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To Build or Not To Build: One-story vs. Two-Story Home

Once upon a time in the early 2000's our company used to build huge two-story homes that people loved, however tastes changed and the housing trend went from two-story everything to highly desired single level homes. So we adapted and started building a number of one-story homes, which became our new M.O. And we noticed that when we held grand openings or open houses for our new homes, people walking through would comment something along the lines of: "It's so nice that it's one-story!" or "Thank goodness, no stairs!" and even the occasional "We are looking for a one-story home because our stairs have become too much of a hassle or don't match the needs of our family."

Whether you are building or buying a home, you are going to take into consideration the number of levels you want. So lets run through a list of the great and not so great aspects about each option.


  1. Lets point out the obvious: you don't have to haul your groceries, laundry, or the vacuum cleaner up an entire flight of stairs!! In general, maintenance is a BREEZE because everything is on the ground level.
  2. They are safer and more accessible. If you have young kids, pets, are caring for aging parents, or have mobility issues stairs may pose a serious risk. A single story home allows for more scope and accessibility.
  3. Quieter. Ever stayed in a hotel or lived in an apartment complex and you could hear EVERYTHING the people above you were doing? Well that is not a problem with a one-story home, live in peace and quiet!
  1. They require more land, which means more money. Because you are building out and not up, a one-story home is going require a bigger footprint and more roofing, costing more money.
  2. Less privacy. Unless you live in a gated community or super far away from your next door neighbor, then there is a possibility that your house has more visibility (especially if you're a fan of windows) compared to a two-story home


  1. Privacy and security. Having two levels allows for more privacy as the second floor has less visibility from the street. The top floor of a home also not very accessible to a burglar or thief, so leave those windows open if you don't want to spend money on AC!
  2. Reverse floor plans are COOL! Making pasta from your second floor kitchen while having a glass of wine and looking out at the amazing view you have sounds awesome! You can get really creative with two-story floor plans.
  3. Promising scenery. If your home or lot is located in a beautiful area, a two-story home gives you the advantage of having the opportunity to maximize your views and add a patio or porch!
  1. Higher risk of accidents. I think everyone knows someone who has fallen down the stairs (maybe even you have yourself), so having stairs in the house means accidents will happen and you have to go out and buy things to prevent them, like child proofing gates
  2. Science. Here is a fact of life: heat rises and cool air falls. With that being said, your home's heating and AC bill could possibly be through the roof (pun intended) compared to a one-story home when trying to keep your second floor cool and your first floor warm.
  3. Space Eater. It is a known fact that stairs can take up 100 sqft. or more of your living space and be costly.
Ultimately your decision on whether or not you want a one or two-story home is going to depend on family circumstances, personal taste, location, and/or the shape/size of the lot you have. Most people already know what they want when they are designing a home or house hunting, but regardless it is still good to know this type of information. MDD Homes has experience designing-building one-story, two-story, and even partial two-story homes, possessing the ability to adapt to your family's unique needs and circumstances.