Building a Hillside Home

Building a Hillside Home

A hillside can be a challenge to design for, but with the right designer, the hill can become an advantage. Hillside house plans should use the steep slope to the house's benefit, making the hill into an important design feature rather than an annoyance to be designed around. Take full advantage of a sloped lot with these design ideas.

Hilltop House Basics: Incorporate the Hill Homes with two or two and a half stories generally work well for hillside designs. Many different styles of house plans are available for hillsides, from rustic cottages and cabins to modern designs, so you're not limited to one or two basic plans to choose from. Whichever design style you prefer, look for one that treats the hill as part of the house; the ideal hilltop home is built into the hill rather than trying to balance a big house on or against it. Use the hill to support one side of your home. The end result is a dramatic design that not only accommodates the existing landscape but shines because of it.

The sloped lot should also inform materials choices. Hillside houses are often nestled in suburban or rural settings and are surrounded by natural space, so think about natural wood siding and interiors or landscaping with native grasses and wood chips.

Enjoy the View Amazing views of nature are often the selling point for sloped lots. Take full advantage with second-floor balconies or decks that look out over the landscape. Multiple decks can also serve as an extension of the house; with the right design, a multi-deck design feels almost like having several more rooms, especially if they're covered.

If your property doesn't have a postcard-like view, you can create your own. Tiers of plantings or terraced strips supported by stone walls soften the harshness of the slope and provide a welcome variety of colors and textures.

Finished vs. Unfinished Basements Walkout basements are an easy solution for sloped lots - the basement sits at ground level and opens to the backyard or a side yard, while the higher side of the slope leads into the main level. Having outdoor access from a finished basement affirms that space as a vital part of the rest of the house rather than the cold, damp, unfinished rooms that people often picture when they think of a basement. Have the walkout basement open onto a porch to facilitate the indoor-to-outdoor transition and explicitly establish the basement as a functional part of the living space. French or sliding glass doors will let in natural light and provide an extra visual link to outdoor living.

A finished basement makes a great place for a rec room (which could flow naturally into the outdoor entertainment area in the backyard) or guest bedrooms. However, don't discount the value of an unfinished basement. An extra-large storage area under the house makes it easier to store bikes, lawnmowers, and other bulky items that would otherwise take up a lot of space in the garage.

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