Tips To Prepare You and Your Loved Ones For an Emergency

(BPT) – Fires can occur when you least expect it, leaving little time to plan your escape, so the time to prepare for an emergency isn’t when your alarm sounds. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), only 32% of American households have actually developed and practiced an emergency escape plan. Make time to sit down with your family to plan and practice what you would do in case of a fire or carbon monoxide (CO) emergency. Consider the following tips when helping to prepare yourself and your loved ones:

Map It Out

Begin thinking about a home fire escape plan by first drawing a map of your home, making sure to label each window and door. Identify two ways out of each room and walk through your home to make sure the doors and windows you’ve chosen as exits open easily. If your family’s home has a second floor, consider having escape ladders in each room. You can find templates online to help you get started.

Choose a meeting spot.

After you have mapped out all of the ways you can exit, pick an outside meeting spot a safe distance away from your home, such as across the street, at a mailbox or in front of the neighbor’s home. Be sure that your family knows that once they are outside, they need to call 911 and stay outside. Additionally, explain it is important that everyone knows never to re-enter the home for any reason and to let a firefighter know if someone is missing.

Help your loved ones.

Assign someone in your family who can assist infants, seniors or pets during a fire. The responsible person should be in good health and be able to provide the assistance needed.

Check your smoke alarms.

Having working smoke alarms on each level of the home and in every sleeping area is key to having a safe home. Check that you have alarms properly installed throughout your home and remember to test all of the alarms regularly and replace them at least every 10 years. If you have children, consider installing a First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with voice and location technology throughout your home, and especially in their bedroom. This alarm will notify your child of an emergency, distinguishing between a fire or carbon monoxide incident, in a human voice as opposed to a regular alarm. This is especially helpful if a fire strikes at night. Studies have shown children may have an easier time waking up to the sound of a human voice rather than an alarm.

“Smoke alarms are designed to give early warning in case of fire, and making sure your home has properly installed and maintained alarms is the best defense against one,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “As far as CO is concerned, the only way to detect this fatal gas is with a CO alarm, so have one installed on each level of the home and near every sleeping area.”

Plan. Practice. Repeat.

Once your escape plan is finalized, your job is not done. Gather your family together and put your plan in action. Practice this plan at least twice a year, so if disaster strikes, your family will feel confident in their ability to exit the home safely. To make the drills as realistic as possible, conduct them both during the day and at night.

“Planning ahead can save a life,” added Wey. “Talk with your family to make a plan that fits all of your needs.”

For more information about escape planning and fire safety tools, visit www.firstalert.com.

New European House Plan With 4 Bedrooms

European Style Home Plan chp-60205 | Total Living Area: 4557 SQ FT | Bedrooms: 4 | Bathrooms: Two Full, One 3/4, 1 Half Bath | Garage Bays: 3 | Dimensions: 76′ W x 64′ D

This European style two-story house plan design looks as though it comes from a time gone by. A deliberate blend of stone and shake siding gives this European classic curb appeal that is hard to beat.

You’ll love how the kitchen, great room and dining room all work together in an open floor plan to create a spacious living area perfect for entertaining.

The two-story ceiling over the kitchen and great room adds to the overall feeling of a large home.

The master suite is directly attached to a sun room through a private doorway and features a large walk-in closet and spacious bathroom.

Upstairs you’ll love the balcony that overlooks the main level, and you’ll be pleased to find two additional bedrooms, one of which features a walk-in closet and a built-in desk area.

The finished walkout basement includes an additional bedroom, a spacious family room with wet bar and wine cellar, a separate room for a game table and a large theater room.

Click here to see the plan specifications and more interior photography from the new construction of this European Home Plan.

How To Add a Bathroom In the Basement Or Garage

(BPT) – It’s home improvement season, which means you’re probably dreaming of enhancements to make your space more livable and to enhance property value. Adding a bathroom is a great way to do both, but for many people, concrete poses a potential problem.

Want to add a bathroom to your garage? How about in the basement? A bathroom addition means you need proper plumbing, and often in these types of spaces none exists. You have a cold concrete slab and a bit of a dilemma: Do you give up on your bathroom dreams or cut through the concrete to put in the conventional below-floor drainage and piping necessary for a bathroom?

