Stock to Custom
When Maryland resident Penny Wilson decided to build a home, she scoured the home plan magazines at her local book stores and grocery stores, searching high and low for the perfect house plan — one that incorporated her need for office space with lots of entertaining areas.
“I had purchased seven acres of pristine pastureland a while back, with the idea of building on it one day,” said Wilson,
an entrepreneur. “But I just couldn't find that perfect home plan...or so it seemed.”
After months of searching, Wilson kept going back to the same home plan — over and over. “I just couldn’t get it out of my head. It had everything I ever wanted...but there were just a few things that held me back. I thought ‘if only I could change this or that’ every time I'd look at the plan.”
Talking with her builder, Wilson soon discovered that she could indeed make all the changes she desired — and ultimately, have the home of her dreams.
“The first change I wanted to make was to the exterior materials. While the plan called for stone and siding with a shingled roof, my heart’s desire was always to have a red tin [actually galvanized metal] roof. I really wanted the home to have a farmhouse quality,” Wilson said.
An avid host of parties and family gatherings, Wilson also desired separate entertaining areas. “The floor plan actually called for several different places that could be open for lots of people to congregate. But I still wanted to tweak it to make it work the best for me,” said Wilson.
So, she had a local architect make several changes to the existing plan, including the most significant modification: flip-flopping the kitchen and dining rooms. [Editor’s note: most stock home plan architectural firms have their own modification services department. If you’re interested in modifying a plan, the best place to start is with the architectural office that created the plan.]
“I wanted my kitchen to overlook my great room area and actually be a part of it. The way the original plan was set up, the dining room was open to the great room. Because I like to mingle with my friends and family while preparing food in the kitchen, it had to be an integral part of the entertaining hub,” said Wilson.
By making this particular change, the dining room became a separate, more defined and intimate area — perfect for holiday meals with family where both old and young eat and linger for hours.
Another noteworthy change Wilson made to her home was to eliminate the fireplace in the sitting area just outside of
the master bedroom. And borrowing some additional space from the sitting room, she added onto the existing walk-in closet, making it a room all of its own.
“This is truly every woman’s dream closet. Not only do I have room for clothes for all seasons, but an entire wall dedicated to shoes and another just for handbags. Combined with my beautiful master bedroom with its glorious views and the large master bath, the whole area truly is a haven,” said Wilson.
Wilson is especially proud of the television in her master bathroom, which is conveniently housed behind the mirror. When turned on, it’s easily seen. When turned off, no one knows it’s there. “My builder had to install a different density of glass than standard, and we had to paint the area around the television black so when on, nothing else shows in the mirror. It cost a little bit, but the effect is so worth it! I can
now watch television while showering in the morning or taking a soaking bath at night,” said Wilson.
Wilson fulfilled her need of a private office area by utilizing one of the main floor’s secondary bedrooms. It shares a Jack-and-Jill bath with another secondary bedroom, which Wilson reserves for overnight guests.
Downstairs, in the basement, the plan called for two additional secondary bedrooms, a recreation room and two-and-a-half bathrooms. Instead, Wilson decided to make it one large, flowing area. “You can fit as many people as you want in the basement, even with a large pool table. With a bar, powder room and separate sitting area, it’s a perfect place to entertain a large amount of guests — even if they want to do different things,” said Wilson.
All in all, Wilson is extremely happy with her home plan purchase. “I love the flow of my new house. I've only been in it six weeks now, but I’ve already had many groups of people over, and the comments I get are always very positive. Most people look at the original plan and can’t believe what I did to it! I think a lot of people have a vision of what they want...it’s just hard for them to imagine getting there,” said Wilson.