Shoppell's company, the Co-operative Building Plan Association, published designs prepared by an in-house staff of architects for nearly three decades between 1881 and 1907. At its peak the firm employed about 50 architects, who provided free consultation to the customer who purchased a Shoppell plan, priced in the range of $15 to 65. Shoppell's business intended to challenge directly the rising popularity of expensive custom-designed plans.
- "Color Sheet" and plate 200, portfolio 2.The Builders' Portfolio containing ... Plates, showing Perspective Views, Elevations and Floor Plans ... Section 1-3. New York: The Co-operative Building Plan Association, c. 1886 [1 of 2].
- "Color Sheet" and plate 200, portfolio 2.The Builders' Portfolio containing ... Plates, showing Perspective Views, Elevations and Floor Plans ... Section 1-3. New York: The Co-operative Building Plan Association, c. 1886 [2 of 2].
The Builders' Portfolio was issued in three portfolios of 100 designs each. Shoppell's designs were targeted to an audience of architects, builders, and real estate people and were intended to offer sufficient construction details and pricing to protect those professions from "making losing contracts." The "Color Sheet" for residential exterior paint provides advice on color selection, placement, and application.
- Designs Numbers 209 and 210.Modern Houses Beautiful Homes. New York: Co-operative Building Plan Association, .
In Modern Houses Beautiful Homes Shoppell noted that 8000 houses had been built from his designs in the previous six years. His published designs were extremely popular—so popular that Shoppell patented the designs so he could control the number of houses built to each design and discourage "copycat" houses by other builders.
Shoppell had high expectations for the ability of his books to positively influence new construction: that if we devoted "knowledge, reflection and common sense [to our architectural works] ... we should possess an architecture of our own, worthy of our advanced civilization and in harmony with our national genius." To assist in developing this knowledge, Shoppell included chapters of The Habitations of Man in all Ages by Viollet-le-Duc throughout the book.