One criteria that I like to see in a house is the cooling criteria. What I mean is whether the temperature inside the house is still cool even though the weather outside is very hot. Most of the terrace houses that are being built now does not fulfill this criteria. It is cheap in price but it is not comfortable to live in. Poor natural ventilation system is another downside to the terrace houses.
Have you watched the movie "The Lake House" starred by Sandra Bullock? In the movie there is a house by the lake. Most of the walls are made of glass and there is enough ventilation that makes the house looks cool. And one can enjoy the view of the lake even from inside the house. Now, that is a well planned house where nature is taken into consideration.
If you plan to have a house specially design according to your interests and ideas, you can checkout houseplansandmore.com. There are various types of house plans that are offered there. The Log Cabin House Plans and the English Cottage House Plans are wonderful and desirable. Then again, as I said, make sure that the house that you are planning to build take into consideration the weather and surrounding environment.
For those who have a ranch, you might want to consider the Small Ranch House Plans. The pictures shown are some of the house designs that I find very nice.