Online House Designs
Modifications & Customization of House Plans

The House Designers are a group of leading architects and designers, who have had several hundred thousand homes built from their plans. A good number of these plans were custom homes built from the very same stock plan designs shown on this website. One thing about all these plans is that almost everyone made changes to the plan while building their home.

The following is intended to walk you through that process of making changes or customizing the home design to suit your specific needs and requirements, whether that be issues about your lot, special requirements of your locality or just personal preferences.

Mirror prints
If you want to build the design in reverse – that’s no problem! Mirror prints, where the plan is printed in reverse are available from every architect and designer of The House Designers. Some firms provide fully reversed plans, where even the lettering reads directly, but in most cases the lettering will be reversed so you still need to order basic sets of the plans where the lettering is easier to read. For further information check the Plan Packages information by selecting the View Pricing Options button on the page for the particular plan you are interested in.

Red-lining blueprints
Red-lining is by far the most common way to make changes to blueprints. It is also the simplest and least expensive. Although our industry uses the word "blueprints" this is a holdover from days past. All the plans used today for construction are printed on white paper with black or blue line lettering. Because of this fact notations are easily made on these prints. They can be made by pen, pencil or a red line pencil, which stands out clearly, — hence the term "red-lining".

Red-lining is not suitable for major changes, but is suited for the vast majority of changes, such as:
  • moving of interior partitions that have no effect on structural spans
  • extending a wing of a house lengthwise that has no effect on structural spans
  • material changes, specifications, fixtures, cabinet layouts, contract provisions, etc.
  • shifting or adding or changing windows or doors
  • addition or deletion of fireplaces, garages, false dormers, raised or dropped ceilings, etc.
If it involves anything other than some material or specification notes, red-lining is best done by an experienced contractor who is familiar with your local codes and would know if the change requires further input from a local professional. Since plans may not be photocopied make sure to order enough sets. It is recommended that order at least eight sets. A red-line set is acceptable for contracts, most lending institutions and most building departments. Red-lining may be unacceptable if you are building in very high wind zones or flood plains zones where local engineering is required.

If you plan on making major changes than you’ll want to consider purchasing a reproducible. All members of The House Designers provide these; again please see the View Prices link on the page for the specific plan you are considering. The reproducible allows an experienced local draftsperson to add, erase or draw involved changes to any plan. Reproducibles are also extremely helpful where local engineering or code modifications are required. Changes that may be made with our reproducibles are as follows:
  • increasing the size of the home in any direction even where roof pitches or rafter lengths are changed
  • adding a room, garage or porch
  • changing foundation types if not available with the basic plans (most are available, so check first)
  • elevation changes including roof pitch and roofline changes
  • significant interior layout changes
  • adapting a plan to meet local codes or to provide engineering where required
Reproducibles are best if modified by a local architect, designer or engineer, but may also be modified by an experienced contractor. Authorization is provided to enable you to make prints from the reproducibles at a local copy shop. Copy shops are not permitted to reproduce house plans without such an authorization.

Some of our architects and designers also make available CAD files for use in modifying plans. These are the electronic files that contain all the information on your blueprints. See the View Prices link on the particular plan. Special restrictions may apply to the use of CAD files so check with the specific firm. Direct 800 phone numbers for each firm can be found on the Contact Us page.

Customized blueprints
If you prefer you may be able to use the original architect or designer, of the home you have chosen to build, to make changes to customize the plan for you. A number of firms do offer customization of their plans. Even if the designer of the plan you are interested in does not offer to provide customized plans, do not hesitate to call them (see Contact Us), as they may have a plan in their extensive collection that already includes the changes you are considering. Remember each of the architects and designers in The House Designers are committed to helping you obtain your dream home and will steer you in the right direction to help you achieve that dream.

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