What exactly makes a house contemporary is anybody's guess, but it certainly ain't your grandmother's log cabin. Another way of putting it: You'll know a contemporary house plan when you see it. Whether it's an A-frame, a "shed" roof, or entire sides of the house made of glass, a contemporary house plan is nothing if not distinctive. Naturally, they're not for everybody, but find the right contemporary house plan for the right homeowner and the right plot of land and you'll find some of the most satisfied homeowners out there. They truly love their homes and couldn't imagine living anywhere else, and definitely can't imagine living in a ranch style house.
Efficiently Non-Efficient, New Technology
The contemporary house plan usually employs the newest energy-saving installations, but its structural design is also frequently and inherently non-efficient. For a contemporary house plan that calls for multiple, large-area windows, those windows will also typically have the highest insulation rating. Newer technology can make plausible architectural design that was previously unthinkable. A "shed" roof is a good example. A "shed" roof is a long, single inclined plane like you might see on a backyard shed. This type of roof can create a considerable amount of unused space. On the other hand, this roof can be built in a direction that optimizes the intensity of the sunlight shining on it. Installing home solar panels on this roof can easily justify the inefficiency of the space underneath it.
Efficiently Efficient, Concrete Home
On the other hand, some contemporary house plan ideas are all about energy efficiency. A concrete home is a contemporary house plan that is among the more efficient designs available. Decorative concrete finishing can transform the exterior concrete into some absolutely stunning effects and the interior concrete into a smooth, warm surface not many people associate with concrete. The end result is not only an energy efficient home but also one that's nearly indestructible.
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Choosing an Architect
More than any other home plan, a contemporary home plan requires you do some extensive searching when looking for an architect. Different architects will have wildly varying ideas of what constitutes a contemporary home plan. Some of them will look definitively futuristic; others will simply tweak a traditional house plan with a modern floor plan and call it contemporary. You can stray as far from the reservation as your tastes dictate, but don't look at just one or two architects and think their catalogue of contemporary home plans are indicative of contemporary homes in general.
Contemporary design is also the most common style for which homeowners choose a customized house plan. Given that one of the hallmarks of the contemporary home plan is distinctiveness, it makes sense to go that extra mile and build a truly unique home. At the same time, you should play an active role in this design concept. Don't go out and hire a well-known architect and assume the home plan will meet your expectations. The great successes of homeowners who are satisfied with their contemporary homes are matched with huge disasters of poorly conceived experiments.