New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

7 House Plan Features in the Best Floor Plans

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 @ 14:12 PM

Most Popular House Plans:

The Liberty Park, a floor plan design by Frank Betz, is a popular floor plan with features similar to many homes chosen for the Wake County Parade of Homes. What were some of the most common house plan features this year?

  • Kitchen Island with Seating (with more than 50% accommodating seating for at least 4)
  • Formal Dining Room
  • Built In Drop Zone, many in a totally separate Mud Room
  • An average porch size of 95 sq ft
  • Laundry Rooms on the Second Floor

Take a look at the images and descriptions below, to see more new home building trends in North Carolina, using Cary NC parade homes as a representative "snapshot" guide.

Cary NC New Homes | Popular Frank Betz House Plans
Liberty Park Rendition Copyright Frank Betz.

The Liberty Park - Two Story Home with 2286 sq ft, Four Bedrooms, Two and a Half Baths:

The Liberty Park, copyright Frank Betz, is a great example floor plan that includes many of the most-requested floor plan features. Here are the top 7 layout, design, and special features. 

House Plan Feature #1: Cost Effective Layouts (and Two Story Floor Plans)

Two story homes (with a second story master) are generally more cost effective to build when compared to similar homes with a the master suite on the first floor - find out why here.

(And see the 12 reasons smaller homes cost more to build, here.)

All four bedrooms are upstairs in the Liberty Park. 

Cary NC New Homes | Popular Frank Betz House Plans

House Plan Feature #2:  Kitchen Island with Seating

Kitchens experience more traffic than any other room of the home. And more new home plans than ever are incorporating additional functions and features inside the kitchen, including creative ways to add eating space (island seating), homework stations (a built in desk), and home business technology hook-ups (with special gear built into walls) to accommodate modern needs.

The Liberty Park includes an 8' x 3' island with a raised eating bar designed for four (each seat requires 24'' of space). Here is a similar island: 

Cary NC New Homes | Kitchen Island with Seating

House Plan Feature #3:  Formal Dining Room

Inside the Liberty Park, the 13' x 11' dining room is well-designed to comfortably fit a formal table for family and guests. Looking for a more "casual" floor plans? See how many home buyers convert the formal dining into a home office, library, or multi-use space.

House Plan Feature #4: Built-In Drop Zone

Nearly all Parade Homes included a Built In Drop Zone. If there is no dedicated Mud Room area, the hallway off the garage or rear entry serves as a great place to include built in shelving, cubbies, and storage units.

The Liberty Park floor plan includes a drop zone between the garage and kitchen, ready for storing keys, purses, and other daily use items.

Cary NC New Homes | Built In Drop Zone

See 7 mudroom drop zone layouts, with photos, here.

House Plan Feature #5: Front Porch

Homes in the Parade had an average porch size of 95 sq ft, perfect as a "rocking chair" layout. The Liberty Park includes a 19.5' x 7' front porch, or a total of 137 sq ft, above the average size.

House Plan Feature #6: Storage Space in the Laundry

The usability of laundry room space ranks high on homebuyer must-have charts. In this year's homes, more than half had Laundry Rooms on the Second Floor - which makes sense, given the high number of two story homes with all bedrooms upstairs. Buyers want to keep the laundry close to the master and kid's rooms.

The Liberty Park laundry room is roughly 6' x 7', with space for a base cabinet and folding counter (or a stack of open shelves) beside the washer and dryer and 6' of upper cabinets.

Cary NC New Homes | Popular Frank Betz House Plans

House Plan Feature #7: Attractive Staircase Tucked In

See a staircase similar to The Liberty Park, below. The one story foyer opens to the formal dining room and staircase.  The staircase is enclosed on both sides, with two steps of open railing visible in the foyer entryway. 

Get staircase design ideas from our Houzz Ideabook - here.

Cary NC New Homes | Open Staircase Design

See a full list of Cary, NC Parade of Homes trends, here.

