The House Plan Shop Blog

Jun 27 2016

6 Commonly Asked Questions about House Plans

House Plan 037H-0234If you are planning to build a new house, chances are that you have quite a few questions about buying house plans. There is a lot to learn and know about house plans before you purchase blueprints for your new home. We’ve listed the six most commonly asked questions about house plans asked by our customers. Take some time to review these popular questions and their answers to ensure you make the right decision when it is time to purchase your house plans.


Are there any photos of a particular house plan that has already been built?

If exterior or interior photos are available for a particular house plan, we make every effort to post them our website as soon as we receive them. If there are no photos posted for a specific house plan, we simply do not have any photos to share with our customers at this time. We rely on past customers and builders to share photos of the house plans they’ve built. Often, these people are so happy to be done with construction and busy moving into their new homes that they don’t even think about sharing photos with us. Others choose not to share photos (especially interior photos), because they feel like it is an invasion of privacy knowing that everyone can see what their house looks like when we post the photos online.


What is included in a set of house blueprints?

The house plans published on our website are complete sets of blueprints for each home to be built from the ground up. The blueprints typically include a cover page, foundation plan, floor plans, exterior elevations, interior elevations when applicable, cross sections and/or details, basic electrical information and simple plumbing. NOTE: The information included in each set of blueprints varies from one designer to another. Please contact us with a specific plan number for verification regarding the elements included in a particular set of blueprints. From more extensive information, please review our resource article: Everything You Need to Know about Stock House Plans.


Can I modify the house plan I like?

Of course you can! When it comes to making modifications to a house plan, our customers have a couple of options. The first option is to submit our modification request form to our modification team and receive a free quote for your proposed changes. It usually takes a couple of business days to receive your quote by email from our modification team. This gives you the opportunity to find out what the extra costs will be for your home building project before you purchase your blueprints. Please take some time to review our home plan modification page to learn about how our modification process works. (For additional information, please see our previous blog post: House Plan Modifications? We Can Help You!)


The second option is to purchase either a reproducible master, PDF or CAD file house plan package (depending on availability), and take the plans to a local residential designer to have the plans modified. One of these three blueprint formats will be required for modifications because you’ll need a copyright release granting legal permission for you to make changes to the original copyrighted house plans in order to satisfy your specific needs.


Will the house plans meet my local building codes?

Our house plans are considered to be pre-drawn stock plans. This means they are designed to meet the national building codes in place at the time each home plan was created. However, we do not guarantee the plans will meet all local building codes. Our house plans are sold and built all over the US and Canada and even overseas. The local building codes and requirements you have in your area may be completely different than the local building codes and requirements for someone building the same plan you are considering in another part of the country. It will be up to you/your builder to make any adjustments necessary to meet local building codes and requirements. (For example, a person building a house along the Florida coast will need to make adjustments for hurricane code, while someone building the same house plan in the Rocky Mountains will need to make adjustments to wind and snow loads as well as thicker insulation.) It may be necessary to hire a local design professional to add notes to the blueprints regarding some of your local building codes. We recommend that you discuss your local building codes with your builder and your building department to find out what is required in your city, county, etc. to meet local building codes.


Will the house plans come sealed by an engineer or stamped by an architect?

The house plans offered on our website do not come with an engineer’s or an architect’s seal or stamp. Our house plans are considered pre-drawn, stock plans. This means they are designed to meet the national building codes in place at the time each home plan is created. However, we do not guarantee the house blueprints will meet all local building codes and requirements for a specific area. Because our house plans are sold and built all over the US and Canada, it is impossible for our designers to ensure the blueprints will meet all local building codes for every location, city, county, municipality, etc. Therefore, our plans do not include a seal or stamp, as the seal or stamp is a local requirement. The items required for the seal/stamp in your area are completely different than the requirements for a customer building the same plan you are considering in another part of the US or Canada. Often the building requirements that coincide with a seal/stamp for a particular state, province, city, etc., are influenced by the geography and climate specific to the area where the house will be built making them local requirements. It will be up to you/your builder to hire a local professional to review and seal/stamp the plans. This design professional must be licensed in the state/province where the structure will be built. This person will review the blueprints and make any necessary adjustments and/or add pertinent notes to the plans for the area where the home will be built before sealing or stamping the blueprints. We recommend finding a local design professional who can review the blueprints and provide a seal or stamp for your house plans before you actually purchase them. Additionally, you should discuss which blueprint format is required by the engineer or architect to seal or stamp the house plans. Sometimes the design professional providing the seal/stamp will have a preference as to which plan package he/she works with, and this will influence which plan package you purchase. Most likely he/she will want the CAD file or PDF because it is much easier to work with the electronic format when it comes to adding extra notes and elements to the plan that are necessary to meet local building codes. The only way to be sure about what plan package to purchase is to ask your local design professional before you make a blueprint purchase.


