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America's Best House Plans

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A practical solution for the desert climate, Southwest house plans reflect a history of Native American and Colonial Spanish housing styles that encompass one-storied, low-slung homes with flat or tiled roofs, outdoor living spaces, stucco exterior walls, plastered interior walls, spacious interior floor plans, arched openings, and simple construction. These homes were, and remain, well-suited for the region's intense heat and offer space to live and relax despite the often-hostile climate and landscape.

Southwestern house plans are most often found, as their name implies, in the desert southwest region of the United States; however, they can, and are, being built and lived in throughout the U.S. Because of their traditional and contemporary design elements, there is some overlap with other home styles; Mediterranean, Florida and even Modern house plans.

Key characteristics and commonly found exterior and interior design elements may include:

  • Stucco, stone, and wood construction elements
  • Flat roofs – Adobe style
  • Red tile roofs – Spanish style
  • Typically low, slung, one-story home designs
  • Flat or low-pitch rooflines
  • Asymmetrical exteriors
  • Little ornamentation
  • Porches and courtyards for outdoor entertaining and climate control
  • Extensive gardens
  • Arched openings
  • Patterned tile or terra cotta brick floors
  • Rough beams and columns
  • Natural and colorful palettes
  • Easily accessible indoor and outdoor living spaces
  • Fireplaces, both indoors and outdoors
  • Rough plastered walls
  • Open floor plans
  • Floor plans centered on an enclosed courtyard or patio

By far one of the most distinctive and iconic house styles, southwest house plans feature an eclectic assortment of aesthetically pleasing exterior elements. Beautiful examples of this type of architecture dot the landscape across America and can include such styles as Mediterranean, Spanish Mission, and Adobe, to name a few.

These styles typically include such exterior features as stucco, tile and flat roofs, wrought iron, stone, and shallow roof pitches. They are usually one or two-story asymmetrical designed home plans with warm and comforting earth-tone colors and can include a courtyard or covered exterior living area for entertaining.

Typically, there is the ubiquitous stucco exterior wall framing; however, there can be some variation with other natural elements such as stone and warm wood. Both flat roofs, primarily associated with Adobe homes, and red-tiled roofs, more closely related to Spanish roots, are found on Southwestern house plans. Free of excessive ornamentation, these mostly Ranch homes may include exposed rafters, extensive beam supports, and arched openings. There may also be courtyards for additional outdoor living space that attract family and friends to the desert air.

The interior of these homes is often colorful and functional and includes open floor plans arranged in such a manner as to keep the interior cool and shady. Tile or brick floors are abundant within the interior floor plan, as are large wood beams, columns, and fireplaces. In addition, southwestern house plans are greatly influenced by their highly stylistic and regional nature allowing for the use of natural design elements and specific art within the interior.

These desert-style homes feature a unique combination of traditional and contemporary trends forged from necessity and the love of aesthetic beauty and value that may include masonry construction, plastered interior walls, stone floors, multi-patterned tile work, and wood beams. With brutal outdoor climates and temperatures, these homes must function as a haven for family and friends to live and visit comfortably. This is why thick walls, small windows, deeply set and widely proportioned porches, and extensive lush gardens shade the sweeping outdoors and courtyards.


119 Plans Found

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