A Hendersonville, Tennessee transformation.

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We're house people,"says Anne Love. She and her husband, Jay, had one historic-renovation project under their belts when a 1950s brick rancher on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tennessee, hit the market. Smitten with the waterfront lot, the Loves bought the house for raising their two children, with the intention of one day constructing their ideal home in its place. "We like house plans and have always been into building," Anne says. After years of admiring the timeless charm of traditional architecture, the Loves landed on the Southern Living New Carolina Island House (SL-1825). This 3,352-square-foot home, designed by Our Town Plans, is rooted in Lowcountry style (a previous version ran as the 2002 Coastal Living Idea House in Habersham, South Carolina). Starting with good bones, the Loves modified the plan to fit their aesthetics and location. A firefighter by day, Jay took on the role of project manager and worked with a team to build the house from the ground up, cataloging the two-year process on Instagram (@lovehousetn). Here, they share how they brought their lakeside property to life.

House Plan 1825 Porch
House Plan 1825 Patio looking onto Lake
Left: Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Right: Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Going Off Script Is Okay

"It's hard to find a predesigned plan that's perfect right 'off the shelf.' It's not like buying shoes—there's more than just size and style to consider," says Our Town Plans president Suzanne Stern. "I often advise [house] plan shoppers to think about the layout and general massing before focusing on the way the exterior looks, because the home's 'skin' is one of the easiest things to change."

House Plan 1825 Exterior
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Make Both Sides Welcoming

"With this particular lot, we needed a house with front and rear facades that were equally beautiful and inviting," says Anne. The wraparound porch (SL-1825's hallmark feature) is usually shown off from the street. Because more traffic goes by on the lake, the Loves turned the home around so its outdoor living spaces overlook the water. They dressed up the new front with a statelier Colonial-style entrance, adding Doric columns, brick stairs (which match the pattern on the back patio), and wrought iron railings.

House Plan 1825 Porch Exterior
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Go Ahead; Get Personal

The Loves tailored the blueprint to fit how their family would live in the house. A few of their modifications included enclosing one side of the porch to create a sunroom, elongating the rear steps for a more natural flow to the yard (plus extra seating for hosting barbecues), adding a double-sided masonry fireplace (for year-round porch living), and designing a garage and carport.

The Details

Plan Designer: Our Town Plans 
Name: New Carolina Island House
Plan: SL-1825
Size: 3,352 square feet
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half

House Plan 1825 Floor Plan
Credit: Our Town Plans