Two-story homes come in a variety of styles and sizes and are designed to maximize your lot by stacking levels on top of the other. Keeping the essential rooms on the main level, bedrooms, on the other hand, are found on either or both levels of a two-story home. These homes can range from a simple weekend property to a large year-round dwelling fit for families.
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding to build a 2-story house over a ranch house, and much of it boils down to personal preference. Today's 2-story homes are designed with updated, open-concept floor plans that combine the great room, kitchen, and eating areas into one large gathering space that's perfect for family time. While many people prefer to have all bedrooms on the second floor, here in the Midwest, we find that our customers prefer main floor masters, so it's really up to you. As you browse through our 2-story house plan portfolio, you'll see that we have plenty of options for either preference.
Every market defines a 2-story home differently, but our definition of a 2-story means that the second floor is of equal square footage (or more) than the main floor, and all exterior walls are a minimum of 8'. The great room in a 2-story house plan will not be tall enough that it lies within the roof itself, rather, there will usually be a room above it.
This is a question that we are asked often and the simple answer is that the upper level of a two-story home will have the same size or larger footprint as the main level. The upper level of a two-story home will feature full-height ceilings throughout. A 1 ½ story home, on the other hand, has a main level that is larger than the upper level and will have dormers with sloped ceilings and windows because they are tucked up inside of the roof.
There is a lot of debate on this subject, especially since both lot prices and material prices seem to continue to rise at a quick pace. Unfortunately, that is not a question we can answer, but we can tell you what to consider as you're deciding what to build. A ranch plan typically has a larger footprint meaning that footing and basement costs are more, but also the lot size in terms of width will need to be considered. A ranch home plan will also have a higher roof cost because the roof to square foot ratio is higher. A 2-story home is perfect for the narrow lot where building up, rather than out, gives you more options in terms of design. A 2-story home also will have less roof per square foot than a ranch but will have more labor and material cost because of the extra floor so both need to be considered when making your choice.
We recommend that you talk to a local builder in your market to see if they can give you more specific information on what they have experienced in terms of cost for building a ranch over a 2-story home.
2-story house plans can be found in virtually any shape, size, and style so your options are unlimited. You can browse our portfolio of house plans by style so look for the styles you prefer and browse within those plans. We have 2-story home plans in a variety of sizes so you can define your search that way as well. Many people with aging parents are looking for a home with dual master suites so we've included a way to search just those plans as well. The 2-story house plan is the perfect option when mom and dad are being considered in your purchase because of the privacy the second master on the upper level provides. As always, if you don't find exactly what you're looking for, we can start with one of our stock plans and modify it to make it exactly what you're looking for so call us at 1-800-725-6852 if you have any questions.
By definition, the second story will have a room over the great room so the ceiling height below will have to be lower. Having said that, we have plans where the great room has a higher ceiling height, just not two stories. In that case, you will have more luck looking through our 1 ½ story plans where the great room ceiling height is often two stories tall. But keep in mind that you can do things like add beams, trays and ceiling details that will give the great room ceiling in a 2-story extra charm, so consider those options as you look through our plans.
All of our plans are drawn with an unfinished basement, because here in the Midwest, the ground is acceptable for digging, and we tend to have a lot of "not so great" summer storms. We have many customers who opt to finish the lower level in various ways. We've drawn playrooms, family rooms, extra bedrooms, bars, exercise rooms, and music rooms in the lower levels so the options are limitless. Please keep in mind that all of our plans come with an unfinished basement plan so if you can dream it, we can design it. If you find a plan and would like us to finish the lower level, please don't hesitate to call us for modifications.