Monthly Archives: November 2016

Homes of Staggering Design

Split level house floor plans consist of multiple tiers which intersect one another throughout the home. Usually, they’re designed with 3 floors, each new level beginning about half way between the other’s floor and ceiling. So, in a typical split level house, you’ll walk up a porch and enter into the main level, consisting of a kitchen and formal living room. Built off this main area, you’ll see two short staircases, one descending into a large family room and one ascending to an upstairs hallway which leads to the bathrooms and bedrooms. Though an interesting set-up, you may be asking yourself: Why cut up your home? Why go out of your way to build such a shifting blueprint?

Method in the Maze

Though a split level house floor plan may seem confused and divided, there is actually a sound reason behind the design.

First off, if you live on a small plot of land, live in an un-graded or sloped area, or are simply cramped between too many other homes, then this set-up makes for a very economical use of space: small multiple stories instead of full-size floors.

Secondly, many homeowners who feel the need to build small invest in ranch homes, but in terms of size, a split level house gives you the efficiency of a ranch with the elegance of a two-story.

Thirdly, and most importantly, a split level house is more affordable compared to full-story homes.
Diverse Design

Though we’ve described the typical split level house (3-way-splits), there are many other unique layouts out there that would qualify as well:

Bi-level: This layout consists of two stories. When entering the home, you step into an area between the two floors; a foyer that immediately opens up to two staircases, one taking you up to the kitchen, living room and bedrooms, one leading you down into a partially submerged basement/family room.

4-Way: Using the same design as a 3-way-split, there is sometimes a fourth addition below the lower family room: a partially excavated basement (which is great for regions with high water tables) that can be finished off or used as storage.

Raised Ranch: It uses the same layout as a ranch, except half the house is slightly raised to form an upper story for extra bedrooms and baths.
Some “Ups and Downs”

The interesting look of a split level house floor plan comes with many distinct advantages to a homeowner, but it also comes with some cons that you may need to be aware of.

Separation Anxiety: It’s the best of both worlds—it’s both open and closed. In other words, standing in the kitchen you can get the sense of the entire house, both upstairs and down, making the home have a sense of openness. Yet at the same time it is divided enough that there is no overflow: each room has its own focus and therefore has more privacy. However, because of the staggered design, steady heating and cooling can be a bit of a hassle because it’s difficult to create an even airflow.

More Stairs, More Problems: Unlike like full-story homes, you are now a proud owner of several small staircases. So you’ll be able to get some extra exercise as you walk about the home. And for those with disabilities, a small staircase is less of a chore than a large one. However, you’ll constantly be dealing with multiple cases (including one outside, creating icy porch steps), so it can be a problem among the elderly and infirmed.

Innovation Opportunities: It’s a unique blueprint, so there are many interesting design opportunities. Due to the layout, the main floor has nothing resting on top of it, which means you can install dormers, skylights, large windows, or cathedral or vaulted ceilings. You can open things up by creating spacers between the stories, allowing you to gain even greater visual access between the floors. Plus, each room is divided from the rest, allowing every space to have a diverse feel in terms of interior design while still maintaining an individual unity throughout the entire home.

The Time When The Home Be Under Construction

Improving your home can be exciting when you get to make something new out of something old. You can gain more space, turn a room into something completely different, or just update the out-of-date. But project length and time estimates are hard to come by. And that’s a problem for homeowners who want to know how long they will have to live in a home that is under construction. We have taken the most common home improvement projects and asked the customers, who have recently completed these tasks, what was the length and timeline for their home construction project. While specific homes, location, and scope can cause a project to run long, the following figures for project length are a solid ballpark estimate for inquiring homeowners.
Additions and Remodels: Project Length and Time Estimates

Home Addition: This project takes the cake, but has the greatest variance in terms of cost. Those surveyed at HomeAdvisor state that 3-4 months is about average for this project. But remember, this is only 3 months of construction. The planning, design, and permitting stages can make this project twice as long, even if the construction only takes a few months. The good news is that it’s new space, so for the most part you won’t have an existing space torn up. And the reward is a bigger home. Homeowner Tip: This is a long project, and you’re basically in a temporary marriage with your contractors. Take steps like making the occasional pot of coffee, leaving bagels, or buying lunch. This keeps the relationship strong and the project going smoothly.

Kitchen Remodel: HomeAdvisor users reported 6 weeks as the average time to complete a kitchen remodel. Of course, depending on the details and size of the project, some homeowners reported as long as 4 months, when moving walls and rearranging plumbing, and as short as 3 weeks when only replacing countertops and flooring. Homeowner Tip: Hire a designer. Whoever you hire to complete the project will need professional plans to work with.

Bathroom Remodel: 4.5 weeks, says the 1050 homeowners HomeAdvisor surveyed. The most common advice is to have a strong marriage if you only have one bathroom. Again, if you are moving the toilet or bumping out a wall, this can significantly increase the time; however, new tile and new paint will likely be sub-2 weeks. Homeowner Tip: Move everything out of the bathroom before the contractors arrive; it helps speed things along and shows the pro that you are trying to help the process.

Basement Remodel: HomeAdvisor users report that this project takes 7.5 weeks on average. Most would think this wouldn’t take longer than a kitchen remodel because basements can go unused during a remodel. However, basements have lots of toys these days: home gyms, theaters, digging out windows, and these projects can end up taking a while. Homeowner Tip: Unless you have outside entry, place carpet squares on the path to the basement. This will protect your floors as the contractors walk in and out.

