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Stock or Custom Floor Plans

The search for your dream mountain style home often begins with trying to find the right floor plan.  As you start your search you might find websites that show or sell log home plans.  You might purchase magazines that showcase floor plans, and of course most manufacturers will have plans listed on their websites.  While you are doing your research and going from site to site, it is important to realize that some plans are presented as available models, while others are shown as examples.  This article discusses the difference between a stock floor plan and a floor plan design concept.

Stock Plans
Cedar Falls Design ConceptFor most people the idea of a stock floor plan is familiar.  These plans exist in traditional stick-frame construction as well as the log and timber home industry. As the client, you look through a book or catalog of available plans and choose the one that works best for you.  Depending on the manufacturer or builder, you might be able to make minor changes like adding a basement or moving some of the interior walls around to get more space in one room instead of another.  The point of a company offering a stock set of plans is so that their process is more streamlined and easier to manage.   They don’t have to invest in architects to modify their designs and they are able to repeat the same manufacturing processes over and over because the amount of customization available for these stock homes is minimal. A client receives a quicker build cycle, but has far less control over what the final home will look like.

Design Concepts
Where the stock plan is intended as a “ready-to-go” set of plans, the creation of a floor plan concept is meant as a starting place or inspiration for what your custom plan will be.  The idea of the “custom plan” can be confusing when so many stock plans offer some form of customization.  What is important to understand is that a modification to a stock plan is always limited by the affect that modification has to the structure, while customization of a conceptual plan is only limited by engineering regulations and your budget.

When the concept is developed, the major goal is to create a timber or log home design that can inspire your custom plan.  The design is conceived for its architectural look and feel as well as its unique layout.  These designs enable clients to envision the type of home that the architects can create and point out accents and details that they want the architects to incorporate into their home.  Even if homes have already been built using the conceptual idea, the concept itself is still in the early stages of the design process.  Although the concept was computer generated, it is during the architectural design of your home that the plan develops from concept into fully-engineered construction documents.

The greatest difference between a stock plan and a custom plan is that instead of the plan dictating how you can change the design, you and your architect decide what the home should look like, then modify the plan to fit.  For instance, if you were to ask what the ceiling height is for a stock plan, the answer would be a specific number or range.  If you asked the height of the ceiling in a conceptual plan, the answer would be “how ever high you want it.”

The Difference in Choosing Stock vs. Custom
Prior to finding plans, you probably already have a list of musts and maybes for your home. Now that you understand what the difference is between stock and custom, here are some quick tips for how to handle either situation:

  • When dealing with a stock plan it is more important to get details of room sizes and layout configurations before you decide it is the right home plan for you.  After all, you won’t be able to make as many changes later on.
  • When you find a conceptual plan you like, don’t get hung up in the details of room sizes or window widths.  Those are details that can be decided later on. Instead,  use the conceptual designs to help formulate what you like architecturally and how you envision your layout.  Let the architect pull everything together, and then you can start to refine the details of the plan.

One Comment

  1. kris says:

    I would like to get the copy of your Monte Vista plan. I am looking at building again and I always liked the layout with some improv

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