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Reverse house plans

tony42's picture

My wife and I have some property in Port Angeles, WA near the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We would like to build a two story home with a reverse plan. I mean that we would like to put the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom/bath on the top floor so that we can take full advantage of the view. I have been unable to find any book showing plans for that kind of home.

Has anyone out there found a book or any other reference that might help us.?

Thank you.

(post #73959, reply #1 of 20)

Pay for an hour or two with a good architect.  That kind of plan is not to be found in a book, to my knowledge.  It's not difficult from a design or construction perspective, just not commonly found.   Unless, it's a case where your main entry to the house is on one level, containing your living areas (common), and the bedrooms, instead of being "upstairs" on the second floor, are instead in the basement (in a manner of speaking).  This is not a bad arrangement and not especially difficult to do, as long as you coordinate your plumbing/electrical/HVAC guys properly. 



(post #73959, reply #11 of 20)

Dear JonE,

Thanks for the advice.

I am afraid you're correct.

We aren't moving to Washington for a year, and I wanted to get a headstart. Our property is on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and we have to build 150 feet back from the strait(a very reasonable precaution since you lose a foot a year on the average).  We have to have the main living quarters on the second floor if we want to see anything. We were lucky to get the property before the prices went totally crazy, and the views are incredible.


Thanks again.


(post #73959, reply #17 of 20)

" . . . and we have to build 150 feet back from the strait (a very reasonable precaution since you lose a foot a year on the average)."

but that means in 151 years you'll just be looking for another house <g>

A little additional advice. Get to your local library and go nuts. Take out some of the specialty books on designed homes. Look at them all, don't box yourself in about budgets, materials, square footage, and all the other muckity muck. It's go time. Get excited. Start looking for what really gets you jiggy (or what you want to avoid).

Reality will offer its steady hand down the road, but it's a lot easier to take away from a design you appreciate than to make a bad design better.

Edited 9/21/2006 2:17 pm ET by draftguy

(post #73959, reply #19 of 20)

Dear draftguy,

Thanks for the advice.

We are in no rush, and we plan on having fun with this project. I am building a home in a computer program; therefore, I am using all the plans I see as reference. So far it has been an entertaining learning experience.

Thanks again.



(post #73959, reply #2 of 20)

Maybe, get a normal set and change the page number callouts?

Welcome to BT - guess you'll have to expect some of that.

Anyway, I have not seen any specific "books" of "upside down" plans, but I've never looked.  I see houses like that reviewed in mags sometimes, and I like the idea.

I wonder if some of those "raised ranch" plans would be a starting point - ones here (Atlanta exurbs) enter at half level, and go up to the main living area - the "basement" is all above ground, even on a slab.  Usually the HO will finish that part as finances and family grow.


(post #73959, reply #3 of 20)

The "raised ranch" sounds like what I would call a split-level.

(post #73959, reply #5 of 20)

Here, a "raised ranch" is not finished on the ground floor.  The second floor is a complete 3/2 house.

Buddy had one, and made a heckuva' home workshop.


(post #73959, reply #8 of 20)

In my mind a raised ranch is just with the foundation raised so that only part of it is in the ground. Sometimes do to natural terain or sometime artifically.

It can have a garage in the basement and/or a walkout basement.

A split level enterance is a raise ranch where the main door and entrance hall is half way between the basement and the first floor with 1/2 flight up and 1/2 flight down.

BTW, my house is also a "reverse". But different from what the orginal poster wanted.

I am on a lake with a hill side sloping from the road to the lake.

The top level is garage and "front door".

From there 1/2 flight down to the 2nd story which is all bedrooms. !/2 flight more to the "basement" under the garage. 1/2 flight more to the first floor which is kitchen, living, and dinning room.

And the kitchen door where everyone uses that knows me.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #73959, reply #12 of 20)

Dear McDesign,

Thanks for the reply.

We aren't moving to Washington, and I wanted to get a headstart. Do some designing/dreaming on my own.

Again thanks.


(post #73959, reply #4 of 20)

A lot of beach houses are built that way, so it doesn't seem like it should be too hard to find plans. On the other hand, they're also up on stilts, which you may not need!

(post #73959, reply #13 of 20)

Dear mikeingp,

Thanks for the reply.

In central and southern California, I have seen many of the reverse houses. It's a great idea to maximize your view. Actually, many were not on  poles, but in a fairly exhaustive search, I haven't found any plans in books or at an online planning site.

Thanks again.



(post #73959, reply #6 of 20)

Cloudhidden made a good point awhile back about the importance of site. It sounds like your site is unique. Put a unique building there.

If you want something spectacular, a plan book will be no help.

Edited 9/20/2006 7:45 pm ET by draftguy

(post #73959, reply #14 of 20)

Dear draftguy,

Thanks for the reply. You're quite right about a plan book not being the answer.

Actually, I was looking for a headstart. I am starting to design a house with a computer program. Yeah, it has been a learning experience. I was hoping to find a plan book that would possibly give me some ideas. We will probably have to go to an architect, but I want to get as involved in the design aspect as possible.

Our site is four+ acres along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We were extremely lucky to find it before the prices went crazy. It is unique in that we will be able to see the Strait to the north and the Olympics to the south. We have to have the height of a second story to take advantage of the Strait view because we have to build 150 back from the Strait.

Again, thanks for the reply.


(post #73959, reply #7 of 20)

Look for plans that are single story front with walk out basement/family rooms below. They are pretty comon in hill country. I'm buikding one like that in Oklahoma.

If you have a problem, don't just talk do something to set it right.

  Jim Andersen

If you have a problem, don't just talk do something to set it right.

  Jim Andersen

(post #73959, reply #9 of 20)

Try this company.  they have drawn quite a few homes in Ocean shores, Wa.  Not too far from you either.

I used them to draw my plans.  I had no problems with their services.

(post #73959, reply #10 of 20)

Dear Migraine,

Thanks for the help.

 I will check them out. It seems as if what we need would be easy to find, but that hasn't been our experience.

Again, thank you.


(post #73959, reply #16 of 20)

Another thing... there is a home plan book that has homes designed for water front. I have one somewhere.  Some of these were good.  Just take the parts you like, scan them to a scaleable size and start cutting a pasting to get what you like.  When you get close, then try going to a guy like I mentioned to draw it for you .  This will(might) save you some $$ since you will help bypass the design phase alittle

Go to model homes and start getting ideas on room sizes that do/don't work for you.  This helps some specially if you of your DW can't grasp visualizing space from plans.

Try Amazon for water front home books.


Edited 9/21/2006 1:57 pm by migraine

(post #73959, reply #20 of 20)

Dear migraine,

Thanks again. I'm looking and am having fun doing so.


(post #73959, reply #15 of 20)

Hi Tony,

You could try this firm:

They offer reverse plans primarily for use at the shore (OBX) but you may

be able to adapt.  I adapted one of their plan sets for use at the Jersey

Shore once (with their permission) and was impressed with the design.

(post #73959, reply #18 of 20)

Dear phillydzine,


 A great site. I spent an hour just looking at the pictures, plans, and info. Very informative. The first site that seemed to specialize in the type of homes that we like.

Thank you so much for the great advice.