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.

Top 12 Beach House Plans

Summer is coming and our collection of beach house plans features decks, patios, and plenty of windows to help you soak up the sun.  If your dream home is a home by the beach we are here to help you by counting down the top twelve house plans in our beach house plan collection. So have a look and see if you can find a home that speaks to you.

House Plan 1141 Exterior

12. Plan 1144 is great as a four-season home or a vacation home. The home is designed with an airy feel to it that fits a scenic beach plot perfectly.

House Plan 4657

11. Plan 4657 has many features that the wish lists of homeowners today. For example:  His and Hers master closets, a laundry room on the first floor, and a walk in pantry.

House Plan 4692 Exterior

10. For a beach house with a more rustic look, consider Plan 4692. This house plan features a rustic design and interior design that is both spacious and dramatic.

House Plan 1145 Exterior

9.  If you like a little bit of an island vibe, take a look at Plan 1145. This beautiful house plan will let you take in beautiful waterscapes and the open floor plan lets you create the perfect space to entertain.

House Plan 1189 Exterior

8. A beautiful house plan with lots of curb appeal, Plan 1189 also lets homeowners take in beautiful views while also giving a family ample living space with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

House Plan 1892

7. Plan 1892 is a European inspired house plan that is designed with spectacular views and outdoor living in mind.

House Plan 4153

6. Homes in warmer climates might like the look of a Mediterranean house plan. Plan 4153 fits the mold perfectly with its clay tile roofing and entry portico. This room is also packed with luxury including an exercise room and an oversized three-car garage.

House Plan 1492

5. Plan 1492 is the perfect house plan for your beach getaway. It make the ideal vacation house for a weekend getaway.

House Plan 1142

4. If you want a great four-season vacation home, then you want to look at Plan 1142. It is warm and inviting, and provides just enough space for a great romantic or family getaway.

House Plan 1150

3. Plan 1150 is a beautiful airy beach house that features tall 9’ ceilings on the first level and plenty of amenities including walk-in closets, island kitchen with a lunch counter and a wraparound balcony.

House Plan 1878 Exterior

2. Plan 1878 the charm of a cabin. It features three bedrooms and three bathrooms giving you plenty of space for a weekend getaway.

House Plan 1143 Exterior

1. Plan 1143 is all about views. Ample windows for panoramic views from the kitchen, dining room, and living space and the balcony provides plenty of outdoor views as well.

Do these house plans have you imagining your dream getaway? Or maybe your second home? Tell us which one you like best in the comments below.

Top 10 Best-Selling Lake House Plans. #2 Will Make You Jealous

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own lake home? One where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life to the pristine serenity of nature. Below are 10 of the best-selling lake house plans we offer.

10. Plan 5631– This plan features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths over 1500 square feet as well as an amazing outdoor space. 14

9. Plan 3687– This plan features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a screened in porch and a daylight basement. 4916A_final

8. Plan 3888– This contemporary 3 bedroom, 3 bath house plan sits on 1800 square feet and has amazing floor to ceiling glass windows and outdoor porch space. 12

7. Plan 1150– This 3 bedroom, 3 bath sits on 1832 square feet and features a daylight basement and amazing porch space to entertain and enjoy the views.11

6. Plan 1145– This magnificent tiny plan features 1 bedroom and 1 bath and a gorgeous wrap-around porch. 10

5. Plan 1144– Very similar to play 1150, this 1832 square 3 bedroom, 3 bath features a daylight basement and plenty of outdoor space. 9

4. Plan 1305– This contemporary 2 bedroom, 1 bath 908 square foot lake house features a standard stairway to the second floor loft, believe it or not! 8

3. Plan 4762– This 1148 square foot 1 bedroom, 1 bath plan is perfect for any romantic couples getaway. 7

2. Plan 4672– This 1300 square foot 3 bedroom, 2 bath contemporary house plan features a first floor master and a wrap-around porch. 6

1. Plan 1159– This 3 bedroom 2 bath home features a screened in porch and 2 sets of exquisite French doors. 5

Which of these lake house plans was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

How Window Design Affects Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient windows play a key role in the design of green house plans. While new-age materials and technologies are essential in the creation of those windows, homeowners may be surprised to learn that style can be just as important in achieving efficiency as polymers and fiberglass.

