My Dream Home – Here’s What It Looks Like

Hi Guys,

Well, I guess every six months, or so, I just have to dream about my dream home. Or, at least one of them. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I don’t want to lose hope. And, besides, it’s fun to think about.


I’ve been in Massachusetts for 12 days now.


And, my son Cale and I have been going for walks nearly every day. I’ve taken a lot of photos, but I don’t have quite enough to do a post. However, I’m feeling mighty inspired already.

Plus, it’s the height of spring in Western Mass.

Oh, and because my darling just can’t get enough of nature, he suggested we take a short-cut on a trail, through a lovely forest on Saturday. Not wanting to be one of those uncool, whiny old lady-mothers, I went along with it. But, instinctively, I knew that it was a bad idea.

It was only a few hundred feet, in total, but about 50 feet in, I noticed swarms of bugs. However, we were going too fast to see what they were. And, then… I heard and felt a big whooshing noise. As I started running, I yelled, out “We’re dead!” For, I was positive that an enormous, hungry bird of prey had decided to make one of us (probably me), his dinner.


Obviously, that didn’t happen or I wouldn’t be writing to you.


But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t get eaten. That’s because well over a dozen starving mosquitoes DID feast on my type O+ blood. Yummmmm! They love it.

My itching is so bad; I had to get a script from my doc back home in Westchester. Yes, we had a virtual appointment.

Otherwise, I’m having a great time here in Northampton. And, it’s surprisingly hot for late May. I am predicting a hot summer.


So, let’s get into today’s topic. No, it’s not bug bites; it’s my fantasy dream home.


I adore looking at house plans.

Some of them are great, and some of them are pretty awful.

For instance, we already know that walking straight into the living room is no good. Remember this post where I fixed a number of floor plans that have no real entrance?

And, then there was this post where I made some alterations to the too-open floorplan.

Also, finally, this post about a raised ranch that so badly would like to be a traditional home.


Well, today, I’ve found six no, seven floorplans to share with you.


I think any of them could be my dream home. But, let’s try to pick one and then I’ll furnish it. Everything.

The houses range in size from 1,290 to 2,754 square feet. So, certainly no McMansions.  But, sure, we have those too. Here ya go. (I love that post!)


There is one small problem, however.


WHERE is this dream home?

Actually, a place something like where I am. A small, hip town or it could be a suburb of Boston. Or, maybe Charleston. But, not the country.

No. I need people. Germs and all. But, I don’t need people all of the time.

Of course, that could change.

However, for now, let’s put the dream home in a place with HUGE trees.

Ummm… like this one.


Northampton Architecture - Dream Home - Huge Tree

That tree is massive!

So, what does Laurel need for her dream home?


  • A real freaking entry. If it’s not there, we can make one.
  • And no staircases right on top of the front door.
  • High ceilings
  • Large windows and/or French doors
  • Porch(es)
  • Columns. I prefer square
  • Real wood-burning fireplace (at least one, but preferably 2 or 3)
  • Great kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be large. I love Melissa Tardiff’s and Nancy Keyes’ kitchens.
  • Hardwood floors. I would love a reclaimed floor, or else a white painted floor.
  • Probably not more than 2700 sq feet, not including porches and garage.
  • No garage doors visible from the front of the house. Believe me when I tell you that EVERY house I’ve ever lived in (free-standing or townhouse) had a garage door in the front of the house.


Okay, here are my six dream homes. It was a difficult selection to make.


I’m beginning with the smallest, at only 1,290 square feet. Southern Living house plan 1254, Banning Court.

SL-1254_F1 Banning Court Southern Living - Dream Home one-story floor planAs you can see, there is no separate entrance. I did think that it would be possible to give up the library and put the entrance there. And, take the dumb closet out of the living room and put it in the entrance. Of course, some might prefer to have an office.



Fabulous curb appeal. And, perfect proportions. I would consider doing a different railing. I love X railings.



Designer: Sarah Bartholomew,; Architect: Court Atkins, Court’s assistant, Paula Magrini, Photographer: Gibson, Josh

House # 2 is a larger version (@2,754 square feet) of house #1 and with a partial second floor. It is Southern Living house plan 2000 – Low Country Farmhouse.

Designer: Sarah Bartholomew
Architect: Court Atkins
Photographer: Gibson, Josh


Designer: Sarah Bartholomew,; Architect: Court Atkins, Court’s assistant, Paula Magrini, Photographer: Gibson, Josh - dream home Southern Living

This is a super lovely floor plan. There isn’t much I would change.


Sarah Bartholomew project, Palmetto Bluff, Josh Gibson


sl-1136 Beaufort Cottage-Southern Living Dream Home

House #3 – is #1136 Beaufort Cottage

Holy mini Greek Revival! (1720 square feet) Actually, I would call this a shotgun style. Anyone from New Orleans knows what I’m talking about.

Shotguns get their name, if you don’t know because you can shoot a gun from the front, and the bullet will go all the way to the back without hitting any walls. Did I get that right?
While there is no separate entrance, we can create one with some small walls or a pony wall.

Great floorplan, both floors. Really, little, if any, wasted space. And, I like the location of the staircase.


House #4 is #1946 the Cottage Revival Dream Home from Southern Living.

Those windows!!! And this lovely is 1,929 feet. Great size, too.

