I mentioned that we had difficulty finding plans that met our particular design requirements. Mostly these were my own rather strong views on what I wanted in my house, some of them reasonable, and some of them strange idiosyncrasies. Here are a few of the things that we had difficulty finding in readily available plans for purchase.
- No attached garage. This one falls under the personal idiosyncrasies. I have a strong dislike for attached garages. I feel as if they are a waste of architectural space and I hate the idea of a large void as part of my house. I somewhat understand the arguments for them, ease of access to the house in inclement weather, etc. But to be honest, I've never had an attached garage and I can't remember ever thinking gee, I wish I could just get out of my car and already be inside my house. I'm not usually one to complain too much about the weather, and I don't melt in rain or snow, so I think I'll be fine without the attached garage. I'll note that this one point alone rules out about 90% of the available house plans on the market.
- All the bedrooms upstairs. Some of this is reasoned, and some of this is personal taste. I think of my house in zones: there's the formal zone, where unexpected guests or small invited groups can be sequestered; there's the informal zone, where larger invited groups, or close friends and family are welcome; and there's the private zone, where guests are generally not invited. Having a second floor, and putting all the bedrooms there, easily demarcates the line between the public and private rooms. A large number of modern plans put the master suite on the first floor. Some of this is for space reasons, but largely I think the current thought is that in your old age, you won't want to be climbing up and down the stairs. I see the logic in that, but I also think having the parents' bedroom significantly separated from any children's bedrooms is a problem. Navigating the entire house at night because a child had a nightmare or wet the bed or whatever, seems like a pain to me. Plus I think having the children's rooms upstairs, where the parents rarely go, could lead to less supervision and more trouble of one kind or another. With just these first two bullet points, we've pretty much ruled out ever house plan on the market.
- Both a living room and a family room. A lot of plans these days are doing away with formal areas altogether. As I mentioned in my first point, I like the idea of formal areas for entertaining and welcoming guests. Having a formal living room means you can have ladies' night or guys' night at your home without sending your partner out. It means teenagers can have their friends over in a room where they aren't bothering their parents, but can still be somewhat supervised. It means unexpected guests can be welcomed in a mostly clean, uncluttered room, without any sudden cleaning to find room for them.
- A room for a library. We own a lot of books. We currently live in a two bedroom house, of which one bedroom is the library/craft room. We have ten bookshelves, and not enough room for all of our books. Having a room that could be designated as the library was important for us. But this additional room adds square footage to the house, and of course is not something most people look for in their home, so finding plans with enough rooms for everything we wanted, was difficult.