Craftsman House Plans – an American Classic

Craftsman houses appeared first appeared in the early 1900’s. Developed and designed by Gustav Stickley, Craftsman homes were an original concept of housing for those lucky enough to be able to afford to build a new house. Primitive and tiny by today’s standards, most Craftsman homes had only one bathroom. Some even had an icebox that opened to the outside so the ice delivery man could refill it without entering the home!

Craftsman house plans

In 1909 Gustav Stickley released a book ‘Craftsman Homes’ which contained the plans for thirty six homes. While you can still purchase this book today, you will see that the plans show homes that are too small by today’s standards. However, reviewing these old plans might give you an idea of how the homes should be laid out.

In 1901, Gustav released his magazine, The Craftsman which promoted the Arts and Crafts movement of the early twentieth century. He and fellow architect Harvey Ellis designed and published two hundred and twenty one craftsman house plans over the next fifteen years. Stickley also founded the Craftsman Home Builders Club in 1903. Stickley’s ideas had a huge influence on many people, including Frank Lloyd Wright.

Some of Stickley’s ideas included the fact that a house ought to be constructed in harmony with it’s landscape, with special attention paid to selecting local materials.

He believed that an open floor plan would encourage family interaction and eliminate barriers and that artificial light should be kept to a minimum, so large groupings of windows were added into the designs.

The Book

Stickley’s book, The Furniture of the Arts and Crafts Movement was divided into different periods The Experimental period, The First Mission period, The Mature period and The Final Mission period. The period division has also been used to describe the Craftsman houses that were built during each time period. Some enthusiasts of Stickley furniture have speculated that the houses may have been designed to give the furniture he designed a proper home. Stickley knew his furniture designs did not fit well into the Victorian interiors that were so prevalent in those days.

Where can you find Craftsman house plans today?

Most companies offering Craftsman house plans have updated Stickley’s plans to fit more with today’s design styles. For example, the Don Gardner Co. ( offers Craftsman house plans that contain both a modern elegance and an appreciation for the original Craftsman movement. He has one Craftsman house plan for a home of 2546 sq. ft. that would fit well in any of today’s communities. The house, called the Martelle, has three bedrooms, three full baths and a half bath. On the smaller side, there is the Kellswater at 1,571 sq. ft. and with three bedrooms and two full baths. also offers plans for Craftsman type houses. As examples of its houses, eplans offers one called the Prairie Pride with 2,422 sq. ft. and one called Looks Can Be Deceiving with, if you can believe it, 5,949 sq.ft.

What these plans cost

One set of blueprints for the Prairie Pride house from costs $620 or you can buy a reproducible master for $935. The cost of plans for the Looks Can Be Deceiving house is $2379 for a reproducible master and one set of blueprints.

Don Gardner sells five of plans of the Martelle at the cost of $765 for five sets to $2,110 for AutoCAD construction on CD-ROM. Plans for the Kellswater range from $675 for five sets to $1,850 for AutoCAD constructions on CD-ROM.

Free House Plans – A Realistic Perspective

We all like free stuff. However, some products need to meet certain quality standards, and in those cases you do actually get what you pay for. Are free house plans a realistic option as a basis for building your house? First, let’s define what free house plans are and what they are not.

Countless websites selling house plans have put their catalogs online, and of course there are also print catalogs of house plans. These plans are are accurate enough to help you make a buying decision, but lack the necessary details that architects and builders need for construction and customization. Some companies advertise free house plans, but in practically all cases, these free offers are merely hooks to get your attention or your email address. The real house plans, the actual blueprints of a house, cost around 400 – 2000 USD, with most ranging between 700 – 1500 USD, depending on the delivery options (hard copies or computer files) and other extras.

Before you buy a house plan, you should make sure that your plan meets your and your family’s requirements for a new home as well as local building codes and the limitations of plot on which you want to build. Virtually all purchases of house plans are non-refundable, so choose wisely to avoid wasting money. House plans are not something to buy on impulse, there is simply no rush.

There are alternatives to buying stock plans. You could design your house yourself, but that is not a realistic option for most people, as it requires a lot of skill and time. Another option is to work with a company to create a custom design from scratch. This option is much more expensive than buying stock plans and only suitable for people with the additional cash to spend who require or desire a very individualized design.

While even stock plans cost a decent chunk of money, their price is very moderate considering the total cost of building your home. And if you make sure you only buy a plan once you know that it meets everybody’s needs, you will have a one-time, predictable expense.

The main additional expense around house plans you should budget for is any customization to the stock plans you may want. Once again, you should get a green light and clear cost estimates from all involved parties before you buy your plans. That way you won’t exactly get free house plans, but at least you will spend as little as possible on your plans.

Learn Quickly to Draw and Customize Your Own House Plans

When it comes time for you to start thinking about building your own dream home, you will want to consider drawing and customizing your own house plans. After all, it is going to be your home for some time – do you really want it to look like a carbon copy of someone else’s home? Why not learn to draw your own house plans, floor plans, and home design, to suit your unique tastes and needs, and make it your signature house by drawing it yourself? Here are some details about drawing your own house plans to get you headed in the right direction.

It Does Not Take Long To Learn

Learning how to draw house plans with CAD can be learned in just a few short weeks. While learning CAD itself will certainly take longer, a special course designed to teach you to draw house plans will enable you to learn just what you need to know to put your dream house together before long.

It Has Almost Unlimited Potential

Just think about what you could do if you knew how to put together your own house design! You would not have to settle with pre-made house plans – like everyone else, or pay high prices for architects to draw everything for you. Of course, if you live in a city, you need an architect’s approval, but you are free to present your ideas to him or her with already drawn house plans in which you have already worked out many of the details. This could lead to some real savings for you.

Once you learn how to use the home design software, you could apply it to your custom-designed home. You will learn how to draw:

Walls – exterior and interior
Cabinets – kitchen and bathroom
Basic electrical – 110V and 220V
Stairs, decks and porches
Front, side and elevation views

It Is Usable For Years To Come

Even after you use your house plans to build your home, you can still use the instruction you gained to build other things. You could design and add on a garage, a workshop, a pool house, or even use it for interior remodeling and additions. Each of these projects requires floor plans and a similar design structure to build. Besides that, who knows, you may even be able to use your talent to get a job drawing house plans.

It Is Uniquely Your Design

Like other people that have built their own homes, you will certainly be able to enjoy it. You, however, will have an even greater privilege and be able to point to your home with pride and say – “But I designed my own home and laid out the floor plans, too.” How many others do you know can say that?

Learning to draw your own house plans simply starts out by looking into some of the details of the course and understanding what is involved. The cost of the first course is low, but it will give you what you need to know to draw a ranch home. The second course – also very inexpensive considering the value – will teach you how to draw a two-story home.

The great thing here is that your custom-designed house plans and floor plans start by just taking a look. What can you use those other pre-drawn house plans for? – Just more fuel for your own unique ideas.