1946_FCP-Cottage-Revival-Dream-Home-Southern-Living-One-story floorplanWowza! They sure didn’t phone this one in! Alas, there’s no fireplace. Perhaps one could be added in. All it takes is money. haha

I realize that I’m getting to the age when a lot of people build homes that are one story. This is my philosophy about stairs. It’s fantastic exercise, and I use them whenever possible. And, I’ve been doing a lot of other exercises for my legs. It makes a tremendous difference.


YouTube video

I’ve been trying to 100 of these every day. Believe me. You will feel it. And, then I stretch later.

I guess what I’m trying to say is. I’m not purposely building a house without stairs. If I can’t climb them, then I’ll bring my laptop and transfer to a nursing home.


Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Matthew Gleason Southern Living

House # 5 is Turnball park Southern Living #1124

photo: Laurey Glenn


What a beauty this is!


And, please check out the gorgeous interior design by going to that link. It is 2,310 square feet.


I’d make a few tweaks of this plan. But, over-all, it’s very nice. It just feels that the right side is a little squished. And, I’d steal back a couple of feet from the living room, which is already super-deep. Then, maybe I’d run beautiful hidden storage that looks like wall paneling along the long hall and remove that coat closet in the kitchen.

That way, people don’t have to walk through the living room to get to the kitchen.



House #6 is #230 River View Cottage Southern Living


sl-230 - River View Cottage Southern Living Dream Home

#230 River View Cottage Southern Living

This is similar to Turnball Park, above this house, and nearly the same square footage at 2,315.

sl-230 River View Cottage Southern Living

However, I very much love this layout. The entrance is fantastic as is the location of the stairwell.


Okay, one of those was an extra floor plan. I love them both.

But, this last one is super-wonderful, as well.

House #7  #1263 the Franklin House. It is designed in the Federal/Greek Revival style and has many fantastic features.

However, I’m not wild about the entry. I feel that the doorway is too close to the staircase and also overlaps it too much.

So, I took way too much time, trying to fix it. It’s not easy to do this kind of detail on picmonkey, which is why it looks sloppy. But, hopefully, you get the idea. I widened the entry by about 3 feet or so. I also tried to center the windows inside the house as well as outside with the columns. I’m sure it can be done. But, as I said, it’s difficult in picmonkey. I don’t have any drawing equipment with me.

However, I love this house now. And, look, one, two, THREE fireplaces! I’m estimating with the changes I made the house is now about 2,500 square feet.


So, of all of these dream homes, which one do you like the best? I can’t decide.


Can’t I have them all?

Please tell me what you think in the comments.




PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!


116 Responses

  1. I can’t climb stairs because I have Muscular Dystrophy, but hell if I’ll “transfer to a nursing home”. Be careful with pride, Laurel; it goeth before a fall–sometimes literally! How about an article about ATTRACTIVE universal/handicapped/aging-in-place design?

    1. I’m so sorry about that. And, you’re right. Although, my mom stayed in her home with stairs until she fell outside the home at age 92. For aging in place info, please check out my friend and colleague, Mitzi Beach.

  2. Love #7. I lived in Oxford, Alabama for a time, and there was a house for sale there which looked very similar to this, but it was an original from the 1850s. It was gorgeous from the outside. I used to think Victorian was my favorite style, but now that I have lived in places with another generation or two of settlement, I’ve seen more Greek revival style, and I have to say, it’s growing on me!

  3. I love number one but would love to see it in a 1500 square foot edition with just a little more space. That might solve the entrance problem. I think number 2 is near perfect. For extra luxury, I would make the fireplace work from the Master as well, and I would extend out the laundry room an extra 2 feet of width and add a door to the outside so you can use the wall opposite washer/dryer for “mudroom”. There was at least one other house where I would make the Fireplace “double sided” so to speak. But overall, love them all.

  4. Hey Laurel, from one mosquito target to another, I say good job! These are all lovely homes. I personally prefer #5, though I agree with you on the coat closet needing to be taken out. It’s beautiful. # 6 looks similar from the front, but has a “shotgun ” feel inside, which is fine if that is what your lot dictates. #7 is also would be hard to turn this down. It would look great in Highland Park. I love #1 for my future lakehouse retreat, “On Golden Pond”. Love #2 for my future southern beachfront getaway. # 3 would be perfect in New Orleans (another dream of mine). As cute as #4 is, I just couldn’t get over the entryway overlooking my neighbors’ garage…maybe on a corner lot.
    Do you ever plan on having grandchildren ? That would certainly increase the square footage needed.
    Don’t rule country living out just yet…we moved to a ranch 1 hour west when I was a kid. Every weekend was a party because it was like living in a country club. There was swimming, fishing, fossil hunting , horseback riding, etc. Our city friends came every weekend. Of course, the 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms helped. So did the guesthouse. 🤠
    One more note…when I was in my 30’s I walked 3 miles every day during lunch, then climbed18 flights of stairs. My legs (and everything else) were in great shape. Now that I’m 62 climbing stairs doesn’t thrill me as arthritis seems to be in the very near future. All the ballet positions in the world can’t cure it. 2nd floors are great for grandkids though!
    I can’t wait to see which one you choose, and how you’ll furnish it.
    P.S. I think you’re really a southern girl at heart! You should try Texas out…we have real fireplaces here!

  5. Both parents lived/living to over 100 which they claim is partly due to always living with stairs! So we make sure to have a master suite on each floor with grab bars in the downstairs bath. That way we can age-in-place, pamper a hurt knee, or host guests who don’t do stairs. Right now elderly mother lives in downstairs suite with us upstairs, and you can imagine how grateful we are that she’s sheltering with us instead of somewhere else.

