Our team at Family Home Plans is located on the East Coast in Beaufort, SC. We worry more about hurricanes with flooding than we do about tornadoes, but the recent outbreak of tornadoes in the Midwest has us thinking about other types of violent storms. Home plans with abundant windows are always popular, but you may notice that many lack those traditional hidey holes for taking cover during high winds. We do receive tornado warnings on occasion, so we understand that it’s always best to be prepared. Experts suggest that the two safest places to be during a tornado warning are underground or in a safe room. Because our home plans are built all over the country, we encourage our customers, especially those in tornado and hurricane prone areas, to consider building a house with a safe room.
When the safety of family members is at stake, a reinforced room should never be something that you plan to add later- it should be designed right into your blueprints! In fact, a great deal of money can be saved by adding a safe room during the initial construction rather than waiting for a few years and then adding it into a finished house. According to one of our designers, the cost of a job site safe room is sometimes much less than a prefab unit, and your state may offer a tax credit and grant money. We know that nothing is guaranteed to be safe, but personally, I would prefer to hide in a room that is constructed with 8” of concrete on the top and sides and bolted into a slab foundation- above ground, a little farther from flood water. The 3 bolt metal door must open inward so you can escape if debris is piled up outside. Each of our featured plans is drawn with a FEMA certified residential safe room.
European Style House Plan 82171, showing a hip roof, arched windows, brick and stone, has 2617 square feet of living space and a bonus room offering an additional 445 square feet over the garage. This split level floor plan locates the master suite and three smaller bedrooms on opposite ends of the house. In between, we have a vaulted ceiling with 8” timber beams over the great room. An eat at island bar, breakfast room and walk in pantry complete the kitchen. Double French doors open to the grilling porch with optional outdoor kitchen. Through the garage is a kid’s nook with a bench and hooks for hanging book bags and jackets. The safe room measures 8’ by 9’8” and can be accessed through the garage.
Arched openings, board and batten shutters, metal roof accents and gable brackets also give House Plan 82062 European curb appeal. Designed for a sloping lot, bedrooms 2 and 3 are drawn into a walkout basement. Children will love the game room with its fireplace, fridge and icemaker. Also downstairs is the safe room measuring 9’ x 10’6”. Going upstairs, we find the great room with its boxed cedar beams and cozy fireplace. This level includes the master suite, office, laundry, kitchen and breakfast room.
House Plan 82239 has a lot more space and amenities with 4810 square feet of living space, 4
bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. Atop the three car courtyard garage is a steeply pitched roof with a cupola, and the arched board and batten doors add old world charm. Entering from the foyer, we see an open arrangement for the great room and kitchen. The master suite has a fireplace, sitting room, and his and hers walk in closets. Stretching across the back of the house is a covered porch supported by timber columns and featuring a stone fireplace. Guests will enjoy a private bath while the last two bedrooms share a Jack and Jill bathroom. Parents will appreciate that the children have quick access to the 7’2” x 7’ safe room through the laundry room.
Contributing Author: Bonnie Drew is a blogger and customer support/sales specialist for The COOL House Plans Co. and Family Home Plans. For more information or questions about our plans, you can reach Bonnie at firstname.lastname@example.org.