Designing Successful Home Floor Plans

At KGA we are always challenging ourselves to better understand today’s home buyers. Where do they want to live? What features in a home are most important to them? What can they afford?  As architects, we create spaces. Spaces that people will want to live in, and at the same time make sense for builders to build.

KGA incorporates a design process developed over the last 38 years called Considered Design. Considered Design is a carefully weighed design process utilizing priority based decision making to control construction budgets while optimizing a home’s function, livability, style and perceived value. (To learn more about the origin and philosophy of Considered Design, click here)

In this 2 part blog, we will share with you the principles and nuances of Considered Design for residential home design for production builders. First up, the 10 principles of Considered Design…

10 Principles of Considered Design for Production Homes

Core

The arrangement of a home’s core spaces (i.e. baths, hall, stairs, closets and utility areas) are of primary importance to the overall efficiency and functionality of a home. Square footage saved in the core can maximize living spaces.

On Target: Market Focus

One size does not fit all. Know your prospective buyer; focus on designing what they will appreciate. Distinctive + Fresh + Buyer Focused Design + Value = Increased Buyer Motivation.

The Gradient at the Meadows, by KGA
This 1,700 square foot ranch home is targeted towards the 50+ move down buyer

Nuances

Rules of thumb that help create a great plan. We’ll be discussing these in part 2 of this blog.

Structure

Integrate structural considerations into the initial stages of design. Keeping an eye on framing spans, roof forms, foundation corner counts, and 2’ framing modules all help the bottom line. A 50/50 distribution of square footage between the main and upper floor, or a better ratio favoring the upper floor, will help create a better construction value.

2 story home
A 50/50 distribution of square footage between the main and upper floor, or a better ratio favoring the upper floor, will help create a better construction value

“I Deserve it Features”

Buyers are looking for “difference makers” in home design today – elements that meet their need to feel special and pampered.  These are upgraded features that buyers will want an option to add. An example: spa-like master baths. Layouts include over-sized, glass enclosed showers with dry off areas, bench and robe hooks.

Master bathroom
This home features a spa-like master bath with an over-sized shower and the option to upgrade to include a tub.

Distinguish Yourself

Let your competition do the same old thing. To stand out from the ordinary, and even to command a bit higher price tag, the home you are offering must be memorable.

Eye on the Zone

A well designed home should contain three zones: active, private, and behind the scenes. Transition links visual privacy for powder rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms. Fatal plan errors are often caused by lack of attention to proper zoning of spaces.

The back kitchen is a great example of a “behind the scenes” zone. It provides space for extra prep work and hiding dirty dishes while entertaining.

Right Sizing

The proper sizing of rooms is dependent on the home’s overall square footage and room count. This delicate balance also considers potential furniture arrangements, sight lines and movement.

Emotion

Today’s buyers remain value based in their purchase decisions. However, do not under estimate the importance of emotion. Before signing on the dotted line, buyers imagine their kids growing up in the home, their daughter descending the stairs on prom night, entertaining friends and where the Christmas tree might be placed.

Kids room with bunk beds
Never under estimate the importance of emotion. Before making a decision, buyers imagine their kids growing up in the home, entertaining friends and where the Christmas tree might be placed.

Discovery

Take opportunities to create a new approach. Analyze + Question + Reconsider = A Market Leader. Check out parallel universes (such as cars and resorts) where extraordinary design makes a world of difference.

Conclusion

These 10 principles provide a solid foundation from which to evaluate the big picture when creating home floor plans. In part 2 of this blog we’ll be diving into the ‘nuances’ of a floor plan, and looking at the details that make up a great plan for a production home. Until then, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What design elements do you include in your homes that make you stand out from the competition? What features do you or your home buyers demand in a floor plan? Let us know!