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Anatomy of a Popular House Plan

Anatomy of a Popular House Plan
A wide open great room, as shown here in Plan 924-1, is one of t
According to the National Association of Home Builders' recent survey, Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare To Other Home Buyers (conducted in September 2015), a majority of these buyers want the following:

— A home with a median 2,020 sq. ft, which is 9% larger than most have now.
— Open arrangements between kitchen and dining room, and between kitchen and living room.
— High ceilings on first floor (at least 9 ft.).
— Double sink, table space for eating, and a walk-in pantry in the kitchen.
— Both a tub and a shower in the master bath.
— A laundry room -- the single most wanted feature. 
— For accessibility: a full bath on the main level.
— More space in the master bedroom and less in the master bath
— Brick or stone exteriors.

So how do these needs and wants correlate with the house plans that are selling and that people are saving? To find out I looked at our top best selling plans since January 1, 2016, and our top plans by number of saves for the same period. The parallels are strong.

The average size of our top selling plans ranges from 1,769 sq. ft. to 2,720 sq. ft, all with 3 bedrooms and 2 or 2.5 baths. The size of the top saved plans run larger, roughly 2,180 to 3,238 sq. ft., with most having 3 bedrooms and 2.5 to 3.5 baths, and some having 4 bedrooms and 3.5 to 4.5 baths.

The open great room remains an essential feature, as shown in Plan 928-13, where the large island divides

the space into the different zones without cutting off sight lines. Higher ceilings add a feeling of spaciousness

without adding square footage, as you can see in Plan 927-5, where the ceiling above the living area rises two stories. Most of our top selling plans include both a tub and a shower in the master bath,

as shown in Plan 928-10 -- here the accessible walk-in shower is to the right of the soaking tub. Laundry

rooms are at the top of everyone's list. Compare these layouts, where the laundry, shown here in Plan 132-200 as the Utility Room, is accessible from both the bedroom hall and, through a pocket door, from the walk-

in master closet; and the laundry combined with the mud room -- making it extra spacious -- in Plan 928-13. In this plan the laundry mudroom is large enough to include a pantry adjacent to the kitchen. Note how many other special features there are in this design, which has received more than a thousand saves so far this year, from the brew pub/workshop to the covered patio off the dining area. There is also a spacious guest suite over the garage.
 
With regard to exterior treatments, brick and stone remain very popular on Houseplans.com, though these

materials often appear as accents, not necessarily as full coverage, as shown in Plan 430-99, which has sold sixteen times so far this year. 

Other findings from my informal survey of what's popular include an expanding interest in livable outdoor spaces including patios, screen porches, and decks adjacent to great rooms and kitchens; as well as greater

receptivity toward contemporary plans, as long as they incorporate all the features mentioned above. For

example, Plan 924-1, shown here and at the top of this post, is the top saved plan so far in 2016. I think you can see why: it's all on one level, which is increasingly important for the Boomer Generation; the laundry is part of a utility wing; there's flexibility in the office separated from the dining area by the book partition; and every major room opens easily to a porch or deck. And it could be both a year-round and vacation home. No wonder it's so popular!

Anatomy of a Popular House Plan Inspiration

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