Finding The Perfect Farmhouse Floorplan: Harder than I thought! I almost gave up . . .

Last time we met here, I was struggling to get a farmhouse design out of my HEAD and onto PAPER.


The 2x6s were closing in on me.

How’s that for a little house-building humor?


Actually, if I’m totally honest, my struggle went further back than that . . .


I thought I’d design our house from scratch. I thought I knew which rooms I wanted where.


I thought it would be easier than it’s turned out to be.

Off and on during the two-and-a-half years we prepared to say goodbye to our old house, I played with floorplans. It didn’t take long before I realized that I’m much, MUCH better at improving a floorplan than creating one. I guess that’s why I’ve always enjoyed remodeling/renovating houses. I like helping them function more efficiently—and improving their looks along the way.


So I switched gears and started looking at pre-drawn floorplans. I looked at thousands of floorplans. Online. Plan books. I even ordered a fascinating book to read about the nature of farmhouses to evolve over time as families grew and needs changed.


The core of this book is a direct reprint of Farmers’ Bulletin #1738, Farmhouse Plans by Wallace Ashby, published by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1935.


I knew I wanted our NEW farmhouse to have the feel (and look) of one that’s OLD and has “grown” over time.


Sometimes that evolution is obvious from room placement; other times it’s the roof line that gives it away.


For the longest time I went back and forth between these two floorplans (with modifications, of course!) and a  detached garage . . .  Sorry they’re a bit blurry. #HWBDO62718 #HWBDO11969


And then one day I found this plan . . . # W-PIN-1335 The Coleraine


It was my Final Answer.

With a few modifications, of course!  😉


It’s the plan I was working on last week while trying to get my thoughts on paper—but it never came together.


Part of the problem was having the kitchen on the front of the house. My view would be gorgeous, even on a cloudy day . . .


Can you believe how green it is in January?


But this window arrangement would never work on the front of my house . . . and I want these windows!



So one day I scrapped the plan and went to yet another one I’d considered.


One that was actually my first choice,  but I couldn’t stick with it long enough mentally to make it work.  Huh? # #592-087D-0243


The problem?  The bottom half of the plan was making me cross-eyed! Something told me this was THE plan, but I caved. I gave up on it.


I gave up on myself.


Renaissance Man laughs when, at least once in the course of a construction project, he watches my eyes glaze over. It always happens when something crosses the line and becomes just a little too mechanical or technical for me to follow. That’s how I felt when looking at this plan, especially that jumble of a Master Suite!


But one of you wonderful readers (who happens to be an accomplished architect!) left a comment on my last post:


. . . Enjoy the process, my dear friend. You have what it takes to get to the finish line. So do not even second guess your design abilities, for they are many . . . .


How did she know I was second-guessing myself? How did she know I needed her encouragement?

Who says your comments don’t matter?


So I sat back down at the computer and started working. I mentally took apart the pieces and moved them around, making sure they met my criteria:

  • Appropriate window placement for the Folk Victorian Farmhouse look I want. (More on the exterior later!)
  • Two Master Bath closets
  • Straighter lines—too many angles make me crazy!


With the exception of door swings that my program wouldn’t let me place properly—please ignore those!—I finally succeeded in drawing out my final Final AnswerReally!



The plan is now being drafted professionally. I’m sure there will be a few adjustments, but this is very close. I feel good about it.


I feel good about not giving up on myself.


When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.

~ Isak Dinesen

Is there something you’re facing today that seems TOO BIG?


My little house plan is inconsequential when compared to challenges of health, relationships, unemployment . . . hunger, homelessness, abuse. But perhaps today you can find encouragement here. Encouragement to “keep on keeping on” until one day, clarity comes.


Encouragement to not give up on yourself.


Whatever you’re facing today, friend, hang in there! Ask for help if you need it. Try again, even if you’ve failed before.


I suspect this house-building journey we’re on is going to yield a lot more life lessons! Thanks for stopping by and letting me share them with you.


Thanks for encouraging me.




  1. All the plans are great. Your style will make whatever you build beautiful. Here’s just a little unsolicited advice. Check your garage size choice by parking your two vehicles beside each other and open the passenger and drivers side doors on one. If it is raining and you and your husband are getting into a car inside the garage you need room without bumping the other car. Often people try to save on square footage in places that cause small irritations over the years.
    The same thing with the space in bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s the little things that can be annoying as you get older. We built our house when I was 43 and I wanted a big whirlpool tub. Now at 66 and after a couple of falls I’m dusting the tub. And I’m thankful my husband insisted on a very large shower with room for a seat. Lol Life changes. Our builder thought I was silly for wanting a four plug electrical outlet on each side of our space for a king size bed. Well, a lamp, clock radio, cell phone plug and oh yeah one of those machines for sleep apnea. Oh boy! Getting older changes things. I can just see trying to deal with one plug in the middle of the wall behind the headboard.
    Mistakes I made: no plug on the mantel and porch for the Christmas decorations. Not enough room in the guest rooms for dressers and chest of drawers along with the beds. The placement of recliners. I swore id never have recliners! Oops! I had to eat my words. My husband won and I had to adjust. I know you want this to be your forever house and I want it to be perfect for you now and many, many years from now. Can’t wait to see the building start. Good luck!

    • Mary, thank you for sharing from your house-building experience — and encouraging me while you’re at it! I’m sure we’ll likely make some of our own mistakes, but I can certainly consider yours as food for thought. As for the recliner… Aaagh! The ONE thing my husband is insisting on in our new house is a recliner. I’m having to eat my words, too — and am still preparing to make the adjustment. In the big picture, it’s such a little thing, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for one that (please, God!) meets both his comfort criteria and my aesthetics. I suspect somewhere a year or so from now there will be a blog post on this subject. Surely and I are not alone!

  2. Cindy Scott says:

    I love your new plan and your determination in coming up with what you wanted! I have built two houses and enjoyed the process so much! I took existing plans and had an architect tweek them, so I’m very impressed that you were able to draw up exactly what you wanted from scratch! My only question is do you not need space for children and grands to come stay? Our 3 sons are all grown but we have to have room for all to come home, rarely do they all come at the same time but usually they do at Christmas, just wondering? It’s one reason we hesitate to downsize. Thanks for sharing this building process with us, enjoring your happy journey!

    • Cindy, don’t give me too much credit! I didn’t succeed when I tried to draw 100% from scratch, but thankfully I’ve made progress since. As for more space for family visits… We don’t have a large family—and I have a few temporary solutions in mind—so I think we’ll be okay. If we really get lucky and have everyone home at once, there’s a hotel 10 minutes down the road. It was a hard decision to make because, honestly, I’d have fun decorating one room for every family member! In reality, though, we usually travel to the kids and grands, so it’s time to face reality.

    • Nancy Potter says:

      I’m loving living vicariously thru you as you think and build. I do have to weigh in on the recliner problem. For years I dreaded it and especially when I had matching wings in a gorgeous damask green pattern. Beautiful botanical sofa and a fresh feeling and then along comes the recliner. So sad. But what is the trade, a guy you love to spend time with all stretched out “watching” football as I read. Keeping each other good company in aging and enjoying each other for a while. I would’nt trade it for anything.

  3. So true, Nancy! It really is about priorities, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by (and for coming along on our house-building journey)! I hope you have a great week.

  4. Oh I am SO happy that you found a plan that you could work with. It truly is a daunting task to build a home but I know you will accomplish it beautifully. Have a wonderful week!