Are You Building a Green Home? 5 Things to Consider Before You Build

If you’re planning on building a new, green home, here are 5 important tips to consider:

1    Green, Sustainable House Plans

Start with ENERGY STAR® blue, with ENERGY STAR® approved house plans from Direct from the Designers. All the plans in this collection are designed to inspire consumers and builders to build an energy-efficient and eco-friendly home that utilizes all the latest green building techniques and building products.

green house plans

green house plan

The Evergreen Cottage House Plan is an award-winning ENERGY STAR® approved home. Green, energy-efficient features include 6″ SIP exterior walls. Both active and passive energy saving technology is used in this design including a wind generator and grass roof – perfect for practicing golf. Learn more about this craftsman, eco-friendly cottage by viewing the designer notes on the plan page.

2    Size and Site Matters

A smaller home typically costs less to heat and cool and is more affordable to maintain. The trend toward larger houses is decreasing as homeowners continue to assess how many rooms they actually need for their family and lifestyle. If your dream is to build a large home, you can design a very energy-efficient home by incorporating the latest green building techniques and home building products.

traditional green house plan

traditional floor plan

This traditional house plan is perfect for a growing family. This home is packed with extras including a detached apartment studio, open floor plan, home office, large bonus room, mudroom and spacious, private master suite and front and rear outdoor living spaces.  At 3,215 square feet this flexible home is perfect for homeowners starting out on a smaller budget.

3    Eco-Friendly Construction

Use eco-friendly building techniques and sustainable materials like energy efficient windows and roofing. ENERGY STAR® appliances and heating and cooling systems will greatly reduce the energy consumption of your home. Don’t forget about your interior by using eco-friendly flooring, low- or no-VOC paints and finishes and WaterSense® products for your faucets, toilets and showerheads. Be sure your builder uses the right insulation and house wrap to create a tight building envelope for your home.

4    Green Home Builders

When you’re shopping for a home builder, look for a builder that is experienced in sustainable building. Check their portfolio to see what green elements they use to construct new homes.

5    Consider Extra Green Factors

There are many extra green products and techniques you can incorporate into your new home like wind turbines, solar panels, radiant heat, passive cooling and much more. It all depends on how ‘green’ you want to go.

green house plans

House Plans Similar to Homes of American Presidents

In honor of Presidents’ Day Direct from the Designers has assembled a list of homes that our Presidents have called their own. Discover their taste in home design. We’ve matched these famous homes with similar house plans from our Luxury Collection so you can build your own presidential dream home.

Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port

One of America’s most famed summer getaways is the Kennedy Compound on Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  It consists of 6 acres of waterfront property and is currently owned by Ted Kennedy. To learn more about the Kennedy’s life on Cape Cod, you can visit the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum.













Home away from home: John F. Kennedy Jr. and Jackie O pictured in 1953 after announcing their engagement vacationed at the Kennedy Compound frequently

Build your own waterfront estate. Two of our most popular luxury beach cottage house plans are The Retreat at Waters Edge and the Chatham.

The Retreat is a 9,820 square foot shingle-style estate that features five structures connected by trellised arbors and covered roofs. There is a cabana that doubles as a guest house and a magnificent combination of outdoor/indoor living spaces perfect for entertaining. This home was “Best of Show” winner at both the 2006 Seattle Street of Dreams and the 2007 AIBD Design Competition. Enjoy 55 photographs of House Plan 3236.

The Chatham embodies the essence of coastal charm with its shingle-style gables, gambrels, columns, turrets, balconies and verandas combined with the very best in modern amenities for a busy lifestyle. This two-story home features 7,900 square feet of well-appointed living spaces including plenty of rooms for entertaining like a home theater, game room, formal living and dining rooms, a large open gourmet kitchen and covered outdoor living spaces.

This award-winning design took Best of Show honors at the 2005 Seattle Street of Dreams and a 2006 Best of American Living. Enjoy 40 photographs of House Plan 3235.

President Obama’s Chicago Mansion













Former residence of President Barack Obama is located on the south side of East Hyde Park Boulevard in Chicago. It’s a beautiful 6,200 square foot Georgian revival mansion and popular tourist hot spot. It’s where his family lived while he served as Illinois senator and ran for the presidency.

This two-story Colonial home is 4,094 square feet and perfect for an urban neighborhood with its narrow, but deep design. There’s even a third story bonus room perfect for overlooking the city. View the floor plans to House Plan 4149.

 Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua Colonial Home

Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton purchased this Dutch Colonial home for $5.95 million in 1999 just after leaving office. The 5,200 sq. ft. colonial boasts five bedrooms on a gorgeously landscaped lot in one of Westchester County’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

This luxurious 5-bedroom Colonial house plan would the perfect addition to any high-end neighborhood. The first floor features 3,927 square feet, which includes a large master suite in one wing and a guest suite on the other. A large kitchen, nook and family room occupy the rear of the home with a formal dining room, living room and office flanking the foyer. The second floor features 1,771 square feet featuring three well-appointed bedrooms and a media room. View House Plan 4342.

Here are some house plans that were inspired by the White House!

This Old World two-story home with regal columns, Palladian windows and stucco exterior make this an elegant design. View additional photographs and the floor plans to House Plan 8079.

This lavish estate features 3-floors of magnificent living spaces including a a sky room and terrace to enjoy the beautiful landscape. Take a tour of House Plan 6018.

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Our Most Popular Budget Friendly House Plans

The decision to rent vs buy vs build is a common one, and one that can be a major life event. Renting allows you more flexibility and buying allows you to build equity. But building your own home allows you to create exactly what you want!

For those of you who are leaning towards building your own home but don’t want to break the bank, we’ve put together a list of our most popular budget friendly house plans.

10. Plan HHF-7139


This country craftsman style house is one of our most popular because of it’s smooth layout and efficient use of space. This plan features front and rear covered porches, a great room with vaulted ceilings, fireplace, and built-in cabinets, and a tucked away master suite that will make anyone jealous.

9. Plan HHF-3059


This 1,457 square feet ranch has 3 bedrooms and 2 bath and features a 2-car garage with work area, an open floor plan that highlights the kitchen, and a master suite with vaulted ceilings.

8. Plan HHF-3061


This spacious 1,666 square ft, 2-story cottage features beautiful front and rear porches, a drive under-garage and a second floor media room for the kids.

7. Plan HHF-7138


One of our most popular cottages, Plan 7138 features front and rear covered porches, a master suite with his and hers, get this, walk in closets, and a great room with a fireplace and built-in cabinets.

6. Plan HHF-2808


This compact design uses every inch of space efficiently. This cottage is 1,380 square feet and has 3 bedrooms and 2 bath.

5. Plan HHF-4718


Classic architectural elements adorn the facade of this fresh one-story design which has a great room large enough for any gathering.

4. Plan HHF-5458


This simple country home has front and rear porches, and a simple open floor plan to go along with 3 bedrooms and 2 bath.

3. Plan HHF-6262


This country style design features front and rear covered porches, a 1-car garage with a work and storage space, and a great room with a fireplace and vaulted ceilings.

2. Plan HHF-3800


This tiny cottage uses every square foot wisely – in just 1,080 square feet, this floor plan includes 3 bedrooms and 2 bath.

1. Plan HHF-2259


And last but certainly not least, our most popular house plan for those on a budget. Plan 2259 is an open floor plan that features a kitchen for entertaining, a basement with a game or media room, and a master suite that opens to the rear lanai and outdoor fireplace.

Which of these budget friendly house plans was your favorite?

Let us know in the comments below.

3 Popular Bungalow House Plans

If you want a home that can guarantee privacy and still look modern, you might want to consider a bungalow house plan. A bungalow is typically a one to one-and-a-half story home with low-pitched roofs and wide overhanging eaves. The term bungalow is widely used and has different meanings depending on the location. The term originated in India from a Hindi word literally translating to “house in the Bengal style.” Bungalows were adapted from the Indian style by the British and made their way to America in 1880. They remained popular for fifty years and are notable in American architecture for making good design affordable.

Our most popular bungalow house plan features a comfortable lanai and porch and a covered front porch. This enchanting fairytale style house plan has beautiful curb appealland is a wonderful place to entertain friends in a cozy atmosphere.
Our most popular bungalow house plan features a comfortable lanai and porch and a covered front porch. This enchanting fairytale style house plan has beautiful curb appealland is a wonderful place to entertain friends in a cozy atmosphere.

Depending on where you live, the word bungalow was used differently. From about 1905 to 1930 Americans used the term bungalow for any house that used space efficiently. In the United States however, the interior of a bungalow house plan often features a living room at the center, connected rooms without hallways and built in cabinets, shelves and seats. The space efficiency in a bungalow style house plan is believed to have originated from army tents and rural English cottages. The idea was to cluster the kitchen, dining area, bedrooms and bathroom around a central dining area. What we think of today as an open floor plan.

