Plans, illustrations and photo courtesy of Ken Pieper
Home Details:Square Footage:1,362
Baths: 2Designer: Ken Pieper
A house is many things at once. A place to entertain. Family friendly. Accessible. A sanctuary.
Instead of focusing on one single use, a versatile design ensures a home can accommodate all phases of life, whether that’s an immediate need or a scenario you anticipate down the road. Enter the “Laramie” floor plan: the Swiss Army knife of homes.
Ken Pieper has been designing homes since 1966, so he knows what features appeal to varying segments of homebuyers. “This is a very popular plan of ours. We’ve built this house 18 to 20 times,” he says. “What’s really cool about it is that it works for first-time buyers, as a second home or cabin retreat and retired couples who live out in the middle of nowhere. One family has more than a dozen children and grandchildren, plus the two owners, and they all gather there for Christmas holidays. You can stack a lot of folks in this small plan, and it works.”
The Low DownIn addition to being able to accomdate diverse lifestyles, the “Laramie” is designed to suit most locations. As long as the lot is relatively flat, you can put it anywhere — beside a lake or a golf course, secluded in the highlands or solo on the prairie, surrounded by nature or tucked in a housing development bordered by neighbors. Although the original plan doesn’t include a basement, the design can be modified to fit a sloped lot.
The “Laramie” is a hybrid house, meaning it’s built conventionally and can be enclosed with any type of material, including half-logs. This approach adds to its accessibility, in regard to budget, building codes or local design covenants. In most instances, the logs are peeled, hand-hewn Douglas fir, but Ken stresses that any materials of the homeowner’s choosing can be made to fit.
Lastly, anyone who has spent an extended period of time at home knows the importance of an open space. Whether it’s a pandemic, blizzard or just a rainy day, the “Laramie” utilizes its square footage in a way that ensures everyone has a space of their own.
The Inside ScoopWhen designing a home specifically for versatility, incorporating options into a defined amount of space is essential. Here’s what Ken recommends:
Got room? Three bedrooms, plus a loft space on the second floor, means options. Use all of the areas as bedrooms or convert one into an office, home gym or flex space.
Step outside. The Laramie has both a front and back porch, providing additional leisure spaces that are especially useful when entertaining.
Window dressing. Windows are the best way to make a room feel more open, add natural light and frame coveted views.
- A boxed window in the master bedroom provides the option for a sitting area and makes the space feel roomier.
- An open concept main level allows creative homeowners to make the space their own.
- A large eat-in kitchen eliminates the need for a separate dining area.
- Locating the mudroom/laundry room near the rear entry confines clutter to an enclosed area.
- The switchback staircase minimizes the amount of square footage the stairs consume and provides a space-saving spot for a coat closet.