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It’s a common problem for builders: The elevation has curb appeal, but the floor plan behind it has grown stale and is ultimately turning buyers away. Do you have to scrap the entire design and start over? Not necessarily. A more economical approach may be to redefine the existing plan within the same (or close to the same) footprint. Going this route allows you to keep the part of the program that’s working and maintain a construction approach that is more or less familiar.

This retooled program from Gary Wisniewski, president of Landmark Homes of Tennessee, sets a good example. The original plan has too many expensive jogs and corners, a small and inefficient kitchen, and a master suite that fails to exploit views of the backyard. Plus, its spaces aren’t as conducive to togetherness as they could be.

Rethinking this plan’s master suite and communal areas makes it a better sell on several levels. The revised plan creates view corridors, frees up space for a larger, more usable rear patio, and trades an isolated formal living room/study for a multipurpose area in the heart of the home. Located just off the kitchen, this bright spot provides space for laundry, homework, computing, and art projects. It can be closed off with sliding panels outfitted with chalkboard paint, dry erase boards, or corkboard. It can be public or private.?

Rethinking plans that have stalled out is a worthwhile exercise. Some can be overhauled, although you may also want to weed out those that are too close in concept and reduce your inventory to a few more manageable and better-selling designs.

Before

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This plan embraces the concept of open living, but it wastes money on extra jogs and corners without maximizing outdoor living areas and views. And it fails to exploit a great opportunity for a front courtyard.

  • The kitchen is tight and not as functional as it could be.
  • Because the laundry is a cut-through from the garage, its functional work surfaces are limited.
  • The patio is shallow and tough to furnish, and access to the interior living spaces is awkward.
  • A corner closet makes the master bath difficult for two people to use at the same time.
  • Having a master bedroom that is visible from the foyer is a privacy no-no.

After

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The rear porch is bigger, but it's framed as part of the primary roof structure, thereby reducing costs. This frees up more dollars for upgrades and nicer finishes thoughout the home. It's always best to spend money where it can be truly appreciated.

  • Focusing more on workstations than a work triangle, the revamped kitchen provides room for several cooks at once. Its cleanup area is out of the main flow of traffic.
  • The original laundry is replaced with a mudroom between kitchen and garage for dropping off groceries, jackets, and school bags. It also contains pantry space and electronics chargers.
  • Courtyards and patios must be large enough to be furnished outside the primary circulation path. This one now accommodates a seating area.
  • A laundry/hobby room encourages shared chores and family bonding. When bedrooms are too private and well-appointed, kids never want to come out.
  • The new master bath trades the big tub for an oversized shower and a better defined dressing area. The closet has room for a dresser.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Memphis, TN.