Another popular bungalow house plan is this small cottage. With an entertainment space downstairs and a private master suite, it is the perfect living space for a small family with the opportunity for future expansion upstairs.

While many different styles of bungalow homes developed were based on materials available in the area, the first bungalow house plans were built during the Arts and Crafts movement. Bungalows often feature natural woodwork such as exposed rafters and built in cabinetry or bookcases. These bungalows are known as craftsman bungalows and were heralded for their cozy appeal.

Additionally, these homes are popular for their heat reducing features. Its roots in India and warm climates explain why these homes are such great heat reducers. Since a large foundation is needed for this single floor house, the roof has a vast surface area, allowing the attic to trap most of the summer heat and making a bungalow the perfect solution for a warmer climate.

Our third most popular bungalow house plan is this piece of Americana. This bungalow rests on 1,380 square feet and packs a whole lot of value into its space. This three bedroom and two bathroom home also features a great room, sunny porch and recreation and media rooms.
Our third most popular bungalow house plan is this piece of Americana. This bungalow rests on 1,380 square feet and packs a whole lot of value into its space. This three bedroom and two bathroom home also features a great room, sunny porch and recreation and media rooms.

Bungalows are a house plan style that sits at the heart of American architecture. With its simple, cozy, homeliness these houses are sure to delight home buyers and builders who want a lot of bang for their buck.

These Beautiful Modern House Designs Will Make You Contemplate Moving

Clean, glass, light and minimal all come to mind when the term modern design comes up. Modern house design is also starting to incorporate green building materials and more efficient use of living space.

Here are 8 of our most popular and unique modern house designs that will certainly make you think about bringing your home into the 21st century.

8. Plan 3082


One of our most popular modern homes, Plan 3082 is a cozy 1,391 square feet that feels much larger due to its wide open floor plan.

7. Plan 5311

Plan 5311 is a sprawling 4,600 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bath. An open floor plan and floor to ceiling glass make this home feel even bigger if you can believe it!

6. Plan 8236

This modern design is one of our newest plans added to our collection. Plan 8236 is 2,047 square feet and has 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath and an office.

5. Plan 4765

One of our most popular modern designs, Plan 4765 has a ton of curb appeal. At 1,788 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bath, this home is perfect for a small family.

4. Plan 3075

Plan 3075 is one of our top selling modern homes. This home is 1,388 square feet and has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bath. A wide open floor plan with the master on the first floor along with plenty of outdoor living space make this home feel much more expansive.

3. Plan 5550

Glass, glass and more glass. This home screams modern design and is one of our favorites in the collection. Plan 5550 is 4,366 square feet and has 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bath. It also has room to store 4 cars in the garage for all your toys.

2. Plan 3359

Plan 3359 is a beautiful 4,102 square feet and has 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bath and a 3-car garage. A wide open floor plan and a ton of outdoor living space make this one of our favorite modern designs.

1. Plan 5540

Now this is a modern design! Boxy, clean lines and beautiful. This drive under modern home is 3,104 square feet and has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

Which one of these modern house plans was your favorite? What did you like or dislike about these 8 designs?

Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation over on Facebook.

7 Amazing Craftsman House Plans That Will Make You Jealous

Have you ever dreamed of building your own home?

From picking the floor plan to fit your lifestyle, carefuly choosing the perfect layout for maximum comfort and accessibility. To choosing the materials used for the exterior, flooring, tile, paint colors – putting your mark 100% on every detail of the home.

Below are seven Craftsman style home plans that many of our customers have chosen to build just like that over the past few years.

7. Plan 4422

Fypon’s 1st Annual National Curb Appeal Month

National Curb Appeal Month is dedicated to helping homeowners focus on ways to add value and design appeal to their home’s exterior.

During the month of August, Fypon, the creator of National Curb Appeal Month, offers daily curb appeal tips on its Facebook and Twitter pages along with detailed curb appeal information and color advice from national color expert Kate Smith of Sensational Color.

Below is an infographic all about curb appeal they asked that we share:


Wanna Get Away? 10 Tiny House Plans for Off-Grid Living

We’ve all been there. The mail comes and we find that the A/C and heating bill has grown teeth and wants to eat our wallets.

That’s where a tiny house plan comes in. Tiny house plans are designed to be heated and cooled efficiently and are particularly ideal if you want to adopt a simple lifestyle. Maybe even one that runs completely off-grid.

