House Plans for our Homestead | What We Chose and Why

by Becky

Surprisingly one of the number one things I’ve been asked and emailed about over the last few years is the house plans we used and what changes we made to fit the homestead lifestyle. We have a more unique homestead, it doesn’t look like what most people envision a homestead looking like but our reasons for this are explained below.

This post contains affiliate links full disclosure can be found here.

History and Our Reasons for Building

Before I share the house plans for our homestead, I need to take you back in time and explain some of our reasons for choosing what we did. First off, we never intended to build our house, we were actually looking for a house and land. But after getting our offer on a home with twenty acres turned down, we went back to the drawing board and stumbled on the piece of property we now own. Granted we had been hunting for the right place for over a year so it wasn’t an immediate thing, it definitely took some time.

The land was very raw, no well, no electricity and had been used for grazing cattle for years. We originally decided on one area for the home and had a percolation test done before we closed on the property. Drainage wasn’t great, but it was manageable with a large enough septic drain field and the area could be built on.

If you are in the searching phase of homesteading and want some tips on what to know before buying a homestead, you can find that information HERE.

Is an Off-Grid Cabin the Only Way to Homestead?

Many assume to have a homestead, you must have a cabin, you should be living off grid, and the cabin needs to be small. But thankfully there is no such requirement to have it be considered homestead.

I didn’t want a small cabin after living in a 1000 square foot house with our family of six for a year. I was ready for some breathing room. A very small home sounds nice on paper, and I know some people can manage it beautifully with many children in tow, but it wasn’t for me. While our family lived in that small, dark, cabin-like home, my depression went through the roof.

This cabin was the home we made an offer on and got turned down, it was a low ball offer because we weren’t in love with it and it needed a lot of work. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise since we found our property soon after and the land we are on now is so much better.

When considering going off-grid, I love the preparedness aspect but I wasn’t ready to subject my children to an extreme off-grid lifestyle unless it was a necessity. My kids have friends who don’t have a homestead or even know what that is. I can’t even imagine my kids having a friend over and them having to explain to their friend how a composting toilet works. While that would be an educational lesson how waste can be useful, my children would very likely be embarrassed.

Aside from the extreme off-grid lifestyle, we definitely are interested in being less dependent on outside power and resources but haven’t come to a place where we are ready to give up all the modern conveniences. Solar power and battery backup for our home are on our someday list and more up our alley.

What We learned from Previous Homes

Our home prior to the 1000 square foot one was 2200 square feet and three stories. It was a good size for us, but many rooms did double duty, and the floor plan was not laid out well. There were 3 very small living areas instead of one large one and very little storage space aside from the basement. After living in the three story house for 7 years, we learned we only wanted a one story home.

Our 3 story, 2200 square foot home we renovated

We renovated that home ourselves from top to bottom through all seven years of living there. I vowed to never again renovate a whole home, especially while living in it. One plus was we saved a lot of money while living there and the sweat equity paid off big time in the sale of the home.

So over all the houses we had lived in previously, and all the renovations we did, we learned what we really wished to have in a home.

Homestead Differences

We made a few changes to our home to make it work better as a homestead. If we had an endless budget, I probably would have done things a little differently. But we had to make the changes we wanted work within our budget.

#1 Large Pantry

My main focus was the pantry. I’d never had a dedicated pantry before and this was a luxury that was a top priority. Originally we had the pantry as one room, but I’m glad we split it into two because it allowed us to better utilize the space.

The first pantry is for all the grains and dry goods, along with squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes which like 50-60ºF ideally. But this pantry is actually room temperature and that has also proven to work well for storage.

The second pantry we made into a cold room. We couldn’t put in a basement because of poor soil drainage (almost all basements flood eventually around this area), so this was our temporary solution instead of having a root cellar.

For the cold room, Cam installed a vapor barrier, then insulated it with several layers of rigid foam, and finally used FRP glued down over the top. It’s not the prettiest wall covering, but we are glad we did it because the humidity stays high in that room and the moisture doesn’t affected anything. A modified A/C unit and Cool Bot brings the temperature down to 45ºF. It can go down lower but this temperature works well for us.

It has been so awesome! When our fridge is packed full, we can put our food in the cold room. I can also store my fermented foods in there.

#2 Multiple Heat Sources

As for what to use for heat, we really struggled. We had a wood stove insert in a previous home that was vented throughout the house and it was great. The negative of it was that it was constantly such a mess from the wood and the fire would go out over night. First world problems- but it was always cold by morning!

