U-shaped house plans

theballsMay 3, 2011

Hi all, my parents bought 15 acres, and their intent is to build a U-shaped home, sort of a Mediterranean flavor. The courtyard area will have a pool, and access from all three sides of the house. We have been looking for plans, but cant find anything. Do any of you recall seeing anything like that?

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Also, plans would be for a smaller 2000-2500ish sq ft main level, with a basement.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 3:13PM
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eplans has some. You can search for courtyard plans there. One is plan number HWEPL00893. I would post a picture, but for some reason it won't let me.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 7:16PM
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I do not see how such a plan is possible unless it's a splash pool (tiny). For a decent size pool in a courtyard, the house will be more like 3500+ sq ft. UNLESS one side of the U is just a privacy wall.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 7:45PM
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I generally would think an L makes more sense. U plan makes sense with privacy issues from the side but on 15 acres, there would be other ways to do privacy.

If you figure 15x30 as a reasonable size pool with 5 feet around then you have 25 feet at the base of a U. Even if the pool ends right at the ends of the legs, that is another 35 feet. And of course you would want a patio - say 15 feet. That is a big house.

The concept is very romantic and trust me, I've thought about it. But the reality is that it is very impractical to build and live in. The wasted space in hallways. The long walks from one end of the house to the other. I hope they can do it but it isn't a walk in the park. Well maybe getting up to get coffee in the morning feels like a walk in the park.....

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 5:24AM
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I agree with David. There are a few U-shaped historic homes in my area that were originally stables -- and some where a third 'wing' was added to create a U. They are among the hardest homes to sell, for all the reasons David mentioned. Few peoople want to walk around a house from one side of the U to the other. Few want to leave all the hallway doors to the center unlocked to permit crossing the center. Having a pool in the middle of the U means you would also have to walk around *that*.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Actually, in my area I've seen a few floor plans with a completely enclosed central courtyard or a partially enclosed courtyard. I myself live in one such house with a courtyard formed by a garage wall and two walls of the house. This is on an urban lot - my courtyard is 20'x20' approximately.

I agree that fitting a pool in a courtyard is an impractical decision because it will make the two arms of the house too long; not to mention that you will not be able to walk across the courtyard for easy access to other parts.

At the same time, I have nothing but great things to say about the courtyard houses. The amount of privacy it provides, amount of light, cross ventilation, possibilities of growing an enclosed garden/outdoor living space -- these are phenomenal benefits. It is hard for me now to imagine living in any other type of house!

So -- long story short, a courtyard house without a pool in the U might be just the right kind of compromise for your parents.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 3:22PM
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All, thank you for the input. I realize it may seem impractical, but my mom has had this picture of a courtyard house with pool hanging on their fridge for more than a decade...of course we dont have any details, it was a picture in a magazine ad. I think their vision is to have one leg of the "U" to be a 3-car garage, with a small guest suite above. The main house would be the other two sides. The entire structure will have a large footprint, but fortunately, they do have plenty of room!

We scanned in the pic:

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 4:36PM
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It is difficult to tell, but from the pic, I dont think the pool is entirely inside the courtyard, I think that each wing extends out to about where the pool flares out wider. So the legs arent likely to be that long.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Some things to consider with any enclosed area are natural lighting and air circulation. This is going to be The View from all sides. You want 'pretty', not possibly mold and a bleak pool cover. A negative of the photo is wall to wall concrete baking in the sun and reflecting heat. (This appears to be somewhere in Florida.) In fact, as I look again at the ad, I wonder if it shows a residence or a pool house.

Where would the house be built?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:41PM
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My family lived in a U-shaped house when I was in junior high school and I HATED IT. If I was in my room and wanted to watch TV in the family room, I had to walk the ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE U to get to the TV room. And while the actual distance wasn't any further than had we lived in a 2-story house with the bedrooms upstairs, mentally it was depressing to realize I left something I needed on the other side of the house.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 4:35PM
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i've always loved the courtyard style myself and would do it if i had the room.
i'm not into pools but horses, and one wing would be living quarters for me, the top of the u-shape would be the garage, and the wing opposite my living quarters would be the stables.
i would have a small courtyard garden patio outside my living space and a barnyard outside of the barn space.
that would be the best of all worlds for me!
i think your mom should get what she wants, especially since that's been her vision for so long.
and i think she needs an architect tp help her flesh it all out.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 11:24PM
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see cool house plan chp-15497 http://www.coolhouseplans.com

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:18PM
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also see cool house plan chp-23761 http://www.coolhouseplans.com

I love u-shaped homes - great decision.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:44PM
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Summerfield, if you are bored, I'd love to see what you come up with. I really like the two other designs you did on other posts.

And it doesnt have to be just a "U", feel free to toss a garage on the front of the house, almost like an "H" shaped house, just minus one of the legs of the "H".

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 3:25PM
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There was one at our local parade of homes. I wish I could find the plan for you. I loved the idea for the sense of privacy it gives to their pool area. (On acreage, this might not be as necessary... but still pretty cool. The other benefit would be protection from wind, which we have a lot of here.)

Since your parents plan on a L-shape for living space (with the other wing of the U for the garage,) I think it could be pretty practical in the end. The key would be keeping the bedrooms in one section and the living spaces/kitchen in the center section.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 6:37PM
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The nice thing about a U shaped home is that it can grow as the family size grows.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Not since they want 2500 sq ft max.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 3:32PM
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It is not easy to tell, but from the picture, I don't think the pool is entirely inside the courtyard, I think that each wing extends out to about where the pool flares out wider. Therefore, the legs aren't likely to be that long.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 4:49AM
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My dad drew something up and they hit the ground running. It is a 3 bedroom, 2 full bath, 2 half bath, all one level, right at 3k square feet. He has about 1/3 of it framed. He is doing most of the build himself. He subbed out the foundation, and is planning on subbing out brick, drywall, and finishing the hardwood floors (though he intends to lay them himself). I don't have any pics, nor do I have a floor plan to show you. Ill try to get some pics, though. I go up there once a week or so.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I've been searching and searching for the right floor plan for a u shape house. It's ALWAYS been my dream and now in Oct, I can start building it. Is there anyway I could see how you did yours ??

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 7:23AM
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I don't have a floor plan online, my dad just drew something on paper and started building it. It has turned out great so far, but my parents were pretty specific about some things..for example, there are two master bathrooms so they can each have one. There is no dining room, lots and lots of closets. It should suit their needs wonderfully, but as far as being a house that people universally will love and meet their needs, it might not be a great fit.

Essentially, the central portion of the house is the foyer/den/living area space. Walk in the front doors and there is a huge room with windows and french doors out to the courtyard area where the pool will be. Walking in the front door, the wing to the right has the garage, kitchen, pantry, and mudroom. The wing to the left has three bedrooms, a full bath, both master baths, and a half bath for guests.

It basically looks just like a "U" shaped house.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Check out these two books:


These designs are all from the 1940s-1950s and so the plans will need some tweaking for modern use (e.g. the kitchens are often small/separated from the living areas), but many of Cliff May's designs feature the U-shape/courtyard layout/corredor.

Your architect can easily change the style of the home from western to Mediterranean.

IMO few things are as luxurious as the easy living afforded by a rambling single level home.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunset Western Ranch Houses

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:10PM
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