Making your way through the home planning process can be arduous and time consuming. With so many decisions to make about size, location of private and public spaces, and even the number of bedrooms, it’s important to allow enough time up front to design your home properly.

This was not a problem for Richard and Martha Cichelli, of Nazareth, Pensylvania, who always had their sights on building a dream home. For them, the planning process was part of the excitement and kept the dream alive.

Richard, a draftsman at an architectural firm in the 1960s, had designed more than 150 homes for others. He also created a rough sketch of what would be the beginnings of a home plan for himself and Martha.

Three major considerations were crucial to the Cichellis’ plan:

  • First, they wanted plenty of room for their varied hobbies and passions. This included music, woodworking, and cooking, all of which would be given the supportive square footage within the home.
  • The second factor was their affinity for entertaining large groups. The Cichellis regularly entertain business clients, social groups, and family, so allowing for large public spaces was essential. The couple also needed a space for Martha’s mother, who wanted to remain as independent as possible during her retirement years.
  • The final requirement for the plan would be that it would sit well on a hillside lot. The geography of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, features plenty of hills and valleys, and capturing a scene with large windows and expansive decks was a no-brainer.

With the key components of the home in place, Richard began to sketch out a rough floor plan. “I first made what I call a bubble diagram,” says Richard. “It shows activities in circles. I put related activities near each other.

“I next picked a [house] style. We liked our then current hillside ranch, so I stayed with that style since we had a lovely hill on which to place the house. Then I allocated floor area — in our case, about 3,000 square feet per floor.”

To keep the ideas flowing, Richard picked up several plan books and searched through hundreds of layouts. He wanted a layout that offered lots of public space for large-group entertaining, but very private areas for down time.

He originally had 22 plans that fulfilled many of their requirements. Then he and Martha analyzed each space and its location in the home.

More about this home including additional images and floor plans ran in the magazine.