There are plenty of window types, from sliding to hopper to casement designs. Each of these offers a different level of energy efficiency. They also serve various functions that may be more or less desirable based on homeowners' tastes as well as their building site. Here are just a few, as listed by the U.S. Department of Energy, and their relative advantages:

Fixed
When a window is fixed, it means that the panes don't open. In terms of energy efficiency, they can be excellent, as they are airtight. However, they do not allow for ventilation. This design may be best served in places such as foyers to allow natural light, or as large bay windows in a living room, paired with other windows that do open. When you have a living room design such as the one depicted in this home plan, fixed panes cut down on the potential for air to leak out around such a large frame. Here a fixed pane is used as a decorative element at the top-center of the back room windows.

Sliding
The panes for this design slide horizontally, and operate exactly like the sliding doors in this design. Single-sliding has one moveable pane while double-sliding has two. The appeal of this design is that homeowners can have large windows that open and close easily. However, as the Department of Energy notes, the sliding design results in generally more air leakage than other types of windows. Side-by-side sliding windows create the opportunity for more air leaks, as the design must allow space for each pane to be able to move past one another.

Hung
Like sliding windows, hung ones have moveable panes that come as singles or doubles, though these slide vertically. Because the panes are hung vertically,  they're generally smaller than those in sliding or fixed designs. As such, they're generally cheaper. They can also have comparably high air leakage rates. Hung windows have the added potential issue of gravity working against them, and it's not uncommon to see the top pane of older hung windows having trouble staying up all the way. Like sliding windows, the side-by-side design adds to the potential for leakage. These windows are among the most common in homes, as demonstrated by this design.

Casement
This type of window offers generally low air leakage rates as well as nearly unparalleled air ventilation. These windows operate on hinges that allow them to swing open horizontally. According to the Department of Energy, the higher air efficiency is due to the window closing by pressing up against the frame, creating a better air seal than sliding windows. While casement windows rest on a hinge, they can still be quite sizable and are usually installed in rooms that need lots of air and light, from the bedroom to the living room. The only downside to these windows is that  they can be heavy and put a lot of strain on their hinges, which may be problematic over time, but can be fixed. The front windows on the left wing of this modern house design may function like casements. 

Awnings and hoppers
These kinds of windows are like casements in that they swing on a hinge, though they move vertically. Like casements, they also generally boast an excellent air seal as a result of pressing against the frame. These kinds of windows are generally smaller and used expressly for ventilation. While common in skylights, they can also be paired with large fixed windows to allow for ventilation. In the design of this contemporary house plan, the upper floor front windows seem to be operate as awnings or hoppers.

Patio Ideas to Make the Most Out of Your Backyard

Patios bring to mind summer barbecues and poolside relaxation. The promise of warm weather recreation may be more than enough to sell people on patios, but they can also serve as a versatile and elegant addition to your new home. 

Apart from serving as a summer gathering space, patios can make the backend of homes appear more elegant and inviting, breaking up the landscape and providing a smooth transition from house to yard. They also don't necessarily need to be relegated to any one season. There are plenty of craftsman house plans featuring a wide array of patios that lend themselves for almost the entire year.

While many of those patio designs are shaped with the overall house plan in mind, you have the ability to customize your own backyard hangout spot as you see fit. To help give you some inspiration, here's an overview of different kinds of patios, and house plans that seamlessly incorporate them into their design:

The covered 
This type of patio, as displayed in renderings of this house plan, is one of the simplest and most versatile. Homeowners can use this covered space in the summer as a way of escaping the oppressive heat. Should an afternoon shower interrupt your enjoyment of the outdoors, you can also retreat to watch the rainfall. This particular patio is wide enough to fit a table and chairs for a meal in the evening air. It also has three separate entry points for easy, casual access, whether from the master bedroom, nook or family room. 

The two-tier
Patios serve as transition spaces from inside to outside. A covered patio helps in that regard, but a smoother, more elegant transformation may involve a two-tiered setup. This craftsman house plan features an extensive patio that feels naturally partitioned by way of simple design elements, such as stairs, partial coverings and even a fireplace.

The lower portion of the patio in these renderings is used as a poolside lounge space, though homeowners may reserve it for a table and chairs. Meanwhile, the staircase flanked by two pillars creates a natural entryway that draws people up to the separate upper space, which can be used for further seating, either with lounge chairs or tasteful couches. The uncovered portion of the upper deck is yet another subsection, reserved for fireside cooking or sitting. 

