Building at the Beach

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Top 10 House Plans

We collected your favorite coastal home designs.

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Over the past 10 years we've featured many homes that we think best suit beach life with their generous porches, open architecture, and abundance of windows. Here we've collected your 10 favorites that truly celebrate the coast.

Cottage of the Year 2002

Cottage of the Year, 2002
This floor plan incorporates multiple common areas, including a wide porch across the front and a screened dining porch that connects the main house to a guesthouse.
The first floor of the main cottage encompasses three distinct spaces: sitting, dining, and living. The hardworking kitchen is equipped for a big family or lots of guests, and an adjacent laundry room makes chores easier. A vestibule leads to the master suite where, in the bath, built-in cabinets, drawers, and twin walk-in closets provide valuable storage. Both upstairs bedrooms have private dressing and lavatory areas that lead to a shared bath.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 Home Plan SL-593
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Moser Design Group
 (September-October 2002)

Rocky Cove

Rocky Cove Retreat
This shingled cottage owes its charm to the architectural details of centuries-old homes in the Chesapeake Bay region. On the main level, a large open room serves as an informal living room and dining area. Off the living space, a large screened porch features an outdoor fireplace. The ground-level master suite has dual vanities and its own outside entrance.
Upstairs, two bedrooms have private baths. A sitting area provides extra privacy between the bedrooms, and opens onto a curved Juliet balcony overlooking the living room below. Throughout the home, built-in bookcases and window seats with bins provide storage space.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 Home Plan SL-669
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Charles Paul Goebel
 (May-June 2003)

Tidewater Retreat

Tidewater Retreat
This weekend getaway was inspired by memories of summers spent at a modest, clapboard cottage that had been in the architect's family for six generations. The result: a raised cottage that cleverly combines a rustic exterior with a sophisticated, modern interior.
To accommodate areas where waters occasionally rise, steel-reinforced concrete pillars elevate the structure. On the main floor, two walls of windows frame an open living and dining room for uninterrupted water views.
In addition to the two bedrooms on that level, the second floor contains a master bedroom and a bunk room. From that level, a private staircase leads to a viewing loft, which offers a 270-degree vista.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 Home Plan SL-998
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, Inc.
( January-February 2004)

Palm Garden Retreat

Palm Garden Retreat, 2004 Idea House
Inspired by Caribbean architecture, this plan incorporates outdoor rooms, a courtyard, and a pool and spa that bring water right to the back door. Just one-room deep in most places, many spaces have windows on three sides.
Downstairs, two wings (one made up of the kitchen, family room, and study; the other, the master suite) connect at a large, open room that includes a dining and living area. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, two baths, a sitting area, and two large porches. A guest cottage separated from the main house by a screened porch and outdoor kitchen adds a fifth bedroom and bath.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 Home Plan SL-1113
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Cooper Johnson Smith Architects, Inc.
 (November-December 2004)

Bermuda Bluff

Bermuda Bluff Cottage, 1998 Coastal Dream House
With its broad porches and metal roof, this plan borrows the greatest architectural hits of historic Lowcountry homes and combines them with spacious interiors and high ceilings. A large great room opens to the kitchen, so the family chef can visit and work at the same time, and three separate outdoor living areas provide ample room for entertaining. Downstairs, an office can easily be converted to an extra bedroom, while the upper-floor loft is dedicated to a guest room and private bath―perfect for kids or a visiting couple. The master suite features his and hers walk-in closets and direct access to the deck, for those homeowners who like to blur the line between indoor and outdoor living.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 Home Plan SL-254
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Allison Ramsey Architects, Inc.
 (May-June 1998)

Sea Island

Sea Island Cottage, 2001 Idea House
With refined proportions, simple railings and pillars, a standing-seam metal roof, and a wraparound porch, this home reflects inventiveness within the framework of classic Lowcountry architecture. On the exterior, the symmetrical front elevation instills formality, while wide steps beckon visitors to the front porch and entrance.
Inside, the living and dining areas, each with its own fireplace, flow together seamlessly. In the kitchen, a two-level island defines an efficient workspace. The study opens to the porch and has its own full bath, making it a nice optional guest room. On the second level, the master bedroom and upstairs landing have direct access to a closet that doubles as a convenient family laundry room. Two bedrooms with private baths complete the upstairs.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 Home Plan SL-481
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Historical Concepts, LLC
 (November-December 2001)


This plan offers a clever mix of rustic (with cedar shake and board-and-batten details) and refined (columns and decorative shutters). A sleeping porch off the master bedroom and a wraparound porch off the family room provide a natural extension to the outdoors and make this 1,715-square-foot home appear―and live―much larger.
Inside, the footprint flows easily from room to room and maintaining an inviting, casual mood that's perfect for the shore. The lofty, two-story ceiling in the family room makes the home feel bright and airy.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 House Plan SL-408
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Caldwell-Cline Architects and Designers
 (March-April 2001)


Bluffton House
With a deep, metal-roofed porch on three sides, this plan makes the most of sheltered outdoor living space. Though the house may look like a shotgun from the outside, the architects gave the space better flow. The three bedrooms line one side of the house, while the other side is left open for living spaces. Two bedrooms with a shared bath anchor the front, while the master suite in the rear features a private bath, a spacious walk-in closet, and access to the wraparound porch.
Near the center of the house, the kitchen connects the dining and family rooms, and houses a peninsula counter perfect for casual meals. In the family room, deep windows and French doors link the interiors with views beyond.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 House Plan SL-594
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Hall & Hull Architects, Inc.
 (July-August 2002)

Capeside Cottage

Capeside Cottage
This cottage features vertical siding, a metal roof, a handsome shed dormer, and ample outdoor spaces. Inside, details such as a dropped-beam ceiling in the great room and recessed French doors in the dining room create intimacy within the open design.
The kitchen remains open to the family room, and has an island cooktop with a snack bar. The main-floor master suite contains a bookshelf-lined vestibule and built-ins around one of the windows. An optional guest cottage connected to the main living area has its own kitchen and full bath, and offers visitors welcome privacy.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 House Plan SL-374
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Spitzmiller & Norris, Inc.
 (January-February 2000)

Bayside Retreat

Bayside Retreat
This 1,500-square-foot, two-story plan is small enough for a vacation house but big enough for a large family (it sleeps 10).
Aside from the master bedroom, the downstairs is essentially one large space. A vaulted ceiling opens up the living area, and multiple windows illuminate the room. There are two guest rooms upstairs, accessed by a central stairway. An interior bridge leads to the second-floor eagle's nest, a cozy nook for bunk beds or sitting room furniture.
For detailed specifications and ordering information, click here.
 House Plan SL-242
An exclusive design for Southern Living by Jim Phaffman
 (July-August 1997)

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