Mid Century Modern Home Plans

second homes for leisure living

Vacation home designed by Bay Area architect Henrik Bull – illustration by Bob Wandesforde

The image above is from a promotional booklet entitled Second homes for leisure living. The booklet was produced by the Douglas Fir Plywood Association and features floor plans and dimensions for 18 vacation homes built with fir plywood. Included are plans for homes designed by modern architects such as George Matsumoto, Frederick Liebhardt, David George and Henrik Bull.

The illustrations are by Bob Wandesforde (b.1920 – d.1990). Bob was a freelance designer and Charter Member of the Seattle Art Directors Society.

second homes for leisure living

second homes for leisure living

second homes for leisure living

Two Stage Expandable vacationer designed by Walter Widmeyer

second homes for leisure living

Double Deck A Frame Cabin designed by David T Hellyer, Tacoma Washington

second homes for leisure living

Ranger A Frame Cabin designed by Nagle and Associates

second homes for leisure living

Three Stage Beach Cabin (no architect listed)

second homes for leisure living

Summer Teahouse design by Laurence S Higgins

second homes for leisure living

interior of Summer Teahouse design by Laurence S Higgins


Also worth checking: Saul Bass Case Study House #20

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would these have been built to? like to see pics of one of these nowadays.
especially that last one.

Mondrianic living, could well be the future…

This might be my favorite post here so far.

How delightful!

david… shoot each page and make a pdf for me… i am totally making one of these houses some day. you can come over and have some coffee when is done… promise.

Hi Bj,
I believe al of these homes have been built. I upoladed an image of the A frame cabin designed and built by Dr. David Hellyer. http://www.flickr.com/photos/grainspace/3563678123/

I couldn’t find any images of the tea house designed by Laurence S Higgins.

I don’t drink coffee, can I still come over?

Thanks Dave!

I assume there aren’t any left, can’t imagine these surviving 50 years of all weather-conditions..

Gorgeous illustrations! And I love the idea of ‘Leisure Living’.

Thanks so much for posting! These are great!

what a dreamy vacation home!

What a wonderful surprise from Notcot today…I happen to have a mid-century modern house listed in Louisiana for sale, and I’m in love with the style

A pdf file of the entire book would be great.

Would love to see the entire book, third the idea of pdfing the whole thing…

If I get time, I’ll try to put something together.

I LOVE the brochure! What a great find. I just finished designing a poster with for tikibar tv with my favourite Clarendon typeface and those crazy retro colours! I totally dig the A frame with double deck. :)

Why doesnt someone today publish these floor plans or create something similar? Not everyone in America makes lots of money and can afford a typical second/vacation home. I would think today one could possible put together something along the lines of this for far less than the ones developers are creating. Small, functional and inexpensive.


How can I find a copy of the Second Homes for Leisure Living booklet? Thanks….I would love to build one someday!

Diane Short |

Off Our Bookshelves |

Hi Diane,
your best bet is Ebay.

I designed the cabin shown at the top of the page about 50 years ago. The clients said they had already written the advertising copy, “You can build this cabin yourself for the cost of a second car.” When I protested, I was told, “do the best you can”. They built the cabin, claiming that the cost for materials was $3200 ($40,000 in todays dollars). It could not be built today because building codes would not permit the uninsulated walls and roof. It was never intended to be heated, more like a semi permanent tent. It used a small fraction of the natural resources of a modern code complying “Leisure Home”. Today only very rich people can afford a vacation home.

Henrik Bull, FAIA |

Off Our Bookshelves |

The original a-frame designed by Dr. Hellyer was in my Family for over 50 years. it is located in Henderson inlet just north of Olympia Washington. I have hundreds of pictures if anyone is interested. Is there anyone who knows how to locate a set of plans?



Matt Galbraith |

Off Our Bookshelves |

I realize your comment was quite a while ago Matt but if you still have pictures I’d love to see them. I am just about to close on an A-frame very similar to the Ranger in the brochure (that has been nearly completely disguised under a bunch of ketch cottage decor, however the completely suspended fireplace is still intact. I am trying to restore it, obviously not to the plywood because it will be a full time residence but I’d be very interested to see what others have done with their Aframes. you can email me at KLeeseBurgers@gmail.com

Can you detail what specifically the brochure says about Frederick Liebhardt’s involvement? In researching his work, the 3-stage beach cabin looks close to his first studio in his own backyard circa 1949-1950?

Thanks for anything you can offer on Liebhardt – a great San Diego architect who moved here following his Taliesin apprenticeship.


i sent off for, and received, a copy of this book in the 1960′s as i was deciding to become an architect. I was born 1953 so this was pretty heady stuff for me. Does anyone know where i can buy an original copy? mine has disappeared over the years. May 29, 2012

Robert E. Meaders, AIA Decatur, GA.

Robert Meaders, AIA |

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Does anyone have any information on Laurence S. Higgins? I own a house that was designed by a L.S. Higgins & Associates of Bellevue, Wa. Just wanting to see what I might be able to find out about him.


Here is a site where you can see the entire booklet:
I’m also working on a site that claims to have the booklet available for download.

sunshineandrain |

Off Our Bookshelves |

I found the site where this booklet can be downloaded in many formats.
It includes not only the pics, but also the floor plans.

sunshineandrain |

Off Our Bookshelves |

My parents built one of these houses in Marshall, VA in 1969. It’s still going strong.