Small Dream Homes – FREE Online Edition

Browse 158 home plans under 3000 square feet in this free online magazine

Small Dream Homes - Free Online Edition

Enjoy the latest edition of Small Dream Homes online for free! Packed with photos, floor plans, and home products, this online edition makes it simple to browse, save, and share your favorites while you search for your dream home.

The Riva Ridge - Plan #5013

Riva Ridge Plan #5013

The Summerhill - Plan #1090

Summerhill Plan #1090

Small homes have always been popular as starter homes and retirement homes, and the trend continues because smaller homes are cheaper to heat and cool, and easier to clean and maintain.Check out the Riva Ridge plan featured on page 30, a hillside walkout perfect for a golf course home or mountain retreat, or the Summerhill plan on page 18, a family-friendly design with completely open living spaces.

The New Home Plans section on page 50 is a convenient way to search our latest homes under 3000 sq. ft. A special On The Drawing Board feature on page 64 shows two conceptual plans we’re working on with highlights and insights on what’s new. Big One-Story and Two-Story sections also help narrow down your search.

From cozy Craftsman cottages to traditional neighborhood charmers, Small Dream Homes has something for everyone.


How Long Will it Take to Build?

Homeowners who haven’t built before often have an unrealistic concept of how long it can take to plan, budget and build a home. Let’s take a look at some of the variables that can affect the timetable.

DESIGN. A stock plan will take less time than a fully custom home, even if the homeowners make some changes to that stock plan. A custom home can take months to design and a year or more to build.

Some people see size as the best indicator of how long the project will take. Not so — cost is a far more accurate gauge. Imagine a pair of 2,500-square-foot homes, one for $200,000 and the other for $1 million. It’s a good bet that the latter will have a more complex design that will take longer to build.

PERMITTING. The legal approvals required before construction begins have multiplied over the years. Sign-off will certainly be needed from the zoning board, the building department, the health department, the fire department and, when building in a planned community, the homeowners’ association. In some areas, design committees, historical commissions, water authorities or other entities want their say as well. Not surprisingly, the wheels of these bureaucracies can move slowly, but an experienced builder should be able to estimate the time required to negotiate the red tape.

SITE WORK. Is the lot in a flat subdivision with roads and utilities already in place, or is it a sloped rural parcel where the contractor will need to cut a road to the site, then excavate and fill to accommodate the foundation? The second option obviously takes more time (and requires more permits and approvals).

STAYING ON TRACK. Fortunately, there are things homeowners can do to keep the job moving. These include taking deadlines seriously, providing details on how they will live in the home, and minimizing changes.

AGREE ON A TIMETABLE. Most good home builders work hard to get things done promptly, but without firm dates things can slip. Homeowners should always be sure there’s a date for their next meeting and deadlines for their next steps. “The plans will be done in a couple of weeks” is vague. Compare that to “The plans will be ready on March 15,” which provides a clear understanding for all parties. On the other hand, homeowners who postpone scheduled meetings with the builder will also throw off the timetable.

THINK THE HOME THROUGH. The more detailed the plan, the less chance of hang-ups. For example, vague electrical plans can stop a project in its tracks. The homeowners need to think through where they want furniture and cabinets so that the builder can specify the right number of outlets. If artwork is to be displayed on a wall or above a fireplace, the builder needs to know it in order to specify the correct lighting. If the homeowners don’t drill down to this level of detail until the job is well under way, things can be held up while new wiring is installed or walls and ceilings re-framed to accommodate it.

MINIMIZE CHANGES. Change orders are a huge time killer because they require lots of time to plan and coordinate. Changes made late in the design stage can extend design time and those made after the project has started can extend the build time.

If moving in by a certain date is your priority, you need to be absolutely clear with the builder about it and then you and builder can plan effectively on how to meet that date.

-Thank you to Theresa Weed – Realtor & Top Producer at Fox Lair and Ray Southeastern Design for sharing their construction photos on Facebook!


Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Extend your living space with an outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are the perfect way to extend living space so you can prepare and enjoy meals outside. Porches and patios offer a great deal of flexibility, and an outdoor kitchen can range anywhere from a small grill with cabinets and counters nearby, to full chef-quality arrangements with refrigerators, warming drawers, and more.

Outdoor Kitchen - The Firenze Plan #5025

The Firenze Plan #5025

This summer kitchen from the Firenze plan sits just outside the large family room and provides an extra 18′ x 12′ of relaxing entertaining space. Sleek cabinets hide grilling supplies and anything needed for dining al fresco.

Basement Floor Plan of The Cedar Ridge - House Plan Number 1125-DScreened Porch of The Cedar Ridge - House Plan Number 1125-D

The Cedar Ridge takes advantage of Mother Nature with a sunroom, rear deck and screened porch on the main level, and a second covered porch and screened porch with summer kitchen on the lower level. This all-in-one unit includes a grill, sink, and refrigerator for the ultimate in easy outdoor meals.

The Peyton Plan #1289

The Peyton Plan #1289

A screened porch is an ideal location for an outdoor kitchen, like this one from the Peyton plan. The screens keep pests away, while skylights bring in the sunlight and a cozy fireplace allows outdoor enjoyment year-round.

Search our collection of home plans with outdoor kitchens to find designs in all styles and sizes with kitchens already shown, or find more ideas on setting up your own outdoor kitchen by browsing our Outdoor Home Ideas board on Pinterest!


St. Jude Children’s Hospital Dream Home Giveaway!

Our Drayton Hall Plan #1238 is being built as this year’s St. Jude Children’s Hospital Dream Home Giveaway in Chattanooga, TN

The Drayton Hall features unmatched curb appeal with a wide stone entry, courtyard and fountain. No detail has been overlooked in this two-story European style home. The spacious, open kitchen features a large island that provides working space for multiple chefs, and a butler’s pantry connects the kitchen to the dining room for easy entertaining. A large, open e-space connects the breakfast and kitchen space to the family room. Built-ins and a decorative ceiling make this room comfortable but luxurious. A lavish master suite on the main floor and a spacious, secluded guest suite upstairs create flexibility. Custom-styled details including a laundry chute, built-in cabinetry, niches and elegant ceiling treatments ensure that this home will stand out in a crowd.

The Drayton Hall is being built on lot #25 in the Canyons at Falling Water Subdivision, located on the Northside of Chattanooga, TN in Hixson. The builder, G. T. Issa Construction, has been building custom homes in the Chattanooga area for over 20 years. Be sure to follow the building progress on their Facebook page, and check back in April when raffle tickets will be available for $100!

The St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway was created in 1991 in Shreveport, Louisiana, and has become one of the largest single-event fundraisers for St. Jude nationwide, raising more than $260 million.


Ranch Home Plan #1328 – Goes Live – NOW AVAILABLE

Ranch Home Plan #1328 – The Bosworth

Ranch Home Plan: The Bosworth #1328

Front exterior

Home Design Quick Facts:

  • Craftsman exterior with plenty of curb appeal.
  • A double pantry and large utility room

 

This Ranch home plan with gables and metal accent roofs creates a welcoming, Craftsman exterior with plenty of curb appeal. Cathedral ceilings add volume to the great room and dining room, with a spacious island kitchen between them. A double pantry and large utility room provide plenty of storage space, and the garage has a convenient personnel door to the outside. Walk-in closets in each bedroom, as well as coat and linen closets, keep things in their place.

See full plan details here!