How much does it cost to build a particular house plan?

At TheHousePlanShop, we know the costs for materials and labor can vary greatly from one city to the next and sometimes even within the same city or county. It is impossible for us to know the average rates for labor and materials in all cities, counties, municipalities, etc. Therefore, we do not offer an estimated cost to build or a material estimate for the house plans published on our site. Rather than us guessing and quoting you an estimate that is much too high or much too low for your area, we recommend checking with a few local lumberyards, contractors and/or builders to find out what the average rates are for labor and materials in your area. Most professionals in the building industry will quote a dollar amount per square foot, based on mid-grade materials, but it is best to confirm if they are quoting high-end materials, mid-grade, etc. Additionally, be sure to inquire about what the quote includes. Sometimes ballpark estimates from builders and lumberyards do not include foundation materials, heating and cooling, and a few other things. While this requires a little more research and effort for the future home owner, checking locally will give you a better ballpark estimate than we can provide.


Find the answers to more house plan questions like these by visiting our FAQs.

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May 19 2016

9 Flexible Carriage House Plans that Are Often Overlooked

Carriage house plans are available in a wide range of architectural styles and sizes. They are designed to accommodate a variety of needs and many are flexible enough to accommodate multiple needs. We offer an extensive collection of carriage house plans, but with so many to choose from, some of the best designs are easily overlooked. Below are nine flexible carriage house plans that can satisfy multiple needs, offer functionality, and a comfortable living space. These charming carriage houses are often overlooked, so take some time to learn about them and find out what you might have otherwise missed.


Carriage House Plan 019G-0011019G-0011 This charming carriage house plan offers a Craftsman exterior and extra deep garage bays to accommodate boat storage. With its one bedroom, one bath apartment above, it makes a nice weekend house at the lake giving you a place to eat and sleep when you want to go fishing for a few days. Additionally, it provides a place to store your boat until you return to the lake the following weekend eliminating the hassle of towing your boat to and from the lake every time you want to go fishing. Or, if you prefer, build this carriage house in your backyard where you’ll have extra parking for the growing family fleet and a private living space for your college student who isn’t quite ready to leave home.


Carriage House Plan 006G-0160006G-0160 Take a look at this carriage house plan with RV storage. It is specifically designed for those who spend more time on the road than at home. It offers the opportunity to sell your home and build something smaller that you can call “home base.” While you’re traveling, you’ll rest easy knowing you don’t have a huge house waiting for you at home with lots of maintenance to attend to when you return. Instead, you’ll have a cozy place to stay when you become a weary traveler. It offers an extra deep garage bay that nicely accommodates your RV and your car. The living quarters provide all of the necessities in 681 square feet of living space. However, if you’re looking for a single level garage apartment for an aging relative and you’d just like a little extra parking for yourself, this carriage house plan is the solution.


Carriage House Plan 023G-0003023G-0003 Dress up your backyard and add value to your home with this stunning carriage house plan. You’ll appreciate the 2-car garage which offers extra parking for your teenager’s car and your motor cycle or ATV. The family handyman will appreciate the workshop area where tools can be organized and stored. Additionally, the workshop space offers a place to work on DIY projects. Weekend guests will find all of the comforts of home in the second floor apartment. The living quarters offer one bedroom and a full bath plus an open floor plan with kitchenette and generous living space. But don’t be fooled! This carriage house design can be used in other ways too. The workshop can be finished as a game area for the kids instead of workspace for Dad, and the second floor apartment could be finished as a home office for the work-at-home-parent who needs a little privacy without leaving home.


Carriage House Plan 066G-0009066G-0009 Rustic in design, this carriage house plan looks like it was meant to be a hunting cabin in the woods. The two-car garage offers ample parking while the second floor living quarters offer comfortable accommodations for those who prefer to “rough it” in something more than a tent or camper. The apartment features a full kitchen with eating bar, spacious living area, generous bedroom and a full bath. This carriage house plan also makes a nice alternative to a vacation home or it could easily serve as rental property or lodging at a wooded and rustic resort.