  6. You and I have the exact same style. My husband and I are looking for a home too, and what we’re finding is that the gorgeous homes, have scary prices! Fortunately, we’re looking at a home in Revere. It’s not our dream home, but we’re hoping to make it so. I love your blog and I’m going to keep reading it. It has some low ceilings so after I finish this post, I’m going to check out your post for that. 🙂 Welcome to Massachusetts!!!!

  7. Love your blog. All the choices are beautiful. I too relax by designing my dream house when I’m stressed out–or else by reading decorating blogs (because I like to dream I have an extra 40k lying around to make my perfectly functional living room really nice.)
    Re stairs: it’s not just a problem for old decrepit people. I sprained my ankle badly and for months, every time I went down stairs, it hurt, and worse, I’m pretty sure I was re-injuring it and slowing down the healing. So stuff ended up being let on the wrong level and looking messy. My next home has to have at least a bedroom, bath with shower and laundry on the main level. It’s not a matter of fitness or “can’t” climb stairs (like I can’t run a 4 minute mile or dead-lift 400 pounds) but of sometimes “shouldn’t”. As we get older, injuries can take much longer to heal, or repeated injuries can catch up with us–I must have sprained my ankle a dozen times growing up.

  8. Dang, girl, you have a distinctly Southern taste in houses! Ironic for me because, although I am a 13th generation Southerner, I prefer Yankee style–Martha’s Vineyard, NYC brownstones, I love a good Cape Cod, I like Federal, Greek Revival and Dutch colonials. I do own a 100 year old (well, nearly) poor man’s Craftsman in Mississippi with wide plank heart pine floors. Hoping to move home in the next few years, and I’ll be adding a fireplace!

  9. You have lots of comments but I thought I would point out things in each home:
    #1 over the kitchen sink appears to be a window or an opening into the library. It doesn’t seem right. House #2 Is the owner’s foyer a lot of wasted expensive real estate? And wouldn’t a double front door look great on this house? House #3 master bath has no separate shower and I think a kitchen corner sink takes up a lot of usable countertop space. House #4 study is 6 x 5 really small and bedroom 4 is really small also. House #5 no tub in bathroom but seems to have space under the two windows. House #6 from the front of the house you have to go through every room to get to the garage door. House #7 you have to walk through the library to get to the dining room. Two doors in the laundry room usually makes it a convenient hallway. Ugh.
    But let me say I would pick #2. The outside is gorgeous and I know you would have it beautiful inside as always.

  10. Laurel,
    One thing I look for is where do you enter the home from the garage – car park area. My ideal would enter into a m
    ud room/laundry area or the kitchen. So handy when coming home with arms laden! #2 and #4 have the master at the front of the house – not my ideal situation. Also, #4 doesn’t appear to have a guest powder room – just the bathroom shared by the 3 other bedrooms. That would be a disaster with my family.

  11. California only allows electric fireplaces in new builds. And will soon ban all wood burning fireplace use in many areas. I love my fire, but got used to my gas fireplace which puts out very nice heat without any work.

  12. Laurel, I would pick house #2 as my dream home it has a wonderful floor plan and would be easy to decorate. I love the screened room at the back and the lovely front porch. I live in Coastal Florida the home being built look like many of the floor plans you posted. I am anxious to see what the final vote will be.

  13. Laurel, I would pick house #2 as my dream home it has a wonderful floor plan and would be easy to decorate.

  14. Turnbull Park, #5, just screams, “Charleston!”
    I graduated from College of Charleston and lived in town. It’s my dream to live there again someday!

  15. I vote for house #2! It just spoke to me 🙂

    I hope your ‘itchy’ bites are going away!

    Enjoy the time with your son!


  16. Haha looking at house plans for my dream house is my favorite past time also – what a fun post! Love 2, 5 (except the master bath is a train wreck), 6 and 7. Apparently I should be living in the south! I adore these architectural styles. My “requirements” are very similar to your 🙂 Fabulous architecture, lots of windows, fireplaces, porches, except I also want a kick-ass kitchen b/c I love to cook! A water view wouldn’t hurt either, as long as we’re dreaming…

  17. I would never not have stairs. Keeps you mobile. My grandma had the steepest stairs in her old house in UK and she lived until 105. Also, I wouldn’t choose any of those floor plans because the porches all hang over the downstairs windows so the downstairs will be dark.

  18. House #2. Nice master bath/closet arrangement. I love the back kitchen idea. That is especially important since the kitchen is open to the living area. No toilet or wet walls placed against living area walls. Plenty of back porch space.

  19. Laurel, It is #4 for me, perfect size and so quaint! Thanks for all the pics! Hope your bites are healing, UGH! 😉

  20. I bought the books also and would spend hours studying and dreaming! I agree better than looking on computer screen

  21. I’ve had large and small homes. Two deciding factors to consider; 1) Stairs – as we age, stairs are a constant complaint in older people. 2) Space – are your children living at home and if not, do they visit all at once? House #1 is my favorite for the small and house #2 is my second favorite. Smaller is much easier to care for and has enough space if you don’t entertain a LOT. The second house is larger but has a lot of useless space. I would make two bedroom downstairs decreasing the size of both master bedroom and closet. (Sorry you have to share the bath if you have company) smile! Have fun deciding what to do. Young bigger, older smaller My one wish is being able to build my own home. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money and I’m going to be 68. Please enjoy your challenge and do what YOU want. I tell my boys never look back on life and wish you had when you didn’t. (wouldn’t tell them thats what I do)

  22. What a treat studying these lovely floorpans. I could honestly live in any of these but my favorite is #2 . Also enjoyed the finished rooms by Sarah!

