Building? What You Need To Know About Designing Your Asheville Floor Plan

build asheville homeGood planning is an essential element of a successful building project.  Below are the steps necessary to create the perfect Asheville floor plan for your home.

I.          Where to Begin

A.  Develop a Budget

Determine how much you can afford or want to spend on your new home.  This determination will have an impact on nearly every decision you make with respect to your home design.

B.  Decide On The General Size/Style Of Your Home

Topography and geography of your property will often dictate the size, shape and even the style of your home.  It is important to think about the kind of home you want before you buy your land.  Here are some factors to consider:

1.  What size home, in square feet, do you want?

a.  Number  and type of bedrooms

b.  Number and type of bathrooms

c.  Number and type of other rooms

2.  How Many Levels Do You Want?

a.  1 Story

b.  Story and a half or split level, 2 story

c.  Two story, or other, connect, wings

3.  What type of foundation do you want or does the lot dictate?

a.  Slab on grade

b.  Crawl space

c.  Full basement

d.  Piers, or other

C.  Determine Your Lifestyle

1.  Your design should reflect your lifestyle.

a.  Is your style formal or informal?

b.  Do you prefer open space or compartments?

c.  Do you favor togetherness or separation for adults and children?

2.  Your design should also take into consideration:

a.  Traffic patterns through the house

b.  Placement of furniture, stereo, TV, piano, etc.

c.  Location of recreation equipment and special use areas

d.  Placement of windows and doors

D.  Decide On The Size, Shape and Location Of Your Land

The question is whether to find the property you love first and then design a home to fit it, or to design the perfect home plan first and then find land to fit the home.  Whichever route you choose, here are some considerations to keep in mind.

1.  Size, shape, topography of land

2.  Land use restrictions, 100 year flood plain

3.  Covenants, architectural review board requirements

4.  Set-back requirements, easements

5.  Location of utilities, septic fields, wells

6.  Placement/easement for access roads/driveways


A.  Gather Your Ideas

Cut out pictures from magazines, newspapers and plan books, then file them by room (bathroom, kitchen, great room, etc.).  This will help you and your architect, designer or draftsman visualize what you want your new home to look like  Here are some sources of ideas:

1.  Shelter magazines

2.  Brochures from home furnishing manufacturers

3.  Brochures from model homes and home shows

4.  Internet

5.  Commercial plan services

B.  Prioritize Your Needs and Wants

1.  Make a list of everything you want in a new home.

2.  Next to each item label it as:

a.  Needs-things you absolutely must have in the home,   e.g., a heating system.

b.  Wants-things you would like to have, budget permitting, e.g., a stone fireplace

c.  Wishes-things you dream about having in your home,  e.g., an indoor pool

d.  Add Ons-things which can be added on later, e.g., decks, sunspaces, finished  basement

C.  Commit The Ideas To Paper

1.  Look for stock plans which meet your needs.

  1. Contact your builder
  2. Contact a residential Designer/Draftsperson.

3.  Take your plans and ideas to an architect.

  1. Draw your own plans.


When you are ready to commit your ideas to paper, here are points you need to consider:

