Friday, August 20, 2010

House Plans and Customer Service

So, it's been forever since I've posted anything. I'm sorry about that. I don't really know what to say; I'm just lame like that... Anyway, here's an article that I really like -- it's from The Plan Collection and it really tells what they're all about

Check it out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Home Design & The Emerging Market


We have seen major changes in the economy of the United States in recent years; finances have become very tight for many families and in many businesses and governments. These changes in our economy have resulted in major changes in the residential construction industry, many construction companies are out of business, and many homeowners can no longer afford the level of home they enjoyed in previous years.

There is an emerging market for construction that will require many changes to be successful. Our goal in construction is to once again be a vibrant part of the thriving economy found in the United States. This residential construction market that is emerging out of the depression will need to address the new requirements and goals of homeowners who are looking for the right home for the right time, for a home that will meet their families needs in livability, and in affordability. These homeowners may be downsizing to meet new financial goals and to live in a home that realistically works in their budget, now and in the future.

I believe that there will be a need for a new breed of house plans to meet the new emerging market in construction, these emerging market house plans will need to be designed and built to meet the new requirements of the family, new requirements based on family livability and upon realistic budgets. I have listed below the new goals and requirements that can meet the needs of the emerging market.

1. Smaller homes with similar amenities.
2. Cost-effective and simplified construction, yet maintaining architectural integrity.
3. Home design with minimum wasted space.
4. Open concept plans, resulting larger living homes.
5. Home design that looks and lives larger than its actual square footage.
6. Architectural impact resources spent more on the front of the home.
7. Simplified rooflines that still provide optimum architectural style and impact.

I have spent the last two years designing a series of new house plans that will meet the needs of this new emerging market. These new plans will meet the seven requirements listed above. These emerging market house plans can be found on my website, they are listed under the “browse design types” on the home page of I believe these new house plans will be successful in meeting our needs and goals for the future of residential construction and in the future requirements of our families.

-- Bill Martin

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tips for working with Builders and Subcontractors

Back in January, I wrote an article about building your own house. There are hundreds of different factors to consider, but like I said before, "if you start off on the right foot, hire the right professionals, and take it one step at a time, building your own home can still be a fun and invigorating experience." (Click Here to view the full article)

The best way to "start off on the right foot" is to start with a great design. Although finding the right plan can be pretty difficult, each of us at The Plan Collection is committed to helping you find your dream house plan -- so let's just assume you've found "the one."

I know that many of you are probably thinking about general contracting your own home. In my humble opinion, being your own general contractor is borderline masochistic; but some people are just made for that sort of thing. For those of you who actually like that kind of stress, let me give you a few hints when it comes to finding and working with subcontractors (but remember, these tips can also be applied to working with a hired general contractor too).

First of all, you have to find the right sub-contractor -- but how?
  • *Ask your friends and acquaintances for references (be sure to ask about the sub-contractor and inspect the work).

  • *Check the Internet as well as local newspapers.

  • *NEVER hire a relative, even distance relatives.

Once you have found a sub-contractor, be sure to follow these simple tips:
  • *NEVER pay any sub-contractor up-front.

  • *When the job is finished, DO NOT just accepts the sub-contractors word "I'm finished" INSPECT IT (twice) to make sure it is finished, and then pay them.

  • *VERY IMPORTANT: Require ALL Sub-contractors to sign a Mechanic Lien Release (or lien waiver) form, showing that you have paid them in full. Your local title company probably has a pre-written form.

Good communication is an important key when it comes to building a home, and working with sub-contractors is no different. Before hiring a sub-contractor let them know up-front that you expect and require quality workmanship. Be firm on this. Also let them know that the home will be inspected by the mortgage company, and the home must meet codes. Hold back a retaining fee until after their work has been inspected.

