05/16/2014 09:25 am ET Updated May 16, 2014

8 Dream Homes That Aren't McMansions (PHOTOS)

When one's job is to write about incredible homes, one quickly finds out that most of the really incredible pictures are from...really, really, really expensive homes. As in: Homes that have more infinity pools than they have bedrooms; couches that cost the equivalent of a down payment on an actual house; houses with pantries that are bigger than a studio apartment -- that sort of thing. But we believe that a "dream home" doesn't have to be outrageously expensive -- or even that big. Here are 8 houses that prove just that.

  • An Energy-Efficient Home With 19th-Century Style
    Courtesy of Southern Living
    P. Allen Smith, who built this home for under $200,000, described it as the "anti-McMansion." It combines green construction principles with a historically-aware design that references a 19th-century Southern farmhouse. For the entire house tour, visit Southern Living.
  • A Custom Home That Feels As If It's Been Around Forever
    Photo courtesy of Southern Living
    The problem with many new construction homes? A distinct lack of personality. Not the case with this custom-built house in Lake Martin, Alabama, which was inspired by Early American Colonial architecture. Check out more photos of the home over at Southern Living.
  • A New Southern Home That Nods To The Past
    Photo courtesy of Southern Living
    This South Carolina home references the "dogtrot" floor plans popular in the area. (It's a design that allows for plenty of air circulation during hot Southern nights.) For a look inside the home, visit Southern Living.
  • A Glass Home Where There Aren't Any Bad Views
    Photo courtesy of Sunset
    Located in the Sierra Foothills, this gorgeous house was actually made of different pieces shipped from across the country. Who says that pre-fab has to be boring? Get a closer look over at Sunset.
  • A Contemporary Home With A Surprising Origin
    Photo courtesy of Sunset
    See it yet? No? Okay, then, we'll just tell you: This home is located in a former shipping container. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer an incredible look at the surrounding Mojave Desert. For more photos, visit Sunset.
  • A Retro Ranch Modified For Modern Life
    Photo courtesy of Sunset
    The exterior might be all vintage, but the interior has been respectfully updated for the young family lucky enough to call this home. For a closer look, visit Sunset.
  • A Cheery Little Cottage Built For Entertaining
    Photo courtesy of Sunset
    The owners of this enchanting home prioritized outdoor entertaining -- which is a great choice when living in beautiful Sonoma, California. For a closer look at the home, visit Sunset.
  • A DIY Getaway That Only Cost $57,000
    Photo courtesy of Sunset
    Yes, that's including the land, too. Built from scratch, this rustic mountainside escape is a place to truly get away from it all. Read the full story (and get a look at how the couple constructed the cabin) at Sunset.

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