There are many elements to designing a house and many considerations that sometimes conflict with each other. Two things that often conflict are design and budget. But when it comes to how much it will cost to build a house, there's one technique that can balance the conflicting needs of cost and curb appeal (or how the house looks when viewed from the front). That technique is called the three sides rule.
Fewer Corners Means Cost Savings
Here's the principle: All other things being equal, the fewer corners a house design has, the less it will cost to build. The ultimate in design efficiency is a house plan that's a square. Yes, it will be as efficient to build as it can possibly be, but it's not going to have a lot of curb appeal, right? It will look pretty boring, some might even say ugly, from the front.
That's why we use the three sides rule instead of the four sides rule. Curb appeal, for the most part, is about how the house looks from the front. People aren't generally worried about the fancier design features on the back or sides of their home. It's that first impression of the front that matters most.
Therefore, if we minimize the number of corners by keeping the sides and the back of the house straight as much as possible, we can make the design very efficient to build. Then we can use some of the money we saved to incorporate some great design features in the front.
We can add those offsets in strategic places in the front to give you the look you want while saving money for other things that might be more important in your life, like granite countertops, a new car, or maybe even a vacation.
For a perfect example of how the three sides rule helped one family build the ADA-accessible home they needed for their daughter with special needs, check out this accessible house plan.