Even if you’re working with a talented architect to design your Durango dream home, it pays to give some thought to a floorplan that will work well for your family now and down the road.  The more input you have for your architect, the quicker you will get to a blueprint that makes sense for your build.

Here are some ways to get started imagining the layout for your Southwest Colorado mountain home:

Take a look at as many existing homes as you can.

Magazines and websites are a great place to start—they’re easy to get your hands on and you can read through them at home.  But try to visit as many houses in person as possible to get a sense of what feels good to you. The HBASC Parade of Homes in September is a perfect place to start.

You can ask your architect and builder if they know homeowners who wouldn’t mind giving you a quick tour.  You can also go to open houses.  Don’t worry if the homes don’t look anything like what you have in mind.  You’re just finding ways to get smarter about floorplans.

Think about what doesn’t work as well as what appeals to you

Start with the home you have now. What’s not working for your family?  Are you short on closet space?  Is the lack of a mud room or a walk-in pantry cramping your style?  Do you crave more light in your home?

As you have ideas about what doesn’t fit your lifestyle and what features you want to include in your design, make notes.

Consider your special needs

Do you have a big, social family, or do you love to entertain? An open plan with rooms flowing into each other and a big, friendly kitchen with a center island might be in order.  You might even think about a see-through fireplace.

For other families, however, more closed spaces work best.  You may need a home office or even two.  If you have or are planning children, it might be a good idea to include a playroom in your floorplan.  As you consider how you will use the spaces in the home, think about related needs such as soundproofing and locking doors.

Take your imagination outdoors

Inventive outdoor spaces can turn a nice house into a jaw dropping showplace. You’re building your dream home in La Plata County—think beyond the deck!

What about a cabana with a firepit and plenty of seating?  How about including a tree house for the kids that would keep them outdoors for hours?  If you entertain, think about creating a patio with a retractable roof and built in space heaters to allow for almost year-round use.  Outdoor kitchen and bar?  Pizza oven?  Pergola with swing?  Now’s the time to imagine how to make the most of your Four Corners property.

Look to the future

When you’re putting your heart and your resources into your Colorado dream home, it’s likely you hope to stay there for many years. With children in the picture, make sure you have thought carefully about how many bedrooms you’ll need.  If your kids will be moving on to their own lives soon, will the rooms you build for them be easily re-purposed?

Perhaps you would like the option to “age in place” as the years pass.  If so, a one-story floor plan might be best for you, or if not, at least a master bedroom on the first floor.

Once you have your ideas noted, it’s time to talk to architects and builders.  Start by connecting with the members of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado.  You’ll be in great hands!

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