Empty Nest Top 10 Design Elements: Part 1
Traffic is crazy right now in our little city. For my kiddos school starts tomorrow. In fact, most of the school districts in this area are starting this week. So, everyone is finishing up their school shopping, but the big thing that is congesting the streets is that its move in week over at the local college. Last year there were over 81,000 students living on campus. That’s 81,000 people trying to move back into the dorms and on campus apartments in one week. That’s a lot of traffic.
Since it is move in week, that makes me think of the parents that have kids in college and the ones that finished college last year and have moved out and on to better things. These parents are often referred to as “Empty Nesters".
When you get the kids out of the house either permanently or semi-permanently, your priorities change. You’re no longer concerned with your home being kid friendly or even teenager friendly. It’s time for your space to be yours and your alone.
Top 10 Design Choices
Nelson Design Group has been in the business for over 30 years. We have learned over that time period what people want and what they are looking for at different stages of their lives when they are building new homes.
With “Empty Nesters", they want what they haven’t had time or space for before. Instead of worrying about where the kids are going to store their myriad of sports equipment, clothes, books and toys, you now get to imagine having entire rooms all to yourself.
Some people instantly think about downsizing when you mention the Empty Nest stage, but that may or may not be the case. You may want to downsize a bit or simply have a home that has more in store for what you need in the future.
10. Laundry Rooms
One of the things that people compromise on the most when they are building or buying a house and they have kids, is a laundry room. Often you just don’t have the room to devote to an entire space to sort and work on the clothes. When you don’t have the kids to worry about any longer, then you can think about having a large, organized space just for that purpose.Oakleaf Cottage (MEN 5204)
This 1,900 square foot home gives you 3 Bedrooms and 2.5 Bathrooms. This home is perfect for many stages of life including a new family starting out or an older couple who are rediscovering what they love. The first thing that you notice about this home is the Covered Porch that gives you a great entrance to the home.
The Covered Porch lends great curb appeal and the classic design means that this home will be gorgeous for years to come. Stepping into the home, the first room you enter is the Great Room. This room features vaulted ceilings and a large stonework fireplace. This room also gives you a stairwell complete with a small access door for storage.
The home features an open floor plan where the Great Room blends seamlessly into the Kitchen and Breakfast Room. The Kitchen is in a reverse “C" shape and features bar seating for 6 for entertaining and prep. It also features a wrap around countertop that gives you plenty of room to prepare the largest mean.
The Breakfast Room is adjacent to the Kitchen and features a back entrance so that you can step directly outside on those cool mornings with your cup of coffee. The Breakfast Room leads to the Mudroom which gives you a side entrance to your optional garage and breeze way. The Mudroom features a Bench with hanging storage.
The Laundry Room is large and features a built in Linen closet as well as a large soaking sink. This gives you plenty of room for even the largest loads. There is also a walk-in pantry and a half bath. Moving back into the Great Room, you find yourself in the Master Bedroom. The Master Bedroom features vaulted ceilings and a private side entrance for those long romantic walks right before bed.
Moving into the Master Bath you will find both a large free-standing tub and a shower as well as a walk-in closet. This finishes up the first floor. The second floor gives you space for Bedrooms 2 and 3 as well as the hall bathroom that they share. The second floor also features a balcony which overlooks the Great Room below.
9. Media Room
Now that the kids are out of the house, its time to turn your attention to that Netflix queue. That thing is full and now you can devote more time to it and to the collection of movies you’ve promised yourself you were going to watch “someday".Adeline Place (NDG 1421)
This plan gives you over 3,000 square feet of living space with 4 Bedrooms and 3 Bathrooms. It also features a Garage with room for 3 cars. The first thing that you notice about the home is that it just looks like it belongs in Europe. The roof line of this plan gives you such amazing curb appeal and will continue to be gorgeous throughout the years.
As you enter the home through the covered Entry, you find yourself in the Foyer that opens up to 12-foot ceilings. To the right of the Foyer is the Dining Room. The Dining Room features a large picture window that faces the front of the home and small entrance that leads to the Kitchen to make it easy to bring in the feasts when you are entertaining.
