At one point or another, almost every residential architect dreams of providing well-designed, affordable homes to the masses. Some try to reach this goal through prefab, while others become developers themselves. Houston builder and developer Mark Johnson has taken a different approach: His new company, Hometta, offers stock modern house plans by a handpicked pool of accomplished architects and designers. "There's a real need for people who can't afford a high-end custom home to have lower-cost access to modern design," he says.

He and Hometta's co-founder, Houston designer Andrew McFarland, enlisted four well-respected local practitioners—James M. Evans, AIA; Dawn Finley; Blair Satterfield; and Brett Zamore—to serve as the company's minority owners. They, in turn, lined up about 20 more firms from around the country to provide innovative home plans. Participants include Min | Day of San Francisco and Omaha, Neb.; Garofalo Architects of Chicago; and KRDB of Austin, Texas. "It seemed like an interesting group doing interesting work," says KRDB's Chris Krager, AIA.

Hometta requires all submitted houses to be sustainable, modern in style, and 2,500 square feet or less. Johnson, McFarland, and their team review the designs and often send them back for revisions, looking for ways to make them as easy as possible to build. To the same end, the company has created an online construction guide that helps homeowners with basic plan and builder selection, site placement, and common construction issues. The plans will range in cost from $1,195 for a studio-sized house to $3,195 for a three-bedroom dwelling. For more information, visit