Wood Boiler

Instead we researched and chose to do a wood boiler. A wood boiler keeps the mess outside, it only needs to be loaded twice a day, and rarely if ever needs to be stoked. You can put larger logs in it and once you start it, as long as you’re loading twice a day the fire never goes out. It’s wonderful for daily use.

It is piped to the house and hooks up to our HVAC system. The one thing we would have done if we had a huge budget was put pex pipe (or whatever type would be used for in floor heat, I’m not a contractor haha!) in the floor so we could get radiant heat since the wood boiler is circulating hot water anyway.

But it was too cost prohibitive so we stuck with just the wood boiler hook up to the HVAC. It also heats our hot water in winter.

The negative of the wood boiler is it takes electricity to run the pump and it takes electricity to run the HVAC blower. We decided to install a generator for peace of mind so we could still have heat if the power went out.

Wood Burning Fireplace

We also installed an indoor wood-burning fireplace for the shoulder seasons when you only need some supplemental heat here and there. I also love the ambiance of seeing a fire and it made a nice focal point for the living room.

Because we are very into being prepared, we are also thinking about long term power outage heating solutions. I would love to install a freestanding wood burning cookstove that somewhere in our home. I didn’t do that initially in the living room because I really wanted a regular fireplace, the artist in me loves the mantle and the clean look and that won out over the free standing wood cookstove.

But our mudroom is large enough to house one or perhaps another area of our home, I’m still thinking about this but I do wish we had added one somewhere initially.

I had also thought about a permanent wood cookstove in the kitchen when we built the house, but where we live it’s hot 8 months of the year so a full time wood cookstove would heat the house up when it’s already hot! It didn’t make a lot of sense so we have an electric cooktop/oven instead.


Our third heat source is propane. Since we vacation mainly in winter, we chose to have a propane backup so we could leave our home without worrying about pipes freezing. It also hooks up to the hot water heater and heats the water in the summer when the wood boiler isn’t running.

#3 Backup Power

When we were building the house, we knew that we were eventually going to install a whole home generator. It was good to know this in advance even though we didn’t have the budget to get it right away.

When we dug the lines for utilities, we had them place the generator pipe for the propane, and the generator pipe for the electrical line to the house, and we had the transfer switch installed. That saved us a lot of money in the long run.

#4 Space to hang dry clothes

I put a little nook in our laundry room for a hanging clothes. I bought THIS drying rack and it’s seriously one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! We do have a dryer too, but I prefer to hang dry most of my clothes to extend the longevity.

#5 Large Mudroom

A mudroom is something I haven’t had since I was a little girl in my childhood home. It was very practical there, in Upstate New York, since we were often shedding lots of snowy layers of clothing and the mudroom caught it all.

The mudroom in our new home has been a lifesaver! We love it. I had our cabinet maker do wall to wall cabinets with doors for lockers, which house bags and jackets, along with a cabinet that functions as a shoe rack. All of the stuff hides and the room really does catch all the mud before it makes it to the rest of the house.

Our mudroom also has 3 deep freezers in it.

Home Choices Not Directly Related to Homesteading

#1 Large Windows

Another must for me was to have lots of windows. This has been such a game changer on multiple levels. First of all, it’s great because in our main rooms where most of the windows are, we rarely turn on the lights until it’s absolutely dark outside. I love all the natural light, it has been excellent for improving my mental health even when I’m working on projects inside.

Windows are Windsor Brand, they are black vinyl inside and out

I also love how even inside we feel like we are outside and more connected to nature.

#2 Two by Six Exterior Walls

I wasn’t sure how much of a difference 2×6 exterior walls would make, but it has made a significant difference in keeping our home insulated. Our previous 2200 square foot home was thirty years old, 2×4 exterior walls, and even when using our wood burning insert exclusively to heat our house our electric bills were on average more expensive than our current home that is almost double the size (same electric company too!)

#3 Foil Backed OSB or Thermo-Ply

This was another energy saver that was optional but really makes a huge difference in keeping an attic cool and consequently our home. It wasn’t too much more cost wise to install at the time we were building. The Foil Back OSB is installed only on the roof of our home, the foil faces inward to absorb the heat the heat from the attic and radiates it out.

#4 Two Ovens

We do a ton of cooking from scratch, along with preserving on a daily basis. It is a huge time saver when doing big batches of salsa or roasted tomatoes where there is a lot going on in the ovens and on the cooktops.

I looked into a 60 inch range but they are ridiculously expensive and most are gas or propane only. Instead, we picked two 30 inch ovens and placed them side by side. It works perfectly and saved a lot of money. One is an electric cooktop, the other is an induction cooktop.

#5 Water Fountain

Most refrigerators nowadays have chilled, filtered water that is easily accessible. We had refrigerators like that too in the past. But we found our kids sometimes left water spilled on the floor, or the refrigerator would leak water, and one time it ruined our floors.

