best ofsneak peeks

Our Favorite Floor Plans

by Annie Werbler

You may have noticed lately that we’ve been asking our generous and talented Sneak Peek story subjects to include floorplans with their submissions. The request sends some contributors into a tizzy, as they imagine learning new drafting software or digging up the old architect’s scale ruler from art school to complete the task. In the truest sense of the word, a floorplan is a flat bird’s-eye diagram of a place charted to scale, often noting electrical and plumbing systems, furniture, fixtures, and finishes. It’s inherently complicated, and it’s no wonder the thought of creating such a technical drawing strikes fear in most residents’ hearts!

For our purposes, however, the Sneak Peek floorplan is a friendly aid that gives readers a better understanding of three-dimensional space on a 2D screen. We craft our home tours through targeted photography and sequential photo galleries that link one spot to the next so a reader may activate her internal GPS and understand where shes’s seeing throughout a photoset. We write detailed descriptions to further enhance this awareness. But as hard as we might try to capture a series of rooms through images and words, in the process of translating the physical experience of a space into a webpage, sometimes you just need a trail map to make sense of it all.

Our goal at D*S is to share the varied experiences of how people live, and to inspire readers to add more beauty and function into their own lives. The most seductive photography, while delightful to behold, can sometimes inhibit people from seeing their own homes through a positive lens. Looking at a floorplan can encourage folks to notice the similarities to featured homes within their own spaces, and can inspire the confidence to make the most of their own square footage. Pretty pictures tell a story, but floorplans help us anchor that vision to something real, tangible, and useful.

Our home tours are not complete without portraits of the residents, nor without self-styled slides describing what is most loved about their homes. These components help the interiors photography come alive with the personality that shaped the space in the pictures. Whether floorplans are sketched as if for a whimsical treasure hunt or drawn to the utmost of architectural precision, they say something about a home’s inhabitants, what they do and like to do, and how they communicate with the world. The following chronologically-ordered examples of Sneak Peek floorplans are some of our favorites for those reasons and more. —Annie

Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
Pops of color and calligraphy hint at the crafting talent of the residents in A Constantly-Evolving Home in East Danforth, Toronto on August 7, 2015.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
Some of our all-time favorite floorplans from the Sneak Peek archives.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A cute ink-sketched studio apartment floorplan from Sneak Peek: Diva of Linea Carta on October 21, 2009 includes the pets!
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A freehand drawing from Sneak Peek: Anne Ulku on October 10, 2011 calls out the important details without getting hung up on perfection.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
An overhead perspective drawing from Sneak Peek: Holly Wales + Stephen Smith on January 30, 2012 is the best way to address the mezzanine loft that covers part of the unit.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
From Sneak Peek: Lotta Nieminen on September 24, 2012, the illustrator used her floorplan as an opportunity to add even more color and texture to the imagery.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A simple pen drawing from Sneak Peek: Claire Coullon & Darren Johnson on February 25, 2013 includes a casual script in keeping with the line quality of the floorplan.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A designer's pencil sketch from A Cool, Calm, and Coastal Historic Home on April 15, 2015 is done within his notebook like any other doodle.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
When graphic design meets architecture in An Art Director At Home in Park Slope on April 20, 2015, the floorplan is given a crisp, bold look.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
The loose, layered strokes of this plan from The Home Where Snow White Grew Up on May 11, 2015 maintains sharp rectilinear corners and shapes.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
With a title like An LA Loft With Gutsy Glitter and Sparkle on June 4, 2015, one might expect a colorful, humorous approach to labeling.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
Fields of soft color in By the Hudson River, Making a House Into a Home on June 4, 2015 distinguish areas and add some character to this floorplan.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A textbook example of perfect technique from Hard Work Makes a House a Home in Marietta, GA on June 11, 2015, this plan even utilizes stylied architectural lettering.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
An artist's interpretation of movement through his home in Wildin’ Out at a Nashville Family Ranchion on June 12, 2015.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
The two-level plan from A Stylist’s Island Nest in the Stockholm Archipelago on July 10, 2015 is drawn on scrap paper and reminds us that anything has the potential to be a canvas, even similarly-shaped cocktail napkins!
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A painted floorplan that uses color to describe shape with very little outline from A Cartoonist and Illustrator’s Easygoing Rental on July 16, 2015.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A marker sketch with different line thicknesses from Thrifty Glitz in the Motor City on July 20, 2015.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
Graph paper keep lines right and tight in this floorplan from New Construction with Curated Charm in Texas on July 27, 2015.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A stunning watercolor painting from A Verdant Green and Golden Birmingham Craftsman on July 27, 2015 showcases the homeowners' artistic as well as decorating talents.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
Funny text descriptions replace label in this plan from A 150-Year-Old Apartment in Brooklyn Heights on August 3, 2015.
Best Of: Floorplans, on Design*Sponge
A different double-height treatment from A London Flat Filled with Light on August 5, 2015.

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  • I’ve been loving the addition of floorplans! You are so right – I used to look at a majority of rentals and feel like they were so far removed from mine – but seeing a floorplan helps me see which apartments are actually similar to mine in size/layout. Love it!

  • Nice! A plan puts photos into perspective and shows you what the photos can miss. In the small house movement, a lot of photos can concentrate on a nice kitchen, or a clever stair… but you don’t understand how the whole thing ties together. And the house is only 100 sq. ft!

    As an architect, I love how descriptive these plans are – how they are drawn can show what matters to the people who love the space. 16/21: I don’t know where the windows are, but I sure know what color the tile is. :-) I also love the descriptions of the spaces… one plan showed a quasi hallway as a “record listening space”. This shows how the house has evolved to work for the owners, how it is their home.

  • I love these! Thanks for including them. I became obsessed with floorplans when house hunting a few years ago. Particularly love number 3’s inclusion of the two small dogs on a mat.

  • I have been loving the addition of floor plans these past few months. Not only do they help us understand the space, but also gives us more insight into the personalities of the inhabitants.