Houseplans.com Exec Builds Wine Country Home Using His Product
When it comes to building a home, Houseplans.com CEO Stephen Williamson is not afraid to put his money where his mouth is. As you can guess from the name, the company sells house plans and, according to their website, the goal is to make quality design available to more people for less. Houseplans.com Editor-in-Chief Daniel Gregory says Williamson and his wife tested the process by ordering a plan from the site (Ranch House 508-2 by Nicholas Lee, the company's design director) just as any other customer might. The result is a Glen Ellen rancher with 2,994 square feet, three bedrooms, three and a half baths and a not-so-scary price tag (the construction costs came in roughly at $225 per square foot).
Gregory details the process in his blog on Houseplans.com. Williamson and his wife, artist Alexandra Bowes, chose a wooded site in Sonoma County for the house. Its woodsy setting is perfect for the home, as it's all about indoor-outdoor living.
That inside-is-outside and vice-versa nature is demonstrated in the living room, whose large doors slide open to embrace the pool area and the trees around it. The contractor, Paul Sorenson of Eames Construction, tells Gregory that the key to keeping construction costs in check is that the "structural system is the finished system." For example, the concrete that makes up the foundation slab is also the floor. “The idea was to make the design as natural as possible, without any waste so that the ornament comes from the structure itself," says Lee.
A large window bay provides room for the dining room table. To make the exercise a true test of what a customer might experience, Bowes completed the minimalist interior design and Williamson ordered all the fixtures.
Since this is an open plan home, the kitchen is visible from the living and dining room. In order to screen the prep area, Lee designed two-tiered island that hides the business end of the room when he drew the plans.