You have likely been making mental notes for years. Every book or magazine that you read and each home that you visit has become a source for pieces to the puzzle that can become your new home. You don't know a thing about architecture, designing or drafting but that shouldn't stop you from taking the dream house that you have pictured in your head and making it a reality.
There are two ways that you can approach the creation of new house plans from which a builder can work:
1. Hire an architect
2. Make alterations to an existing house plan
There are many benefits to working directly with an architect. You will be able to sit down with an experienced designer and review, very specifically, all of the ideas and requirements for the home that you have in mind. The architect can give suggestions and help you to avoid problems that you may not have anticipated. However, be prepared to pay handsomely for this service. A good architect does not come cheap.
An economical compromise is to modify existing new house plans. There are hundreds of publications and websites that specialize in developing house plans that are available for purchase. These packaged plans are designed by professional architects and are available in a variety of styles, sizes and price-ranges. In many cases, you can visit a website and enter the various criteria for the home that you desire and an internal search engine will match your specs with plans in inventory.
You should be looking for companies that will allow you to modify existing house plans. Not all of them will. When you find one that has a large enough inventory of plans, take the specifications that you have developed for the house that you want to build and use the site's search engine to find compatible designs. You will likely be indicating basics such as:
- Style of home (Colonial, Ranch, Mediterranean, Cape Cod, etc.)
- Square footage
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Type of foundation
While it is unlikely that a plan will be just what you were looking for (though you never know), you may find one that is generally suitable if some modifications can be made to match your specific requirements. For an additional fee, the company will allow you to present written alterations to the existing plan. These changes will then be presented to a staff architect who will incorporate the modifications as requested.
Common modifications include:
- Changing the foundation
- Adding or enlarging a garage
- Reconfiguring a bathroom or kitchen
- Adding to or reducing the size of rooms
Typically, you can make the changes right on the house plan. Written explanations are requested along with the design to insure accuracy. The altered plans are then submitted and an estimate is prepared by the design firm and returned to the customer. Once satisfied, the customer will receive a complete set of blueprints to forward to the builder.
While you may not be able to claim that you personally designed your own home, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that the finished product has your personal touch. And you will be able to afford a few more amenities with the money you saved on an expensive architect.
About the author: J. Terrence McDermott is administrator and webmaster for
House Plans Central a site featuring recommendations and resources for those seeking information about house plans and home designs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org