A.  Plan Your Activity Zones

1.  Working zone-kitchen, laundry, pantry

2.  Sleeping zone-bedrooms, bathrooms

3.  Living zone-living room, dining room, family room

4.  Storage zone-basement, garage, hidden storage areas

B.  Watch For Common Problems In Home Planning

1.  No sound buffer between bedrooms and living areas

2.  Congested traffic patterns through work areas

3.  Front door leading directly into the living room

4.  No guest closet near the front door

5.  Bathrooms visible or audible from living/dining areas

6.  Walls cut by windows and doors in odd places

C.  Plan Your Kitchen With Work Flow In Mind

1.  Plan a "work triangle" when possible; it saves steps.

2.  Common kitchen arrangements you may want to consider:

a.  The "U" shape is most efficient

b.  The "L" shape requires more steps

c.  The "U" and "L" work well with an island

d.  The parallel or single wall is least efficient

D.  Plan Your Kitchen Counter Space With These Minimums

1.  Average overall counter space 8' to 10'

2.  18" space on latch side of refrigerator

3.  24" on one side, 36" on the other side of sink

4.  18" on each side of the range

E.  Plan Your Kitchen Storage Space With These Minimums

1.  General storage of 18 sq. ft.

2.  Additional storage per person of 6 sq. ft.

F.  Planning Your Bedrooms

1.  The number is determined by the size/age of the family.

2.  Closets can serve as sound barriers between bedrooms.

3.  The guest bedroom can serve a dual role as a study or den.

4.  Children's bedrooms require flexibility for growth.

5.  The master bedroom design requires more choices:

a.  Do you want your master bedroom next to the children's bedrooms or separated for privacy?

b.  Do you want a "suite" with sitting room space?

c.  Do you want a private attached bath or will you share a bathroom with the rest of  the family?

1.  The number will be determined by budget and by need.

2.  Stacking or back-to-back saves money and space.

3.  Minimum size for baths are usually:

a.  Full bath-5 x 7; half bath-4 x 5; shower-3 x 3

4.  Large bathrooms improve livability and resale.

5.  Don't overlook these items in your bathroom design:

a.  Linen closets

b.  Dressing rooms

c.  Laundry hampers or laundry chutes

d.  Whirlpools, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, bidets

H.  Plan Closets And Storage Areas

1.  Each family member needs 6' of clothes hanging space.

2.  A coat closet at both front & family entrances is desirable.

3.  One or two extra hall closets cost little more.

4.  Take an inventory of your possessions which you'll want to store.

a.  How many small appliances?

b.  How much sports/recreation or hobby equipment?

c.  How much lawn and garden equipment?

d.  What items do you now have trouble storing?

5.  Plan storage areas by location.

a.  Basement, garage, attic storage areas

b.  Under the stairs storage

c.  Out-building storage areas

6.  Plan storage areas by activity and season.

a.  Spring and summer-garden/pool/patio, etc.

b.  Fall and winter-skiing/snowmobile, etc.

I.  Plan Utility And Laundry Areas

1.  Location, work flow, traffic patterns

2.  Dual use as mud room, hobby, storage room

3.  Extra counter space for multiple uses

4.  Long and short term storage use

J.  Plan Garages And Carports

1.  Spaces for cars, boats and campers

2.  Location:  attached, separate, connected by a breezeway

3.  Position:  facing street, side yard, back of house, in basement

4.  Extra space requirements for:

a.  Shop area

b.  Washer, dryer, water heater, furnace, freezer, etc.

c.  Lawn equipment, golf cart, snowmobile, etc.

d.  Driveway size, shape, maneuvering space for autos

K.  Plan Decks, Greenhouses, And Air Conditioning (HVAC)

1.  What type of fuel supply is available on your lot?

2.  What types of systems are available and practical?

a.  Electric baseboard

  1. Radiant Heat
  2. Forced air : electric,  gas, duel fuel,  oil propane

d.  Heat pump

e.  Stoves: coal, wood burning

f.  Solar:  active and passive


3.  Whole house or zoned space conditioning

L.  Plan For A Fireplace

1.  Most are aesthetically pleasing and add resale value, but they are costly and inefficient as a heat source.

2.  Most are not useable as a primary heat source.

3.  Most are more efficient with manufactured inserts.

4.  Most are not as efficient as a wood burning stove.

II.             The Easiest Method

  1. Find a floor plan you like most.
  2. Blow it up real big
  3. Red ink pen  or white out and redraw the changes
  4. Hire a local residential designer or Architect  to redraw the Blueprints

Prepared by:

Tim Alexander, owner, HomeSource Real Estate and Construction, Inc, located at 172 Charlotte Street in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.


This document reflects the opinion of Tim Alexander, a licensed General Contractor in the Asheville, NC area.