Outdoor Construction: Project Length and Time Estimates

New Asphalt Roof: What’s great about a new asphalt roof (besides replacing the bad shingles) is that it only takes about a week. Of the 1249 people HomeAdvisor asked, the average time of project was a few hours shy of 5 days. Better still, you don’t even have to be home while they work. Homeowner Tip: Roofers can work much faster if they can position a large dumpster next to your house for the old roofing materials. If you can create a space for this dumpster, your new roof can go on much more quickly.
New Siding: No matter what type of siding you choose—stucco, vinyl, metal, or wood—you are staring at just a little over 2 weeks. Homeowner Tip: Move all items in your yard out of the way, and if possible, create a space for your siding pros to store the siding material. They’ll love you for it.

New Deck: Over 1000 homeowners from across the country with new decks reported that the installation process took about 2.5 weeks. To speed up the process, these homeowners advised to get professional plans early. The deck builder needs professional plan to work off of, and if you come to the table with them, the deck will be finished sooner. Homeowner Tip: Deck builders need a place to store their tools and the deck materials. Clear a space for them that is not only close to the deck and helps the builders, but also won’t ruin your yard.

New Pool: The difference in pools can be a huge difference in time. HomeAdvisor users reported that fiberglass pools can be installed in 3 weeks; vinyl-lined pools can take the whole month; and concrete pools can take three months (because the concrete needs time to cure). Whichever type you fancy, just know that it will be awhile before you can start swimming. So if you’re thinking about a pool for next summer, now’s a good time to start planning. Homeowner Tip: The price and project length difference between a fiberglass pool and a concrete pool is big. So if time and cost are of the essence, consider looking into the other pool options.
Home Improvements: Project Length and Time Estimates

New Windows: HomeAdvisor users report 3 weeks as an average amount of time to replace all windows. Not to worry, you won’t be left in the cold for that long. Most of the time is spent upfront measuring and then after the install to ensure a tight fit. Plus, the fewer windows, the less time. Homeowner Tip: There are many different brands and types of windows, so make sure that you research the entire market so that you know which price, efficiency rating, and warranty is right for your home.
Wood Flooring: HomeAdvisor users reported that installing new wood flooring will take one long week. Homeowner Tip: remember that in most climates the wood slats need to be stored in the home for about 3-5 days to acclimatize to the humidity, which means that you might have to step over the material for a few days before your new floor is complete.

Wood Fence: 834 HomeAdvisor users say that their new wood fence went up in about 3 days. 1 day to set the posts, 1 day to put up the boards, and 1 day to attach the gate and seal the wood. This is a popular and quick project that provides security and privacy. Homeowner Tip: An air tight fence might be great for privacy and security, but it will damage your landscaping by obstructing the air flow through your yard. Consider having the boards staggered to keep your landscaping healthy.

House Painting: Over 1600 homeowners reported that it took one long week to paint their home. Certainly bigger houses and multi-storied houses may take longer. Homeowner Tip: provide your painters with a place to wash their brushes and park their truck. It’s these extras that make them want to do a little extra for you.

How To Rezoning a Home

Property rezoning is typically done either for an investor to make a profit or for a homeowner to make his or her property more comfortable. Those who purchase a property with the hopes of rezoning for profit are often focused on changing the way that property can be used (for example, changing a residential property into a commercial property). It can also be done by creating multiple lots from a single piece of land. Homeowners who are simply trying to improve their own property by building a cottage, guest house, or even an outbuilding or garage, will also find that rezoning is sometimes a necessary part of the project. Obviously, the process is not a prerequisite for every backyard installation, but as it may be required by law, there are a few things every homeowner should know.

Rezoning Property: When Is it Necessary?

If you are rezoning to improve your property and not to make a profit, the process is something you may wish to avoid all together. In many cases, smaller buildings like sheds will require no property rezoning whatsoever. In addition to the size of the intended additional structure, the location in which you live will play a huge part in whether or not you will have to deal with rezoning. Property in a rural area is less likely to require changes than property that lies within a city or town as projects that occur where no neighbors exist have less of an effect on other people.

Hiring a Permit Service for the Rezoning Process

If you’re thinking of adding an outbuilding or guesthouse and the local building department concludes that your project will require rezoning, you have a couple options. You can go through the process yourself, you can hire a permit service to go through the process for you, or you can reduce the scope of your intended project in the hope that it will no longer require rezoning. Property owners who decide to deal with the process on their own are often unprepared to go through all the red tape this task entails. Before you go this route, do yourself a favor and at least talk to a permit service about their rates; even if you decide to do it yourself anyway, the permit service will be able to give you a better idea of what to expect.

Property Rezoning Etiquette

When changing the form or function of a plot of land, rezoning property is a necessity for a reason. If you are rezoning to enhance your property, your county building authorities need to make sure that the changes you plan to make will not hurt your neighborhood or the people in it. This is something you, however, should be considering from the start. Placing a business in a residential neighborhood can have an effect on many things like parking, traffic, and even safety in some cases; adding a guest house might not have as dramatic effect on the area as a whole, but it could have a profound effect on your neighbors’ properties. Obstructing views from a favorite window or blocking light on a garden plot may not seem like a big deal to you, but could have your neighbor in an uproar!

Whatever your intentions, there is typically a polite and courteous way to achieve them. If you take the perspectives of your neighbors and neighborhood into account before you plan your project, there is a good chance that you’ll end up with results that make you as happy as those around you!