To the left of the Foyer is the Study/Media Theater. Did you notice that lovely bank of windows in the tower like room at the front of the home? Yes? This is the room. This gives you a perfect place to have a Beauty and Beast style library or epic home theater.
Moving from the Foyer, you find yourself in a large open floor plan that gives you access to the Great Room, Kitchen and Breakfast Room. This entire area features exposed timber beams in the ceiling to give you that “old world" feel. The Great Room gives you 10-foot ceilings and features a bricked fireplace with built-ins on either side.
The entire rear wall of this area is large windows and doors. This makes the space feel larger than what it actually is and lends a light and airy feeling to the home. The Breakfast Room gives a perfect space for informal dining and has a pantry along one side of it.
The Kitchen features a large bar with seating for 5 and an island in the center that gives you plenty of prep space. There is more counterspace for prep along the other walls. This Kitchen is large enough to make a professional cook happy.
On the left side of the home you have Bedrooms 2, 3, and 4. Each of these have their own closet and Bedrooms 2 and 3 share a jack and jill style bathroom while Bedroom 4 has access to the hall bathroom. The other side of the home is dominated by the Master Suite.
The Master Suite features 11-foot boxed ceilings and has its own entrance the Outdoor Living Area/ Grilling Porch on the rear of the home. The Master Bath features a large whirlpool tub and a corner glass shower with a seat and a walk-in closet.
This side of the home also gives you space for the Laundry Room and has plenty of storage both inside the home and out in the 3 car Garage. This plan is perfect for a young couple or for a family who is looking to downsize from a larger home.
8. Large Kitchen
So why would you need a large kitchen once the kids are out of the house? Because you probably never had one! I know that I had to sacrifice kitchen size for bedroom space when we bought our home and would absolutely love to have a larger kitchen with more cabinet space. When my kids finally move out…Cascade Drive (SMN 1040)
This 2,600 square foot home gives you 3 Bedrooms and 4.5 Bathrooms and features a 3 car Garage. This home has such a lovely look to it. It makes you think of the old French country houses or somewhere in Great Britain. It just has that air to it. This home is classic.
You step into the home from the Porch and find yourself in the Foyer that gives you access to both a small coat closet and the half bathroom. I love house plans that have practical placements of bathrooms. (Yes, I’m a bit of a dork.) The foyer is also where you find the stairs to the second floor.
Moving from the Foyer, you find yourself in an open floor plan featuring the Great Room, Dining Room and Kitchen. This entire space has faux beams that gives the space an “old world" feeling and lends itself to the rustic simplicity of the home.
The Great Room features a large sliding back door unit that leads out onto the Covered Porch. The Kitchen has a huge island in the middle with plenty of prep space and seating for 7. The Kitchen continues to wow with a long stand of counter tops, a professional size gas range and a prep sink for all of those dishes that tend to pile up while you flambé and sear your meals to perfection.
The Kitchen also gives you access to a large pantry with build in shelving and a picture window. Yes, a picture window in a pantry! And the Dining Area gives you a perfect space to feature your culinary works of art with large windows on the exterior walls that face out onto the rear of the home.
The Master Suite includes another large picture window facing out of the front of the home and a vaulted ceiling. The Master Bath features a large freestanding tub and a corner shower with a bench. The walk-in closet gives you access to the Laundry Room.
The Laundry Room features a soaking sink and a fold away ironing board as well as counter space to help you fold and organize. The remainder of the first floor is taken by Bedrooms 2 and 3 and their in-suite bathrooms.
7. Guest Suite
Now that you have the kids out of the house, you can start thinking about having people over to spend some time with you. Or maybe you have a parent that is to that point in their lives. (The point we don’t want to ever consider.) That’s why a lot of the Empty Nesters start looking at having a second suite in their home. Space for a long-term guest or just somewhere really nice for guests for the short term.Auburn Dale (NDG 1390)
This home has such an imposing curb appeal. It’s like one of those people that have such charisma that you can’t help but stare at them. This house plan has so many unique features including the impressive roofline and the pull through to the rear of the home.