10. Plan 1490 

Plan 1490

This tiny house plan is a 384 square foot beauty with an open floor plan, one bedroom, and one bathroom.  A beautifully designed porch makes this home ideal for coastal climates.

8 Detached Garages Every Man Dreams Of

Garages have evolved. They are not just a place to keep your car safe from Mother Nature but they can also include living spaces, bathrooms, and plenty of space for storage.

Many of our garage house plans are meant to be detached from the home and are great as work spaces for a DIY-mechanic while also having plenty of curb appeal.

8. Plan 4564

Plan 4564

This plan is an attractive and spacious garage that accommodates three cars with ease. An extra door on the rear of the garage allows the middle car to drive straight through instead of backing up.

7. Plan 4204

House Plan Image COPYRIGHTED by House Plan Gallery, Inc.

This is a great three-car garage house plan that makes an excellent addition to an existing home or as a stand-alone structure. This garage also includes a large private living space above the garage.

6. Plan 7125

Plan 7125

If you like Craftsman styling then you will love Plan 7125. With three garage bays and an efficient living quarters on top of the garage you will have ample space for hobbies, storage, or an office.

5. Plan 1153 

Plan 1153

This plan is a great two-car garage house plan with its own two-bedroom apartment accessible by stairway.

4. Plan 3206 

Plan 3206

This detached garage with apartment has a flexible layout that makes it ideal for a guest house or a small home. It also has an extra-deep two-car garage with lots of extra storage space.

3. Plan 3203

Plan 3203

If you need a garage designed for extended family living check out Plan 3203. This large three-car garage is topped with its own one-bedroom apartment that has its own private entrance.

2. Plan 3192

Plan 3192

If you like a traditional structure, take a look at Plan 3192. On the first floor you will find a garage with a half bath and on the top a two-bedroom apartment that is great for guests or in-laws.  A screened in balcony and grilling platform will allow the occupants to enjoy the nice weather.

 1. Plan 3209 

Plan 3209

If you have an RV or lots of vehicles Plan 3209 may be just the garage you need. This garage is outfitted with an oversized recreational vehicle bay, alongside a second garage bay and a compact guest apartment.

Do you see your dream garage in this house plan?

Let us know which one you like best by leaving a comment below.

8 Incredible Outdoor Living Spaces

As you get ready to fire up your grill and set up your pool you may think that your deck or patio needs renovation.  If you are in the market for a new outdoor living space here are incredible outdoor living spaces that will knock your socks off and have you enjoying the warmer weather.

4103 Pool

8. Plan 4103 was originally designed as a lake front property but now the plan includes a pool that comes up next to the house. The patio is covered and provides a great space for entertaining guests.

House Plan 2028 Courtyard

7. Not only is Plan 2082 a great plan for a scenic lot but the courtyard is a spacious and inviting place to spend a relaxing afternoon.

House Plan 4298 Outdoor Living Room

6.  It’s easy to imagine spending some cozy nights by this outdoor fireplace in Plan 4298. Not only does an outdoor fireplace add ambiance to your space but you can extend the life of your outdoor living area.

House Plan 4121 Pool

5. Plan 4121 is great for anyone who wants to be able to take a refreshing dip in their own pool. Not only is does this house plan have an elegant pool but as an added bonus, the pool is covered and surrounded by a screened porch.

House Plan 6513 Pool and Patio

4. With a pool, seating, and beautiful water features, Plan 6513 has it all. That’s not the end though, the rear porch includes an outdoor kitchen that makes it a great place to barbecue.

House Plan 7228 Courtyard

3. The courtyard in Plan 7228 invites guests in with the sound of bubbling water and colorful landscaping.  This pool setting actually features a little hot tub area where you can enjoy a good warm soak.

House Plan 6774 Pool and Patio

2. Plan 6774 is a multi-function house with a work at home office, but take one look at this deck and I am sure you can picture yourself unwinding after a long day watching the sunset and listening to the fountains.

House Plan 8292 Outdoor Dining Room

1.Plan 8292 is a beautiful French Country home with a spectacular outdoor living space. We love this beautiful dining area, but the home also features an outdoor fireplace, the perfect place for a romantic evening .

Whether you swim, barbecue, or just want a place to soak up the sun, an outdoor living space is a great addition to your home.  Do you see your favorite setting above?  Or do you want to tell us about your favorite summertime activity? Leave us a comment below.