How to Design an A-Frame House


A-frame houses were "invented" in the 1960s and are a contemporary style that is popular in rustic settings such as the mountains and by the lake. Their gable roof, which extends nearly to ground level, is practical in snowy settings because the snow will slide right down it and remove the pressure off the roof. The gable ends frequently feature a wall of windows, and they often include a loft. Floor plans are readily available online.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil with an eraser
  • Ruler
  • Decide how many and which kind of rooms you want. Do they need to be on the main level, or will any of them work upstairs in the loft? What furniture will you be using in them? Figure out what the dimensions need to be.

  • Draw an outline of the home on the graph paper. The size will be based on the total square footage needed for the main level. Multiply the width times the length for each room to figure out their square footage, then add up the totals. Don't forget any hall space needed, and the width of the exterior and interior walls (just add 4 inches on each side of an enclosed room and include that in the numbers you are multiplying).

  • Draw out your rooms in the interior space in the positions you want them, allowing space for an interior fireplace wall, if desired, and including the interior wall widths.Since the A-frame home uses trusses for the supporting structure just like a church does, there don't need to be any support posts.

  • Draw in the loft area on a separate sheet of paper. First draw a to-scale side view of the home, drawing the first-floor width, then adding the roof. Calculate how high the downstairs ceilings will be, so that you can figure out how high the upstairs floor will be. Draw a line across the inverted V shape and measure it. That is how wide the floor will be. You can make the length anything you want; you'll just have to add more trusses.

  • Complete the interior details. Draw in the kitchen appliances, sink and counter space. Fill in the bathroom fixtures. Draw in the side dormer windows, if any, and the doors.

  • Design the outside of the home. Draw in an attached screened porch, a deck that surrounds the home, a covered side doorway, or anything else that will go on the exterior of the house.

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  • Photo Credit a frame image by Earl Robbins from
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