Carriage House Plan 072G-0030072G-0030 Compliment your home with this charming carriage house plan. For those who just need a little extra parking space, but wish to earn extra income, this floor plan is worth a closer look. The simple design blends nicely with a variety of architectural home styles, and its rectangular footprint fits neatly into many backyards. The two-car garage offers ample parking or storage space for the family cars, a golf cart, or even a pair of kayaks. A private entry opens to the stairs leading to the apartment above the garage making it the ideal rental property for a college student or a single starting out on their own. The private entrance ensures your valuables in the garage are safe, and your tenant has privacy as well. With the extra income from your tenant’s rent payments, you’ll be able to pay off your new garage sooner than you might expect. Then, one day, when you no longer have a tenant, you can use the apartment as your guest house. But maybe you don’t plan to rent the living space at all. Maybe you need living quarters for your nanny instead. The apartment gives your nanny a place to call their own when not on duty, while still keeping them nearby in case of emergencies.


Carrriage House Plan 025G-0002025G-0002 This unique carriage house plan has more to offer than you might expect! With its covered porch, full kitchen and full bath, it can easily serve as a pool house for those who enjoy entertaining beside the pool. But look more closely and you’ll see this is more than a pool house. It is just right for a mother-in-law cottage as well. The single story design is well-suited for an aging relative that might be challenged by stairs. A full bedroom delivers a place to rest while the activity room can easily be finished as a living room. This gives your loved one a safe and private living space while keeping them close by in case they need a little assistance. A 2-car garage completes the design.


Carriage House Plan 063G-0002063G-0002 Country styling gives this carriage house plan with 3-car garage plenty of curb appeal. For those with a growing family fleet, there is plenty of parking in the 1400 square foot garage. On the second floor, a one bedroom, one bath apartment with laundry closet works well as a guest suite or for a hired hand on your ranch or farm. However, with a little imagination, this carriage house design could easily be converted for use by a home-based business. The garage could serve as a storage area or workshop for the business and the second floor could be finished as an office area and meeting room to meet with clients.


Carriage House Plan 007G-0013007G-0013 Here’s a practical carriage house plan with RV bay or boat storage and a two-car garage. A 16’ ceiling and an extra tall garage door easily accommodate your RV, motor home, camper or boat in the garage bay on the left, while the double bay on the right offers parking for your everyday vehicles. An office in the rear provides a quite place to work and the efficiency studio apartment above is just right for a guest suite. However, if you are looking to downsize your home for something smaller so you can travel the country in your RV, this plan is the perfect place to call home. It can serve as your home base when you’re not on the road and offers all the basic necessities when you return.


Carriage House Plan 034G-0010034G-0010 This Craftsman-style carriage house plan has eye-catching curb appeal. The main level offers a 3-car garage with plenty or parking or storage space. Or if you prefer, finish one bay of the garage as a workshop instead. On the second floor, a two-bedroom apartment offers plenty of room for weekend guests to kick back and relax. However, this charming design is ideal for a vacation home or weekend getaway at the lake. Use the garage to store your jet skis, canoes, kayaks and bikes and invite friends to spend the weekend with you at the lake. With the second bedroom there is enough room for you and your guests (or your kids) to gather and sleep comfortably.


Accommodating and flexible in design, it is easy to see that these carriage house plans can satisfy a variety of needs. Just use your imagination, and you’ll realize that one of these plans no longer needs to be overlooked, but rather it is just right for you!

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Apr 21 2016

4 Types of Multi-Family House Plans to Consider

Multi-family house plans are available in a wide variety of sizes and architectural styles. These home plans are fashioned with the appearance of one structure, but feature two or more living units that are separated by floors or walls. Multi-family house plans are used in areas where space is limited providing housing for families when there isn’t enough room or economic means for everyone to own a single-family home. Additionally, they work well as investment property allowing the building owner to rent units to others. Some multi-family house plans offer basic floor plans with just the necessary space needed for basic living while others are more luxurious and deliver more sophisticated spaces and features. There are four main types of multi-family house plans to consider whether you are looking for a place to live or want to build an investment property.


Duplex House Plan 027M-0070 Duplex House Plans – Duplex house plans are multi-family plans composed of two living areas separated by a wall or the floor. A duplex is more economical to build than two separate, single-family homes because one duplex requires fewer building materials that two individual homes. While designed as one structure, duplex house plans feature two distinct entrances giving each family or tenant privacy. Duplex house plans are commonly found in highly populated areas where there is a demand for housing, but space is limited. Additionally, they are often built near collages where there is a need for affordable housing on a temporary basis. In this case, a duplex is often built as an investment property.