  23. What a nice selection of dream homes. I would choose house number one. There seems to be space for entertaining and I love the two porches. I would definitely use the space designated for a library as an entrance. Also, for me, given the smaller size, I would feel that I could have all of the high end bells and whistles that heart desires (appliances, cabinets, etc.).

  24. One more thing, we live in the south, when we built our home, we did not think about location on our lot very much, but very much to my pleasant surprise, I have appreciated having the north aligning with the front right point corner of our house. We get comfortable sun at all times on our front porch in the morning and on our patio in the afternoon, MB wing blocks hot Westerly sun as well. I can’t tell you how many beautiful homes I see, here, with sun blazing down on the part of the house meant to be enjoyed, in the afternoon, etc.
    Also, love roof overhanging back of house, can sit out in rain, grill, etc. Love an entrance also protected from weather for guest arrivals, etc.

  25. Oooh! All so lovely! We purchased our dream home two years ago that checks all your boxes, Laurel, although we have a covered patio instead of a porch. It was “tornado ready” as my kids like to say when we bought it but wowzer, it’s a “Hello Dolly” now! 😀

  26. Hello Laurel, I grew up in a two-story Colonial, but have since rented a few one-main-floor houses, and have found them rather convenient. Although perhaps more expensive to heat or cool, the elongated floorplans give more privacy and space to separate activities. Some of my wish-list items learned from experience are a basement laundry area, a distinct dining room, although it doesn’t hurt to be contiguous with the living room, and a real staircase to a (floored) attic.

  27. In my family, we are born with bad knees and mine are no exception. I’ve been lucky not to have needed knee surgery, whereas my younger sister had her first knee surgery in her 20s.

    It’s single story houses for me, ideally. Stairs seem to cause damage to my knees if I have to use them regularly.

    Since I live in a retirement area, I’ve seen way too many people build houses in their 50s and early 60s come to regret they didn’t think about it being handicapped accessible later when stuff starts to go wrong.

  28. I’m having trouble deciding, too. I love the Greek revival style ones for their looks. And then when I think about the way I would use a house, I know that I need a dedicated office, because I leave my work out from day-to-day. I need more than one bedroom, for guests. I need a garage that’s not too far from the kitchen, so I don’t have to drag groceries too far through the house when they are heavy or a bag is going to break. And, I need a dining room right next to the kitchen so I can take a huge turkey and slap it down quickly on the table without falling over. Add to that my wants: porch, fireplace, two stories, etc. and I’m leaning toward the larger houses, or the shot-gun.

  29. I agree with a few of the above comments regarding having the master on first floor. Might be goods also to have 2 downstairs in the event your husband refuses to get a CPAP for a few years. Love a partial upstairs for a getaway or storage. Ben Pentreath’s book “How To Get Your House Right” has ruined me on everything from fireplace and window placement to the importance of symmetry and a central entry from a design standpoint. One plan above has no living space adjacent to the kitchen. That doesn’t sell in Texas. But I love all the porches and classic designs! My vote is the house with doorways on each side of the fireplace and windows on the walls just to see how you’d do furniture placement. 😊

  30. Hi Laurel,
    My pick is for the first house. I love a ranch style home & the smaller size is just fine. Of course I’d need the entry changed like you suggested. I certainly don’t need a library & a den.
    But I do need an attached garage. Maybe that could be added to the back of the house some way. I could enter through the back porch & into the kitchen.
    This was fun. We should do it again sometime.

  31. Please buy a home that affords privacy when the drapes are up all day, or you are in the back yard. Horrible if not – trust me…

    You do not want the interior light dimmed due to have to keeping the shades down all day due to a neighbor’s home being six feet out the side wall. Horrible and intrusive.

    Also, you need a yard where you can go out in your bathrobe at 6:00 am, cup of coffee in hand and watch the the sun coming up – all this with out the noisy neighbor observing from his bathroom and critiquing your wardrobe as you adjust thick reading glasses and have no makeup on. Trust me – been here, done this… not pleasant.

  32. #7 for sure….so southern….I can almost hear the live oaks sighing on a stormy night somewhere on the coast between Charleston and Savannah. Interiors can be tweaked, but #7 has so much curb appeal. Can’t wait to see what you do….you are so talented…

  33. Dear Laurel, I love getting your emails…I have six boys, 12-3, so you helped me last through distance “learning” 😄 when it comes to houses, I am learning to be very practical. I had a two storey house with the laundry in the center of the upstairs, and though convenient to the bedrooms, I will never do that again. Too hard to be Mom on two levels all day! Also, I live south of Bham, and while I admit I am a MN girl, (miss snow!) a two storey house in the south is too hot- very expensive to cool. Currently I live in a one level, almost 100 year old farm house, with my laundry off the kitchen, and I am in heaven! So I like #1, and #4, but only if #4 was configured differently. I will only buy/build a house down here on the north side of a hill, with the kitchen/ bedrooms on the east, so the bedrooms will be cooled off by evening. (Can you tell I really don’t like hot weather much??!!)

