The family home in my thesis is based on the historic Womack-Crenshaw Plantation, which burned in 1973. Thankfully, many wonderful photos of the house remain, as it was surveyed by the Library of Congress in 1935. It’s a great example of Southern architecture, and it allowed me to set my story in a realistic place even though I’d never seen it in real life.
The HABS project also gave me great reference photos to recreate the home using a computer program (I’m not fancy. It’s the Sims 2.) Doing this let me put furniture in the house and paint the walls, and imagine what new changes and remodels might have happened from 1826 until the 20th Century.