Building your own home is an often exciting, sometimes exhausting experience. It’s also a perfect chance to have a home that’s designed the way you want it to look. But whether you’re hiring a general contractor or doing most of the work yourself, it takes a lot of forethought and planning. The sites highlighted in this Web guide can help you find inspiration to create the home of your dreams and get much-needed help to ensure you don’t miss one of the many details that accompany this endeavor.
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If you’ve got ideas about designing your own home and need help translating them into reality, an architect may be able to help you with this process. Or in many cases, you can browse blueprints online for free and purchase one that you like. Whatever route you choose, getting online help with your home design is just a few clicks away.
- If you’re researching individual architects, check their Web sites for pictures of past projects to get an idea of work they’ve done and whether it suits your tastes. Better yet, try to visit a home designed by the architect you’re considering.
- If you’re having trouble visualizing the layout of your home from a floor plan, ask your architect to draw the rooms in perspective. An axonometric drawing (a three-dimensional rendering drawn from above) may also be helpful.
For help finding and hiring an architect …
The American Institute of Architects
has an architect finder that works by simply entering your zip code into the search tool. Click on the individual architect or architectural firm’s name to check for an AIA designation. Also find an explanation of what architects do and how one might be able to help you with your project. Interested in green building? AIA members are working toward making the buildings they design carbon neutral by 2030.
For blueprints online …
features an extensive list of home design styles and blueprints. Accompanying each plan is a short description of some of the prominent characteristics of each home style. Purchase a plan directly from the site and request modifications for an additional fee.
is a directory of home building information. This section offers blueprints and illustrations for sale for many home styles, including A-frames, contemporary designs, multifamily homes, waterfront homes and more.
discusses the advantages of using stock home plans when you’re building a home, and explains the necessary steps to modifying a plan.
Original Home Plans
has a free interactive design tool that customizes a colonial or Cape Cod house plan. Start with a basic house plan and embellish it by modifying windows, adding a deck or altering the size of a garage. The customizing option is easy to use and clearly illustrates how any changes you make will look. You can also purchase plans from this site.
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