For great inspiration, nothing beats the National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville, NC. Featured on television and in the national media, the annual event brings together more than 200 entrants who pour their hearts and considerable talents into their elaborate entries.
This gingerbread structure started as two separate kits with pre-cut and baked components. A little sawing on the walls in strategic places and it became a two-story chalet. Notice the pond at right made from blue Jolly Rancher hard candies melted in an aluminum foil mold.
Here is a cool set of detailed instructions from Bob Vila's crew. They know all about houses, including those made from gingerbread. One of the best features of this article is the collection of exceptional design templates, allowing you to create a truly distinctive-looking structure. Downloadable plans include A-Frame, Colonial, Saltbox, and Side Gable houses (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). Combine these solid, unique structural plans with your creative decorating ideas and you'll have an award-winning house on your hands.
Starting with a pre-baked gingerbread house kit allows you to finish your project in a fraction of the time, while still allowing for all the customization you can comprehend. If the pre-baked approach does not appeal to you, a number of gingerbread recipes are available online to give you the control and flexibility you crave. Use these easy-to-follow directions, Building a Gingerbread House with Susan Reid, to construct a wonderful house from scratch. Includes gingerbread dough recipe, template for roof and walls, assembly tips, landscaping ideas, and directions for gelatin and stained glass windows. Complete with how-to photos.