Need Plans for a New Home

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It has been about 2 years since I have posted on this group. I was going to add a Sewing Studio to our existing home but it did not happen. Now I want to draw plans for a new home on our lot next door to our existing home.Because of the lay of the land (many draws) I am not sure what size foot print will fit. I am not sure where to begin. I want a house on one level (no stairs) with easy access. I want rooms spacious. We are in our 70's and 80's so need to design plans with age in mind.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I have a new desktop computer and a new laptop and both have Windows 7 Pro installed. I have not reinstalled Home Designer Pro 8.0 on either one.


Sue from Wyoming

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First I would update both computers to Windows 10, then install the Home Designer program on the desktop since that will probably have more power and memory to work the program. See what you have for a graphics card so everything will display for you.

For the house design, start out with a list of rooms you need. Then list the 3 "Haves" (must, would like to, if I can) of features you desire. I would suggest thinking worse case scenario and design the house for ADA requirements. Wide doors, barrier free bath fixtures, etc. Think about the site and where the views are, the sun rises and sets and access from the road. Try to keep room sizes based around a 16" oc framing to minimize waste of materials. 

Hope this is a start for you?

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Your questions are far outside the scope of this forum, but I'll try to give you some suggestions.


Hire a professional. While you may be capable of this project, statistics say otherwise. 


Starting off with "I am not sure where to begin", is not a good sign.


Do you have a builder in mind? Consider bringing one in early to act as a consultant. Someone that could guide you through the process, starting with reviewing your building site. Someone who will do a design review as the plan progresses, answering questions and keeping you on track.


There are many books available too -- construction, and design. 


You might find a plan online.


Designing a home is far more than drawing exterior walls and then filling in the interior with rooms. I've looked at many owner drawn plans, and very rarely see one that's well designed. 

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Hi Sue,


Welcome back to the forum!  The pictures below are from a cabin I did for some friends in Idaho.  It's a little small at just under 1400 sq/ft and I'm not sure if the style is what you're looking for.  It might offer a starting point that you could take and make your own.  I'd be happy to send you the plan, it was done in Home Designer Pro 2018.







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Thanks for your comments. My Graphics cards are great for both computers. I stayed with Windows 7 Pro because some of my other software would not work using Windows 10.  I just want to get an idea of what I can design using Pro 8 before I talk to any builders.



Thanks for your comments too. Actually my first Home Designer program was 6.0 and I had a house design for our lot but my computer crashed and I lost the plans. I know my design will not be "Professional" but I wanted to start with something to show any builders.

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Thank you so much. Love your design but not sure it will work. If we bought a lot down the road something like that would work with beautiful views of Wind River Canyon. Right now we are on the other side of the road. Our home right now is 3300 sq ft on 2 levels. For a new home I would want one between 2500 sq ft and 2800 sq ft. with a sewing room too ;)

Thanks again.

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I would start out on paper, setting the perimeter size/style of the plot.  Then determine the setback requirements on all sides of the plot, and draw that in.  With the footprint established, google 'accessible house plans'.  There are tons of plans, and some let you select the square footage desired.  Pay attention to the dimensions of the plans (to fit within your footprint).  Lots of great ideas for layout design, and exterior/interior style.  When you have determined what you like, start designing your OWN plan within the software, keeping in mind that this will be a visual way to communicate what you want (to your builder).

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Hi wyosue, fellow Wyoming person here in Buffalo. Moved here recently from Colorado.


Like Solver says, you're best to work with a professional builder.  That being said as JoAnn said start with your building footprint. Check the plot plan or survey of the lot and check for setbacks, easements, etc. Think about utilities. Public sewer or on site septic? (In WY on site septic must be designed by a PE). Any restrictive covenants?  Elevations?  Good drainage away from foundation.  Driveway should not be more that 8% grade max with southern orientation if possible (it snows in WY).  Can house be oriented with most glazing facing south? Is there a building Code and if so which is adopted?  ( I'm a licensed contractor in Buffalo which adopted 2018 IRC with amendments, but outside Buffalo in Johnson County there is no building code). Even if no code you should build to code. Energy efficiency is paramount - required by the 2018 IECC. Any potential for grid tied solar electricity? As mentioned ADA compliant construction appropriate. Check out NKBA Planning Guidelines with Access Standards.   Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to ask.


Kalki Design & Consulting

Peak Construction

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