In Charm/ House Plan

1903 Farmhouse House Plan Given New Life

Old farmhouse plan image shifts to real house

This Redesigned Farmhouse from 1903 Has Everything You Want In Under 1100 Square Feet

Note: This post has been updated April 2024

I have the perfect farmhouse house plan for you.

Are looking for a house that feels like a true, all-American farmhouse?

One that feels modern, yet has all the charm you would expect from an old house?

Let me share a house design I love from “The Radford Ideal Homes” which was a catalog published in 1903 by the Radford Architectural Company. The catalog featured 100 house and barn designs – many originally designed before indoor plumbing – and it is my go-to plan book for inspiration for really authentic farmhouse designs.

This plan is labeled Design No. 1 and back in 1903 the estimated cost to build this house was,

wait for it


That’s the cost of one appliance these days, folks.

The Most Charming Folk Victorian

I consider this house style “Folk Victorian.”

It’s a modestly sized house with a simple layout and basic construction (no elaborate bay windows, turrets, etc), but is embellished with decorative brackets, fancy gable trim, leaded glass windows, and elaborate casing.

Here are some examples of the Folk Victorian style:

Victorian Folk Farmhouse Exterior with white siding and pink door
An Old White Folk Victorian Farmhouse Exterior with Front Porch

Country Living

Wendy Posard & Associates

White Folk Victorian house with Mint Front Doors

Luxe Interiors

Beach House
White Colonial

Young House Love

Victorian Exterior

Miyuki Yamaguchi Design Studio

Most of the “Modern Farmhouses” that you see being built these days do not have all the exterior detailing seen here. I just love the Victorian doors and the window details, and if I were to build a Farmhouse, I’d model it after these early 20th century designs but give it a modern color palette, hardware, and fixtures.

The 1903 Farmhouse House Plan

The original Radford floor plan had a parlor, sitting room, dining room, 2 bedrooms, and a kitchen.

It did not have a bathroom.

That would not work for me. Obviously.

Design No. 1 Floor Plan from Radford Ideal Homes Folk Victorian Farmhouse 1903

The bedrooms were small and of course the kitchen was pushed to the back of the house.

I do love the pocket doors to the dining room.

But that’s about all I love.

The house is so cute on the outside but that interior layout definitely needs some work.

With this floor plan, this darling house will never get built again.

Giving these designs a new lease on life gives me life.

If you want to see what adjustments I’d make to the floor plan, read on.

You can also click here to download a free version of my newly dimensioned, scaled floor plan of this house design.

Get the folk victorian farmhouse house plan updated from 1903

The Updated Farmhouse House Plan

An Updated Floor Plan for a Radford Folk Victorian Farmhouse House Plan that was originally designed in 1903

After playing around with the interior layout a bit, here’s the floor plan solution I came up with.

Features of the new and improved farmhouse house plan:

  • Kitchen. Goodbye parlor! Hello pretty kitchen with big windows, vaulted ceiling and center island. Ah. So much better.
  • Dining Room. I relocated the dining room to where one of the bedrooms used to be and added a charming fireplace. The original design didn’t have a fireplace, and that feature is a must for me. I also added a door to go to a side deck or screened porch.
  • Living Room. No need for both a parlor and a sitting room. I’ve combined both these spaces into one. If you know how these spaces were used back then, comment below – I’m curious about the functions that would have occurred in the parlor. I’m assuming the sitting room was for conversing with guests, etc.
  • Bathroom. Yup, I added a bathroom because I’m not an outhouse kindofa gal. I don’t usually like to have the toilet visible from the door, but in this plan it made the most sense and gives the most vanity space.
  • Bedrooms. I made one large, sunny bedroom in the back of the house, and located the second bedroom where the dining room used to be. Both have decent closets and are off of a private hallway. The original house did not have a hallway so the bedrooms were directly off of the dining room and sitting room.

From a Drawing to Reality

A Rendering of a 1903 Radford Folk Victorian Farmhouse

A reader came across my blog post in her search for a house plan that looks like a old home on the outside but open and modern on the inside to build for her next home. She shared images and insights to the remodeling of her FIRST home which was, surprise surprise, this very 1903 Farmhouse plan! Here are images from over the years starting with when the home was first built and captures the longevity of our homes.

One of the updates made to the house was to turn the attic into a second story with a large bed room with a closet and 2nd bathroom. Thank goodness for modern plumbing!

Send me the Free Plan Folk Victorian Farmhouse, updated from 1903

Need Help?

Let me help you redesign your old home floorplan! Not ready for a full floorplan remodel? No problem, I can help you with the interior design within the existing plans making sure to combine the original charm with modern aesthetics. Check out my full service design services or even my mini (but mighty) design service.

Some other posts you might like:

Let me know your thoughts on this reimagined floor plan. Comment below!

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  • Haley Drewes
    February 22, 2022 at 12:18 am

    I actually owned a Radford design #1 !! Up until last year anyways. My heart still skips a beat when I come across new things I haven’t seen about it . I have photos of the house when it was built in 1908 and up until I sold it if u would be interested!

  • Haley Drewes
    February 27, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    I have photos of this actual house plans built if you would interested in seeing this old house plan sketch brought to real life I have photos of it when it was first built in 1908 and it modernized in 2021 . I’d love share . I’m a fellow old house lover

  • Rose Beason
    January 2, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    Concerning the parlor/sitting room situation, the parlor was a more formal room where you would entertain guests. The sitting room was more for the family day to day use. The parlor could also have been used as a ladies space, while the sitting room was a gentlemen’s room when a group was being entertained.

  • Robert
    May 6, 2023 at 7:07 am

    You have great taste and are a genius
    Exactly what I was searching for
    Are you ever going to build this?
    I can usually find a tons of flaws in house plans
    With yours only 2
    No foyer or stairs to the attic, as it looks like a staircase off the kitchen in the original plan
    Also the windows in the gables, as they used the attic as storage space back then, as there was no basements
    Just crawl spaces with dirt floors
    And the attic would negate the need for a basement for storage, and also be a place for mechanicals
    Well done
    Maybe the parlour was for the family to gather and the sitting room was like a formal reception area for company, as it has the entrance door to it
    Of course this is just a guess

  • Lisa Ann Hicks
    May 15, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    I have a 1900 Folk Victorian with this floor plan – the real life version. It has had five additions. They added a bathroom on it right from the start. If you ever want to see how a real one has changed over the past 123 years…… send me an email.

  • Romany Lambert
    August 11, 2023 at 9:55 am

    This is such a cute post. It’s a very pretty home and the revisions would maintain the charm of this sweet house’s roots with the modern day necessities. Personally I would make a few little tweaks as I wouldn’t want the toilet window looking into the screened porch. I would also switch the dining and kitchen and put the fireplace in the living room as that would probably be enjoyed more frequently. I guess many of these homes would have had slight variations anyway, even if they looked the same outside. It’s very charming and would be a beautiful home.

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