Building in the Golden State isn’t quite like building anywhere else. There’s no one style that defines California, since the geography and architecture vary so widely. The house plan designs in this collection represent the vast spectrum of styles that you’re likely to find throughout the state. Please note that some locations may require specific engineering and/or local code adoptions. Be sure to check with your contractor or local building authority to see what is required for your area.
Up in the Bay Area, classic Craftsman bungalows look perfectly at home in Oakland or Berkeley, while San Francisco’s famed Victorian homes may embolden you to choose a fun embellished design. In Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Stockton, you’ll see plenty of simple ranch homes.
Love mid-century modern style? Contemporary, one-story designs emphasize outdoor living and are strongly associated with Palm Springs and desert living. Look for casual open layouts that facilitate easy entertaining. In fact, all kinds of modern designs fit in beautifully in California – this is a state that always likes to set trends!
Spanish-style architecture and other Mediterranean influences can be seen along the central coast (most famously Santa Barbara, replete with red-tile roofs and white stucco) and all the way down into Los Angeles and San Diego. Outdoor living plays a big part in the warm-weather lifestyle, with porches and lanais must-haves for anyone who enjoys relaxing outside. Grills and outdoor kitchens make it easy to throw summer barbecues, especially with large sliding doors between the porch area and the great room or kitchen. In temperate climates, separate guest suites provide comfortable accommodations and extra privacy for visitors or live-in relatives.
Pasadena shows off many timeless Craftsman designs, from modest bungalows to grand Shingle-style Of course, California isn’t all urban. Mountainous regions, such as the Sierra Nevada range, provide rugged terrain that calls out for log cabins, A-frames, and other rustic vacation home styles. While basements aren’t typically found in California, these colder climates may make it desirable.
Keep in mind that building in California often carries additional considerations like engineering for earthquakes or coastal soil – these home designs are not specifically stamped or approved for any particular region. Check with your local building official to find out what is required in your area.