Cutting through concrete is not to be taken lightly. Before you hire a contractor or rent a jackhammer and concrete saw, remember these red flags.

5 reasons to avoid cutting concrete

Cutting concrete undermines structural integrity.

When you cut a slab you compromise the foundational integrity of the building. You may be able to patch the hole so it’s aesthetically appealing, but the floor will not be as solid as it was to begin with. Plus, if your home sits on ground that’s less than solid, such as sand, it may settle differently after the cut.

Cutting concrete is never perfect.

You may need to cut a circle, square or rectangle into a floor for burying a sewage ejector and its waste-storage basin, but that perfect shape will inevitably crack on the edges and fray outward in unintended directions. Once a stress crack is created, it can extend into the footing or into the walls.

Cutting concrete is unpredictable.

It is difficult to know the depth of the concrete and whether it sits on rocks or a ledge, as well as if it contains rebar or tension cables. You can cause major damage if you accidentally cut one of those cables, so many professional contractors use an X-ray machine to determine the positioning of the cables, which is an additional cost.

Cutting concrete creates leaks and seepage.

Once a stress crack is generated, radon and ground-water penetration are major issues, with the latter bringing unwanted moisture and mold problems as well. You don’t need a major flood to trigger these hazards. A higher-than-usual water table, because of extended wet weather, could be the culprit.

Large amounts of dust.

Breaking through concrete generates a large amount of noise and dust. The noise stops when the jackhammers and saws shut down, but the dust doesn’t fade as quickly. That’s because it is not conventional household dust, but a thick particulate that gets into the central air system, which means it can be around for a long time if not properly handled.

Consider smart alternatives

Beyond these red flag reasons, cutting concrete can be time-consuming and expensive. The actual expense of cutting concrete depends on the size and complexity of the job, as well as local labor availability and rates. In some parts of the nation, the per-foot rate may be a few hundred dollars; in others, $1,000 or more.

To add a bathroom but avoid cutting concrete and the associated cost, consider Saniflo above-floor plumbing technology. Macerating (also called up-flush) plumbing systems can be installed right on top of the existing floor virtually anywhere in your home.

How do macerating systems work? Waste and water from a toilet, tub or sink are pumped through small-diameter piping, rather than flowing down like conventional plumbing. The up-flush system doesn’t store waste like a sewage ejector system; waste and water move out of the house to the septic or sewer system with every flush.

Macerating toilet and plumbing technology can be installed on top of concrete slabs, which means no costly cuts or messy, time-consuming extra steps. If space is a problem, these bathrooms can also be installed in a closet or the area beneath a stairway. Learn more at http://go.saniflo.com.

Traditional Family Home Plan with Extras

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChp-6048 | This traditional two-story home combines the perfect blend of brick and stucco to give this design unmatched curb appeal. Wrapping around to your left, the brick garage is inviting with arched doorways (on the original plans) and two dormer windows. Measuring 22′ by 43’4″, the garage has enough room for three vehicles plus a corner storage area. This would be a convenient place to install a rack to hold the push broom, rake and other commonly used gardening tools. What else can you imagine storing here- ATVs, kayaks, the family fleet of bicycles? You might even consider adding a pool table and bar. Why not, when you have so much space? From the garage entry, we have a coat closet to the left and the laundry room to the right.

Enjoy an open dining room with a butler’s pantry across the hall. Showcase your beautiful crystal and China with a guest-pleasing display. For further entertainment after dinner, move the party into the large formal living room which features a central fireplace and bowed windows that expand the rear view of your carefully manicured back yard. Just off the foyer is a large den with built-in cabinets- the perfect place to store board games to foster a little family competition and togetherness. After all, we all know that we should spend less time in front of those electronics.99118-P5

An impressive kitchen features an abundant pantry area, lots of work space and an arched pass through. For a lovely view at breakfast, eat in the bumped out nook which also boasts a vaulted ceiling. To gather around the fireplace in the large family room conjures up nostalgia for holiday traditions, and one can almost smell apple pie wafting from the kitchen. Built-in cabinetry is included for the family entertainment center. There is a second stairway leading from the kitchen up to the bedrooms and bonus area on the second floor- a great addition if you have a lot of traffic running through the house.

p3Upstairs through French doors, the master bedroom offers a large open space with sweeping views of the outdoors and two large walk-in closets. The master bath provides a private spot for relaxation with a spa/whirlpool tub decorated with fine columns, double vanities and a shower if you don’t have time to lounge. Outside the French doors, art niches provide a place to add your favorite matching statuettes or twin vases overflowing with flowers. Down the hall are two bedrooms sharing one bath and a fourth bedroom with private bath. If you need an office or playroom, there is a bonus room over the garage measuring 11’4″ by 33’8″.

