The House Plan Shop Blog

Nov 11 2015

3 More Ideas for Vacation Home Plans – The House Plan Shop

Vacation House Plan 053H-0029Take a look at our vacation plans! We have a variety of different types to suit any destination. For instance, if taking to the woods is your pleasure, check out our Vacation House Plan 053H-0029.  Not only does this rugged design look at home in the wilderness, it makes a great home away from home for those weekend getaways. There are plenty of windows from which to enjoy a woodsy view. To get even closer to nature, there’s a great porch to sit your rocking chair. Two bedrooms offer comfortable nights for sleeping away from home and the open floor
plan provides great spaces for gathering and dining together for family and friends.


Vacation Design 013H-0088 offers similar spaces for family togetherness but its octagonal shape with surrounding deck is more at home at the beach. With its open flo
or plan, the kitchen and great room provide convenience, simplicity and togetherness. Two bedrooms deliver necessary rest for enjoying days full of fun. While you enjoy the view from anywhere from the 360 degree deck, the kids will be wearing themselves out circling your fortress of solitude.


Lake House Plan 010H-0012
Vacation House Plan 010H-0012
encompasses the best of both worlds, land and water. Its rugged woodsy appearance would enhance a lakefront lot. It too offers great views of the outdoors with its wrap-around porch and sundeck. Creature comforts are provided for with an efficient kitchen, great room, three bedrooms and two full baths. Family and friends will enjoy the amenities at the end of a long day of fresh air and sunshine.


For more vacation home plans like these, please browse our entire Vacation Collection.

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Sep 21 2015

Narrow Lot? No Problem!

Narrow lot house plans

For homeowners who prefer an urban environment, a smaller lot size is inevitable because land is in short supply. This is not bad news.

Narrow lot house plans can be affordable. Specifically designed for the smaller footprint, narrow lot house plans use clever design techniques to optimize every last inch of space. You definitely won’t get a cookie-cutter home. For green-minded homeowners, narrow lot house plans are recognized as being eco-friendly because of their small ecological footprint.

Here’s how to make every square foot you own, attractive, imaginative and yes, even spacious!

Build Up, Not Out

The square footage of a narrow lot home can vary depending on the number of stories you wish to build. A small single-story home reminiscent of that old suburban staple, the low roof-lined “Rancher,” may only be 1,000 square feet or less. A signature detached row house on the other hand, could offer three stories, four bedrooms and around 3,000 square feet of living space – all built on the same small lot.

The minimum lot size? You can squeeze comfort and space into a lot that is 40 feet wide or less. The depth of the home is only limited by the depth of the lot. Narrow lot house plans are typically long and lean to make the most of a deep lot.

Stack and Share Rooms

Traditional Victorian or Cape Cod style homes have clearly articulated rooms. In these floor plans, the kitchen, living room, dining room and den are delineated with walls and doors. This traditional housing style does not work well on a narrow lot where space is at a premium.

To maximize space, narrow lot house plans incorporate open, airy spaces into their design. Each room may be used for a number of purposes – a combined kitchen, dining room and living space, for example, or an open plan children’s area that accommodates sleep, study and play. Redundant spaces such as corridors are omitted, instead there are large, functional, open areas that can be layered on top of each other as you build up.

Choose Innovative Interiors

Narrow width does not mean narrow choice or narrow functionality. Thoughtful designers layer innovative design solutions into their skinny house plans so you can make the most of your space. Features include:

  • Moving the garage to the back of the lot to take advantage of a deep lot
  • Window placement that maximizes the use of sunlight for better light penetration and energy efficiency
  • Vaulted ceilings and high windows to give that all-important open plan feel
  • Ample storage solutions – think built-in closets, a pantry, shelves and a kitchen island with plenty of drawers.

By building boundary to boundary (where this is permitted) and implementing a variety of space-saving techniques, narrow lot house plans are able to incorporate a myriad of features. If you forget you’re living in a narrow lot home, the plans have done their job properly.

Add Curb Appeal

In the real estate business, curb appeal is the frosting on the cake. It describes a property’s overall appearance from the street, such as its style, building materials and design. Homes with curb appeal command higher sale prices and generally take less time to sell.

Narrow lot house plans are designed to let the exterior details shine. For multi-story homes, you can play up the vertical height by adding floor-to-ceiling windows, columns or a steeply pitched roof.

Inviting porches, balconies, landscaping and even flower boxes are great accents that boost the appearance of narrow lot homes. If yard space is limited, your outdoor area can be designed to feel bigger by installing a vertical garden.

Finally, it is worth remembering that all house plans can be customized. Regardless of lot size, you’ll get precisely the internal space and visual aesthetic you want.


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Aug 05 2015

10 Special Victorian House Plans – The House Plan Shop

Victorian house plans are commonly recognized for their striking exteriors. However, they aren’t always easily recognized for their casual interiors. TVictorian House Plan 027H-0192ake a look at these 10 special Victorian house plans and discover the splendid mix of elegance and comfort they have to offer.


027H-0192 – Offers formal and casual dining and gathering spaces, plus three bedrooms and two baths upstairs for privacy. Don’t miss the bonus room!


032H-0042 – Features a bayed living room with a view and a hearth-warmed family room. Four bedrooms and two baths upstairs accommodate everyone’s needs.


