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  Online House Design Modifications and Home Plan Customizations

Online House Design Modifications and Home Plan Customizations

Online House Design Modifications Several hundred thousand homes have been built from plans prepared by the leading architects and designers that comprise The House Designers. A significant percentage of these were custom homes built from the very same stock plan designs shown on this website. One thing is certain about this vast number of homes: almost everyone made changes to the plan while building the home. The following is intended to walk you through that process of making changes or customizing the design to suit your specific requirements, whether that be issues about your lot, special requirements of your locality or just personal preferences.

Mirror prints

Building the design in reverse? No problem! Mirror prints, where the plan is printed in reverse are available from all members 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 for the particular designer available in the The Designers  section, or by selecting the View Pricing Options button on the page for the particular plan you are interested in.

Red-lining blueprints

This is by far the most common way that most changes are made. 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:

  • shifting 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 - usually at least 8 - so each can be noted with the proposed changes. A red-line set is acceptable for contracts, most lending institutions and most building departments. If you are building in very high wind zones or flood plains zones where local engineering is required red-lining may be unacceptable.


Where major changes are contemplated a reproducible is suggested. 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:

  • enlarging 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 member firms 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 Designers Profiles section, or in 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 to customize their plans; again see the Designers Profiles section for specific details and costs for each firm that offers customization. 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.

© 2020 Jerold Axelrod, Architect. All rights reserved. All house plans and images on The House Designers® websites are protected under Federal
and International Copyright Law. Reproductions of the illustrations or working drawings by any means is strictly prohibited. No part of this electronic publication
may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form by any means without prior written permission of The House Designers®, LLC.
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9/23/2020 •