one of my favorites. I hope you agree.

Next week’s feature plan….Ooooklahoma!

Sweet Home Alabama

As promised, Alabama is in the drawing board spotlight this week. Don’t let the petite front elevation fool you, she packs in 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths and a 2-car garage! She’s designed to sit prettily on a long narrow lot and share her playful spirit with passers-by. She has fun details around the main front windows and a welcoming covered, side-entry porch.

Just steps inside one will be right in the center of the action, with an open floor plan including the living room, dining room and kitchen with center island with light pouring in from every angle. Beyond the kitchen is the family entrance, mudroom, half-bath and garage.

One of the main features in the central living area is the open staircase leading up to the next level. At the top of the stairs, a short hallway provides access to three bedrooms, including a charming master suite. This master suite has its own bath and a closet large enough for two. The two smaller bedrooms are still plenty in size and share a compartmentalized bath for sharing ease.

Alabama Front Elevation

Alabama First Floor

Alabama Second Floor

I hope you like my version of Sweet Home Alabama. Up next week…Mr. Washington!

The Drawing Board

My Dearest Readers,

Today, I come to you to tell you I have been keeping a secret. A secret surprise, that is. And it’s for you!

For the past several months I have spent hours upon hours at my drawing board sketching a portfolio of home designs to share with you. There are fifty in all, and I’ve named each one for one of our fifty states.

It’s on my bucket list to visit every state at least once. I think that’s probably a popular bucket list item. I’ve been to something more than 30, up and down the east coast and east to west across the southern states. I do admit to using my imagination, pictures and scenes from tv shows as the settings for several of my designs.

As you will see, the designs have been thoughtfully crafted for the all-American family – which is as diverse as the shells on a seashore. Some designs are of big homes and some of small homes. Some have two to three stories while others are one floor. There are designs for narrow lots, wide lots, flat lots and sloped lots. But, all of the designs have my signature woven through them of carefully laid out flow and function, classy details, consideration for the budget-minded and sympathy for the builder.

Are you excited? I AM! Sooooooooo, drumroll please!!! I present to you…..MISS OHIO!

Ohio Front Elevation

Ohio First Floor

Ohio Second Floor

This is a very family oriented design, with an open living area for everyone to congregate that expands onto two outdoor living spaces, a pergola covered deck on one side and a terrace on the other, as smoothly as opening the glass doors. Can’t you see your family having summer barbeques with the kiddos running barefoot in the grass? Or how about hosting the extended family for Thanksgiving in this entertainer’s dream?

For day-to-day living, every family with kids deserves a mudroom where the sports gear and grass-stained sneakers can be contained, a laundry room where a full basket of clothes can be easily wielded, and enough pantry space to accommodate stocks of supplies after a trip to Costco or BJ’s. This plan also has the option of adding a garage off to the right either during the initial build or at a later phase.

Upstairs there is welcoming library nook on the way to three generous-sized bedrooms with ample closet space. The master suite enjoys a french balcony overlooking the terrace and its own stylish bath. The two childrens’ bedrooms share a compartmentalized bathroom.

The curbside appeal of this design is certain to be an eye-catcher. Of course, there are various options, but as shown the craftsman style with stone accents and stained wood trim details are quite attractive, whether in the country or in a cozy in-town neighborhood.

I hope you like Miss Ohio! I certainly enjoyed creating her and I’m looking forward to sharing many more sketches from my drawing board with you. Next up….Alabama!

Winter Blahhhs

It’s winter. North of Boston. I drive down single lane roads and cannot see anything except 8′ walls of dirty snow all around me. ugh. Ugh, uGh, ugH, UGHHHHH!!! I’m ready to shout out the windows, “Give me color or give me death!” Unfortunately, no one will hear me because snow is a good acoustic absorber.

Instead, I’ve decided to splash some more color in my living room. But, I have a confession to make. If you were to come to tea, you would take a look around and immediately NOT peg me as a designer. I have four kids, a Bernese Mountain Dog, and two kittens. Under those conditions, I’m way too practical! (My husband and I have decided to save up all of our Pinterest ideas and capitalize on them when the kids go to college. And number one kid is on her way this Fall! Woo Hoo!)

So, anyway, the challenge is to find neat, inexpensive ideas to liven up our living area without worrying too much about whether or not my investment will become weapons during a slumber party pillow fight. (Yes, I actually shed tears when I had to throw out my $49 blue silk pillows from Pier 1.) Therefore, I made my way through the frozen tundra to Home Goods for some inspiration.

Unexpectedly, I came across a colorful quilt set that would go marvelously with the British Isle theme I’m slowly acquiring through the house. But, I was looking for living room color, not bedroom color! So, I went on looking, but I kept finding my way back to that quilt set.

Finally, the light bulb came on and I decided to bring the set home. The quilt is now fashioned into a lovely cover over the back of the sofa. The shams are fabulous throw pillows accented with a couple of complimentary, solid color pillows. A couple of stylish green topiaries are placed elegantly around the room and…Voila! We have a quick, inexpensive, cozy and comfy update to our living room!

Just know that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg or strive to make your place look Pottery Barn perfect. We all know those rooms in the magazines don’t look like that unless a photographer is coming! Make your home YOURS!

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What Can A Project Manager Do For You?

 

 

A Project Manager can help prevent…or solve…things like this:

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Are you undertaking a major construction project?  Consider hiring an experienced Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) to work with the builder on your behalf.  Sure it adds a bit to the project budget, but like an insurance policy, he/she will save you a bundle of headaches and overruns on schedule and cost.

Do you have a specific question about working with an OPM?  Ask away!

 

A Happy Announcement!

I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that I am now primarily focusing on landscape planning and curb appeal improvement projects!  These truly are the projects where I take most joy.  Not only is landscape planning great fun, but exterior improvements add wonderful value and a successful return on the homeowner’s investment.

Now is an excellent time to plan for spring, summer and fall exterior projects!  I’m so excited!

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Pin your ideas for more curb appeal at pinterest.com

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