  34. I enjoy your blog, Laurel, but just wanted to comment on your antipathy toward one-story houses. I developed knee arthritis in my 70s and pretty much quit going upstairs. My present house is in a new development and is one story. It is definitely nicer than a nursing home. I had a knee replacement when I was 83 and could now probably climb stairs again, but why? I live alone with my dog, don’t need a big house, and as long as I can drive and take care of my needs, why a nursing home? I’m 86 and would hate to be in a place with only old people and none of my things (or my dog) with me.

    1. Oh Barbara, please forgive my insensitivity and lame quip which was just my somewhat sarcastic self. You sound like an awesome woman. Also, when I wrote that I was thinking about people who don’t have arthritis and are in their 30s-60s not taking two or three flights of stairs. Speaking of which. I have to go the basement and get my laundry.

  35. #2 would be my first choice. #7 with your changes would come in second. #6 takes third place. For the record #4 came in last. Working fireplaces are not a “need” for me but a garage that you don’t see from the front of the house certainly is. I have often wondered why we see so many houses built that way. UGLY! Also a foyer or entry is important. There are so many easy ways to create one, I don’t know why it is ignored when creating a floor plan. BTW, I like your idea of making the library the entry on house #1. I think it could be both at once and be stunning.

  36. #2! Best Curb appeal with a more contemporary style. Love the floor plan and fireplaces. I would wrap the porch all the way around to the master. Thank you for your insightful and humorous writing! All the Best to you!!

  37. #1 Banning Ct- I’d make the front screened porch into an entry and sunroom combo, then add screens to the porch in the back (and make it larger). That way you keep the office. I’m not sure the master bath and closet are big enough though. They are all lovely

  38. LINDA, what a great comment, and good questions to ask. With respect to ageing in place, my husband and I have a story and a half Arts and Crafts, and are thinking of having an elevator put in should the need arise. They are increasingly affordable.

  39. My husband and I are actually in the process of building our retirement dream home (we have been dreaming about it since 2008 when we purchased our lot) – just signed the contract with the builder today. So instead of choosing one of the plans – which are all beautiful, I am going to share some suggestions.

    Years ago an interior designer from Ethan Allen asked me how I intended to use my space. At the time I wasn’t concerned about that – I just wanted my space to look like something out of a magazine! Over the years I have come to understand the wisdom behind her question.

    So my first question to you is “How do you envision using your house?” Do you plan to entertain a lot? Large groups, or intimate gatherings? Do you envision your children coming to stay with you? Or do you think it is more likely that you will be traveling to visit them? The answers to these questions should help you decide if you need to go with one of the larger plans, or if one of the smaller plans would better suit your lifestyle.

    There is wisdom in eliminating stairs in the house when you get older. What if you wind up with a walker or a wheel chair. People today prefer to age in place. Nursing homes are not fun places to live if one can avoid them. I wouldn’t rule out a two story, but I would make sure that the main level has a master bedroom and a full bath so that you could happily live on the one floor and ignore the upstairs should that be necessary. And should you end up with live-in help, THEY can live upstairs!

    All of your dream houses are Southern designs. Where do you envision living in the South? Option #1 belongs in a small Southern town. You might not enjoy that. Then again, you might welcome the change. Option #2 is definitely Low Country – it belongs in South Carolina near the ocean. Option #3 would work well in Beaufort – or Savannah. Options #4 & #5 belong in New Orleans. How do you feel about evacuating for hurricanes in your old age? That is frankly a question that we had to ask ourselves, because we would love to move (back) to New Orleans! Option #6 is flexible. You could build it anywhere – north or south. I think it would work especially well on a corner lot. Option #7 looks the most grand. It could definitely be built in the suburbs of Atlanta (Be advised, the traffic is awful around Atlanta.). Or Charlotte, or Charleston, or Savannah, or . . .

    So when you dream about your dream house, where is it and how will you live in it?

  40. I love the Low Country Farmhouse. I am a Southern girl! I have lived in the South all my life. I would love to have this house in Chaleston-it is my favorite Southern city.

  41. I love choice #2 the Southern Living house plan 2000 – Low Country Farmhouse. I like that it has a first floor master bedroom.

  42. 1, 5, and 6, love porches and I agree garage should not be in front. Great post, loved all the houses , hard time making up my mind.

  43. Laurel! No. 5 is in Oxford, Mississippi where I have a home! I often walk by this house, and there are actually two next door to each other. I recognized it by the gate. Google maps is too dated to show them, but I’m almost positive they are on Tyler Avenue, and they are more beautiful even in person!

  44. Heavens, if we ever build again, I’ll be picking one of these homes! I love the well thought through layouts that are both beautiful and functional simultaneously. I see many modern homes that have so much useless space or entirely dysfunctional aspects that are there solely because that’s what the current trend is. I love #2, and #4 and #5, but they’re all simply gorgeous!

  45. At night, if I can’t sleep, I dream up houses. Sometimes, it’s the perfect apartment/condo waaaaay up in a marvelous location in NYC. Sometimes, it’s a tidy, small house like the above SL ones in the perfect location – must have seasons, but only one snow a year (here today and gone tomorrow), no summer temperatures over 85F, no hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes. I don’t ask for much.