General contractors can be a little more loose with their subcontractors, because they usually have several projects going at one time, and it is always easy to withhold payment on another project. As a homeowner builder you do not have this luxury. Your payment is your only power. This should help you to eliminate "fly by night" sub-contractors -- and be careful, there are a lot of them out there.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Good Luck!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Surprisingly Contemporary Craftsman Home Plans

This is VH-TS3309, and it has one of the craziest designs I've ever seen. It offers everything you could expect from a home: open living areas, plenty of garage space, a modern kitchen -- all fit into a very smart and thoughtful floor plan.

But the thing that really makes VH-TS3309 stand out is its fresh sense of style. One look is all it takes to recognize that this is no ordinary house plan. It combines the rustic, yet sturdy quality of a craftsman home and turns it on its head! Seriously, this house plan is amazing. Check it out!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Warm Tuscan Hospitality

There's just something comfortable and inviting about Tuscan Style Home Design. It's like they say in the Olive Garden commercials: "When you're here, you're family!" That philosophy is demonstrated perfectly in House Plan NDG-1142. You're sure to feel at home with it's open great room and vaulted dining, but let's not forget about the huge master bedroom and its personal study. You aren't going to run out of space any time soon in this Mediterranean marvel.

Not quite what you're looking for? Well then you should have a look at our entire Tuscan collection. There's sure to be something that will catch your fancy -- check it out!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Garage Plans and More!

Y'know, there are some days when I absolutely love working at The Plan Collection. I really enjoy coming across new and exciting house plans, but then again, I've always been able to get a kick out of weird things.

Anyway, I just wanted to let y'all know about our new line of garage/storage shed plans. Now you can purchase a complete set of blueprints for some pretty amazing detached garages, workshops, storage sheds, etc.

Need a place to hang your garden tools? Does the lawn mower always seem to be in your way? Would you like a private workshop? You should check out our entire collection -- Click Here!

Friday, March 5, 2010

House Plans: My Favorite Style

I love Tudor Style homes. When designed well, they are definitely my favorite. I just really enjoy that style, and let me tell you why.

When I was probably 2 or 3 years old, my grandpa built my older sister and me a playhouse. It wasn't much bigger than 10' x10', but it was the funnest place in the world! My sister set up her Fisher-Price kitchen set -- complete with oven, stove, telephone, and fold-out table -- and my parents even kept some of our family's food storage out there in our play house. We would play out there for hours, having tea parties (probably not the most manly activity I've ever participated in), making mud pies, and playing house. My grandma would even come out and play with us. Sometimes she'd pretend to be the Big Bad Wolf, and my sister and I would be the little piggies.

I didn't realize it at the time, but that little old play house was a Tudor-Styled cottage. My grandpa had built it using brown 4x4s, 2x6s, and OSB, and when it came time to paint it, he used dark brown paint for the exposed beams, and white paint for the OSB, giving the our play house a very "Fairy Tale" quality -- like something out of Sleeping Beauty or Snow White.

I wish I had some photos to show you, but unfortunately, as we grew up, our play house fell into disrepair. During my early teenage years I used the play house as a workshop, where I whittled my first bow and arrow and cleaned my first carburetor. But after I moved away from home, my parents just used it for storage, and then they let the dog sleep in it.

That play house was my first experience with Tudor Style, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. We also had some good friends growing up who lived in the little town of Mantua (pronounced "Man-uh-way"), Utah. We would visit them at their approx. 2,000 square foot Tudor Home for BBQ's and other get-togethers. It was always a good time. To a 7 year old boy, their home felt like a grand European estate. I absolutely loved going over there and exploring every nook and cranny! There was just something adventurous, yet comfortable and "down-home" about their home (the colored drawing shown at the top of this post is a very accurate portrayal of their home.)

Tudor Style has always been a part of my life, and now I'm just saving and waiting for my chance; someday I really want a Tudor House of my own. In the meantime, a guy can dream, can't he? Luckily, The Plan Collection has 165 amazing Tudor House Plans. You should Check Them Out!

Not what your looking for? Give me a call at (866) 787-2023 or email me at and let me know what you like. I'll do my best to help you find your Dream Home and I'll even give you a 10% DISCOUNT.

We're here to help!