The wraparound
While many patio designs feature a simple rectangular design, you don't need to feel like your patio is limited to such simple dimensions. One design for your patio is to have it wrap around the exterior of the home. This kind of layout is especially interesting for homes with a uniquely shaped footprint, such as the one featured in this house plan. The angular shape of the patio aids in creating the feeling of separate and intriguing patio spaces. The strip of patio next to the bathroom and family room is almost entirely hidden from view from the cozy covered section bordering the sitting room. The space in between opens up to the rest of the backyard. This design can even be extended to wrap around other sides of the house.

Open and away
Of course, patios don't necessarily need to be attached to the house. Another design idea that can be used for most house plans is a separate patio in the backyard. These kinds of spaces generally require some sort of conceptual structure that will draw people to the space. Fire pits are an easy, eye-catching element that serve as a natural gathering spot for people. Lay out a patio space with a pit in the middle, and you can set up chairs around it. 

Why Single-Story Homes Can Deliver Energy Efficiency

Unlike heads, two floors aren't always better than one. There are many benefits that come from a one-story house plan, all of which may best be described in terms of energy efficiency.

Heating and cooling are perhaps the most commonly understood concepts when it comes to energy efficiency, but it may also apply to the energy involved in construction, or even the effort required to clean a home. Despite the compact nature of many one-story homes, however, they can still deliver spacious interiors and flexibility of design, as demonstrated by plans such as this one. Here are just some of the potential advantages that could come with sticking to the ground floor.

Less heating
Maintaining temperature in a home can be costly, and the design of that home has a huge impact on how effectively it's done. The more rooms there are in a house, the more energy that will be required to heat and cool. One-story houses generally have fewer rooms compared to homes of a similar footprint. Yet, they are more energy efficient also due to the nature of air. Heat rises, which means that the warm air in a two-story home will immediately rise to the second floor, making it take longer to heat up the downstairs or even make immediate changes to a house's temperature. In a one-story, heat will immediately hit the ceiling and begin to spread to other rooms.

Of course, the relative efficiency of homes depends on the size of the floor plan. One-story homes that occupy twice as much lot space as their taller counterparts may become less efficient as a result of their sprawling design. Also, the quality of construction and a home's thermal seal will drastically affect HVAC performance.

Less materials
While the size of the footprint is again a relevant factor, generally, one-story house plans demand less construction materials and building time than two-story homes. Those materials, ranging from wood and concrete to glass and stone, make up the inherent energy of a home. Cutting down on them reduces the environmental impact of building the structure. That reduction can be both eco-friendly and also cost-effective for homeowners trying to save money.

Less cleaning effort
Hiking up and down stairs can be a pain, especially with a laundry basket or a vacuum in tow. By getting rid of the stairs, you can save yourself plenty of time and effort. You may also cut down on the safety hazard that comes with carrying heavy materials up steps. Sticking to one floor may also mean fewer rooms to clean, as many one-story homes have great rooms and other flexible designs that make spaces compact.

Less stuff
Another way such single-story homes can make your lifestyle more efficient is by limiting the amount of space you have to store your belongings. That may sound more stressful than beneficial, but less room often forces people to be more efficient with their furnishings and more careful about the junk they choose to keep around. Less stuff also leads to fewer things that require cleaning or clutter that demands organizing come spring. Reducing clutter can even cut down on the stress that comes with maintaining such a heavily furnished home.

Other considerations
Shorter homes still come with their disadvantages. They may not offer as much space, and privacy may be harder to come by when much of a one-story home's design is based on multi-use spaces. Also, as mentioned, the listed advantages are based on comparable footprints between one- and two-story homes. Yet, for homeowners that that are interested, they may find these smaller houses to be a cozy and efficient means of living.

How to Compost at Any Home

Making your own compost is a great way to save money on gardening supplies. It's also a more sustainable means of living, as table scraps are basically used to grow your gardens and make your dream home even more idyllic.

Prospective homeowners interested in green house plans may want to consider composting as part of an overall strategy to live sustainably. However, anyone can make their own compost pile, no matter the design of their home or the square footage of their land.

Making the pile
Despite what many people think, composting is incredibly easy. To do it, all people need do is toss organic piles in a container and give it a little bit of oxygen and water. You don't even need an enclosure. The only major tasks involved are sorting out your scraps to add to the pile and checking on the pile to see that it hasn't dried out or become too wet.

