Period Home Plans

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The best direction to go for period home plans is to an architect who specializes in them. Otherwise what you might end up with is a discordant melee of angles and architectural details that add up to visual confusion. This happens all too often with well-meaning builders who don't have a strong enough grounding in period home plans and styles.

Period Home Plans: a Sense of Balance

If you look through books of house styles over the centuries, you will doubtless notice that the enduring styles have a sense of balance. This may or may not be symmetry. Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, was a largely asymmetrical designer with an exquisite sense of balance. Comfort and well-being arise from such a sense of balance. Houses and architecture are no different.

On the one hand, you have balance among the elements within a house. In part, these include the floor plan, in part light and air flow. On the other hand you have balance between the house and its environment--compass orientation, construction materials, and landscaping. Both components, incidentally, are central to the concept of feng shui. Your idea in focusing on period home plans is probably architectural integrity. This always means balance. It also means consistency of style.

Think of several extremes of styles and try mixing the elements in your mind's eye. French colonial, for example, features double doors, steeply pitched and side gabled roofs and flared eaves. Spanish colonial is characterized by one level, either a low-pitched or flat tiled roof, thick masonry walls, and multiple exterior doorways. Second Empire Victorian, on the other hand, is busy with exterior detailing, patterned mansard roofs, elaborate cornices, and ornamented dormers. A good architect will base plans on original concepts, even specific plans, not toss elements in a blender and hope for the best.

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