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84 original retro midcentury house plans — that you can still buy today

Do you want to build a midcentury modern or midcentury modest house from original plans? It is indeed possible: via the library of 84 original 1960s and 1970s house plans available at FamilyHomePlans.com aka The Garlinghouse Company. The 84 plans are in their Retro Home Plans Library here. Above: The 1,080 sq. ft. ranch house #95000 — golly — I think there were about a million of these — likely more — built back in the day. This little three-bedroom, two-bath house is about all anyone needs! Note, the company told me there is no date visible on the original plans. I think this design could date back to the 1950s.

Above: 1,565 sq. ft., three bedrooms, two baths

Above: An adorable 864 s.f., two-bedroom, one-bach vacation house. Or, just a small house!

There are a lot of vacation home plans in this retro house plan collection — probably because there is a larger market today for small vacation homes than for small full-time homes. I talked to the company about these retro house plans. They say they don’t sell a great many, because new-home-builders today want larger houses. 

Another amazing fact: Bobbie, who I talked with on the phone, says the company purchased all the original, vintage Garlinghouse house plans about 10 years ago. In fact, the official company name is The Garlinghouse Company. Garlinghouse was a biggie back in the day.  Again — it sounds like Family House Plans likely has many many more small, midcentury modest house plans in their archives — they just don’t have them listed online because Americans want their 2,700 sq. ft. houses — not 1,000 sq. ft. houses. Read more about Family House Plan’s Garlinghouse archive here.

Above: Having an open-air central courtyard is a hallmark feature of an original rancho. As in: ranch house. This house is 2,377 s.f. in size, with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths.

Above: 2,371 sq. ft., five bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and an awesome front courtyard.

Above: Super cool! 1970s, probably, when we had that horrible energy crisis. This 2,139 3/2 house has a so-called ‘green roof’ — there is 12″ of soil on top of the roof — and that’s grass on top — yes, you need to mow your roof! 

Above: Howdy hudee, I got to the plans for this split level house and recognized the interior layouts. It’s the house that my mom and dad had built for our family in Vista, Calif., around 1968 or 1969. The layout is super close to what I remember and my brother agrees. Yikes, that’s a serious blast from my past! 

Heck, there are a lot of houses to show. Want to see them all:

  1. MJHoop Hooper says:

    Ah yes. We used to call those “garrison style” houses back in the 50s in New England. Might be some old ones around Salem, Mass.

  2. Pam Kueber says:

    Yes, I know them as “Garrison Colonials”. Although the house in the flickr image – image very very dim – looks like what I’d call a Split-Level. That said, part of the split hangs over the bottom, so I guess that would be a Garrison Split Level…

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