Townhouse Plan 031M-0038Townhouse Plans – In most cases, townhouse plans are a little more high-end than a typical multi-family house plan. Their exteriors usually feature extra decorative details while and their floor plans often include special elements and features not found in a typical duplex or apartment design. Some examples of special features include stone accents and window shutters on the exterior and decorative ceiling treatments, plant ledges and built-in cabinets on the interior. Townhouse plans are generally designed as single-family homes connected to a similar house by a side wall. Each unit may have its own exterior character, but blends seamlessly with the adjoining homes providing dynamic curb appeal. Additionally, a variety of floor plans better accommodates the individual needs and preferences of each homeowner. Townhouse plans are known for saving space when housing is at a premium while still delivering comfortable and individualized living units to the occupants.


3-4 Unit Multi-Family House Plan 020M-00273-4 Unit Multi-Family House Plans – Triplex house plans and four-plexes are multi-family house plans designed with three or four units that are separated by walls, floors, or both. They can be one or more levels, and they can feature the same floor plan or layout per unit, or each unit might have its own individual floor plan. These house plans are designed to offer the same comfortable and functional living quarters offered by a single-family home.




5+ Unit Multi-Family Plan 021M-00135+ Unit Multi-Family House Plans – This collection of multi-family designs consists of floor plans that offer five or more units. Some of these plans are considered apartment plans featuring numerous units separated by walls and floors. They are typically found in densely populated areas where there is a high demand for individual living space or there is very little usable land that can be developed for residential living. Apartment plans are designed to accommodate several family units within one structure, and most are used as investment properties. Apartment plans are usually designed for the purpose of offering affordable, temporary housing.


Designed to offer individual living units to multiple families at one time, multi-family house plans are space-efficient and economical while delivering the comfort and accommodations of a single-family home.

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Mar 22 2016

House Plan Modifications? We Can Help You!

If you’ve spent some time shopping for the ideal house plan or multi-family home plan, you’ve probably realized by now that finding the perfect design can be quite a challenge. There are many things to consider when it comes to purchasing a house plan such as the architectural style, floor plan, special features, square footage, and overall dimensions. Perhaps the style and floor plan are just right, but the design is too wide for your lot. Or maybe there are enough bedrooms, but your family could use and extra bathroom. Perhaps you need deeper garage bays to accommodate your boat and oversized SUV. While you may find a house plan that you really like, it might not quite satisfy all of your needs. One of the most common questions we receive from our customers is, “I like this house plan, but I need to make a few changes. Can you help me?” The answer is, YES! We are more than happy to assist you with modifying any house plan published on our site!


The House Plan Shop offers a modification service for customers who wish to make changes to any house plan or multi-family home design published on our website. This will ensure the home will accommodate all of your needs, fit your lot, etc. Our modification team can provide a free modification quote for all of your desired changes before you purchase your house plans. Our modification service is easy to use. Just follow the steps below to receive your free modification quote for any house plan published on our website:


  1. Determine what changes you want to make to your desired house plan.
  2. Complete and submit our modification request form for a free modification quote. Be sure to include the plan number you wish to modify along with all of your contact information. Next, describe your changes. Please include as many details and specific ideas as possible. (The more details you provide about your changes, the more accurate your quote.) When you describe your changes, do so as if you are looking at the floor plan from the front of the house. Use key words such as, “on the right,” “on the finished lower level,” “in the front left corner,” and “on the second floor.” Use the same titles and labels shown on the floor plan when you refer to rooms and spaces as you describe your changes. If the floor plan says “family room,” refer to “family room” rather than “’living room.” Include specific dimensions whenever possible. When referring to measurements running left to right, use the term “width.” Use the word “depth” when referring to measurements running from front to back. Finally, include any sketches you may have that illustrate your desired floor plan modifications. Sketches can be hand drawn, or you can print the floor plans from our website and draw your changes on the floor plan.
  3. Our modification team will email your modification quote to you within a couple of business days. The quote will list the cost for all of the modifications noted on your modification request form plus the cost for the PDF or CAD file of the original plan. The PDF or CAD file will be necessary to legally change the original copyrighted blueprint. The total cost of your modification project will be the combined cost of the modification fees and the cost of the PDF or CAD file listed in the quote.
  4. If you wish to move forward with your modifications after reviewing the quote, follow the instructions outlined in the emailed quote. Purchase the original PDF or CAD file, arrange payment for your modifications and proceed with your desired house plan changes.


