Traditional Home Plans

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Have you been looking at traditional home plans but not seen anything that quite fits the bill? No disrespect to builders, but stock house designs are just that. The problem is not in the concept or in the construction. They're planned and developed for the average American family. But there is no average American family! We all have different styles and different ways of making a house a home. Combine that with different periods of architecture, different floor plans, and different size houses, and the number of combinations turns exponential.

Maybe you had thought that customizing the blueprint of traditional home plans was too expensive. Starting from scratch, it can be. You're walking through every decision with the architect and designer. The fact is, however, most of the professional work is making a concept fit building code and meet architectural specifications. The structural components in domestic architecture are standardized. Customizing your house might be as simple as working with an architect on plans already developed with flexibility in mind, which is a great deal less costly.

When you say you favor traditional home plans over modern, you might be speaking generally rather than referring to specific historical periods. Let's run over these to be sure. As far as American architectural styles are concerned, we have a colonial history with English, French, Spanish, and Dutch influence. By the middle of the 19th century styles in America both developed on their own, or as interpretations of European and Asian influences.

Traditional Home Plans: a Misnomer?

The earliest houses, those in New England and Virginia and Maryland during the 17th century, were post-medieval English, with massive chimneys, steep roofs, little detailing, and small windows. The colonial style we most often envision is 18th century Georgian, characterized by symmetry and simple neoclassical detailing. In the 19th century, architecture began going in many directions at once--from French creole to Greek revival to Second Empire to Victorian to the beginnings of the Arts and Crafts period.

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