Month: November 2021

How to Read a Blueprint for a New Home

You’re interested in building a new home so you’ve started browsing pictures online. Even though the images are gorgeous, it’s hard to get a feel for the actual size of the rooms. For this, you’ll need to look at a blueprint. A blueprint is a two-dimensional diagram of a home that shows the layout, indicating room measurements and the placement of features like doors, windows, toilets, showers, closets, and major appliances. You can learn a lot about a home when you really understand how to read a blueprint. Following are some tips to help you do just that.


What is a home blueprint?


A blueprint is an overhead view of one level of a home, as if you removed the roof and looked inside from above. You’ll see lines of varying thicknesses and along with symbols, some that make sense and others that might be unfamiliar. The drawing is then combined with a series of notes and other plans (electrical, plumbing, mechanical) to provide all the information necessary for construction. For your purposes, the blueprint is all you need to “read” to understand the flow and features of your new home.


What do the different lines mean in a blueprint?


The diagram of a home is made up of symbols. A blueprint includes a variety of lines — solid, dotted, and double — and you should know the meaning of each one on a blueprint. A solid line indicates a wall, interior or exterior. Some plans use a thick or double line for an exterior wall and a thinner one for interior walls, to provide clearer distinction between the two. 


A dotted or dashed line does not represent a wall. Think of the dotted line as a marker, but not necessarily structural. This line can symbolize a variety of details, like:


  • The division between rooms in an open-concept plan – A dotted line could indicate where the kitchen is intended to separate from the living and dining areas, because there’s no actual wall there. In a space like a formal dining room or flex room, there could be a dotted line to show the opening. That means there is no door, but you can close it off with French doors if you’d like.


  • Where the flooring changes – For example, from hardwood to tile


  • A ceiling treatment – Like a beam, coffered, or tray ceiling


  • A feature that is not part of the structural footprint – This could be an opening from one level to the other (e.g., vaulted ceiling). You’ll likely see “OPEN TO BELOW” on the second level’s blueprint, which shows that this is an open area and does not have a floor.


  • Items like the upper cabinets in the kitchen and the seating space beyond the kitchen island


  • Where items like shelving are included – As in a pantry or closet


How are doors shown on a blueprint?


Your home has different types of doors: exterior and interior, as well as single, double, sliding, pocket, and barn doors. A conventional single or double door is always illustrated with a line and an arc that shows which way the door swings open. The line of the door is thinner than those used for the walls.


A sliding or barn door on a blueprint is shown with a bold line for the door and is marked on the wall in its open position. A barn door will be drawn just parallel to the wall while a pocket door will be marked with a solid line that is laid over the wall where it will be hidden in its pocket.


Can I tell the size of the windows on a blueprint?


A blueprint will show you where the windows are placed but not the height of each one. A window is drawn with parallel lines that separate the solid lines of the wall where they will be installed.


How do I read the bathroom layout on a blueprint?


You’ll see the various bathroom fixtures drawn in symbols. The vanity is marked with an oval within a rectangle. The blueprint might have dual vanities, but if the second vanity is optional, it will be drawn in a dotted line.


A bathtub is indicated with an oval. A shower stall is a square or rectangle; it’s often marked with an “X” filling the space, which indicates it is only a shower and doesn’t include a bathtub. A tub and shower combination can be drawn as a rectangle within another rectangle.


How can I figure out the size of the rooms?


Blueprints include the dimensions of each room, under the title of that space. In a dimension like 10’x12’, the first number represents the width of the room, and the second number represents the length. Some architects place furniture symbols in the rooms to give you a sense of how standard pieces — like a queen or twin bed, sofa, or dining table — fit there. It’s helpful to know the size of your current rooms so you can compare them to those on a blueprint.


As you browse our 1,000+ new home blueprints, if you have any questions about how to read them, give us a call — we are happy to help!


Top-Selling House Plans of 2021… And What to expect for 2022

As we bring this year to a close, we’re taking a look back at our top-selling house plans of 2021. Generally, homebuyers were drawn to easy elegance and casual luxury  — homes with large outdoor living areas, open-concept living spaces, and private, tucked-away bedrooms. As we move into 2022, our customers are still interested in these home styles, but they’re customizing  them with features that meet their particular needs and lifestyles. Here’s a look back at our top-selling new home plans of 2021, and a peak at some of our most in-demand plans for 2022.