Steps to Build a Custom Home

What is most important to you? Discuss, design, and decide what your next home should look like, with tens of thousands of floor plans to choose from. Contact Stanton Homes at 919-278-8070 or visit to learn more about building an NC custom home - with the help of an interior design expert throughout the selection process.


Tags: Cary NC new homes, NC new home trends, floor plan guide, most popular floor plans

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans [with Photos]

Posted by Penny Hull on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 13:06 PM

Floor Plans for First Floor Master Bedroom Homes:

Master suite layout ideas continue to be a top request. Here are 5 of our most interesting (and fun!) new home master suite designs. Layout themes include:

  • Open concept floor plan designs
  • Elegant sitting rooms with angled walls and arched windows
  • Separate closets and vanities that maximize the his-and-hers style
  • Oversized soaking tubs, especially those with a romantic, tucked-away feeling
  • Doorless showers

Most Popular Floor Plans with a Downstairs Master:

These master bedroom floor plans range from layouts that maximize efficiency to those centered on spreading out.

Here are 5 new first floor master bedroom floor plans (with master bedroom and bath photos):

1st Floor Master Floor Plan #1

The McAlvany -- a Frank Betz and Stanton Homes floor plan -- features a first floor master suite with laundry room inside the master closet.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans
The master bedroom and bath each feature a unique ceiling vault and contemporary square light fixture. Large windows and French doors provide natural light.

In the master bathroom, the upper transom windows can remain uncovered, even with blinds or curtains over the picture window.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

See more homes with the laundry room by the master bedroom.

1st Floor Master Floor Plan #2

The Worthington II -- a Stanton Homes floor plan -- is a contemporary home with the master bedroom on the first floor.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

Gray hues, straight lines, and bright white touches flow throughout the contemporary interior design:

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

A white wainscot backdrop frames the freestanding tub and doorless shower:

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans


1st Floor Master Floor Plan #3:

The Mastrosimone -- a Stanton Homes floor plan -- is a first floor master floor plan.

This version of the Mastrosimone features a unique sitting room style - with half-walls dividing it from the master suite. Cut-out openings serve as art/plant shelves.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans


Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

The his-and-hers walk in closets sit opposite each other, leading to the master bath.

A centerpiece soaking tub pulls together the parallel design.  For a more open concept between the master suite and bath, consider an archway rather than a door:

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

1st Floor Master Floor Plan #4:

The Peay -- a Stanton Homes floor plan -- has 6 bedrooms split between the first and second floor.

The master bath leads into the walk in closet with center island.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

A trey ceiling tops this large master suite:

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

Check out the his and hers vanities, with center cabinets:

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

1st Floor Master Floor Plan #5:

The Remington -- a Stanton Homes floor plan -- offers a downstairs master suite with sitting area, three sided fireplace, and his and hers bath with private closets.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

 The master bedroom and bath feature ceilings with multiple heights, designed to emphasize the depth of large spaces.

Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

A barrel vault above the tub rounds out the his and her space:

 Top 5 Downstairs Master Bedroom Floor Plans

Floor Plans with a Master Bedroom on the First Floor:

Homes with a downstairs master continue to be a top home buyer request.  Get ideas for your next home, from these first floor master bedroom home plans.  Then, tell us what kind of home you want to build in North Carolina.

Need more help finding a floor plan? Check out these photo tours. Or browse main floor master floor plans here


Tags: first floor master suite homes, first floor master bedroom homes, new home builders in nc, floor plan guide, raleigh custom homes

How to read a kitchen floor plan | Kitchen floor plan design

Posted by Penny Hull on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:07 PM

How to read a kitchen floor plan

Guide to kitchen floor plan design

While there are several standard pieces included in a kitchen floor plan, each architect has a slightly different formatting style.

We've put together a quick guide on how to read a kitchen floor plan - to help you identify what special features are built into a plan you love.

Kitchen Floor Plan Design #1: Seating Bar Island

A kitchen floor plan design can indicate a seating bar island in several ways.