  46. Southern Living house plan 2000 – Low Country Farmhouse.

    Designer: Sarah Bartholomew
    Architect: Court Atkins
    Photographer: Gibson, Josh

    This is my favorite house

  47. Oh Laurel, I can so relate, from not being a whiny old lady (twin boys who think I am capable of more than I am),to being eaten by mosquitos, to dreaming about houses. Add to that can’t decide on decorating styles and colors. I no sooner decide on one syle/color scheme, then see another that gets me going in another direction. I can’t decide! All are gorgeous but the ground floor of #2 has a lot of fine qualities, esp. that back deck/sunroom. I am a sucker for porches with a view. Great post! I will definitely be rereading it.

  48. It looks like #2 is the winner!

    I like both the exterior and the unusual interior floor plan. Very rarely does it happen that both are appealing.

  49. Wow, even Southern Living is deleting dining rooms — and even slightly separate dining areas. That makes me sad. I’d rather have a two bedroom home with a dining room than three bedrooms with an open kitchen and cramped dining area. Judging by the high-end condo market, I’m not alone. There are a lot of vintage homes with appealing layouts for empty-nesters and singles, but it’s really hard to find appropriate new build homes outside of retirement communities. Thanks for this post, Laurel. It’s really interesting.

  50. I am going with number 5. I LOVE balconys. I don’t have a single one or even a porch. And…I will get started on those 100 releves beginning today!

  51. I love #2’s exterior. It has a more contemporary feel; however, I don’t like the idea of the dining room and master bedroom being at the front of the house. You would always have to close the curtains of the master especially at night. It’s too open to public view. So, I pick #5. It’s charming, and the floor plan is practical. I agree that the closet in the kitchen needs to be removed and the foyer opened up to the kitchen. Otherwise, I could live there. Are we allowed to envision a bigger yard? If yes, then I envision a huge lawn and patio and garden and infinity pool and fruit trees and Golden Retrievers playing.

  52. Laurel,
    I’ll take House #4 on a lot in the Bayou St. John area in New Orleans. I’ll be in heaven and you can come and visit anytime.

  53. I love all of them but if I had the funds I would probably choose the last one. As I write this I am in the throws of packing and finishing building another Southern Living plan home, Sugarberry Cottage. I am struggling as to where I can put all of my books. I have a modest and well loved library that I am not wanting to part with. Downsizing is a challenge. All homes you choose are lovely.

  54. Hi Laurel, Such a great post! House #2… The photos of the interior on the link you provided are just beautiful. Thank you!

  55. Also, please, I don’t see the leg exercises highlighted?!? I need this, my knees hurt and I think it’s because my legs are getting weaker by the minute.

    1. Sorry about that. I put it back in. I think something must’ve happened in the editing. There are tons of videos on youtube for leg exercises to build more muscle.

  56. I am not experienced enough to be able to get the feel of the interior rooms without seeing pictures of them. Some of these have photos of interiors, some don’t. My favorite based on interior shots is #5 Turnbull house. I love the living room both for size (ample room for furniture) and all the lovely light coming in from the many windows. The upstairs landing, with room for furniture, is also great.
    I’m not so much a fan of the fan favorite @2, because the living room seems quite cramped. There is a huge amount of the floorplan taken up by the master bedroom, bath and closet, maybe at the expense of the common areas.

  57. Laurel,

    Such lovely plans! I vote for #2– I love the practicality of the pantry off the kitchen as well as the flow of the rooms. I wish that one of your plans is a one level (we are in our 70’s and looking to downsize to a one level), but this is otherwise a great floor plan.

  58. #4 grabs me right in the heart but the interior looks pretty cluttered, I am spatially challenged and don’t have enough imagination to visualize these kinds of things.

    So, #2 with the addition of porches down sides. Heck, all the way around while we’re dreaming.

    What is an owner’s foyer?

    And it’s FLAIR!!! Not flare. Honest to God…

  59. Definitely House #2. It is absolutely stunning! Very functional floorplan w/o being cookie cutter. Definitely my 1st choice. Good luck!

  60. House # 5 Turnball park Southern Living #1124
    I like master bedrooms to back of house. I like this master bedroom’s proximity to laundry and screened in porch. I love functional french doors (upper balcony.)

  61. I love House #2! The first thing that grabbed me was the giant screened porch. We live on ours, and the skeeters won’t get you there. The large Gathering Room is, I think, preferable to two smaller formal rooms that you see in some other houses, and this looks like a good plan for entertaining. The Back Kitchen and all the storage space back there would come in handy. I also find a separate owner’s foyer helpful to keep all of our coats and stuff out of the front entry, and you could probably put even more storage under the stairs.

  62. House #2.layout is perfect. Not wild abot the double columns in the front. Would combine to make one on each side. Also would wrap porch around master bedroom with afrench door and wrap porch on opposite side at dining room with French door for an out door dining experience.All your lovely selections have a southern flare! My favorite!

  63. All the options are wonderful, but since you (and we along with you) are dreaming, go for the 2700 sq ft #2 house. Yes, it’s the biggest, but not too huge. I just love the wide front porch with not one, but TWO porch swings. The large screen room in the back with a fireplace is perfect. I can imagine sitting in both outdoor spaces with guests (the more we are outside the better, and how easy it would be to “distance” with two swings) at different parts of the day depending on the sunlight. Great pics–thank you for such a wonderful site. You’re a great writer and designer!

  64. I love the floor plan of house 2! The space is laid out perfectly with lots of storage. The last house you have was my inspiration for the outside of my house we just built. I couldn’t do porches on the second floor because of young babies, but we made pilasters instead and stuck the porch on the side of the house so I could still have a nice porch with a swing. All of your must haves were on my list as well except we went with a vinyl floor throughout that really looks so much like wood. I was converted! I can’t wait to see what you do with one of these plans.