Most Popular House Plans of 2021


Contemporary Craftsman

You may be able to spot traditional Craftsman-style homes from their wide porches, thick support columns, low-pitched roofs, and exposed beams. Contemporary craftsman is a new take on this timeless style that weaves in sleeker lines and up-to-date floor plans that fit modern lifestyles. The kitchen tends to be centrally located in the open floor plan, and bedrooms are tucked away for privacy. These homes still incorporate lots of natural materials, like wood and stone, to lend a warm, cozy feeling. 


Craftsman House Plan Highlight: Azalea Park

4 Bedrooms | 2.5 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 2,182 Sq Ft

Plan Features:

  • Main-level owner’s suite
  • Wide, covered front porch
  • Screened-in back porch
  • 2-story, vaulted family room with fireplace
  • U-shaped kitchen with center island

See more Craftsman house plans. 


Modern Farmhouse

Cozy yet sophisticated, rustic in some ways and polished in others, the modern farmhouse is the perfect blend of country and city that’s uber popular right now with interior designers and families alike. A modern farmhouse features wide open spaces, neutral color palettes, natural elements like wood and metal, and decorative wood details like shiplap and beadboard.


Modern Farmhouse House Plan Highlight: Kensington Creek

4 Bedrooms | 3 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 2,960 Sq Ft

Plan Features:

  • Main-level owner’s suite
  • Formal dining room
  • Main-level, multi-purpose guest room
  • Semi-circle kitchen island
  • Built-in kitchen desk area

See more modern farmhouse plans.



The ever-popular ranch house plan is the epitome of easy, casual living. The single-level plan is easy to navigate, whether you have young children or mobility concerns. With a spacious, open-concept, a ranch-style home typically features an open flow between all the rooms, and unobstructed access to all parts of the home. The low-pitched roofs and general rectangular shape add to the easy maintenance of this style of home.


Ranch House Plan Highlight: Blantons Trace

4 Bedrooms | 3.5 Baths | 2-Car Garage | 2,073 Sq Ft

Plan Features:

  • Oversized kitchen island
  • Vaulted Porch and Outdoor Dining Room
  • Full Basement
  • Optional second level
  • Bonus Room

See more ranch house plans. 


If you’re interested in any of these plans to build your own new home in 2022, or if you’d like to see others like them, please contact us. We’d love to help!

Can I Change the Front Elevation on My House Plan?

A lot goes into designing the front elevation of a new home. We take into consideration the style of the home (Craftsman, modern farmhouse, colonial, etc), how many windows are needed to optimize natural light, various materials (stone, brick, siding), and what’s trending in home design. But while the front elevation may seem like the most important aspect of a home (first impressions do count!), there are actually other features to consider first.


Because front elevations are a sum of parts that can be easily switched out for others, the most important things to focus on when building a new home is the floor plan and the desired square footage. If you love the house plan, but you’d prefer a different front elevation, it’s often an easy switch, as long as the roof line stays the same. When roof lines need to be modified to accommodate elevation changes, an architect may be needed to redraw plans. 


While the short answer is yes, your front elevation can be changed, there are a few instances where changes may be restricted. Some communities have homeowner’s associations or ARBs (architectural review boards) that create rules for how front elevations can look. This is to maintain a uniform aesthetic and universal appeal of homes throughout the community. For the same reasons, we typically design a few different elevations for the same house plan, so that home builders can add variety and interest to the look of a neighborhood as they are completing homes, but keep the overall “look and feel” of the community intact. 


If you are building a new home on your own land, there’s typically no need to worry about community guidelines, and we can alter the elevation to meet your requirements or to take advantage of the orientation of the home on the property. For example, you may want to relocate window groupings to take advantage of views or the rising/setting sun.


Here is an example of the Huntington Ridge house plan that was designed with three varying elevations:


Huntington Ridge (a)



Huntington Ridge (b)



Huntington Ridge (c)



At Frank Betz Associates, we pride ourselves on creating modern house plans that look fantastic and are ready to be built. However, they can all be customized to meet a buyer’s personal preferences, a builder’s needs, or a community’s requirements. Learn more about our plan modifications and custom designs.