How to read a kitchen floor plan | Kitchen floor plan design


One style is to draw the line of the bar area in a softer or lighter color - such as using a grey (instead of black) line - to indicate a structure difference. Pictured here is an example:

In this example, the seating bar is RAISED up from the island. How can you tell if the bar is raised? There are no dotted lines indicating the end of the cabinets and the start of a bar overhang.


Some floor plans are more clear than others on certain aspects of the kitchen design.

How to read a kitchen floor plan


Here is an example of a raised seating bar, with a more clear distinction between the standard heigh island and bar.

The thick black line indicates then end of the cabinets, and the dotten line indicates that the seating bar is raised.


Kitchen Floor Plan Design #2: Upper cabinets

Architects usually indicate upper cabinets in one of two ways: a solid line or a dotted line.

Floor plans by Frank Betz, a favorite designer for North Carolina new home buyers, generally show solid lines to distinguish upper cabinets. Plans by Alan Mascord, another favorite designer, generally show dotted lines. 

How to read a kitchen floor plan

Here is an example of a kitchen floor plan design that uses the solid line drawing style. This floor plan, designed by Stanton Homes, uses solid lines to indicate upper cabinets.

In this exaple, the pantry is drawn with double lines - indicating solid walls. Some plans will indicate solid walls with thicker black lines, instead of a double thin line.

Helpful hint: Typically, the refrigerator will have a cabinetry pannel covering any exposed sides (in this case, the fridge would be covered on the side opposite the pantry wall).

Click here to learn more about this floor plan - a version of The Bryson.


How to read a kitchen floor plan


 And here is an example of a kitchen floor plan design that  uses the dotted line drawing style.

 Helpful hint: take a look at the appliances and fixtures.

 - The sink and range are drawn in solid lines - they are cut into the counter top, with no cabinets below.

 - The dishwasher and refrigerator are drawn in dotted lines - they are located above or below a cabinet.

 This solid line / dashed line distinction is very common for indicating appliances in a kitchen floor plan design, although some architects incorporate color to make the differences even more clear.

Kitchen Floor Plan Design #3: Arched openings

How to raed a kitchen floor plan | Kitchen floor plan designAdding (moving, or enlarging) arched openings and entrances is a common request when building a custom kitchen plan.

Architects usually indicate arched openings in one of two ways: by adding curved dashed lines or  straight dashed lines between the walls.

In this first example, curved, dashed lines indicate two types of archways: an arched cut-out opening between the kitchen and family room and an arched entrance between the kitchen and gallery connecting the formal dining room.



How to read a kitchen floor plan | Kitchen floor plan design


In this second example, straight dashed lines indicate arched openings between the kitchen and great room. Open squares indicate decorative columns between the archways.

Dashed lines also indicate the vaulted ceiling in the dining room and great room. Arrows and the word "vault" are included to distinguish the arched areas from the vaulted areas.

Get a better idea of what this design looks like in real life - Click here to see photos of the Carwile - a completed version of this floor plan.


Kitchen Floor Plan Design #4: Vaulted ceilings, coffered ceilings, beam ceilings

 How to read a kitchen floor plan


Vaulted, coffered, and beam are three of the most requested specialty ceiling styles in custom home kitchens.

In this example, dashed lines indicate two ceiling treatments: a vault and set of three wood beams.

Click here to see a home built to this floor plan - the Country Manor.



How do I know how tall my ceilings will be, according to a floor plan?

Some floor plans indicate ceiling height in certain rooms. But ceiling height can vary by builder.

Most new custom home builders incorporate a spacious 9 ft ceiling, and many popular plans also include at least one vaulted room. Make sure to ask your home builder what ceiling height comes standard.

If you don't see a ceiling height specified in your bid or other documents, be sure to ask that it be included in the written informationRead more about a ceiling height.

