The Guest House: A Visitor's Home away from Home

by Jon Nunan

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Having space already set aside for those who visit is convenient for host and company alike. While a spare room is often sufficient for this purpose, having a guest house is a far superior way to quarter an out-of-town friend.

Host Benefits of a Guest House
Since every home has a finite amount of space, the inner workings of a household can get thrown for a loop with the addition of more people. In some cases, the effect can be quite tumultuous and lead to a general sense of disorder.

A guest house can put an end to all that. It is an excellent alternative to renting a hotel room or cramming more people than necessary under one roof. Generally equipped with all the necessities any traveler could need (bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, etc.), the guest house will provide everyone with enough space to keep things running smoothly and keep everyone in the same vicinity.

Guest Benefits of a Guest House
When traveling, most people can't help but be a little turned off by the sterility and lack of warmth you find in many hotel rooms. At the same time, it's hard not to feel like you're imposing when staying in someone else's home. It is often the case that the habits of hosts and guests are very different. In the same space, one or the other is often forced to change their ways for the duration of the visit.

A guest house provides company with the best of both worlds. They have a warm place near people they care about, but also enough room so that no one feels in the way. Everyone gets to socialize, but there is also a sense of privacy.

Other people aren't the only ones company won't want to put out. A guest house is also a plus when a visitor has an allergy (or simply an aversion) to a host's pet.

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Guest House Plans
There are many designs and guest house plans available for those who are interested in building one. They range from very simple to extremely extravagant. Some designs will provide all the basics and be relatively simple to build; others are more like a luxury suite in a fancy bed and breakfast than a cabin in the backyard.

The guest house plan you choose will depend heavily on who will be building it. A basic guest house plan is often tailored for homeowners who want to do a bit of the work themselves. A more luxurious plan will most likely require a crew of some sort for the whole process.

Whether simple or complex, guest houses are never a job for a novice (or at least not a novice who's only got a weekend to spare). Building a house, even a small one, is still a big job. It will require many construction skills, including knowledge of plumbing and electricity.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.