This house plan gives you 4,300 square feet of living space with 3 Bedrooms and 4.5 Bathrooms. (I love a house plan with a lot of bathrooms. I’m a mom of 2 girls.) It also features a 3 car Garage for your motorized beauties.
You enter the home from the Porch and find yourself in the Foyer with a grand staircase to your right. This staircase doesn’t just look nice, it also features a large storage area under it. To your left, you will find the Dining Room/Office. This room features a coffered ceiling and a large picture window that faces the front of the home.
If you move further into the home, you find yourself in the Butler’s Pantry that gives you a perfect place to prep for your large events and formal gatherings. There is also a regular Pantry that is large enough to store groceries from the largest shopping trip.
Stepping from the Butler’s Pantry you find yourself in a large open floor plan featuring the Kitchen, Great Room and Breakfast Room. The Kitchen features plenty of counterspace with room for both a refrigerator and a freezer. It also has 2 islands, one that is simply there for prep space and one that features both a sink and seating for 4.
The Breakfast Room is directly adjacent to the Kitchen and features both an exit to the Covered Porch and Grilling Porch/Outdoor Living area as well as a large picture window facing the rear of the home. The Great Room features large windows facing the rear of the home, a double door access to the Covered Porch and a large stonework fireplace bracketed by built-ins on each side.
The Grilling Porch/Outdoor Living Area features a wood burning outdoor fireplace, an outdoor grilling kitchen and outdoor bar seating for 7. The fireplace is actually a passthrough that you can enjoy from either side and gives you some warmth so that you can lounge on the patio and enjoy it as well.
Moving further to the right side of this plan you will find a storage room with a space for a refrigerator that would be perfect for those hot days of playing outside in the sun. This room passes through to the Bathroom that features a large glass shower. Again, perfect for cleaning up after being outside for a long while. This leads to the Guest Room. The Guest Room opens up to the Mud Room/Crafting Room. This gives you plenty of space for all of your Pinterest inspired crafts!
From the Great Room you can move down the hallway to a large space that can be used for either a Media Room, an Exercise Room or a Study. It includes a closet to be used for Equipment Storage. This area of the home also features a half Bath.
The remainder of the first floor is taken up by the Master Suite. I love the Master Bedroom in this plan. It is octagonal! Yes, so it has views on 3 sides that look onto the rear of the home. The Master Bath features a large glass shower that connects to the whirlpool tub. Can anyone say, “Spa Day"?
The Master Suite also features 2 large walk-in closets and the Laundry Room. The smaller walk-in closet is also a FEMA sized Safe Room. This gives you a place to be in case of a severe weather situation. The larger of the walk-in closets is larger than my entire bedroom. It’s huge! It features an area for a desk or a vanity and an island with drawers.
On the Second Floor of this house plan you will find Bedroom 3 and an Optional Media Room. Bedroom 3 doesn’t have an in-suite bathroom, but there is a large Bathroom and walk-in closet. The Bathroom features both a tiled shower and a large whirlpool tub. The closet also has a built-in computer desk area that is perfect for homework or working from home.
The Optional Media Room features space for shelving and has room for theater style seating. This could be your own personal theater. This plan also gives you space for an optional Equipment Room. The second floor gives you a wonderful balcony that overlooks the Great Room below.
Be sure to check out the photos of this home! We are grateful to our clients for providing us with gorgeous pictures of this home after it was built.
Maybe you're looking for something in particular? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Come check out Nelson Design Group’s collection of over 1,800 house plans. And come check out the past blog posts in our house plan series:
- Farmhouse style
- Farmhouse House Plans
- Contemporary Modern style
- Contemporary Modern House Plans
- Rustic Style
- Rustic House plans
- Mountain and Cabins House Style
- Mountain and Cabin House Plans
- Examining House Styles: Pool Houses
- House Plan Spotlight: Pool Houses
- Examining House Styles: The Florida Collection
- House Plan Spotlight: The Florida Collection
- Outdoor Buildings: Garages and Pool Houses
- American Style House Plans
- Starter Homes Spotlight: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
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