Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ground Zero for Modern House Plans

If Modern House Plans ever had a Point of Origin, a starting moment, an instance when an idea began, a "Big Bang", it was on June 4th, 2002, at 5:56am on the internet messageboards of a fresh new magazine about modern homes called Dwell. It was on that moment that somebody clicked the "send" button on their computer and posted this message to the world: "my tour of stock plan web sites" That somebody was yours truly, Gregory La Vardera Architect.

Anybody you see today promoting modern home plans, new original designs, anybody you see promoting house plan designs that are modern and of the kind of design that speaks to being new and of "today", they all owe a debt to this moment when it all began - when the idea of advancing new modern houses to the wider housing market with House Plans was hatched.

You can see the start of our online catalog here. We posted images of our first progress sketches, the launch of our web site, progress drawings of our earliest designs. Its all here - this is where it began. We went on from here to advertise in Dwell, Atomic Ranch, and Modernism Magazine. We put the idea of Modern House Plans in front of thousands and thousands of eyes. We saw the first houses built, and then another dozen. Houses in the ground, real people building them, living in them, grateful that they could get good design for a reasonable cost. I'm going to gloat a little bit over this so bear with me. My friend Scott constantly reminds me of this, and tells me this is a great big deal and that I need to wave this flag. We are doing it, doing what we set out to do, and people have embraced this - modern houses have been built, are being built, and more and more will be built from our Modern House Plans.

There have been a number of other designers and architects that took up the idea since I began. Some have made a go of it, some have faded away. But today we see well funded, well thought out ventures doing modern house plans. FreeGreen, and Hometta being the most prominent start ups. We see changing their business model to feature good design, departing from the bland offerings of the other large plan publishers. No doubt this will put pressure on the rest of the industry to step up their quality. This is big. We are changing the industry. The quality of the design offereed by plan sellers has increased. The amount and variety of modern house plans available is increasing exponentially. The housing industry is sitting up and noticing that there is a viable market here for a new kind of house. This is HUGE people. And I'm going to say, more as a statement of fact than a brag, that we started it, right here on that message board. Check it out.

The fact that this messageboard was still up on the internet lurking in an old archive somewhere was a total shock to me. My friend Justin forwarded it, found by his friend Matthew King who discovered it. Justin as some of you may know went on to establish the prominent design blog Materialicious, and Matthew and his wife went on to establish the incredibly successful and activist Modern Phoenix community which exists not only on the internet but in many local activities in Phoenix. And many of the other people on this Dwell messageboard have also gone on to create fantastic ventures to advance the cause of modern houses. I'm still in touch with many of these people today. We've made a difference, we've changed the world - even if its in just a very small way, we've all made it just a little bit easier for somebody who wants a modern home to be able to have one, we've made it possible for a wider market for modern houses, furnishings, and furniture to exist. That's always been the goal, the thing that brought us all together. Its very gratifying to think back and realize we've stuck to our goal and made palpable progress.


  1. It is good to tout your own accomplishments. How else will readers know. I have watched some other sites focus on house plans,but frequently the quality of the designs were lacking. However, the fact that people can find great designs now through the internet is a great leap forward, so thank you for your part.