Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don your Helmets

Istockhouseplans has received lots of compliments on the look of our web page. We want to say thank you to everyone who has given us kudos. If we haven't heard from you on that note, we'll assume you're introverted and have meant to. We'll thank you in advance.

To that end, we want to warn you about an upcoming change. We have been hosting our sites on Google's Page Creator utility. Unfortunately, Google is discontinuing that utility in favor of another one called Sites. Now who are we to balk at free web design AND hosting AND porting? But we have read some news that some links and features have become unavailable with the transition. In the next few weeks we expect our site to make it's final transition and we want to apologize in advance for any hiccups that may occur. While we expect everything to work fine, there could possibly be some problems. If you need information, please send us an email at info@istockhouseplans.com.

We're also in the process of updating our checkout feature to a more user friendly Paypal shopping cart. Now you can enjoy secure shopping, no hard-selling, and the protection that comes with Paypal. As always, shipping is still free. If you are interested in purchasing a plan and see an old Google checkout button, please let us know so that we can convert it to the new Paypal version. If you are interested in multiple plans, remember we do offer a discount. Email us with what you are looking for and we will put together a package price for you. Since we are going to Paypal, all of our old coupon codes may not be working. We will update as soon as they do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creston the Next Wave

We first mentioned our Creston plan in September of 2007 as part our courtyard housing entry. Then we promised to release it soon in October. Finally in January 2008 we made it a New Year's resolution to release the plan. Obviously we have little regard for resolutions. Here we are a year and a half later mentioning it again. It would begin to be a psychological nightmare were it not for...

The release of the Creston!

We finally sat our behinds back down and finished the darned thing up. You can see the plan here and order it at the bottom of the page. The Creston is a 3 bed, 2.5 bath home on two levels with 1500sf. When we started designing the home, there was a path 8 energy efficiency in Oregon's building code that allowed 2x4 wall construction. The caveat was that house size was limited to 1500sf and windows were limited to 12% of the heated floor area. You also needed to install R-49 insulation in the attic. Well our release took so long that path 8 was written out of the code. So our house is essentially a moot point. The other self-imposed restriction was based on the City of Portland, Oregon's minimum R-5 zone lot width of 36', resulting in a 26' wide plan.

Since the walls are of 2x4 construction, the house should follow code in most of the country. In the Northwest where R-21 walls are required, you can either bump them up on site or install R-15 batts with an inch of polyisocyanurate rigid foam on the outside, or an inch and a half of EPS foam. You could also fill the walls with r-6+ per inch spray foam.

The other drawback to the plan is the lack of front facing windows. We were going for a certain look, after all. We have another sketched version with an extra window on each level and we may release that one very shortly as the 'A' with a different facade. In any event we're finally happy to have it available to the public.

Check out the plan and give us your feedback. Remember, we're here for you!