There was a time, quite recently in fact, when the most important attributes of buildings were their aesthetic qualities, fitness for the intended purpose, and structural integrity. However sustainability objectives - paying closer attention to the soundness of the architecture from the perspective of the environment - are quickly becoming the overriding factors in contemporary home plans.
Plan ahead and know what you want. If you take the time to look at different modern home plans, you will have a much better idea of what you can expect from your designer. Once you know what you want, you can find a professional that fits your style and demands.
Ranch style homes are usually long and low with a bare minimum of interior and exterior decoration. The idea is to create a casual and informal lifestyle, usually with access to the outdoors via large plate glass windows, sliding glass doors, and patios or decks. Ranch style home plans normally imply a single story construction with a low and long roof line, with a cross- or side- gabled or hip roof.
Exposed wooden or steel beams, flat roofs with large overhangs, and split levels to take advantage of the terrain, are also common accents associated with the contemporary style.