America's Best House Plans

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European house plans meld the architectural elegance and precision of Old World Europe with the modern conveniences and features that today’s families have come to expect while meeting their family’s lifestyle and living needs. These beautifully designed homes exhibit European charm and character with their wide variety of architectural design elements and principles. While there are a broad range of styles and size, European house plans are most commonly thought of as grand homes or estates with large interior floor plans. These homes feature generously proportioned rooms and voluminous ceiling heights that convey a sense of grandeur and European ambience. Decorative items may outline both the exterior and interior and could include a series of archways, substantial columns, stylish keystones, decorative quoins, turrets, impressive ironwork and large and/or tall windows. These design elements have stood the test of time and deliver a unique blend of comfort and luxury making them popular across the design board. Altogether different as well as similar, European house plans share a series of common characteristics:

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  • Varied, complex and interesting roof designs         
  • High quality, traditional architectural design elements and principles         
  • Open floor plans         
  • One to two story homes; oftentimes, with richly detailed exteriors including stucco, brick or stone materials        
  • Tall ceilings and overhead dormers       
  • Archways, wrought-iron balconies and courtyard entries       
  • Clay tile roofs       
  • Asymmetrical facades       
  • French door entry and exit points located throughout the home       
  • High quality and richly textured floors and other surface design materials

Style and Size

While there is no particular style definition when conveying an image of European house designs, there are certainly subsets and similarities when speaking of European homes. Spanning the European continent and including the warm waters of the sea, these subsets encompass English, Tudor, French, Italian, Spanish and the colorful homes of the Mediterranean. The size of these homes can range from small Ranch plans, simple chalets or storybook cottages to large, grand villas and luxurious manors. America’s Best House Plans features a comprehensive collection of European house plans that range in size from the smallest of floor plans at 832 square feet to the largest which is in excess of 15,000 square feet.

Exterior facade

European plan exteriors are often highly decorative and elegant with visually appealing design elements that add tremendous curb appeal to the home’s exterior. These luxurious exteriors can be impressive with sprawling facades, elaborate rooflines, archways and multiple series of large and/or tall windows. They may feature courtyard garage entrances as well as plenty of paved drive-up space. In addition to the practical courtyard space; oftentimes, there are additional courtyard entertaining areas located adjacent to the interior rooms which are accessed through elegant French doors, sliders or single door access points. Organic design materials such as smooth stucco, brick or stone are typically found on the exterior of the home. Functional and modern turrets - a small tower - may be employed for use as a library, dining room or sitting room within the home’s interior and offer great window views for a bright and airy space. A porte cochere - a covered entrance large enough for vehicles to pass through, typically opening into a courtyard and perhaps allowing for passengers to disengage from automobiles - may also be found on the exterior of European house plans. While these plans can offer sprawling and large exteriors, many European plans are functional and suitable for large, narrow property lots. Obviously, these homes will be built up, rather than out; however, there is still plenty of opportunity to feature interesting gables, rooflines, decorative and grand facades as well as large, comfortable floor plans.

Interior floor plans

No matter the regional influence, European home designs add interest and aesthetically pleasing details to your home and not just on the exterior. Textured wall surfaces, interior ironwork, organic building materials, interior archways and soaring ceiling heights are featured in many grand European homes. Large, well laid-out floor plans typically offer expansive space for entertaining in style as well as separate sleeping and private quarters for family members. Grand foyers with sweeping staircases, elegant formal rooms such as libraries, conservatories and salons offer luxurious and magnificently designed traditional rooms of by gone eras. Although many European house designs feature floor plans that are quite large and generously proportioned, smaller European plans can offer many of the same extraordinary design elements.

Within this wide scope of interior floor plans is the ability to choose from different foundations such as a crawl space, slab or basement foundation. Obviously, the basement foundation, whether a traditional cellar basement or walk-out/daylight basement offers the most potential for additional living space. These blueprints featuring terrace level living are highlighted with endless possibilities when needing additional family space whether for an in-law suite, casual entertaining space, additional bedrooms and baths or copious amounts of storage space.

European house designs broadly draw from a wide variety of design styles and principles throughout the European continent and surrounding Mediterranean Sea. But no matter the regional influence, European house plans feature striking exteriors and stunning interior floor plans that are widely influenced by Old World charm and character while simultaneously offering modern conveniences and amenities. These homes can widely vary in style and size and yet, they all deliver a comfortable blend of elegance and refinement that homeowner’s desire.