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- The following questions are the kind that any architect
or builder is going to ask when designing your house.
Think how you would answer these questions. It will
help decide the rooms and layout in the next exercise:
- what room is most important to you and your
- do you have children? what are their ages? will
your children's needs change as they grow older?
- will your home be a focal point for neighborhood
children or teen-age parties?
- do you entertain regularly? what kind of entertainment,
formal or informal?
- do you provide care or soon-to-provide care
for an elderly parent or other in your home?
- do you frequently entertain guests overnight?
do you require a guest bathroom?
- do you need a home office or work area that
is separate from the rest of the house? what kind
of equipment will you need? what kind of work
do you do?
- do you need a room for sewing, crafts, exercise,
etc.? what are your hobbies?
- do you need a separate, formal living room?
- do you need any extra or special storage capacity?
- do you need an attached garage?
- how many cars do you have?
- do you have any recreational vehicles?
- do you need storage capacity in your garage?
- do you need a basement? what kind, cellar type
of day walk-out?
- are you a private person? do you require a place
What should you look
for when drafting plans for your home:
- Traffic Patterns:
Traffic should flow to one side of the room rather
than through its center; i.e., by placing the door
ways in the corners
more traffic information:
Location of the kitchen should have direct access
to the dining area and garage where grocery items
can be unloaded conveniently.
Traffic should not flow through the kitchen working
Larger kitchens have a greater resale value than smaller
kitchens you will want to design the working
area with appliances in a triangular position for
more information on kitchen layout:
see kitchen design basics:
see our kitchen design directory:
improvement center: kitchens
- Private Areas:
Bedrooms and bathrooms should be separated visually
from the working areas of the house.
You should have at least one bathroom near working
and relaxation areas and with easy access from the
Never situate bathrooms where you must pass through
one room to get to the facilities.
It is almost a necessity (particularly in a resale)
that the master bedroom has an attached master bathroom.
The master bathroom should be large, with full size
bath, shower, his/her vanity sinks and exhaust vans
that vent to the outside
see bathroom design basics:
see our bathroom design directory:
improvement center: bathrooms
- Living Areas:
Living areas include the dining room, living/family
room, and den
Designs may vary with rooms segmented by walls or
merged into a larger, multi-purpose room with boundaries
such as pillars segmented one room from the other
see our main-floor design directory:
improvement center: main floor
- Energy Efficiency:
There are some great energy efficient products on
the market that can reduce your energy costs and keep
you more comfortable
the government has published materials on energy efficient
of an energy efficient home
home energy advisor
information for your home
see our energy design directory:
improvement center: attic floor
Poured concrete is the most expensive foundation and
best choice for full basements because of its strength
and resistance to leaks
Cinder block is a substitute to concrete, but is not
as strong and is subject to leakage.
Monolithic concrete slaps are used with homes without
basements bringing the cost and implementation down
more structural information:
more plumbing information:
more electrical information:
- Room Dimensions:
bedroom: not less than 7 feet in any direction
closets: depth at 24 inches or more
hallways: minimum width 3 feet
dining room: big enough for 8-person dining table
kitchen: work aisle at least 42 inches wide
more room dimension information:
- Think of how each room should be adjacent to each
other. Example, the dining room should be adjacent
to the kitchen; the master bedroom should be adjacent
to the master bathroom; the foyer should be adjacent
to the living room, etc.
These adjacencies generally define your house plan.
Review them carefully. Depending on your lifestyle,
you may want to move a room to the other side of the
- There are three categories when assigning adjacencies:
- Primary Adjacencies:
these include adjacent rooms that are critical
to the success of your design such as kitchen
and dining room
- Secondary Adjacencies:
these adjacencies improve the quality design of
your home but are not necessarily critical. Examples
may include a mud room and bathroom.
- Non-Adjacent Rooms:
these are rooms that should not be adjacent to
each other to ensure the quality design of your
home. Examples may include master bedroom to secondary
use our construction
specification sheet to list adjacencies
- Drawing a bubble diagram can help illustrate adjacencies.
We will use the main floor plan for illustration:
to view adjacency diagram
- Start with primary adjacencies (in red),
- then define non-adjacent rooms (in green),
- connect everything with secondary adjacencies
- now put it all together and view a sample plan
- Once you have defined the number and kind of rooms
in your house, next calculate the size dimension for
use our construction
specification sheet to list dimensions
- link to our Home Footage Calculator to calculate
- list the rooms in your house on the dimension sheet
(page 3). We've provided three sample sizes. You may
choose either A-B-C, or enter your own custom dimension.
- calculate the square footage for each room by multiplying
the width by the length: use
our Home Footage Calculator
- subtotal the square footage.
- for finished rooms, you will need to add 20% to
the subtotal amount for wiring, plumbing, wall setup,
- your total square footage shows the total interior
size dimension for your house
- continue calculating dimensions for garage, basement
(finished or unfinished, and other
- list the dimensions on the construction
- requirements and amenities include:
— type windows
— type doors
— type flooring
— whether a specified room will have a fireplace
— whether a specified room will have built-in
— whether the kitchen will have an island
— type appliances, etc.
- these requirements and amenities are listed in your
Construction Specification Plan
- the Construction Specification Plan will be used
for the following tasks:
Go to Step 5:
- use the spec plan to custom design or revise an
existing house plan
- use the spec plan to bid the construction project
- use the spec plan to obtain approval and financing
for the construction project
Construction Specification Plan