Additional Information

Some of our most common modifications include the following:

  • Flipping a floor plan from left to right (mirror reverse or right reading reverse)
  • Changing the garage door location from front-entry to side-entry or vice versa
  • Adding square footage
  • Changing a foundation type
  • Modifying the exterior elevations such as adding dormers, a covered porch or changing the façade from siding to stone or brick
  • Making adjustments for handicap accessibility
  • Converting wall framing from 2×4 to 2×6
  • Redesigning the layout of a kitchen, bath or laundry area
  • Designing a finished basement for a house plan that has an unfinished basement

Some commonly requested changes that we cannot provide:

  • Creating a new house plan by combining two other house plans (due to copyright laws)
  • Adapting a house plan to meet local building codes
  • Engineering a house plan to meet local building codes

Other Important Information

  • All modification requests must be submitted in writing using our Modification Request Form. Sorry, we do not accept verbal requests.
  • The blueprints for the house plans published at are drawn to meet national building codes. Modifications are not drawn or designed to meet any particular city, county, state or local building codes. We cannot guarantee all revisions will meet your local building codes. It may be necessary to hire a local residential design professional to review the modified house blueprints to ensure compliance with your state, county or local building codes and requirements.

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Feb 17 2016

Practical Multi-Generational House Plans Growing Popularity

Multi-Generational House Plan 072H0177In today’s society, not all families are the same. What was once considered a typical American family – Mom, Dad, two kids and a dog – is no longer as common as it once was. Additionally, life expectancy has increased. Because of these reasons, Multi-Generational House Plans are growing in popularity throughout the United States and Canada.


What is a multi-generational house plan? It is one home structure designed for multiple generations with separate living units. This arrangement provides privacy and independence for two or more generations all under one roof. With multi-generational house plans, the exterior looks like all the other houses in any neighborhood; it looks like a single-family home. The separate living units are not noticeable on the outside like they are with duplexes, townhouses and other multi-family designs. Instead, multi-generational house plans incorporate a separate living unit into the floor plan that provides private spaces for independent living while still being connected to the main house. Most of these units feature a private entry kitchenette, small living area, bedroom and bath. The laundry area and garage may be shared with the main house or they may be separate. While most multi-generational house plans incorporate the separate living unit on the main level of the home, it is important to note that sometimes the separate unit is located above the garage or in the basement of the home.


Who would benefit from a multi-generational house? Now days, no two families look the same. Instead of downsizing, some baby-boomers are trading  up for larger homes that will allow their aging parents or other elderly relatives to live with them, as well as, their adult children who have recently graduated from college and need a place to get on their feet while they begin their careers. Adult children and grandchildren are moving back home with to live with parents and grandparents due to financial situations. In other cases, grandparents are raising their grandkids. No matter what combination of multiple generations live under one roof, it is easy to understand how a multi-generational house plan can provide the living space everyone needs.


Are multi-generational house plans practical? Yes! They are practical for countless reasons. Consider the following examples, and you’ll see that a multi-generational house certainly has its advantages.


  1. Multi-generational house plans are cost effective in areas with a high cost of living such as California. In this situation, parents and their adult children can pool their incomes and finances to go farther. It provides an opportunity for the adults to live independently but together when they might otherwise be scraping up pennies to pay the rent or live in a lower income area or less desirable neighborhood. In cases like this, a multi-generational home is a financial solution.
  2. For baby boomers, a multi-generational house plan allows home owners to keep an eye on aging parents/relatives who are able to live independently, but sometimes need a little extra assistance. It offers peace of mind and a little extra security.
  3. In other instances, multi-generational houses plans deliver a great alternative to paying monthly fees charged by assisted living facilities. As more and more families try to figure out how add on to their homes to make room for Grandma or Grandpa or how to make ends meet while paying for assisted living for a loved one, the option of building a multi-generational house becomes a more feasible and affordable idea.
  4. Sometimes two-parent and single-parent families need assistance from Grandma and Grandpa when it comes to child care. Again, a multi-generational house is a viable solution. The grandparents can take care of the grandkids while the parent(s) are at work. In the evening and on weekends, the grandparents can retreat to their private suite. Additionally, the grandparents are able to participate in their grandchildren’s lives on a daily basis. They won’t miss birthdays, ball games, etc. This arrangement can develop a stronger bond between grandparents and grandchildren that might not otherwise be possible if the grandparents were living across town, in another city, etc.
  5. Some multi-generational house plans offer a separate living unit in the basement of the home or a small apartment above the garage. These units are ideal for college students and recent graduates who are trying to save money for their own home but need to get their careers started. Every now and then, the young adult might need guidance from parents or grandparents, but for the most part, he or she wants to live independently.
  6. Multi-generational houses are great for resale. As the “family unit” continues to evolve, more and more Americans will find themselves in a multi-generational household. When the time comes to down-size, your multi-generational house is sure to appeal to another multi-generational family.


For those currently living in a home with multiple generations of family members, a multi-generational house plan can change your life and your lifestyle. Allowing each generation of the family unit to have its own space will minimize friction, promote positive family experiences, and help to curb financial stress.

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