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We have a layout but are thinking of not having anything except a loft, keeping it a ranch.  We have heard it cost less to build up, but our thinking is that one boy is on his way to college and we have one more that will be in the has for a while.  We are planning on having a full basement and are thinking it would help with costs if we only built a loft on the second floor and put the 2 bedrooms in the basement and then we would have the master, kitchen, dining room and great room on the 1st floor.  Does anyone have any suggestions and or thoughts on what the best thing to do is for our situation?

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Its a personal preference thing. 

A ground floor bedroom is great as you get older.

If you can do a walk-out basement, that would be the way to go.  I have a small walk-out basement, and it is great.  Lets in a lot of natural light, even with a porch above it.

The land dictates the design. If you have a walkout, add retaining walls, glass and interior finishes and avoid a two story above. A residential elevator sounds extreme, but for $10k and 5x5 closet space, converted later, it makes sense. If you have a walkout site, add an extra foot and get 9' ceilings for timber ceiling package and make it great.
It's cheaper to make basement a walkout level if slope dictates, than to build a two story on unfinished basement. Pay for a topo on 2' increments and hire a designer/architect and they'll pay for themselves 2 fold.

Great info.  We are hoping to find land that will accommodate a walkout basement.  We are trying to look long term and below that we would be wasting money if we built a house with 2 bedrooms upstairs, then within 5-10 yrs they will very rarely be used on top of us having a full basement to work with.  We have the master bedroom and all of our needs on the 1st floor.  The only thing that we are wanting and it doesnt have to be anything big is a loft just for a different reading spot or hang out spot.

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Cindy, Casting AP

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