Click here to see more interior photos and the floor plans.

English Manor Tudor Home Plan

53713-P1House Plan chp-53713 is storybook beautiful in its English Manor Tudor style with hipped roof, hipped gables, decorative half-timbering, brick veneer, stucco and cedar shake siding. Looking at the front left exterior, you will notice a row of Gothic style windows with pointed arches that mimic the narrow brick entryway. Tudor Revival style became popular all over America in the late 19th century. These homes are loved by people who reject traditional architecture and opt for something with more character and old-world charm. Parking and lawn equipment storage are simple and easy thanks to the large garage with 3-car dimensions, and family members can enter the home this way for quick access to the rear hall and laundry room.

The open floor plan downstairs is highlighted by a spectacular vaulted great room with large fireplace surrounded by53713-1L built-in cabinets. Tall windows allow plenty of light inside and a beautiful view of the back yard. There’s plenty more room for entertaining with a gourmet kitchen. A generous island includes the cook top and plenty of space for meal preparation and casual family breakfasts before work and school. After a formal dinner, invite your guests to walk through the atrium and admire the perfumed wisteria growing from the trellis- details such as these really leave a lasting impression and add to the romantic appeal of your home.

53713-2LPrivacy for the master suite is designed with a short corner hallway off the foyer leading to the entrance. The bedroom measures 15’6″ x 19′ and enjoys a view of the back yard through a wall of windows. Double vanities, tub, shower and private toilet are all included as per modern demand. Interior light for the dressing room is supplemented by a small front window in the walk-in closet. Outside, one’s attention is caught by the planting box under this window which is spilling over with flowers. In total, the master suite stretches the length of the right side of the house.

Heading upstairs, an angled staircase is open to the foyer below, and the landing has an overlook into the great room at the back of the house and a balcony connecting all of the bedrooms. Bedrooms three and four share a bathroom with double sinks, but suite two includes a walk-in closet and full bathroom- the perfect guest room! Follow the balcony around to a spacious game room. If you continue to expand over the garage, you may opt to add an exercise room.

Click here to see plan chp-53713.

 

 

Eclectic Traditional Home Plan

elevHome plan chp-21224 presents an unusual combination of enticing exterior features. Geometric shapes, seen in the windows, dormers and front-facing gable are paired with the gentle arches of the porch and two upstairs windows. Copper-colored metal skirts the steeply- pitched predominately shingled roof. Siding includes board and batten, stucco and brick veneer for a pleasing and eclectic appearance. A box bay window off the garage adds even more character to this delightful floor plan. From the time you step from the covered front porch to the grilling porch in the back, you’ll fall in love with this traditional home with lots of room, privacy and storage for everybody in your family, even guests!

A dramatic vaulted foyer opens to the formal dining room with 12′ ceiling. Pass through the butler’s pantry box to the kitchen with island, counter bar and informal breakfast room with bay window and a door to the back grilling porch. The great room includes a media/home theater center and fireplace.fl1

Your master suite is a private retreat in this well-arranged home. Away from the major traffic zones, your suite features a 10-foot boxed ceiling and a master bath with a corner whirlpool tub, separate shower and split vanities. Right outside the door is a staircase leading up to a loft with built-in computer center, good for a home office. A giant bonus room measuring 21’8″ by 25’10’ with sloped ceiling is perfect for play or a home theater.

fl2Labelled the “Teenage Room,” a secluded bedroom upstairs makes the perfect getaway. It’s easy to keep tabs on the up and coming young adult in the family because he or she must pass by the master sweet when returning home from a late night out. After your teenager moves on to college, this space can be used as a second guest room. Two more bedrooms downstairs share a bathroom while the guest room/study has a bath of its own. Laundry is convenient with a room off the hallway that includes a utility sink and a linen closet tucked under the staircase.

