house plans

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!

One-Story Living with Craftsman Character

Plan #1009 The Edgewater

Home Design Quick Facts:

  • Private master bedroom with spacious sitting room
  • Secluded family room for relaxing or entertaining
  • Kitchen, breakfast room and family room with fireplace offer a cozy gathering space

For the family that loves elegant, one-story living, The Edgewater is home. With several versatile rooms and both formal and casual entertaining spaces, this floor plan offers endless options.

4 bedrooms and 3 baths are just the beginning in this 2,818 sq. ft. Craftsman home. This house design has all of the quality details you expect from a Don Gardner home.

Note The Edgewater’s stone accents and columns as you enter the home, which provide impressive curb appeal. The 20’ x 20’ great room greets you with its cathedral ceiling, fireplace and built-in shelves. Art niches add a custom feel and serve as exciting focal points. The kitchen, breakfast room and family room offer a comfortable gathering space for meals, relaxing or entertaining.

The master suite and secondary bedrooms are located at opposite sides of this one-story home to ensure privacy. Two of the bedrooms share a Jack and Jill bathroom. The other secondary bedroom would work well as a guest room or study. The master suite features a sitting room, dual walk-in closets, and a luxurious master bath.

This home was designed to allow for ample rear views with its screen porch and deck. This one-story house plan offers the flexibility a growing family is looking for.

Try our new blog feature, You Asked…We Answered! Ask us anything about our house plans and we’ll be glad to help you.

See more house plans like this on the Don Gardner website.

Small Home – Big on Quality

Plan #1229 The Carrollton

Home Design Quick Facts:

  • Craftsman style home offers convenient single dining area
  • Cathedral or vaulted ceilings in three rooms create an open feel
  • 415 sq. ft. bonus room is ready for expansion

Today’s definition of a small home is a bit different than it was years ago; the modern small home offers many of the features of a much bigger home. That’s especially true with a Don Gardner small home. Take The Carrollton, for instance. This 1,668 sq. ft. home features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, and its layout makes the most of its square footage. It also includes a 415 sq. ft. bonus room (not counted in the total square footage) that makes this plan a flexible design that will meet your needs for years.

The great room with cathedral ceiling and fireplace offers a central gathering place. The positioning of the mirrored kitchen and dining areas provide a convenient single dining space, while columns keep the space feeling open. This home features a large screen porch with cathedral ceiling which is a great place for warm weather dining or relaxing.

See our Small House Plans board on our Pinterest page to view more small homes.

When it’s time to call it a day, this home’s design really shines as the master suite and secondary bedrooms are located on opposite sides of the house to ensure privacy. The master offers a vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet and luxurious bath. The secondary bedrooms provide flexibility as one would work well as a study and features a walk-in closet.

Want to see even more small homes? Take a look at more house plans like this on the Don Gardner website.

Small Craftsman Ranch With Single Dining Area

Plan #1285 – The Marley

The Marley Plan Number 1285 with Single Dining AreaHome Design Quick Facts:

  • Single dining area is convenient to large screen porch with fireplace.
  • Massive great room features coffered ceiling and fireplace.
  • Utility room, pantry and extra storage make this a family-friendly home.

Small Craftsman with Single Dining Area

The Marley by Don Gardner offers a lot of home in a small 2,046 sq. ft. footprint with a charming Craftsman exterior. The great room, kitchen, and single dining area provide a vibrant space that flows well from room to room. The gourmet Kitchen features a large island, abundant cabinet and counter space, and a convenient e-space great for overseeing homework while getting dinner on the table.The screen porch adjacent to the kitchen/dining room extends this area with outdoor views and a welcoming fireplace. With 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and abundant storage, this design is family-friendly and efficient.

The layout of the bedrooms in this home allows for flexibility and convenience. Either of the two generously sized secondary bedrooms could work as a study or home office. Double-closets in each allow plenty of storage, and the nearby bathroom is roomy and features twin vanities. The master suite impresses with its stunning tray ceiling, dual walk-in closets and a lavish master bath.

This small Craftsman ranch makes the most of its square footage with a pantry, utility room, e-space and extra storage. We’ve even included built-in shelving to take advantage of open space under the stairs! This 3 bedroom 2 bath home’s 472 sq. ft. bonus room is ready for your expansion ideas and provides several access points for attic storage. A big 24’ x 26’ garage with storage nook and shelving completes the list of amenities that this home offers.

Small Plan with Old World Influences

The Peyton is a beautiful Old World style home plan that makes great use of every inch of its 2,453 sq. ft. of living space. Four bedrooms and three baths are some of the highlights of this home, along with its 458 sq. ft. bonus room.

You’ll enter the home and be impressed by the massive great room with fireplace and cathedral ceiling. The single dining space created by the kitchen and open dining area also features an e-space, pantry, extra storage and big utility room.

After whipping up a great meal in the kitchen, you can choose to serve it on the screen porch, which offers an inviting atmosphere with its skylights and fireplace. There’s also a rear porch for outside relaxation.

At the end of the day you can retire to the well-appointed master suite that offers dual walk-in closets, sun tunnel and luxurious bath.

See more house plans like this on the Don Gardner website.