In our new home, since the kitchen is an all wood floor we opted to take some of the risk of flooding away from the kitchen and had the pipes set up for a water fountain in our mudroom which has tile floors. This is a fun feature that has been a big time saver too!

When anyone wants a drink or kids friends come to visit, they get a drink from the fountain. It saves us from getting out and dirtying a bunch of cups. We do drink out of cups too, but kids friends grab a drink from the fountain for the most part.

Aside from the plumbing cost (which was minimal since it was a new build) the water fountain cost us less than $200, we got it from an auction site. It was never used but had a missing piece that was easily replaced.

Psst…aside from the water fountain, we bargain hunted like crazy on other aspects of our home too. We saved in many areas so we could splurge on others. Cam also did some finish work to save money by building the bookshelves flanking fireplace and the entire cold room. He also put in our septic system with help from a friend.

#6 Standing Seam Metal Roof

On a previous home, we recently replace the shingled roof, they have a pretty short lifespan. It was covered by insurance because of hail damage thankfully. Our new home has a lot more roof area and we debated about traditional shingles vs. metal.

Even though it was a much larger initial investment, we decided to go with a standing seam metal roof. In the long run it will save us money since the roof doesn’t need to be replaced (theoretically of course) for 50 years. I also believe the light color and reflective properties of metal have helped to lower our cooling costs in summer.

We also learned from a friend who works in the insurance industry that any type of metal roof other than standing seam needs to have the screws/ bolts over the whole roof tightened every year. Otherwise, insurance will not cover damages. So thankfully we chose the right kind of metal roof, haha. The pitch on a few areas of our roof is steep!

Our House Floor Plan

The Inspiration

I got the idea for our home plans from, you can find it HERE, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the floor plans! I wish I could put the image here but I don’t want to violate any copyright laws.

My goal was to keep the exterior looking the same but also to make the interior work for our needs. Our contractor had a draftsman that we worked with to change the floor plan professionally. My drawing below is not his draft, I drew it again for the blog here because we made some last minute changes that his draft didn’t reflect but it gives a basic idea of size and location of everything.

Changes to the Floor Plan

Even though we based floor plans on house plan, we made some significant changes.

We added the bonus room on the main floor (so glad we did this!), moved the dining room from the middle of the entryway to its own separate space off the kitchen, made the kitchen more symmetrical in layout, and changed around the mudroom and laundry area.

My drawing for the kitchen I gave to the cabinet builders, then they mocked it up on their own software. But this really helped them to know what I was envisioning.
The finished results
I did this same mock up drawing for our cabinets in our mudroom. This was done on photoshop.
This was right after installation and painting in the mudroom.

A last minute change was adding an exterior door out the mudroom/laundry room instead of a window. The first reason for this change was so I could easily hang dry clothes outside, walking out the door with a basket to hang. This is more of a homesteader thing but I definitely wanted to be able to have the option to line dry.


Our floor plan for our home.

The second reason was sometimes we want to enter and exit that side of the home without opening the garage. The only negative of this choice was that instead of walking directly into a mudroom from the exterior, you walk into the laundry, which isn’t ideal. But for the most part, it’s only our family walking through the laundry from the exterior. Our guests enter through the front door so no one is the wiser!

If we park in the garage, we walk into the mudroom directly so that aspect still works well. And one of my favorite things about the location of the laundry room is having our primary closet connected to it with a pocket door so it’s really accessible and Cam and I don’t have to haul laundry baskets far.

Pocket door leads to our closet off the laundry room

Another change is we moved the powder room over by our bonus room. We’ve loved it because when kids have friends over there is a bathroom right by where they play and hangout.

House Plan Design Choices that Made All the Difference

Another specific idea I had in designing the house plans for our homestead was that I wanted as many areas as possible to feel symmetrical and intentional. So in our floor plan the ovens are directly in line with the kitchen sink, and the kitchen sink is lined up with the middle of the fireplace.

Flanking the fireplace, the bookshelves are the exact same width. In the kitchen, both sides flanking the oven are exactly the same size. I even had them switch around electrical plugs that weren’t symmetrical on walls where I very strategically made everything else symmetrical. The contractors all thought I was crazy but it looks so much better.

On another note, the garages have a wall between them because our third garage is used as an office for Cameron and an art studio for me. It still has a garage door if we want to convert the use of the area back to a garage. Due to building codes, we weren’t able to add HVAC to this separate garage room. We use a portable heater and air conditioning unit when in use.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the house plans for our homestead turned out. Once you get into the above average home sizes, we noticed there was a lot more wasted space in floor plans and the main living areas were usually small and didn’t reflect the size of the home. We remedied all of our qualms. Every room has a purpose and the layout and design is simple and open.

