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Choosing the right house plans.  How to Choose the Right House Plans
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Building a new home is the biggest purchase that most Americans make. While finding a house plan is an exciting process, you should be sure that you have chosen a floor plan that is functional, comfortable and convenient for you and your family. Choosing the right house plan can be a daunting task with thousands and thousands of home plans on the web. Many house plan providers try to make it a fun, easy experience. To educate you on the process, we’re offering some helpful information about choosing the right house plan for your family.


Many people searching for home plans have already purchased a lot and must find a plan that suits the lot. For sloping lots, you may need a hillside walkout house plan or modify an existing plan to add a basement. Perhaps your new vacation home will require a post and pier foundation and relaxed beach house style. If the lot is narrow, the house plans you choose from may be restricted to a certain width. Depending on the lot, your selection of house plans to choose from may narrow or expand. You may want to check on the local codes and regulations as well.

At the time of creation, each Donald A. Gardner house plan is designed to conform to CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code or the International Residential Code. Modifications may be necessary to meet local building codes. Consult a builder, architect, or other construction professional as necessary. Heating and air conditioning layouts are not included with your house plans. Consult a local mechanical contractor for systems suitable for local climate conditions.


Before starting your house plan search, make a list of elements you consider essential to your new home. Think of characteristics of your previous residences that you can’t live without and make sure these are included on the list. You may also want to make a list of home plan characteristics that you don’t want. These items can serve as a reminder of things to avoid and help narrow your search for the perfect house plan.

Visualizing the floor plan as a finished product can be difficult. An idea that may help you visualize your new home and assist you in your search is to compile clippings, photos or other materials containing images of architectural elements you are looking for in your new home. Keep in mind that livability is crucial. Sometimes opting for a practical floor plan layout will live better than one with too much living space or unnecessary details.


If you aren’t limited to a special foundation, lot size or shape, where do you start your search for the perfect house plan? Based on your family’s needs for living space, storage and convenience, there are numerous ways to search for the floor plan that meets your every need.

Maybe you need four bedrooms and a Jack and Jill bath for the kids. Perhaps a floor plan with dual master suites to accommodate an elderly parent, an older child or a suite for guests. If you enjoy entertaining or you just love to cook, plans with gourmet kitchens are the perfect fit. Donald A. Gardner Architects’ Trend Watch section can be a great resource for finding a plan that works with your lifestyle.


If you have found a house plan that meets your needs and suits the lot that you plan to build on, purchasing a study set can be a useful resource to be sure that you have chosen the right plan. These plans are not for construction, but will give you and your builder a clearer view of costs, complications and complexity to build. The plans may be upgraded to building packages (5-set, 8-set, vellum, pdf or CD) within 90 days and payment of a nominal upgrade fee plus the difference in cost between the study set and the building package chosen. If, after viewing the study set of house plans, you would like to choose another plan, you may exchange the study set within 90 days of the purchase.


With many of the elements in a floor plan broken down for your searching convenience, the house plan search can still be overwhelming, but Donald A. Gardner Architects offers an Advanced House Plan Search and free plan selection assistance if you need a little extra help. Found an almost perfect plan, but you’d like to make a few changes? We offer modifications for most of our plans! For more information about our services or our plans, contact Customer Sales & Support via our toll-free telephone number (1.800.388.7580) or email us at

Good luck choosing the house plan of your dreams!

Are you ready to build? Check out our Building Assistance page.


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Thank you for allowing us to be part of your house plan purchasing experience. We appreciate your business and want to take this opportunity to explain important information about our copyright. By providing you with these facts, we hope to clarify any confusion and exclude you from legal concerns. House Plans are COPYRIGHTED! Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. and/or Donald A. Gardner, Inc. designed -- and hold the copyrights to -- the pre-designed Floor Plans on this web site. With bond (paper) set purchases, the purchaser is granted a one-time license to build the home. Just like books, movies, and songs, federal copyright laws protect the intellectual property of architects and home designers by giving copyright protection to house plans and home designs. The copyright laws prevent anyone from reproducing or reusing the house plans or home designs without written permission from the copyright owner. Who is responsible for copyright infringement? Any party who participates in the violation may be responsible whether you were aware of the house plan copyright or not. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Refuse to be part of any illicit copying or use of house plans, floor plans, home designs, derivative works, blueprints, or home design features by being certain of the original design source.