In total, home plan chp-21224 has 2975 square feet of living space, 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 425 square feet of bonus space, a 327 square foot covered porch and a two-car garage. Click here to view the plans.

Hillside Vacation House Plan

elevHillside Vacation House Plan chp-31659 is presented with beautiful artwork and landscaping to represent the front elevation. Positioned on a sloping lot, the plan offers a cheerful daylight basement which will add square footage to the house if it’s finished. Highlighted in cherry red, the roof is saltbox in style- short on one side and pitched dramatically down the right side of the house, like a hat cocked to the side. Style is open to interpretation, but this design may be classified as contemporary. Architectural elements have been borrowed from many different styles, but the result is a an attractive mixture. Windows mimic the tall and straight composure of the framing. Despite a “buttoned-up” appearance, the house would be clean and inviting on a beach, lake shore or in a mountain forest.altfl1

The family car, or “getaway vehicle,” may be parked under the expansive deck in lieu of a garage. Pile out onto this deck to enjoy meals or soak up the sun (while slathered in sunscreen of course). You have now officially escaped the rat race! We recommend getting a set of comfortable cedar chairs or maybe a hammock for this generous 375 square feet of outdoor living space.

The designer of chp-31659 offers a bonus with 3D images of the floor plans, which give us a bird’s eye view of the interior. Wood flooring and tile was chosen in light colors to echo the exterior of the home. Instead of a traditional bay window for the living room, we see this modern angled window. Double glass doors open up to the deck and allow plenty of light inside. A stacked staircase altfl2separates the room from the dining area, and they lead down to the basement or up to the second floor bedrooms. The main floor bedroom measures 11’2″ x 9’8″ and shares the guest bathroom. A shower in place of a tub saves a little space. The angled entryway to each room and unconventional walls underline a modern layout.

Upstairs is really a 1/2 story, consisting of two bedrooms (each with closet storage), and a full bathroom between them. All in all, the perfect amount of space to allow for comfort and privacy during your time off. Click here to learn more.

Coastal Vacation Cabin Plan

53597Load up that kayak with a weekend’s worth of food and drinks, dip the oars into the gray-blue brackish water, and watch the ripples disperse- just like all that stress from a long week. Look forward to a Saturday and Sunday without distractions like cell phones and tablets. Maybe there’s a special someone sitting opposite you… Coastal house plan chp-53597 is the ultimate romantic getaway. Being completely surrounded by water is a novelty, offering peace, relaxation and solitude. Waves lap at the wood pilings and seagulls call as they fly overhead. It’s high tide, and the only way back home is by boat.

This plan is designed with wood floor framing- inside and out is like being on a dock. For protection against the elements, the exterior walls are 2×6 wood framing with r19 spray foam insulation, and the roof is conventional framing with waterproofing and thatching. The exterior is finished with wood siding and wood moldings. Watercraft can be secured to the plywood deck. Dimensions of the home are 33′ wide by 29′ deep and a total of 477 square feet of living space.53597 bedroom

Enjoy 180 square feet of porch which is attached to the landing. Screen it in and add some comfortable furniture- the outdoor living space is perfect for evening breezes and looking over the water. During the day, you will see schools of fish and porpoises as they pass from the shadow of the house. Depending on the depth of the tide, you may have opportunities to swim, but be mindful of the current!

53597 bathEnter through the double doors into the bedroom which is central to the floor plan. The his and hers closets measure 4′ by 2′, just large enough to store 2 days worth of clothing and accessories. (Of course, if the home is used as bachelor’s fishing cabin, these closets will accommodate plenty of tackle and other supplies!). Across from the closets are built-in shelves which function as nightstands by the headboard of the bed. The ceilings are 9′ and vaulted in the bedroom.

To the left is a luxury bathroom featuring a steam shower and claw-foot tub. A stackable washer and dryer can be placed in the corner niche, so everything you are accustomed to on the mainland is included and sized to fit. Sink, under counter refrigerator, 2-burner gas range and sitting area are arranged around the kitchen table on the right side of this simple, well-equipped layout. Click here to see more interior images.