A Word about Ceiling Heights

I forgot to put the ceiling heights of rooms on the floor plan drawing so I will explain it here, and some of the why. For our living room, originally I wanted 10 foot ceilings and sky lights to add extra light to the room.

Our builder convinced us sky lights were a leak waiting to happen, so he said as an alternative if we wanted to raise the height of the ceiling we could have bigger windows, and therefore more light in the room.

I’m glad I followed his advice. Even though several friends warned me high ceilings would add to our energy costs, the open feel and bright, light room is totally worth it. And if you read my comments above, our energy costs have been nearly identical to a previous home that was about half the size of this one.

One more note about the windows and the light, our builder asked multiple times if we would like to have a covered deck off the living room. If we covered the deck that would have significantly diminished the amount of light that would stream into the house from the windows. So we decided against it and have an open deck.

We installed a shade sail instead so we still have shade when sitting on the deck but it doesn’t block any light coming into the house.

Ok, back to the ceilings. Here are the heights:

  • Living 14 feet
  • Kitchen/Dining 10 feet
  • Entry 20 feet (this is an educated guess, they opened it up to the window above and didn’t ever say what the height would be, and I never measured)
  • All other rooms 9 feet

In the rooms with tall ceilings the interior doors are 8 feet tall. All other doors are standard size.


Our house plans for our homestead are definitely unique to our personal homestead lifestyle. Hopefully this is helpful to those building/ remodeling or the dreamers out there. I spent 15 years thinking I would never get to build a dream home but it actually happened!

When we were in the process of building, I asked a lot of friends for help on looking at our floor plans and advice. Some of it I implemented and some I didn’t. But I’m so glad they told me all their thoughts truthfully! I hope sharing our home details gives some added perspective as to what you may want to implement or dream about.

Looking for sources of items in the house/ paint colors? Another blog post is coming soon with more details. The house part of the homestead video tour will come out early December.

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Aneta November 5, 2022 - 12:54 am

Your home design and layout are very thoughtful and well executed. Can you please share the size of your kitchen island? Thank you!

theseasonalhomestead November 6, 2022 - 2:35 am

Thank you! For the island, it is a full size slab of quartzite. They vary a lot in size, but ours is 10 feet 9 inches by 5 feet 6 inches.

TNGirl November 7, 2022 - 2:46 pm

Love your home, it’s beautiful! So open, airy and full of natural light. My favorite is the kitchen (the best room of any house), pantries and mud/laundry rooms. You did a superb job designing and making it very functional. Thanks for sharing!

theseasonalhomestead November 7, 2022 - 3:00 pm

Thank you!

Jenna Julianne November 8, 2022 - 6:02 am

AMAZINNGGG YAYYY I’m SO HAPPY you shared this ! THANK YOU!!!!! I loveee window light! Your home is sooooo gorgeous! Our house now is a thermal mass house. Gets heated from the window light and fireplace. Natural & Cozy. One day when we move, I’m for sure keeping this home design close to my thoughts & heart. How kind of you to share with us.

theseasonalhomestead November 8, 2022 - 2:28 pm

Thank you so much!

Tori March 26, 2024 - 2:34 am

Is there a video or dedicated post regarding your cold storage room? I would love to learn more!

Becky March 30, 2024 - 9:31 pm

I don’t have one yet. I did take some video throughout the process so maybe at some point I’ll compile it together and share!

Holly March 29, 2024 - 6:28 pm

Wow! This is amazing and well thought out! Thank you for sharing!!! Will be remembering your advice as we sketch out of ours! Absolutely beautiful and we love lots of natural light from windows too! 😀 <3

Becky March 30, 2024 - 8:36 pm

Thank you!

Megan April 1, 2024 - 1:07 am

Hi Becky, Would you be willing to share who you used as your builder? Recently moved to NWA and have been interviewing builders, but haven’t found the right one. It seems you had a good experience with your home build.

Becky April 7, 2024 - 3:58 am

Megan, unfortunately with any builder I think there are rough patches along the way. We did like our builder…mostly… haha! We had to do a lot of the work to get things moving but he was good at having the right connections with subcontractors. I guess that’s why it wasn’t outlandishly expensive. Cam said he felt like he was the GC sometimes. Will you go to this page and email Cam? Tell him you want our builders info. He will send you his name and number. I don’t think our builder lists his info online. He does most of his work through referrals.

Also a little warning, do not use Martin HVAC. That was the only issue we had with quality.


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