Search for floor plans:

Island kitchen floor plan design

Main floor master plan design

Ask us for floor plan ideas

Tags: how to read a kitchen floor plan, kitchen floor plan design, floor plan guide, home architect

Questions to Ask before Choosing a Floor Plan

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 @ 09:08 AM

Top 10 Questions to Ask before Picking a Floor Plan

Finding the Right Floor Plan

When choosing a floor plan, there's a lot to consider.   Here are top questions to keep in mind before building a home you'll love to live in.

1.   Where do you want to sleep?

A two story plan is usually most cost effective.   But for a number of reasons, you may want to sleep on the first floor.   A one story home usually has the highest price tag, and a main floor master suite plan may offer a good compromise between location and price.

Open Floor Plan

2.  What kind of lifestyle do you have?

Are you formal, or informal?    The layout of the main living areas should be determined by your lifestyle.   The kitchen can be "out of sight" from guests, or can be completely exposed to the Great Room for an open concept plan.

3.  Can we stay at your house?

Do you have lots of overnight guests?  Do the grandparents come to visit?  

A first floor guest bedroom and full bath can come in very handy.  

Keep in mind that a full guest suite will require some additional square footage, and may mean losing a room elsewhere if you're working to a strict budget.

4.  What does your dream kitchen look like?Huge Island with Seating

Whether a huge island with seating is most important to you, or just having tons of counter space, don't feel too confined by the kitchen layout noted on the floor plan.  

Changing a kitchen layout is one of the easiest things we'll be able to do for you, just let us know what you're looking for and we'll sketch some ideas for you.



Floor Plans with Front Porches

5.  Is outdoor living just as important as indoor living?

If a front porch, rear porch, or screen porch is an absolute must for you, don't feel limited to floor plans that already picture one of these options.  

Screen porches can be added to nearly any home, and porches are usually easy to add (or subtract!).  

Just keep in mind - the more porches there are, the higher the price tag will be. 

6.  Will you be working at home?

Whether you're working at home, or just want a private room to catch up or web surf, you're not alone.  Home offices are one of our most popular requests right now.   But don't worry if you don't see a room labeled "office" on the plans.   Formal dining rooms are easily converted to full offices, as are formal living rooms.  And even a pocket office can be a great addition.    

Built In Bookcases

7.  How essential is storage?

Storage can be found in all kinds of places.   What's on the top of today's wish lists?  

A larger pantry (walk in where possible), easy attic storage (can often be found in eaves off the bonus room or other locations), and a big enough coat closet.  

Built in storage centers or an extra large master closet can be key features.

Mudroom Design


8.  Is a mudroom important?

Keeping the house organzied with kids around is a constant challenge.  

But a "drop zone" off the garage can go a long way - someplace to store baskets with shoes, coat hooks for backpacks, and even lockers or cabinetry.  

A drop zone can be added in the laundry room, mudroom or hallway. 

9.  What about a basement?

Keep in mind that while walk out basements are fairly common in the Triangle area of North Carolina, full basements are not recommended.   If your lot is sufficiently sloped, an unfinished or finished basement can offer lots of additional square footage, at a much lower cost per square foot than for "above ground" square footage. 

10.  How many bedrooms and baths?

Powder Room

The number of bedrooms you'll need is probably fairly firm.   But be prepared to be a little flexible on the number of baths, though, if you have a limited budget.   It would be great for each bedroom to have it's own bath, plus a separate powder room for guests, but a "dual door" bath with dual vanities can also help all the kids get ready for school on time, AND help Mom and Dad stay on budget.



Contact Stanton Homes for floor plan ideas, to get a new home cost estimate, or find out more about building a custom home in North Carolina.

Here are some floor plans to get your search started:

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<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="One Story Floor Plans">Click here for One Story Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="Main Floor Master Floor Plans">Click here for Main Floor Master Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="Mother in Law Suite Floor Plans">Click here for Mother-in-Law Suite Floor Plans

<%=Page.ResolveUrl(" title="Value Floor Plans">Click here for Value Floor Plans

Tags: top 10, floor plan guide, top questions, raleigh floor plans, custom floor plans, floor plans