Country Cabin Home Plan chp-30592

30592This quaint little country cabin is delightful throughout the year. A total of 1451 square feet of living space, plus an 8′ covered porch in the front and a 17’8″ x 6′ grilling porch in the back invites you out for a summer vacation. Most days are hot and humid at this time of year, feeling like a sauna outside- but that’s not enough to deter dad from preparing steaks on the grill. After all, what would summer be without cookouts…or barbecues depending on your place of origin? And how do you like your steak? Well done? Medium rare? In July, thunderstorms do their worst, but the rain cascades harmlessly down the pitched metal roof. Upstairs, the kids switch off the lights and fall asleep to the sound of the rain.

Two good-sized bedrooms and a full bathroom occupy the second level. Bedroom 2 measures 13’4″ x 14’6″, and bedroom 3 measures 11’4″ x 14’5″. Each room has a dormer window for a view of the front yard and a side window to aid the “lookouts” when they are tasked by the “general” to guard the “fort.”30592 fireplace

For three weeks in April, bright pink azaleas bloom around this quaint cottage, and a bright red hummingbird feeder hangs from the eave of the front porch, rocking in the breeze. The boys can impress mom with a bouquet of dandelions, and dad can thrill her with his landscaping capabilities. More than any other time of year, living
and playing and entertaining take place in the outdoors. The air conditioner is given respite, the windows are opened wide, and the roof yellows with pollen.

30592 kitchenThough you love the outdoors, moving back inside in the fall and winter is not at all disappointing with a beautiful stone fireplace casting dancing light into the den on a chilly night. The den space is open to the dining area and separated from the kitchen by a breakfast bar, and the French doors have 12 glass panes on each side to admit plenty of light. Handsome hardwood floors seamlessly tie the living space together and match the kitchen cabinets. Marble counter tops add a a rich touch to country-style living.

The downstairs bedroom measures 11’4″ x 11′ and features a walk-in closet. The full bath doubles as a guest bathroom, and a stacked washer and dryer fits into a niche in the hallway. Additional closet space is located off the dining room, and equipment can be kept in the storage room off the back porch.

Luxury Mediterranean House Plan chp-24514

elevLuxury house plan chp-24514 boasts 3831 total square feet of living space, 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. Very popular in American states like Florida, Texas and California, a stucco exterior and low-pitched clay tile roof give this design a decidedly Mediterranean flair. Arched windows echo the stately appearance of the front doors, and the covered entryway is supported by spiral columns and topped with a decorative balcony. The formal dining room opens to the front courtyard, reminding you of a cafe where you once enjoyed the best picks from a delicious Grecian menu. From the guest suite upstairs, you may walk out to the wrapping balcony, lean against the gently curved iron rail and call out to your host to wait a few minutes- you have to apply some sunscreen before laying out by that luxurious pool. A covered lanai shelters the back of the house, shading the abundant windows of the master suite, parlor, dinette and gathering room.

A host is well-prepared to entertain with this spacious layout, and thankfully so- because guests may not feel the need tophoto4 go home. In addition to the balcony, the 2nd level guest suite includes a full bathroom and walk-in closet. The smaller bedroom downstairs includes a full bath that opens to the back patio for access to the pool. No need for wet footprints making their way into other parts of the house. Inside, this bedroom opens to the gathering room with built-in entertainment center. Occupants will be drawn from their slumber by the wafting aroma of bacon and eggs from the kitchen around the corner. Breakfast can be enjoyed in the dinette by the elegant bowed windows.

photo3The right wing of the home is taken by the master suite with its coffered ceiling, bed niche and built-in t.v. cabinet in the corner. Pass between two walk-in closets and notice that one is decidedly bigger. The person with the larger shoe collection will have to delegate the smaller closet to the less aggressive shopper. The bathroom features a private toilet room and two vanities, but the ultimate luxury is to pass through a columned and arched entryway to a whirlpool tub set in a tile base. It’s like a Greek portico leading to an ancient bath!

Arches are repeated throughout the house, and other rooms include the laundry, study and powder room. The garage is separated by a covered portico, and enough space is available for three or more vehicles. Click here to see the floor plans and additional photos for chp-24514.