How to Find the Original Floor Plans for Your House

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Commencing a home remodeling venture without a meticulously detailed floor plan is akin to navigating uncharted waters without a compass. The gravity of possessing a comprehensive floor plan extends beyond mere aesthetics; it serves as the bedrock for contractors and designers, offering a lucid roadmap through the complex maze of walls, wiring, plumbing pipes, and essential systems within your abode. This comprehensive guide delves into the indispensable nature of acquiring original floor plans, presenting an exhaustive array of methods, sources, and pragmatic tips to demystify this seemingly formidable task.

1. “As-built” Plans: A Blueprint of Evolution

In the relentless pursuit of original floor plans, the creation of “as-built” plans emerges as a formidable ally. Far from merely encapsulating the original design, these blueprints meticulously chronicle the metamorphic journey of your home, documenting each renovation and modification. Opting for the services of an architect, albeit potentially pricier, can yield detailed plans, providing an invaluable resource for precision in renovations.

Example: Investing in “as-built” plans from an architect becomes not just a historical archive but a living document for any future changes or renovations, ensuring a continuum of accurate floor plans.

Pro Tips for Commissioning “As-built” Plans:

  • Research Extensively: Before hiring a firm, delve into online reviews and portfolios to ensure their expertise aligns with your expectations.
  • Document Changes Over Time: If possible, provide the firm with any historical documentation or photographs you may have, facilitating a more accurate recreation of your home’s evolution.

2. Local Government Archives: Unearth the Past Locally

Delving into the archives of local municipal offices and county clerks can be akin to embarking on an archaeological expedition to find your house plans. Beyond the obvious trove of building plans and permits, these archives harbor a wealth of historical records. Before physically immersing yourself in these repositories, inquire about the availability of photographs, old building plans, and maps to maximize the efficiency of your research.

Tip: Engage with city historians who possess nuanced insights into navigating local archives, guiding you efficiently through the troves of architectural history.

Additional Insights for Navigating Local Government Archives:

  • Record Types: Understand the types of records available, ranging from building permits to historical photographs, ensuring you don’t overlook potential gems of information.
  • Archival Protocols: Familiarize yourself with any rules or procedures for accessing documents, as different archives may have distinct regulations.

3. The Original Owners: A Direct Line to History

If serendipity allows you the privilege of having the contact details of the original owners, you possess a direct conduit to your home’s history. Beyond the practicality of requesting floor plans, engaging with the original owners can unfold a treasure trove of anecdotes about the construction process. Public records become your ally if the property has exchanged hands over time.

Pro tip: Beyond acquiring floor plans, inquire about any documentation or anecdotes the original owners might possess, providing a richer understanding of your home’s past.

Strategies for Effective Communication with Original Owners:

  • Interview Style: Approach the conversation as an interview, seeking not just factual information but personal stories that could enrich your home’s narrative.
  • Document Your Discussion: Take notes or record the conversation (with permission) to ensure you capture all relevant details accurately.

4. Realtors: Tapping into Professional Networks

Beyond being conduits for property transactions, real estate agents can emerge as invaluable allies in your quest for floor plans. Their access to databases and professional networks can simplify the process, especially if your house is relatively new.

Example: Some realtors specialize in historic homes and might possess a wealth of information regarding architectural nuances and floor plans of homes in the area.

Leveraging Realtor Networks:

  • Specialized Agents: Seek out real estate agents with expertise in historical properties, as they are likely to have a deeper understanding of the architectural context of homes in your region.
  • Networking Events: Attend local real estate networking events where professionals may share insights and resources related to historical properties.

5. Neighborhood Reconnaissance: Mirror Images Next Door

Neighborhoods often exhibit a certain architectural rhythm. Your neighbor’s house, especially if it closely resembles yours, can be a tangible source of information. However, before approaching your neighbor, ensure that their house layout remains consistent with the original plans.

Tip: Organize a neighborhood gathering where homeowners can share insights into the history and original layouts of their homes, fostering a sense of community.

Initiating a Neighborhood Knowledge Exchange:

  • Create a Digital Forum: Establish a shared digital platform where neighbors can exchange information about the history of their homes.
  • Host a Historical Home Tour: Organize an event where neighbors showcase the historical features of their homes, promoting community engagement.

6. Fire Insurance Maps: An Antique Blueprint Source for Original Floor Plans

Delving into the past through fire insurance maps from the 1870s offers a unique perspective. Beyond merely revealing the types of construction materials used, these maps provide 3-D representations of homes in your neighborhood, unveiling not just the structure but also detailing porches, doors, and windows.

Example: Unearthing fire insurance maps could lead to fascinating discoveries about the historical context of your home, adding depth to your understanding of its evolution.

Maximizing Insights from Fire Insurance Maps:

  • Understanding Symbols: Familiarize yourself with the symbols and codes used on these maps, enhancing your ability to interpret and extract relevant information.
  • Consulting Experts: Seek guidance from historical preservation experts or archivists who specialize in interpreting historical maps.

7. Digital Platforms and Online Communities

In the digital age, the virtual realm unfolds as a treasure trove of information. Online platforms and communities dedicated to home renovation and historical preservation can be invaluable resources. Websites, forums, and social media groups often connect homeowners with shared experiences and provide avenues to access or share original floor plans.

Tip: Explore websites specializing in architectural history, where enthusiasts often share rare finds, and leverage social media platforms to connect with individuals who might have valuable information.

Navigating Online Platforms for Historical Insights:

  • Joining Relevant Groups: Become a member of online communities focused on historical architecture, where individuals share insights and resources related to original floor plans.
  • Engaging in Discussions: Actively participate in discussions, seeking advice and sharing your own experiences, fostering a reciprocal exchange of information.


In the intricate ballet of home remodeling, where precision and historical accuracy are paramount, the quest for original floor plans stands as a pivotal act. The journey, although demanding in time and effort, is as rewarding as the destination. A proactive approach not only safeguards you from unexpected costs but transforms your remodeling project into a curated homage to your home’s unique history. With the original floor plans in hand, you not only embark on a renovation journey but also become a custodian of your home’s architectural legacy. In every hammer strike and paint stroke, you preserve the past and shape the future of your home.

One Comment on “How to Find the Original Floor Plans for Your House”

  1. Danny Haskayne says:

    Looking for original floor plans for my own house

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