To start, HGTV recommended choosing a pile spot that gets a few hours of sun a day, is situated away from tree roots, which suck out nutrients from the compost, and is conveniently located. Grass should be dug up and removed or turned over as a base for the pile. After that, you can start adding organic material to the pile. The ideal size for the pile will be roughly 3 feet square at the base and 3 feet high, guaranteeing that the pile will cook while still getting oxygen.

As the pile grows, you will want to water it lightly but regularly so that is has the consistency of a damp sponge, according to Better Homes and Gardens. If the pile is too dry it won't decompose and if its too wet it will rot and begin to smell. You should also turn the pile once a week with a garden fork so that it gets plenty of oxygen.

Choosing materials
There are many different approaches to choosing and sorting potential compost materials. Some people will throw anything that's organic into the pile, while others are highly selective. Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds and garden clippings are some of the more common materials that go into a pile. However, that list is far from inclusive, as TLC demonstrated with a list of 75 items that can be composted. Tea bags, stale bread, moldy cheese, preserves, paper cupcake cups, toilet paper, dryer lint and even cotton clothing ripped into pieces are all good materials for the pile.

Incorporating into your home
While it is possible to create a compost pile without an enclosure, many homeowners may feel that the look of an organic heap is probably not the most appealing backyard decoration. Fortunately, though, compost piles can easily be dressed up with a chicken wire enclosure or even a stout wooden fence. The design can even reflect the home, with a more wooden feel for traditional homes or wire for contemporary constructions. Given the needed size of the compost pile, it won't take up much space in even the smallest of lots.

The larger concern for homeowners, however, may be the hassle of sorting out scraps. All this requires is a small, separate bin next to your trash can where leftover food items can go. Even in an efficient kitchen such as this one, all that is needed is a designated cabinet for a small container. Because compost piles don't smell when done properly, you can even situate the pile conveniently next to that house's backyard deck. When the bin gets full, homeowners only have to take a few steps to empty it out.

A Tale of Two Bedrooms

While bedrooms come in all sizes and designs, they almost always have one thing in mind: comfort. Fortunately, no matter the house plan – nor the size of the room – homeowners can easily achieve that perfection.

A comfortable room is hard to plan in the abstract, given that a myriad of details such as the opacity of window treatments or the positioning of the bed can have a large impact. Furthermore, from site to size, each home offers its own unique context, which will inevitably shape the design of the bedroom. Fortunately, though, there are some common techniques that can help homeowners choose the right layout, no matter the house. To help demonstrate this point, we've highlighted two bedrooms, one from a collection of luxury house plans, and another among small house plans. Both have the opportunity to be great places to retire at the end of the day.

The quaint bedroom
This small house plan is efficient, but no less charming because of its size. The bedrooms are by no means tiny, but they are relatively constrained compared to the grand master suite serving as a counter-example in this article. The tertiary bedroom is the smallest in the house – roughly 11 feet by 10 feet – and does not include a bay window like the other others. While there is limited space to work with, it's still possible to create an excellent room. 

First, it's important to keep in mind a few basics of bedroom design. As Houzz noted, simple circulation is one of the key elements to good layout. According to the design site, it's usually best to keep floor space circulation to one side of the room. Another helpful tip is to naturally create a sense of privacy by orienting the bed out of sight from the entryway. Finally, you'll want to emphasize the view of the room, which is a natural focal point and a source of warming sunlight. 

Applied to this small bedroom, it becomes readily evident that the best placement for the bed is on the left wall, adjacent to the closet. Given the dimensions of the room, the bed should be perpendicular to the wall, so that it naturally aligns lengthwise to the room, and the head of the bed is no longer visible at the entryway. A dresser may be positioned opposite the bed without obstructing the view. If the space still feels cramped, mirrors and bright paint colors will help to create a more open room. 

The luxury suite
On the other end of the spectrum is this luxury house plan's master suite. Boasting whopping dimensions of more than 18 feet by 16 feet as well as three entry points – from the lanai, the study and the hall – this room features its own particular design hurdles. The privacy issue is heightened by all the doorways as well as all the windows. Also, a focused layout can seem difficult with so much space. A good place for the bed may be the perpendicular to the wall adjacent to the master bath, but that's more interruptive of the natural flow of the room than against the rightmost wall. 

Once the bed is placed, however, there is still plenty of space to organize. According to HGTV, large rooms can be divided into multiple functional zones to recreate the feel of a hotel suite. In this instance, it may be worthwhile to place the bed closer to the master bath wall, and create a sitting space in the back-right corner of the room. Meanwhile a dresser can be positioned on the wall adjacent to the owner's study.