Three Bedroom Cottage Plan - HOMEPW11633

Case Study

The images on this page may or may not correspond to the owner-specific modifications described in this case study. Please check the floor plans carefully on the product detail page.

Three Bedroom Cottage Style Home Plan - HOMEPW11633

Owner-specific modifications:

  • Built fewer columns around veranda
  • Used swinging, rather than sliding, French doors on either side of dining room
  • Built two windows, rather than three, on west wall of dining room
  • Did not include built-in bench on upper floor
  • Rearranged door leading outside from screened porch
  • Added arbor off of screened porch
  • Did not include built-in bench on upper floor

It's worth taking note when a home builder by trade builds her own home. What sorts of materials does she use? What style of home does she select? And where does she get her blueprints? There's something to be said for what professionals, who deal with home-building products day in and day out, use to build their own homes.

Lauren Landers, her father and their company, Landers Investments, Inc., of Granbury, Tex., had constructed about fourteen "period-style" subdivision homes, plus several commercial properties, before Lauren decided it was time to try her hand at her own home.

However, as much as she appreciated the architecture of the home plans she and her father had built, life in a subdivision was not what she had in mind for herself and her two dogs. Says Lauren playfully, "I needed to have a little more elbow room than these houses provided!" A seventeen-acre homesite with plenty of wooded area was more her style.

Once she'd found the perfect homesite, Lauren selected Plan HOMEPW11633, from homeplans.com. No stranger to stock home plans, Lauren knew how to discern whether or not the design was right for her. Her advice to homeowners is "to visualize the home in their head by 'walking' through each room and picturing each aspect of the plans to be sure it is exactly what they want." Why take this important step? "It is easy to take plans for what they are without dissecting them piece by piece to know if it will suit your needs or not," Lauren explains. "But usually stock plans have been proven time and again." Plan HOMEPW11633, she says, "was perfect for me and the dogs but would also be great for a small family."

Lauren broke ground in July 2002. Three months later, the home was ready for its new inhabitants.

Set back about 500 feet from a private dirt road, the structure looks like an old-time farmhouse—when it was brand-new. The clean, classic lines, the symmetrical massing, and the simple exterior color scheme seem to be something from a bygone era. The home plan appealed to Lauren because, she says, "it is so unique from most of the homes that are being built today and . . . it remains true to the traditional farmhouse architecture while updating its features and utility."

The veranda stretches the entire width of the facade and wraps partially around one side. "Porches and outdoor areas were very important to me," explains Lauren. "I would always rather be outside than in!" Handsome columns rest on supports made of cinderblock and run along the veranda and introduce the front door, which, painted black, stands in stark contrast to the bright white siding. Lauren built the veranda with five columns in front, rather than the nine shown on the plans.

Once inside, a brief foyer allows for space to greet guests. This area is covered in a creamy white, echoing the light from the windows and the airiness of the staircase, and visually enlarging the space. Three columns create a subtle border between the foyer and the adjacent living room.

Color Rendering of Home Plan HOMEPW11633

A striking color change—from a gentle cream to a lively, springtime green—also signals the move deeper into the home. Lauren was happy for the opportunity to choose colors that suited her own tastes, rather than what she thought prospective buyers wanted in the homes she usually builds. She says of the bright green walls with a laugh, "People usually love it or hate it!"

The living room's focal point is undoubtedly the corner fireplace, for which Lauren selected a neutral, mottled beige brick. Windows surround the fireplace—tall windows to the left, taking in views of the front veranda, and a pair of stylish, square windows placed high on the wall to the right of the fireplace. Lauren veered from the blueprints in the living room only to omit the "wall frames"—niches built into the wall in which artwork may be hung. Opposite the fireplace, a pass-through from the kitchen opens up the space even more, and a nearby doorway leads back to the dining room.

Except for one wall covered in brick to match the fireplace, the walls of the dining room wear the same green that distinguishes the living room. The dining room is as bright and airy as its entertaining counterpart: It boasts glass on three sides, including two sets of French doors that lead outside—to the wraparound veranda at one end, and a screened porch at the other. Because of this, the space is a prime spot for parties, Lauren reports. She says she usually opens the doors to the screened porch "so the [dining room] and screened porch [are] like one big area." Lauren chose to use standard swinging French doors on either side of the dining room, rather than sliding French doors.

The dining room is completely open to the galley-style kitchen, which Lauren describes as "very efficient." This openness, combined with the link to the living room provided by the pass-through from the kitchen, encourages comfortable, casual entertaining.

At the other end of the kitchen, a utility room includes a service entry to the home and plenty of cabinets for storage.

Between the kitchen and the utility room, a brief hallway—a testament to the efficiency of the floor plan—leads to the double doors enclosing the master bedroom. A beamed ceiling adds a cozy element to this room, while French doors access the screened porch. A good-sized closet with two doors completes the room.

The adjoining bath has a split layout: The toilet and tub are enclosed for extra privacy, since the master bath does double duty as a powder room accessible from the utility room. Despite this fact, Lauren says the next time she builds this home, she will recommend to the homeowners that the wall between the two sections be removed, to make the whole space brighter.

Near the foyer, stairs lead to the upper floor, making a charming turn halfway up. The design takes full advantage of this opportunity to throw in some fabulous windows. One arrangement in particular pairs two matching windows and tops them with a half-round glass to create a Palladian-inspired look. At the top of the stairs, the blueprints include a built-in bench, which Lauren chose to forego because she preferred the look and flexibility of free-standing furniture.

Two bedrooms upstairs, both with high, vaulted ceilings, share a split hall bath. One of the bedrooms benefits from the natural light that streams in through a beautiful, front-facing Palladian window.

Outside, along with the wraparound veranda and the screened porch, Lauren also added a cedar arbor to one side, creating an additional place to enjoy nature and to entertain.

During the summer of 2003, less than a year after moving into her home, Lauren put it on the market—not because she didn't like the home, but because she had decided to relocate and open her own business, and she wanted to plan ahead in order to sell her home before the projected move. The home sold for the asking price after being on the market for just one week.

Lauren's relationship with the home—or at least, the home plan—doesn't end there, however. Lauren explains, "My best friend and her husband liked my home and floor plan so much that I am about to start building the exact plan for them on their lot!"

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