034H-0022 – Boasts an open floor plan with two-story great room and island kitchen. Don’t miss the peaceful den, your luxurious master suite or the large bonus room!


035H-0092 – Elegant exterior with spacious rooms and three floors of living inside! Special outdoor living area, striking staircase, playroom and  a loft where you can kick back and relax!


043H-0162 – Open floor plan with a touch of country living. Kitchen serves the nook and dining room with ease. Deluxe master bath and library will get your attention. Three secondary bedrooms and a bonus room upstairs.


047H-0006 – Country Victorian flavor with an emphasis on outdoor living. Three bedrooms and two baths located upstairs for privacy.


051H-0004 – Showcases formal and informal gathering spaces, plus interesting angles and plenty of windows. All bedrooms positioned upstairs including the caretaker’s quarters.


Victorian House Plan 054H-0121054H-0121 – Bays of windows fill this home with natural light. Notice the spacious family room and nearby rec room. Three bedrooms and two baths upstairs accommodate everyone’s needs.


057H-0009 – Outdoor living abounds, but there is plenty of family gathering space inside too. Features a pampering master bedroom on the main floor and four more bedrooms upstairs.


063H-0184 – Highlights include octagonal sunroom and living room, spacious family room, and access to the turret from your lavish master bedroom. Don’t miss the gazebo and veranda!





Want to see more? View our entire collection of Victorian House Plans to find the design that is right for your family!

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Jul 21 2015

Recipe: Mom’s Chocolate Chip Icing – The House Plan Shop

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Category: Recipes

Mom's Chocolate Chip Icing2This was my mom’s “go to” frosting that she used to ice a lot of birthday cakes and cupcakes. She never had trouble finding volunteers to lick both the spoon and pan clean. In fact, sometimes she would make it for us when she didn’t have a cake to ice and we would spread it on graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or even Wonder Bread. Then we would add some broken nuts to what was left and pour it on a buttered dish and refrigerate it. We were pretty proud of our homemade “fudge.”


Mom’s Chocolate Chip Icing

1 ¼ cups sugar

½ cup milk

5 tbs butter or margarine

12 oz pkg of semi-sweet chocolate chips


In a sauce pan, heat the sugar milk and butter to the boiling point, stirring frequently. Just as it starts to boil remove pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Stir like crazy until all of the chips are melted. Let it cool 10-20 minutes before icing your cake. It will thicken as it cools, but if you cool it too long it will tear the cake when you ice it. Be careful if you reheat it as direct heat can burn the chocolate. This is enough icing to easily cover a 9×13 inch cake.

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Jun 22 2015

Get Rid of Mosquitoes Around Your Home

While we all love to enjoy summertime activities like gardening, picnic, backyard barbecues and playing with the kids in the yard, many of us across the country have one thing in common: Tiny mosquitoes can sometimes be HUGE troublemakers! Not only do they annoy us with their buzzing and itchy bites, but they also transmit various diseases. So, it is a good idMosquitoea to try to get rid of these pests near your home. You certainly won’t miss them when you are enjoying your favorite backyard activities.


Begin by eliminating standing water. Mosquitoes need less than one inch of standing water in which to lay their eggs. Make an effort to eliminate standing water around your home by emptying bird baths or fill them with fresh water daily. Dump out buckets and pales of standing water. Cover or store things that tend to catch and hold water in your yard or on your back porch like empty flower pots, patio furniture or the kid’s plastic toys. Wading pools, dog dishes, sandbox toys and old tires are all great places for water to collect that will attract mosquitoes sooner or later. Also check your yard for areas where water tends to stand after a rain or after you’ve used the hose or sprinkler. Whether it is in a flower garden or the middle of your yard, areas that hold pockets of water should be leveled with fill dirt to prevent standing water. Finally, check your gutters. Clear any debris from your gutters as clogged gutters are an attractive place for mosquitoes.


While water is a main mosquito attraction, they can be found in dry spaces and places that provide cover during the day. Shrubs, bushes and ornamental grasses are wonderful for landscaping, but they are also a wonderful place for mosquitoes to congregate during the heat of the day. Keep your shrubs trimmed and your lawn mowed. Remove weeds as well. All of these things will attract mosquitoes to your backyard if left unattended.


Consider natural insect repellants for your backyard. Some plants are natural repellents for mosquitoes and other insects and they blend nicely with other landscaping vegetation. Consider planting catnip, rosemary or marigolds.


Using electric outdoor fans on your patios and porches or burning citronella candles when outdoors will help create an environment that isn’t very inviting to mosquitoes. If you create an unfriendly environment for mosquitoes, you’ll actually increase your own outdoor comfort level!


At night, turn out porch lights if it isn’t necessary for them to light your porch or entry. Porch lights will attract mosquitoes and other insects after dark. You only need to open your front door one time while these critters are swarming around your porch light, and you’ll quickly have some winged and buzzing guests inside your home. If you need to have the porch light on at night, consider using LED bulbs. These bulbs do not put off as much heat at incandescent bulbs and are therefore less inviting to mosquitoes. Additionally, check window screens for holes and repair them to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.


With a little effort, you can make your home and backyard a little less mosquito friendly and a lot more people friendly.

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