Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dreamy Pantry

from: Lineal Inc. Architects & Builders


I am such a huge fan of pantry space. I feel like you could never have too big of a pantry. In fact this one could be a little bigger. I absolutely love the idea of putting in a window or two. Natural light is the greatest. It makes it more pleasant when having to make the worst decision of the day… Dinner. And the counter! So great for canning or making some kind of cooking prep mess that you could easily hide away with the door!

I said it once or twice, let me say it once more… Dreamy.

Outside is the New Inside

Design by Amy Bubier.

This is glorious. On a nice summer night, or any night if I lived in a year round warm place, I can imagine this would be ideal for a perfect dinner party. OK, scratch that, it would be ideal for anytime of day or night. It would let in oodles of light, warmth, breeze, rain or whatever other nice outdoor elements there are. It would even give romantic date nights with the spouse. I can imagine him telling me where he is going to build the brick oven that he has always wanted.


House Plans With Basketball Courts Inside

Several years ago when I was still designing homes for a living, I work for a builder to design homes with Gyms in the basement large enough to play basketball inside them. This really wasn’t all that hard to do. In fact, one of the first that I designed had a gym in it because the lot it was built on sloped so much, it just made sense. To accomplish this, we basically just dropped half of the foundation another 9′ on one side of the home. If you look at the floor plan below, there is a concrete wall down the center of the basement. Basically, everything to the right was a standard basement with 9′ ceilings. Everything on the left was about 9′ lower than the family room in the basement. This made the overall height of the gym around 18′. Two steel beams set horizontally (shown in floor plan) supported the floor above. One disadvantage do doing a gym inside your home is the noise. In this case the builder lined all of the walls with sheathing and used sound board on the ceiling of the gym. The floor joists above were also insulated to further deaden the sound. Just click on the image to see the complete plan. This house plan is available for purchase.

House Plan with a Basketball Court Inside it.

Main floor plan for house plan with basketball court inside

Main Floor Plan

basement floor plan for house plan with basketball court inside.

Basement Floor Plan

Another way to incorporate a basketball court into your home is to use a suspended slab over the garage. In the house plan below, the builder dug down about 17 or 18′ ¬†and used precast suspended slabs for the garage floor. This method is a bit more costly as the engineering for foundation walls that large supporting a suspended garage floor can add some additional cost. It turned out pretty cool though because from the street you would never know this home has a big gym below. Another advantage is the concrete walls cut down on sound transfer to the home. The disadvantage was that when you were in the gym, there were no windows and the sound was amplified as if you were in a cave. To counteract this, the homeowner used bright commercial lighting, and installed sound deadening panels on the interior walls.

House Plan With Basketball court under the garage.

House Plan with Basketball Court Under the Garage

Main level floor plan for house plan with basketball court under the garage

Main Floor Plan


Basement floor plan for a house plan with basketball court under the garage

Basement Floor Plan

There are many ways that you can design a home plan with a basketball court or gym in side it. I actually just recently design a home with a 20′ tall climbing wall inside of it. There are just a few things you need to remember.

- make sure the overall height of your gym is tall enough for the activities you plan to use it for. You’d hate to get your gym finished only to find its not high enough to shoot a basketball.

- make sure its large enough from side to side. Plan out how much room you want and maybe add a couple of feet for elbow room. You can’t improve your 3 point shot very well if you have to practice in a gym where the 3 point line is up against a wall.

- get your gym engineered. You’ll want the gym to be safe and your home surrounding it strong and lasting. Most cities require house plans to be engineered anyway… but if yours doesn’t at least have a structural engineer review the gym portion of your home. It’s worth a few hundred bucks for the peace of mind that its done right. Especially if you choose the suspended concrete slab type gym.

- Plan ahead for sound deadening and lighting.

- planning a closet area or extra space in a stairwell is worthwhile. You’ll have toys and balls and other gear you need to store when you have a game going on. The homeowners of the homes above didn’t plan a lot of space, i think if i were doing a gym in my home i’d do a nice walk in closet for storage.

That’s about it. Having your own home gym can be really convenient and fun. Especially if you have kids or grand kids that can enjoy it.

Briefly Out of Retirement

Years ago I quit drawing custom homes due to the demands of running our house plan publishing business The Plan Collection and other projects that I had going on at the time. Since then I have done some minor work here and there when customizations were needed on stock plans, but really didn’t do any custom work. To be honest, there were certain aspects of custom design work that I don’t miss at all, but I really do miss the creative process and seeing all the design and drafting work on a house plan turn into a livable space for a family. Recently I came came out of retirement for a bit and designed a couple of homes with round roofs. It was fun to do something completely different than i had in the past and it made me want to get back into design work. Maybe one day. Right now I have too many other things going on so I’m going to have to hang up the gloves again.

House Plans blog at England Design Company

We’ve recently added this house plans blog as a way to keep track of different home design ideas and other information from the home building industry. More to come.