How to Modify a House Plan

By Dan Gregory

In this major modification, Tower plan 479-6 by Peter Brachvogel and Stella Carosso became part of a much larger house.

House plans rarely get built as drawn. In other words, a stock home plan quickly becomes a custom plan when it is tweaked to better fit the lot, say, or expand a master suite by a few feet, add a powder room, or change the placement of doors and windows. Large changes like adding a wing, expanding a porch, or reorienting the garage go even farther to personalize a plan. And then there are your selections for exterior materials, interior walls, floors, ceilings, even landscaping. Here are some examples to help you think about how you might adapt a plan to your needs and taste.

Plan 927-5 by Frank Betz Associates is a case in point, as you can see by carefully studying the floor plan as it compares to the

photographs of the kitchen. Above is the layout showing two islands in the kitchen, one larger and angling around the edge of the space with a serving bar, and the other small and central. And now here is the kitchen as built by one homeowner, with a single large rectangular

island and no small central one. The column in the outer corner of the big island remains. Here's the view looking across the island to the wall with the

ovens -- note also that the walk-in pantry has been replaced with glass cabinetry above a counter.

Another common way to modify a design is to reverse the layout, as shown in this photo of Plan 461-31, below, where the same designs are side by side.

The porch is on the left in one house and on the right in the other.

Perhaps you like a plan but need to substantially expand it. You could start with this garage/studio 

tower Plan 479-6 by Peter Brachvogel and Stella Carosso, which was inspired by US Forest Service fire lookouts, and then add a breezeway and another wing, as shown here and at the top of this post.

With a few simple changes, this small studio, Plan 891-1, designed by architect Cathy Schwabe, could become a vacation cabin.

Turn the workroom, which is just visible by the green barn door, into a small kitchen. It even backs up against
the bathroom so the plumbing can be efficiently grouped. Then open up the wall between the kitchen and the main living space with a peninsula for casual dining. Or turn the orange closet/office into a kitchenette and then use the workroom as a bedroom. There is a loft above it.

Here are some typical modification scenarios.

Minor Modifications affect building components and features such as doors, windows, bathtubs, materials, fireplaces, cabinets and appliances. Minor changes do not affect the footprint or size of the house.

Medium Modifictions include adding, moving, modifying, removing, or replacing a modest portion of the home that affects 350 sf or less. Included are changes made to single rooms and contained areas that alter the size and footprint of the house.

Major modifications include adding, moving, modifying, removing, or replacing a significant portion of the home that affects 350 sf or more. Included are changes made to the entire side of a house, adding and removing rooms, adjustments that affect multiple floors, and changes that significantly alter the size and footprint of the house.

For more Information on Plan Modification see our Houseplans Custom Plan Modification Guide.

Originally Published in Houseplans.com

Fri Apr 28 00:00:00 PDT 2017