In another life, I will become an architect. I absolutely adore researching residential house plans, both exterior and interior. There’s so much history associated with the how and why of design. For instance, early saltbox style farm homes were mostly vertical in design from the exterior, with chopped up small rooms in the interior. My guess is that with the common-place large families of the past, each person needed their own space within the house leading to smaller rooms. This floor plan would also be easier and less expensive to heat in the winter, you wouldn’t have to heat the whole house, only one small room that the family could crowd into.
Over time with a decrease in family size, the floor plans began opening up. There wasn’t a need for so many rooms because there weren’t as many people living in the house. All of a sudden the same square footage seemed much more usable because there were fewer people utilizing the same amount of space.
Another factor influencing home design was region. The northeast is known for it’s row-style homes and cape cod architecture. Victorian also had a strong influence on architecture on the eastern seaboard. Many of their homes include large, screened porches to keep the gnats out. With all the humidity, it’s no wonder the screens are so popular.
The mid-west homes have evolved from saltbox style farm homes to one-level ranch style. This movement, I’m sure, was due to the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. His idea of incorporating the outside with the inside had a huge impact on homes built in the 1950’s west of the Mississippi. I especially love the homes of some of the more modern architects of his time, like Joseph Eichler and Gilbert Leong. These homes were built with the same concept, lots of windows and light, an open floor plan, and a great utilization of a central space.
Here are a few sites that have some great floor plans, no matter what style you prefer:
- Cool House Plans: They have a lot to choose from, including some small backyard projects. They also offer narrow lot floor plans.
- The House Designers: Wonderful tiny house plans to choose from. I really like the Maple Street Plan. It’s adorable! Oh, and the Rosabella. It’s a beautiful Mediterranean house plan.
- Cusato Cottages: These are the Katrina Kit homes offered by Lowes. However, I’ve never seen this site before, and it actually goes more into detail with the plans.
- Clayton Homes: They offer a lot of different manufactured plans, but I really love their i House. It reminds me of the modern architecture of the 1950’s. I’m a SoCal girl, what can I say.
- The Bungalow Company: I also love craftsman homes! See, I should really be an architect. I can’t even decide which is my favorite!
I’ve noticed that some of these sites don’t list build prices. This always leads me to believe that they may be more expensive than the sites that do list square footage price or kit home price. However, they are a great place to start looking at least! (Or dreaming in my case.)