  65. House #5, with a redesign of the master bath to include a freestanding tub. I like the idea of pantry type storage in the bathroom, so practical. I also like the storage room upstairs. The flow between the kitchen, dining, and living areas is great, lots of light from big windows, and you cannot see the kitchen from the front door. Why would I want anyone to see a kitchen mess as soon as they step into the house? A mud room would be a nice addition. In the link they showed a fireplace added to the screen porch, and that was fabulous.

  66. Oh, oh, oh, those beautiful porches! It’s so hard to choose just one home! But, I think I would go with #2. I prefer having fewer, larger rooms and have never been a fan of a lot of small cut up rooms. I love the screened in back porch on this one too! Thank you, Laurel, for this wonderful post. I can’t wait to see how to change and style the final pick!

  67. House number 2!! I love it! And, can envision it sitting on a lot, that I do not own, here in PA.
    I am thinking a covered walkway, to the garage they (also) show on the SL website, would enhance the overall look. (my hubby is into cars, so I need to think about garage space too)

  68. Laurel, I so love all of your choices. And I love all of your “must-haves” except one – and that is the real wood-burning fireplace. No! No way! I grew up with several in the house and they will work you to death. While they are beautiful, they also can cause all your clothes, linens, etc. to smell like burning wood. Also not good.
    Maybe there is a new way to take care of “real” fireplaces now, I don’t know. Like getting the wood in and ashes out. And ashes popping out and burning floor, cleaning chimney and so much more. Give me a fairly realistic looking fake fireplace and I will be happy – and use it all the time.
    And this would be a good blog – fake vs real fireplace, some good, new models of gas fireplaces.
    Love your ideas and gain much from your blog.
    Thank you!

  69. Definitely House # 2 It is Southern Living house plan 2000 – Low Country Farmhouse.
    Super perfect – covered front porch and screened back,no more bugs! Lovely proportions, gorgeous windows, practical back kitchen, nicely designed master bedroom wing, love the staircase in the back of the house, etc! I saw the upstairs plan – again perfect, each extra bedroom with their own bathroom. Well designed floor plan and a stunning front elevation. Perfect! Love #2, Laura!!

  70. Laurel,
    I vote for #2 because of its compact size and charm. Having owned 10 houses, from little ranch styles to a 3200 sq ft open floor 2 story in Tucson, l find myself drawn to cozy but always with historically accurate exteriors. (More closet space is always nice as well). I moved 23 times as an Army wife with five children.
    I love house plans too.
    Every year l would buy myself a gift of Southern Living House Plans special edition magazine. I had quite a collection and l could dream by turning the pages. Sometimes I’d use highlighter to make changes. I still have them!
    Now l use their website to look at Southern Living houseplans but there is much more satisfaction holding it in your hands.
    Val in UK, when l lived in The Netherlands, we had a powder room in the entry foyer under the stairs. It would be very convenient in these days of handwashing, as you suggest.

  71. I’d go for #2.. Love the idea of a back kitchen with pantry.. And with windows.. super nice.
    As an aside, my boyfriend and I just bought what I thought was a too large house in Western MA. It’s a very old house, Federal – 1796 ish and is approx. 3600 sq feet. It’s been renovated and does resemble #7 somewhat. We don’t use the front door. We use the side door that used to lead into the kitchen but now has been reshaped to be a foyer. It works out well. No view of a staircase and it feels open and inviting. And luckily we do have many of the features you list as dream wants. The reason I’m writing though is to say that we really wanted HUGE trees too but we found that the kind of property that had them with the kind of features you ( and we ) dreamt about ended up being found with larger houses on larger plots of land.. At least up here in the Berkshires. BUT having a lot of square footage turns out to feel amazing. We don’t have many rooms and they are large and on the empty side but we like a minimalist look anyway.. Can’t recommend Western MA any higher for beautiful old houses.

  72. I love #1 as a cottage. The screen porch is a must-have in New England!

    I am not sure which one I would choose for my home. I am being practical and I have to think of limitations such as lot size and orientation. Upper level porches never get used.

    I tend to agree with Val from the UK, our living is going to change due to Covid, so placement of a powder room near the entry for hand washing, and thinking about a home office and fitness space will also be important. Pantry size in the kitchen will also be paramount.

    Laurel – I would love to see a focus on front porch and entry designs, especially with a secure delivery box. I know so many people that are ordering everything online. Providing delivery security is a requirement!

    Thanks for letting us dream with these designs!


  73. Love all the houses but all except #4 feel closed off from the back yard to me. My dream home would have the traditional southern look but also have a kitchen and informal living space over looking a spacious backyard filled with a large tree, shaded deck or patio with small flowering trees, shrubs and flowers.

  74. Love #2 and #7….but gotta go with #2. My requirements in my next home are four ensuite bedrooms and a master downstairs. I’m very intrigued by the garage suite. We have lots of visitors and shared bathrooms are very awkward. The photos of Sarah Bartholomew’s designs are exquisite, but I’m confident Laurel can knock it out of the park as well!!

  75. Love #2 – beautiful flow to the floor plan. Love that back kitchen/ pantry and laundry! Good bones!

  76. House #5 but needs a sloped roof on the porches for the snow load.

    Have you ever seen this website?

