Single-story Home Plans

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Free confession is good for the soul, I'm told, so I confess that the idea of single-story home plans didn't have much appeal for me for a long time. Having grown up in several early 19th century farmhouses with staircases in the front hall and sometimes up from the kitchen to a back hall, I quite simply got used to creaking boards and all that exercise running up and down the steps. Apartment life for a long time afterwards didn't help matters.

My mind's eye saw single-story home plans as limited in architectural character, structural interest, and design potential. I was miles off the mark, many many miles off the mark. Single-story houses have been built, after all, for far longer than two-story houses. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination, from the simple Neoclassical lines of a wide veranda and tall windows and roof line balustrade to a Spanish mission-style home opening onto a flagstone courtyard.

About the only architectural styles that don't lend themselves to single-story home plans are Second Empire and Victorian. The distinctive mansard roof line typical of those periods (whether straight, flared, concave, convex, or s-curved) is in best proportion, after all, in three-story houses. That limitation aside, however, you're limited only by your imagination.

A Few Classical-Style Ideas for Single-Story Home Plans

Envision a small rustic Roman-style villa in the country, or a low Greek revival hipped roof over a wrap-around porch flanked by box bushes or azaleas. The starker lines and more compact layout of the cottage or bungalow style might be more what you have in mind. Maybe a flat-roofed French country elegance with a back terrace opening onto a formal garden and pool would be ideal.

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