House plan heaven

The "Winona Park" Image courtesy of Southern Living

Do you like to browse house plans? I browse them anywhere I find them: online, in magazines, in big house plan catalogs at bookstores. It is my own grown-up imagination exercise. What shape table would I put in this dining room? Where would a Christmas tree go in this house? Would I continue the authentic Craftsman colors inside the house, too? I once read an article that referred to this reading habit as “house porn”. I really prefer to think of it “hypothetical design opportunites”. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.

In case you’re like me, or you just want something different to browse during some down time at work (been there!), I thought I’d share some of my favorite house plan links with you. All of my example images are linked, too, so you instant gratification fans can click right to them for more details…

I like this site because it allows you to specify your lot size, which a lot of other sites that I have seen don’t give as an option. It can make for an interesting way to sort your fantasy home owning choices. Many of the plans in this collection have exterior renderings (rather than pictures) as their images to select from in the style menus. Jump into the plans anyway. Often, the pictures are just buried farther into the individual plans. Here is a favorite of mine from this site:

The "Chevalier de Florian" Image courtesy of

It’s outlandish. But if you are going to browse their “French Collection”, I say go palatial or go home. Based on the image above, real landscaping is a big priority for finessing some curb appeal. Looking at the floor plans, do you use hardwoods floors or marble? (Come on, dream with me.) While you are at it, toss in a couple extra millions and build your own water park in the backyard.

This fantastic site has three ways of searching their house plans.

  • Architectural Style: as in “Victorian” or “Spanish”
  • Theme Collections: everything category you can think of to search, from “Best Small Houses” to “Country House plans for Texas”
  • Executive House plans: rare historic house plans, international plans  and plans by specific architects

I have to ration my time here. I have never been a video gamer, but when I hear about addicts playing games at all hours of the night, I can picture myself comparing walk-in closets on this site at 3 am. Here is a lovely plan I like, in case I ever win the lottery:

Plan #56-604 Image courtesy of

At 5,342 square feet, it is still on the large size, I’ll grant you. I prefer not to imagine the utility bills from this house, but you can see why I like it, right?The woodwork is gorgeous. The curb appeal is so welcoming. The large floor plan really flows nicely. You could have some beautiful holiday events in this house!

This house plans website is run by Better Homes & Gardens magazine. I like this site for great vacation homes. Whether your perfect vacation idea is in the desert, by a lake, in the mountains or on a beach somewhere, you can probably find a great get-away home here. Here’s one I like:

The "Springview" Image courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

This little cabin is picture perfect and would be so cosy on Fall weekend. I like the idea of a vacation home being small and easy to maintain, so log cabins in the mountains have always intrigued me. The first thing I would do with this house is buy a lot of firewood. I love a good fireplace!

This site is run by Southern Living magazine. If you like Tudor, Colonial, Southern or Plantation style homes. This might be just the house plans site for you. When you first log on to this site, choose their “Advance Search” feature. This will allow you to choose houses based on specific styles and requirements. Here is a favorite of mine:

The "Inlet Cottage" Image courtesy of Southern Living

This little darling comes from their “Tidewater/Low country” collection. It is on the smaller side, as far as square footage goes. However, this cottage could be a real gem in the right setting on a beach or a lake. The breeze on that side porch could be heavenly!

What does your dream home look like? Do you like any of the houses I’ve posted today? Do you have any other house plans website ideas?

Posted on March 15, 2011, in Architecture, Lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the fun link! Now I’ll never get any work done. You’re right this is addictive.

  2. Hey Cathy – great post and just what I was looking for. We’re looking at building and had only found one good “house plan” site to date, so this is perfect. Contacts on the new blog – it’s look really good. I’ll check back often.

  3. Who says you can’t find the house of your dreams? Thanks for all the websites to browse through while I sip my cup of tea!

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