Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top 10 house plan websites

There are probably a million house plan companies selling zillions of plans through the internet.  Most are terrible.  In my business I create one of a kind custom homes.  I can't tell you how many clients of mine have come to me after being frustrated looking through one plan book (or plan website) after another.  After exhaustive searching they will eventually break down and hire a competent house designer or an Architect.

I definitely believe that if your needs are truly unique then you should hire a residential architect.  But if your needs and tastes are less specific you might be able to save yourself some time and money by going the pre-designed plan route. So I decided to publish a list of the top 10 house plan websites that I have run across.  Here goes.

8. Southern Living House plans - Large collection of traditionally styled house plans.  All shapes, sizes and configurations.
7. John Tee Architect - Architect designed homes in predominantly southern american styles.  Plans in this fairly extensive collection are well executed.
6. Rick Thompson Architect - Collection of traditionally styled house plans.  Most of the collection is under 2000 square feet.
5. Coastal Living House Plans - A large collection of plans, many of which designed with a lake or coastal property in mind.  The architectural styles again are mostly traditional.  There are a good number of more "quirky" plans however, which makes for more interesting surfing.
4. LaMiDesign Modern House Plans - If you are looking for a truly modern home online, your choices are limited.  LaMiDesign is the best that I have run across.
3. Good Fit plans by Ross Chapin Architects - Modest collection of very well designed smaller homes.  Modernized cottage aesthetic.  Simple, clean and well done.
2. Architectural House Plans - This site specializes in unique Architect designed homes.  They started out being very selective and only published great plans.  The quality seems to be starting to go downhill a bit as the collection increases - but it is still a great source for architect designed house plans.
1. Simply Elegant Home Designs - Ok, I know this is shameless.  It's my own site after all.  This site does not yet have very many plans - but we are definitely going for quality.  We are going for a more edgy and more modern look.

I'll bet you are wondering where number 9 and 10 are.  Well it really is just that hard to find quality plans online.  After you spend a few hours browsing you realize that almost all the plans start looking alike.  In fact quite literally many of the plans are identical.  So I decided to spare the list down to 8.  

Final note.  If you run across any other great house plan web sites please let me know.  I'll update my top 10 list.

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