Classic Home Plans

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The best definition of classic home plans has to do with timelessness. That's exactly what you want for the house you will call home for you and your family. You may be thinking in terms of a white brick Georgian house with a hipped roof, two central chimneys, an elevated doorway with pediment and a second-story Palladian window, and fine exterior detailing. Perhaps something a little less formal would suit you better--an early American house with a long gable and deep-set dormers, approachable and a bit rustic under the trees.

Classic Home Plans: the Fundamentals

There are so many possibilities. The trick, as you can tell, is to know the basics (or at least have a good idea). If you're building from scratch, there's something of a burden on the architect to interpret from your description. More than likely, however, you'll be buying ready-made yet still classic home plans and adapting them to your needs.

Let's think about the fundamentals of classic home plans, though. This way you'll have a framework for later research and decisions. The footprint of the house made by the exterior walls is a good starting point. Think in terms of L-plans, T-plans, U-plans, and simple rectangles. You might also have a simple rectangle with irregularities, or a compound, irregular plan. What elevation do you prefer--one story, one and a half, two stories, maybe three?

Is the front façade symmetrical or asymmetrical? Is it wide or narrow? Is the exterior wood, brick, stone, concrete, or stucco? These rise to the roof and here the fun begins, because a roof can change the character and style of a house more than any other architectural feature. To start, you've got a low pitch (gentle angle) or a steep pitch or something comfortably in the middle. Is it gabled, hipped, mansard, or flat? Your choices are virtually endless.


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