About House Plans Helper

Why I built this site

Hi, I’m Meg, and I run the House Plans Helper (HPH) website.  It will come as no surprise to you that I love thinking about home design and sharing my ideas and experiences.

You know how there's loads of sites and blogs on interior design and decor? I love those too, but when I went searching online for information on the level of home design beneath all the decoration (floor plans etc) I couldn’t find a website that focused on this area.

That's why I built House Plans Helper.

I want to provide a place that people can come to for information to help them through their home design projects.

Just in case you were wondering, I'm not an architect, nor am I an interior designer.  I wonder if I’ll come back as some sort of home designer in my next life?  I started out with a Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering and settled down as an IT Business Analyst, but most importantly, I’m a homeowner (just like you) and I provide the information on HPH from a homeowner’s perspective.

HPH is all about encouraging you to learn about home design so that you can make better design decisions about your home.

So how did I learn about home design?

Learning about home design

I became interested in home design because I've lived in lots of different homes around the world (23 at the last count). It's just the way my life has turned out! Over the years I started wondering why some homes were so much nicer to live in than others.

I’ve also done a major renovation project of my own home.

I started using design techniques from my background in IT and user interface design to analyze the homes I'd lived in.

I read every book I could find on home design (thanks to kind university librarians looking after various architecture libraries around the world where I’ve lived).

I talked to architects.

I talked to design psychologists.

And the fruit of all my learning and experience is here on House Plans Helper.  I invite you to take a look at the site map.

House Plans Helper Manifesto

Here's a sort of ‘manifesto’ which lays out the thoughts and ideas behind HPH.

  1. Having knowledge about home design is useful under these circumstances:
    -  Doing a new build or renovation project whether you’re designing your own home or working with a design professional (eg architect, interior architect or designer, building designer)
    -  Looking for a house plan that has already been designed.
    -  Looking to purchase a home.
  2. It is hard to learn about residential architecture without studying architecture at college.  There are so many resources available on how to choose your paint colours and fabrics, why aren’t there equivalent resources in home design?
  3. I am not an architect or design professional and HPH is not intended to be a substitute for using a design professional on your project if required.  I create the information here from my perspective as a homeowner, just like you!  I document what I think and learn so that it might be of use to other homeowners doing a project.
  4. I believe the help of professionals will achieve a better design result, however, a homeowner should not rely solely on design professionals (eg architect, interior architect or designer, building designer).  A homeowner should have enough knowledge to fully understand their home design and have input into the design process.
  5. If you’re doing a home project it helps a great deal to be able to read a floor plan.  Many people do not know how to read a floor plan / blueprint.
  6. The more thought someone puts into their home design, the better their home design will be.
  7. While visitors to HPH may not find a solution to a specific design problem, my hope is that reading through the site will enable a way of thinking that will empower them to come up with their own solutions. 
  8. There is a certain type of luxury to be experienced in a well-designed home.  This luxury is found in the ease of flow and function of the home rather than solely in the décor.  This is why activity based design is useful.
  9. It is important to focus on what your home will feel like to live in it.  How will you experience it physically with all your senses?  How will you experience your home emotionally?  This is why design psychology is useful.
  10. There are lots of aesthetic elements that are included as part of the build such as the doors, floors, fireplaces, windows, base boards, coving and architraves.  These decisions need to be made as part of the design process.  That's why mood boarding is useful.
  11. What does sustainability mean to HPH?  I’m not in s position to write much about ‘green’ building practices.  I believe that good design in itself contributes to sustainability.
  12. It is important to provide information that is relevant to homes of all shapes and all sizes.
  13. I endeavor to offer a deep exploration of each topic rather than a collection of blog articles that scratch the surface.
  14. A floor plan can never be perfect.  There will always be compromises but these should be entered into with full awareness.
  15. Interior décor focused images available on Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz are fabulous resources and yet there are a couple of disadvantages that HPH seeks to overcome:
    -  They are focussed on how things look, not on what it’s like to live in the rooms.
    -  The number of images is overwhelming and there’s no way to quickly extract core ideas about the layout of a design.  I look through décor resources and analyze them to create comprehensive and succinct lists of ideas.
  16. Last but not least, I am interested in hearing from anyone who has an idea or has been through an experience that they think should be included on HPH.  Please contact me.

My Little Sketches

House Plans Helper Sketches

As you go through the site you’ll come across a few of my “sketches” – especially in the house styles section. They're hardly works of art (I don't think I'm a very good at sketching) but there is a big tradition in architecture for sketching – to show off the design so that color doesn’t start to influence your perceptions.

You’ll also come across a few architecture quotes from my collection. I’ve put them in boxes so that you’ll know where I’ve found something brilliant – that someone else put so well.

HPH Notes

I also find myself writing little notes to you.  It might be something in particular I want to draw your attention to, a piece of design I think is genius (or terrible), something I think we should talk about, maybe even just something from my own experience.

Houzz Ideabooks

Many pages on HPH feature 2D floorplans.  I use Houzz ideabooks to reinforce the ideas discussed on the page with 3D color images.

houzz ideabooks

What has House Plans Helper Accomplished?

Here's a few things that HPH has achieved over the years...

  • By far, the best reward for my work on HPH is when I receive a message from someone who has been able to use the information on the site to make decisions about their home design.  You can read some of those messages on the testimonials page.  I’d love to hear from you if you’ve found HPH useful (or not!). 
Houzz influencer badge
  • My drawings have been used in a book – Architects for Kids 2 by Horacio Sanchez
  • Believe it or not HPH is within the top 0.5% of websites in the world!!  There are about 200 million active websites in the world and Alexa.com places HPH at about 210,000 in the world at time of writing.

So, with that little introduction, be my guest and enjoy exploring House Plans Helper!