Creating a Split Level Entry with a Landing

Reference Number: KB-00269
Last Modified: July 30, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


I need to design a split level entry for my plan. How do I do this? 

Split level entry


A split level entry typically consists of a landing with stairs leading down to the floor below and stairs leading up to the main floor. This type of design can easily be created in Home Designer using the Build Foundation and U-Shaped Stair tools.

To create each floor level

  1. Open  a plan in which you would like to create a split level entry for, or create a new plan by selecting File> New Plan from the menu.

    40' x 30' floor plan

    • In this example, a simple rectangular structure that measures 40' x 30' is used.

  2. Select Build> Floor> Build Foundation from the menu, and in the Foundation Defaults dialog:

    Build Foundation dialog with Automatically Rebuild Foundation unchecked

    • Uncheck Automatically Rebuild Foundation.

    • Select Walls with Footings for the Foundation Type.

    • Specify a Wall Height sufficient for a full height basement. If you're using Home Designer Pro, specify a value in the Minimum Height field under the Stem Walls section instead.

      In this example, 100" is used, which includes a 4" slab.

    • Click OK.

  3. In the New Floor dialog that displays next, select Derive new foundation plan from the 1st floor plan, then click OK.

    New Floor dialog

  4. Your foundation should now look like the following image: 

    Foundation floor plan

To create the staircase

  1. While Floor 0 (foundation) is the active floor, select Build> Stairs> U-Shaped Stairs , and in the New Shaped Staircase dialog that displays, choose the Default Direction, specify a Gap value if desired, then click OK.

    New Shaped Staircase dialog

  2. You will notice that a U-shaped staircase is now following your cursor. Hover the cursor along the wall that will be used for the entry, move the cursor towards the center of the structure until the landing is oriented correctly, then click to place the staircase.

    U-shaped stair placed on Floor 0

  3. With the staircase in place, we are ready to modify the foundation wall for the door that will be placed later on. Select the foundation wall that the landing is against, select the Add Break edit tool, then place two break points where the landing meets the foundation wall.

    If you're using Home Designer 2020 or prior, navigate to Build> Wall> Break Wall instead.

    Breaks have been placed to create a separate wall segment

  4. Using the Select Objects tool, select the wall section that is against the landing, click the Open Object  edit button, and in the Foundation Wall Specification dialog, change the Wall Type to Siding-6, then click OK.

    In Home Designer Pro, the wall type can changed by accessing the Wall Types panel.

    Foundation Wall Specification dialog

    Home Designer Pro and Home Designer Architectural also have the ability to create Pony Walls, giving the user the option to define two separate wall types for a single wall. Please see the "Creating a Split Material Wall" resource in the Related Articles section below.

  5. Select the landing and move it so it meets up with the Siding-6 wall. You will notice that each stair connected to the landing will move as well.

    Staircase has been moved to be against the Siding-6 wall

  6. With the staircase now in place, select one of the stair sections and click the Auto Stairwell  edit button to generate a stairwell on the 1st floor.

  7. We will now enclose the entryway. On Floor 0 (foundation), navigate to Build> Wall> Interior Wall , then draw interiors walls on either side of the landing, as well as any walls underneath the staircase.

    Staircase with interior walls on either side

    Note: To ensure that the interiors walls are aligned with the stairwell railings that were created automatically in step 6 above, select each one after it is placed, and click the Align With Wall Above edit tool. 

  8. If any railings are still present on the landing, click on an edge of the landing, click on the Open Object  edit button to open the Stair Landing Specification, and under the Selected Edge section, select No Railing, check Apply to All Edges, then click OK.

    Stair Landing Specification dialog

    Railings that are part of a staircase can also be controlled by accessing the Railings panel located in the Staircase Specification dialog.

  9. Select Up One Floor  to go up to Floor 1, select Build> Door> Hinged Door , and place a door on the wall the landing is up against. Once placed, Open  it to specification, and adjust the Floor to Bottom value so it lines up with the landing.

  10. Take a Camera  view to see the results.

    Full camera view of a split-level entry