New House………

I have spent a LOT of time over the last month or so trying to decide what plan I should build on the one remaining lot I have in Lynwood Park. However, unlike the “old days” when we were building houses on spec and we made all the decisions as to floor plan, features, appliances, bathroom fixtures, carpet, hardwood stains, tile selections, paint colors, etc. etc., nothing is going to get started by me or anyone else unless it is pre-sold. So maybe all my anguishing over which plan is the absolutely perfect house for the lot, the market, and the neighborhood is moot, since the buyer we need in order to get started might have some different ideas about what’s perfect. Anyway, here’s what’s at the top of my list right now. Any thoughts you might have will be much appreciated.

Culbertson-photo This will be a four bedroom, three and one-half bath house with a nice flow and a screened porch. We’d do it without the front porch extension beyond the side of the house (tight lot) and with the garage as a front entry. We’d also modify the elevation a bit to make it more Craftsman in style to stay in sync with most of the neighborhood. This plan is by Frank Betz ( and is called The Culbertson on his website.

Culb 1st fl

You might notice that the plan as drawn has only two baths upstairs, but we’ll put another above the entry foyer because we firmly believe our market requires that a four BR house have 3½ baths. However, if a buyer would prefer a two story foyer in a 4 BR / 2½ BA house, we’d be happy to accommodate.

culb 2nd fl


10 Responses to “New House………”

  1. 1 jason November 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Hey Dennis,

    I am currently considering building the Culbertson plan in Jamestown, RI. The modifications you made sound great. I would love to see pictures of your build.

    Thanks so much,

  2. 2 CC August 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I would LOVE to see pictures of the culbertson finished and the loves/dislikes of your home. I am up in the air about the garage size and how to expand it…I would love to place steps from the garage going to the basement instead of bilco doors on the outside. I would like the dining area to be a bit larger and the cabinet layout in the kitchen plan different. we are doing away with the screened porch and doing a deck only. thinking of making the keeping room a breakfast area and just leaving the intended breakfast area open tspace? any thoughts and pictures would be PERFECT!!! thanks so much!

  3. 3 Sam March 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Hey Dennis,
    Thanks for the comments on your build. I would love to see your pictures. You can email me at Thanks!

    We have thought about expanding the garage too but so far haven’t done it because of cost. (We have yet to break ground). The more I think about it the more I want to do it. 20×21 seems small. Plus I know we want an extra fridge in the garage. We also are moving the bathroom to the outside wall. We’ll need to think about adding that window too. Not sure which stairs you are referring to from the garage? To the mudroom? The full gable roof with space for an office from the Master closet sounds amazing.

    The only big changes we have made to the plans so far is to add access to the laundry from the master WIC.

    Thanks for all the info. I can’t wait to see your pictures. Good luck with the rest of your build.

  4. 4 pat morgan March 29, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Dennis —

    Thanks so much for your comment and all the details about how you are customizing the plan. All the changes sound great. I look forward to seeing your pictures, especially of the front with the big gable over the garage. The good news is that if you’re working in your pajamas and a big important meeting comes up, you’re not too far removed from a wardrobe change! You can send me pix at and I’ll post a few here.

    Thanks again, and good luck with the rest of the project!


  5. 5 Dennis March 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm


    We are currently building the Culbertson just outside of Boston. We just started the interior and I should have a finished home by June 2011. We love the plan and made some minor adjustments in building. First, the garage was expanded to almost 25 x 25. Then we moved the half bath over to be against the outside wall and added a window (keeping the size of the bath the same). This opened up a mudroom area for us from the garage entryway. We also moved the stairs from the garage to the back wall for more room in the garage. We eliminated the fireplace in the Keeping Room and added a 2nd fireplace directly below the fireplace in the Family room located in the basement. This way we have one chimney with two flues (saves on costs). We have a walk out basement with many many windows for plenty of light. The biggest change and very happy with the look, we eliminated the hip roof above the garage and made it a full gable that mirrors the uppermost gable above the front bedroom. This provided us with a huge office space above the garage and open up the Mbath shower. Downside is that the office is only accessible from the Master WIC, but I think it provides another level of privacy (no kids allowed. We added two skylights to provide more natural light. How can I get you pictures? I’d be happy to send you what I have.

  6. 6 firststreetbuilders March 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Sam —

    Actually, we have not built this or anything else on the lot — yet — but along the way, I scrapped this plan in favor of another. The new plan is the Sagamore, also by Frank Betz ( I like it better because it has a bedroom on the first floor, it’s a little shallower (I’d do it without the keeping room), and it’s more efficient to build. If you go to the Betz website, be sure to click on the photos tab because the elevation doesn’t do the house justice.

    I don’t think I can post a photo of the Sagamore in this comment, but it is on my website and it is listed on FMLS at 3266 Osborne Rd. I need to update the blog to include info on the new choice. And you can see a flyer at

    Thanks for the inquiry. I still like the Culbetson a lot, so if you build it, let me know so I can see it.

  7. 7 Sam March 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Hey Pat, I was wondering if you ever did build the Culbertson. I am looking for some interior photos of this plan. We are looking to build it and would love any visuals we can get our hands on. Thanks so much!

  8. 8 Mary June 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Pat,

    I found your blog through your posts at another blog site, You Can Do It (

    Having worked in the home building industry in Atlanta since the late 80’s I couldn’t help but leave a comment on this post.

    It seems that, unless you have a crystal ball (and if you do, can I buy you lunch), you hit the nail on the head when you said…

    “So maybe all my anguishing over which plan is the absolutely perfect house for the lot, the market, and the neighborhood is moot, since the buyer we need in order to get started might have some different ideas about what’s perfect.”

    I am seeing buyers with some surprisingly different ideas about what their ‘perfect’ home looks like. I caution you that unless this is a home you want to personally occupy, I wouldn’t make ANY decisions with regards to what house plan, style, type or even size to build on this lot.

    My advise – find a good local architect that can work with your customer to give them exactly what they want. Today’s consumer expects nothing less. It’s been my experience that customers are willing to pay for the extra 5-8% for the architect to get that ‘perfect’ home.

    That’s my 2 cents, best of luck with finding that buyer!

  9. 9 Bruce Brittain May 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    If there are plenty of trees shading the western exposure, a screened porch on that side is just great. We use ours nearly every day of the summer as the sun sets through through the forest; just turn on the ceiling fan and relax. Maybe where Robert Orr builds they remove the trees, in which case his observation has merit.

  10. 10 Robert Orr May 25, 2009 at 9:49 am

    A few suggestions.
    I would recommend a bedroom and full bath on the main level. We’re an aging society and guests and elderly parents who live with their grown children may need a bedroom on the main if they can’t do stairs.
    Also, be careful not to overdo the Craftsman look. It’s been over-done in Atlanta.
    But keep a front porch of some kind. Adds architectural dimension and it’s practical in this rainy climate. For guests and packages left at front door.
    Finally, the screened porch is useful only if it is on the east side of the house. People will not use it in the afternoon and early evenings if it has western exposure. Just too hot here, especially in the summer.

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