four Indifferent Dwelling Plans That Scale back Constructing Prices


Finding solutions for inexpensive living space has always been difficult, but the current shortage of materials and rising prices make the goal of offering affordable single-family homes more difficult. Now, to reduce construction costs, it is imperative to create designs with simple floor plans, lower roof pitches with minimal offsets, and two-story designs with stacked walls.

Although homebuyers are now expecting upgrades – even in so-called starter houses – the reality is that such a luxury may not be feasible. As we strive to reduce construction costs, a look back at earlier eras – when houses with laminate floors, smaller bathrooms, and garages were not yet standard – may be the direction we need to consider.


Crescendo Plan 2201

Designer: Seth Hart, DTJ design, [email protected], 303.443.7333

Dimensions: Width: 22 feet; Depth: 44 feet; Living area: 2,125 m²

Two of the main determining factors that directly affect construction costs are density and construction efficiency, and this home was designed with a strategic focus on accessibility. Essentially a detached townhouse, it utilizes a compact footprint and 3-foot side recesses to maintain the privacy of a single family home while achieving a density of around 9.5 units per acre. The construction efficiency was achieved with: a square foundation; Stacking all exterior walls; simple roof shapes with slopes not exceeding 6:12; and external dimensions that minimize construction waste. Covered decks on the second floor are optional to keep base costs down, and an additional side deck can be optional for endless conditions to improve outdoor living.

A: Simple roof shapes with no major slopes help to keep costs down, while a well thought-out roof articulation gives the house character

B: Square foundation minimizes costs

C: Optional covered decks lower basic costs while providing the opportunity to improve outdoor living. They also create variety between the views and articulate street scenes within the community

Crescendo plan


architect: Todd Hallett, AIA, TK design & employees, [email protected], 248.446.1960

Dimensions: Width: 34 feet; Depth: 54 feet, 8 inches; Living space: 2,555 sqm

An efficient floor plan is always cheaper than a plan with underutilized space. Reducing construction costs is key to upgrading equipment and curbing appeal, and spreading the budget across interesting features like the drop door and courtyard in this design. This plan keeps the structure simple and effective while still allowing for an owner suite on the first floor. The open floor plan maximizes the space for multiple uses and functions and creates surprise and drama in the house.

Layla rendering

A: Board and slat cladding on most of the front exteriors add an authentic touch while reducing cost compared to brick or stone cladding

B: The courtyard provides additional space for alfresco dining, exercise, and entertainment, inviting natural light into the home while creating interest

C: The narrow, compact floor plan is efficient and still allows for an owner’s suite on the first floor

D: By reducing construction costs, budget dollars can be allocated to more exciting functions, such as: B. a collapsible / accordion patio door

E: The second floor connects neatly to the first floor, saves frame costs and makes expensive beams superfluous

Layla floor plan 1Layla 2

The Lennox

Designer: GMD Design Group, Scott Gardner, [email protected], 919.320.3022, Donnie McGrath, [email protected], 770.375.7351

Dimensions: Width: 30 feet; Depth: 36 feet; Living space: 1,599 sqm

It is possible to design an affordable home that also incorporates current style trends. This home offers buyers a spacious, open floor plan while limiting lumber spans and beams. Additionally, the home fits on a compact footprint 30 feet wide by 36 feet deep to reduce sorting costs and allow more homes on smaller lots.

lennox plan 1

lennox plan 2

A: The entrance porch uses a wall instead of a column

B: A separate small window helps bring natural light into the foyer

C: Kitchen designed for minimal cabinet costs; a walk-in pantry offers generous storage space at a low cost

D: Open areas of the plan are in line to reduce the spans and beams of the ceiling joists

E: Loft location minimizes hallways

Q: Standard shower tray, shower size and sanitary wall shared with laundry

G: For simplicity, part of the front wall is stacked on the entrance porch below

H: Mechanical systems are arranged centrally and in air-conditioned rooms in order to reduce the cooling load

lennox plan 3

Holden Street Cottage A.

Holden street drawing

Designer: Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, [email protected], 254.205.2597

Dimensions: Width: 26 feet; Depth: 59 feet, 8 inches; Living area: 938 sqm

This little cottage is part of a project that aims to provide seniors and first time buyers with a neighborhood of accessible homes. With a footprint with minimal offsets and a simple 7:12 roof design with short spans, the design makes efficient use of the materials. However, it is the lack of a two-car garage that really adds to the price. An average 420-square-foot garage would take up more than 40% of that 938-square-foot home – roughly as much space as the living area, kitchen, bathroom 2, and dining area combined! Maybe it’s time to rethink how important our cars really are.

Holden floor plan

A: Open living / eating

B: Built-in dinette

C: Bedroom 1 has a walk-in closet and a 42 “x 60” shower

D: Covered parking space with storage room

E: parking spot

Q: Secluded side courtyard with gates in front and behind