    Its where I shop for old classic houses – you can choose to see only the greek revivals (or federals – my fave). I currently have a mild obsession with the stair case & fireplaces of the $35,000 Louise Allen House –, Its on the circa old house site but I couldn’t link there. Yeah its a wreck but it isn’t to hard to imagine it beautiful.

  77. I love the Turnball Park house, mostly because the laundry room is beside the master suite!

  78. No. 5 for me. Not too big, not too small and definitely need 2nd floor as I’m with you, stairs are good exercise. Would have to have garage, which could be separate.

    Look forward to what you do with whatever you choose.


  79. I love #2 and #6. #2 has a main floor master and the most gorgeous exterior…that front porch! #6 has a great floor plan and an attached garage. In western Massachusetts, I’d go for that one. In Charleston, #2 would win hands down.

  80. I would choose House #3. I love the charm and the size of this house as I am looking to go smaller now that my last child has graduated from college! I would add a stained glass window at the top of the house. I am a New Orleanian tried and true and yes, that’s what a shotgun house is except this house is much more! A shotgun house is comprised of a single room followed by another and a door in the front and back of the house. You have to walk through each rooms to get to the next. Not an ideal floor plan to say the least.

  81. #2 is my personal favorite. I would not change a thing unless I was able to find a corner lot that would allow for a side garage under and basement, then I may move the laundry to the basement. I prefer the laundry mess out of site.

  82. House No. 2 is my absolute favorite. I love the deep porch and the layout is wonderful. I can picture you there. Runner up is House No. 5.

  83. I love the Low Country Farmhouse. All of these Southern Living house plans tell me you are a Southern girl at heart.😉

  84. Laurel, about that walk through the woods, I have been looking for a place to opine on this subject: mosquitos. I am 77 and also have O+ blood and have been a mosquito magnet all my life, and as you can see, quite a long time. A month ago decided to take Quercetin, 500mg a day to strengthen my resistance to COVID-19. No affiliation, but after working in my garden several days now, emptying pots,etc of standing water, I have realized I had no, zero, mosquito bites. For first time in my life ever. I have been looking for someone else who was bite prone, and, after taking Quercetin for about a month or so, might have noticed same phenomenon. It feels like a miracle to me, no kidding! PS love you blog and style, also live in Wilmington NC, lots of mosquitoes.

  85. House #2 Low Country Farmhouse. I have been looking at house plans also and it was on my list also. Although, I really like Family House Plans #44100. I would love to see you furnish it. I had trouble getting this to post. Sure hope it’s not on here several times.

  86. # 2 & # 5 are my favourites by far. I’d be happy in either one. LOVE Southern Living magazine & LOVE everything about southern design. THANK YOU, Laurel, for your excellent posts! They are always welcomed & appreciated!

  87. I’d have to go with the largest, The Low Country Farmhouse, even though I’m no longer a fan of large homes (at my age!). I wonder if you could “tweak” some of that business in the back of the house though. I love Banning Court but had to eliminate it due to the fact that there’s no foyer. I HATE walking right into the LR from outside…and it’s a little TOO small. I love Turnball Court even though the stairs are right there when you open the front door. At least they’re set aside and you have room to open the door! At 2300 sq ft, it’s still a little big for my liking. I like them all, Laurel, it would be very hard to narrow it down especially with our “tweaking” abilities! lol Another great post!

  88. I vote for house 6! Fabulous design and wonderful spaces to showcase your talent, Laurel. Can’t wait to see what you do. This is fun (at least for us).

  89. House #5 for curb appeal. I love the pale blue outdoor ceilings. Agree you can’t be walking through the living room to get to the kitchen.

  90. Low Country Farmhouse. That house will fit anywhere. In the North or South. With snow Or without
    How tall are the ceilings? I have to have 12 feet.
    Can I have a Chef too? Or is that asking too much…

  91. Hey! I’ve been doing the same thing! Check this one out: family home plans #41400 It is my favorite. I’d love to see you furnish this one.

  92. They are all great but I have one more requirement – a powder room near the front door, so that everybody who enter the house can wash their hands before proceeding further. 🙂

  93. Laurel,

    Love your selections! I vote for the Cottage Revival Dream home with a few tweaks., don’t think I would want the master in the front, and I would absolutely screen in the porch.

    We recently built in our old neighborhood after a 2 year stint with condo life downtown. My husband and I designed our dream home over 4 years and used chief Architect home designer suite software (100 bucks when we purchased) and had an architect draw up the Final plans and assist at the end with fine details..

    We love our long term one story house in the French Mediterranean style, and the 16 foot ceilings in the center and 12 ft on the sides create spaciousness which we love, and we both enjoy the screened in porch daily.

    While we both love the aesthetic of trees, consider a low maintenance yard, (we are an older couple (we need less to do outside and spend time entertaining inside.)

    Our neighbors lots have an abundance of trees and greenery which we appreciate daily, without all the work that goes with extensive landscaping – something we also considered as a mature couple.

    Hope this is helpful in discussion for a possible long term home for you as well as others.

  94. House 5 Turnball Park. Love the layout and the open kitchen. Might tweak the bathroom n the master to simplify the layout. But when I saw the constructed photos where they added the outdoor fireplace in he screened porch area it sold me. Perfect.

  95. Hi Laurel,

    Number 2 for the amazing layout and relaxing from porch. Number 5 for the lovely exterior and balcony.

    You made it so difficult to choose, because they’re all so lovely.

    Hope you get to live in it, whichever one you chooseI

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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