To design a small home that has artistic and economic features where the construction can be completed for a minimum amount of money is not one of the easiest problems of the architectural profession. We achieve the best solutions by the process of elimination, resulting in a compact plan possessing the essential requirements of the average home. But also arranged in a way that the total area is equally divided to best suit the uses that each part of the house plan is intended to be used. The success of an architectural design in a building of any description depends mainly on its proportions, scale and the arrangement of windows. No amount of elaborate design features can make up for a poorly proportioned building or house.
Bearing all this in mind, we should plan our homes knowing that the people who live in them would rather have their rooms as large as possible for the price they would have to pay and to have the construction and materials of the best throughout the home. We know that buildings cost quite a bit more these days per square foot of heated area. That’s just a fact of life in the economy of the twenty first century. When we try to build a small or medium sized house with extra rooms, such as libraries, game rooms, or family rooms, we must do one of two things: either reduce the size of all the rooms, or count on poor workmanship and cheap materials. If the building area is limited, these additions must then occupy part of the space that actually should be devoted to the more important rooms.
The average family certainly cares more for a house with fewer rooms that are well proportioned and built with good materials with quality craftsmanship, than for a house cut up into small or irregular rooms that’s poorly built. Aside from the general proportion of the various rooms in relation to each other, another vital problem in home planning is proper circulation, which is the result of the correct position of the important rooms in relation to each other. The solution of this part of small house planning is far more difficult than in the larger residences where passages can be added to bring about direct access between various parts of the house without looking inconsistent or extravagant.
The living and dining room is usually connected by means of the main hall, which is a layout most people prefer because it eliminates the noise and disturbance caused by the clearing of the table and arranging the dining-room after meals, though with suitable doors, glazed or otherwise, and proper draperies between these rooms where they join, this inconvenience is reduced to the minimum.
An economical arrangement of the second floor should be considered just as carefully as the first! The corners of the house having been utilized as far as possible for bedrooms to insure cross ventilation and the greatest amount of comfort in warm weather, even if there’s a well sized heating system connected to the house.
Any closet space in connection with each room should always be sufficient to eliminate clutter. The bath and linen closets should be conveniently located, and the halls should be kept to a minimum so that space isn’t wasted.
Tim Davis is an experienced architectural designer who specializes not only in residential house plans, but also commercial.
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