Building Update – Buying House Plans

As we get closer to actually breaking ground on our house, I would like to start sharing our building journey.  The process of building our house started over a year ago when we made the decision to build our forever home instead of buying a starter home.

In Why Build a House?, I explain what went into making that decision.  Long story short, with the gift of a piece of land, and a family member offering to be our general contractor, we will end up being able to afford to build a much nicer house than what we could afford to buy in our area.

Searching for Plans

I love the old farmhouses that are all over the Northeast, and would have loved to have bought an old house to fix up.  However, old houses come with a lot of headaches.  My parents’ house is over 150 years old, and although charming, has given them their fair share of frustrations to maintain over the years.  Mr. Farmhouse Finance has worked construction, and knows how much work old houses can be.  He was not interested in buying a fixer upper.  Sorry, Chip and Joanna!

Because we love the character that older houses have, we started narrowing down our search for classic designs.  We may be building our forever home, but we are also very practical, so we limited the number of square feet to less than 2,000.  We also decided that we wanted a two-story house, so ruled out single-story homes.  I really wanted to have a wrap around porch, so we added this to the search parameters.  With this criteria, we started searching for house plans on Dream Home Source, House Plans, eplans, and other websites.

We found a couple houses that we liked the exterior of, but found the floor plan to be a little awkward, so we kept looking.

Then we found our dream home.

Image via Dream Home Source

The Farmhouse

According to Dream Home Source, our house is technically a Craftsman. The term farmhouse refers to the main residence of a farmer on a farm, or can refer to any houses that have that country style.  Although, we will not be farming our land, our property borders two farms, so close enough, we’re calling our house a farmhouse.

Here are the specifications of these plans:

  • 1,568 square feet of living space (above ground)
  • 2-3 bedrooms (we chose to keep the 3rd bedroom as a library loft)
  • 2.5 bathrooms
First Floor – Image via Dream Home Source

The first floor has a great room that opens into the kitchen and dining area.  The master bedroom and bathroom are on the first floor, as well as a half bath.


Second Floor – Image via Dream Home Source

There are one or two bedrooms and a full bathroom on the second floor.

Buying the Plans

There were a number of different options for buying these plans.  Based on the shape of our lot and where the house will be situated, we decided to buy the Right Reading Reverse of these plans.  Basically, our building plans are the mirror image of the pictures above, with all of the text going the correct way for the builder to read.

There were options to buy just the paper plans or the CAD file, or an option to have Dream Home Source make the changes for you.  We opted to buy the CAD file for $1,600, so we could have a local architect make the changes that we wanted to the plans.

Making Changes

In addition to buying the Right Reading Reverse of these plans, we wanted to make a few other changes.  We brought the CAD file to a local architect, with our pencil drawn changes and a list of everything we wanted done.

Here is a list of the changes we made:

  • added a full finished basement with laundry room, utility room, gym, and storage (we’ve decided not to add an extra bathroom down there)
  • removed the divider wall in kitchen, added a beam to support the second floor
  • added a few windows or changed the position of windows so they look more symmetrical from the outside
  • redesigned the master bathroom to accommodate a shower and a separate clawfoot tub

Next Steps

After we made our changes with the architect, we were able to have the plans printed out for our general contractor.  Our general contractor has sent out the plans to the sub contractors that he works with to get a price together for us.  While we were ordering and making changes to our plans, a lot of other things have been going on, including subdividing the land and dealing with the Board of Health.  I’ll discuss those things in future posts.

Would you order house plans online?

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