The A-frame home is an architectural design that dates back to the 1930s. Not only a simpler build, the A-frame can also be less costly to construct than other types of homes. Perfect for smaller plots of land, many have more of a minimalist design, but they're versatile. Scale it up for a roomier domicile, shrink it down to tiny house proportions, or add additional rooms, a loft, or decks to create the perfect full-time abode or getaway cabin.
Its name describes its construction, which when completed, resembles a capital “A.” There are no vertical side walls — instead, the triangular, sixty-degree angled roof serves that purpose. The front and back walls often feature large windows to provide lots of natural light and great views. Some people add skylights, which make the interior feel a bit larger and provide glimpses of the nighttime sky.
You’ll find a huge array of DIY house kits online, which contain not only the house plans but all the construction materials you need. However, prefabricated A-frames are a faster option if you’re seeking a nearer move-in date. The factory constructs the walls and other crucial parts of the home, then delivers the different segments to your site and assembles them there. A third option is to purchase blueprints from an architect or company that specializes in A-frame construction. You provide all the raw materials and build it yourself or hire a team to complete the construction.
One of the many benefits of a true A-frame house is that it never looks dated. A-frames built in the 1960s have the same appeal four decades later.
Families discovered they not only had more disposable income after World War II but also more leisure time. This opened the door for the concept of building a second, less-elaborate home amid gorgeous natural surroundings. Today, you’ll find A-frames just about anywhere, overlooking ski slopes, resort areas, and mountain valleys, along the beach, and in urban neighborhoods.
Whether you’re seeking a cozy cabin where you can hunker down in snow-filled surroundings or a place to shield you from the desert sun, A-frames are a great solution. The sloped roof prevents water and snow build-up, which can eventually lead to structural damage in climates with heavy rainfall. Hot air rises, so the ground level stays cool in warmer temperatures, but it may cost a bit more to keep the lower floor warm during colder weather. Quality insulation is essential.
A-frames are one of the sturdiest, most stable home constructions due to the triangular structure. Best of all, they don’t require a ton of maintenance, making them a great choice for busy families or as getaway homes, when they may stand uninhabited for long periods. And, if you decide to make changes down the road, such as adding a room or a deck, the versatile nature of the design makes it easy to customize.
If you need a lot of space for stuff, the A-frame may not be the best choice. However, the floor plan of this construction style is fertile ground for unique and innovative interior design. Most A-frames consist of a bottom floor, stairs, and a smaller, loft-style top floor. Open concepts work brilliantly for lower floors, which usually serve as a living or common area. The loft makes an intimate, comfy sleeping space or office. The A-frame’s sloped walls may create decorating challenges, but they also enable one-of-a-kind solutions for storage, minimalist designs, and cozy reading nooks or sewing corners.
If outdoor living is your thing, then the A-frame provides the opportunity to blend nature-loving spaces with indoor ones. Instead of a horizontal-style construction, it’s a vertical one, leaving more ground space around the structure. The options for creating a relaxing space outdoors are endless and allow you to shape your area even more. Add extra rooms, decks, a Zen garden, hot tub, wildlife habitat and pond, or an outdoor kitchen to complement your A-frame.
Scary climate change proclamations are prompting more people to seek alternative energy solutions for their homes. The A-frame’s sloping roof is ideal for adding solar panels. Solar power produces no emissions, there’s no uranium mining required, and it’s replenishable. Sun-powered energy is also less noisy and more predictable than wind power, another great renewable energy option.
A-frames often cost less per square foot than other types of homes. As long as the lot is big enough, the simplicity of this design allows you to add to it over time as your budget allows. Yet, for those who prefer living grander, there’s no shortage of A-frame floor plans with elegant amenities, such as wrap-around decking, multiple floors, cathedral windows, and more spacious interiors.
Whether you prefer traditional architectural styles or contemporary ones, the A-frame will fit just about any aesthetic.