A Bit of a Roller Coaster

Isn’t it annoying when someone makes a big announcement like, “Hey, I’m building a house!” and then you don’t hear anything else about it for months and months?

Yeah, that’s annoying.  People that do things like that drive me crazy.

Ahem.

Moving on.

On the house-building front, things have moved in fits and starts since we first bought the place.  I won’t get into the boring backstory (some of which is already addressed here), but I think we’re getting close to actually breaking ground and moving forward with construction (hopefully those aren’t famous last words).

Anyhoo, now seems like a good time to start getting you up to speed with what we’ll actually be building.

Here’s my viewpoint on houses – you can have the most beautiful light fixtures and tile in the world with a gorgeous view of the ocean from every room, but if the floor plan stinks then living in that home will never truly be enjoyable.

Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic, but I totally think it’s true. Wonky rooms and terribly used space will impact your day-to-day life in a home, so getting the floor plan of this new home that we’re building just right was incredibly important to me.

We first spoke with our architect back in February, and we constantly tweaked the floor plan up until mid-July. At our first meeting where we walked the lot, we emphasized that we wanted to take advantage of the amazing lot and make sure that we had a large backyard. I had a feeling that building the house in an L-shape would make the most sense, but we were totally open to the architect’s suggestions.

We went through a few rounds of rough sketches that didn’t really float our boats – it turns out that we weren’t really open to suggestions and that Jason and I were really set on the L-shaped floor plan since we strongly believe it makes the best use of the lot. :) So, we headed down that road.

But even once we honed in on a long structure with an L-shaped wing, we still had a long way to go before we found a floor plan that fit our initial requirements of engaging the lot and giving us a big backyard. Here are two of the floor plans that were interesting, but didn’t cut the mustard because the house ate up too much of the backyard (among other reasons):

preliminary floor planspreliminary floor plans This was our first time working with an architect, and it’s been a really interesting learning experience. It turns out that I have really strong opinions and, I think, good ideas, but that it can be hard to stick to your guns or always know what you want, especially when you’re working with a professional that also has good ideas but might have a slightly different aesthetic or have a different list of priorities when it comes to a home. It’s been pretty easy for me to avoid being swayed when it comes to the floor plan, but I’ve never felt entirely comfortable designing the exterior elevations of a home. One night during the summer I couldn’t sleep at all because I was completely stressed out about the exterior of the house – it was going to look amazing, but it wasn’t a look that I felt entirely comfortable with. All along I had said that it was what I wanted, but in the end it just didn’t feel right to me. I was sitting in my office at 4:30 in the morning, looking at elevations and crying. What?!? I can look back at that moment now and feel completely ridiculous, but at the time it was terrible. Luckily, I finally figured out what I really wanted and said something and our architect was totally cool with changing course at the last moment. Kudos to him for rolling with the punches, and I feel so relieved that we got everything figured out before it was too late. Designing this house has been a bit of a roller coaster. Jason and I both care deeply about getting this house just right, for a lot of reasons – building a spec house is a huge investment, a successful build and sale has the potential to do great things for our careers, we really want to create something that we’re proud of, and we especially want the future owners to love their home. Pressure, much? ;) So, that’s kind of the back story to the floor plan that we’ve ultimately settled on. It’s been a labor of love, and I’ll share it with you soon!

 

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Comments

  1. Jen says:

    I know all your hard work will totally pay off – can’t wait to see the end result!!

  2. Cari says:

    Glad to see that we aren’t the only ones moving at a snail’s pace, not that that is a good thing! If you remember me, I’m the one that had to wait a year for my septic permit. We FINALLY got that, but are in waiting mode again trying to get our construction loan closed — but waiting on our original bank to give us a partial release on our property that we subdivided (and we just refinanced less than 5 months ago!). Our very long, steep driveway is almost finally done and well drilling has been going on for what seems forever. I’ve also been working on ordering windows (huge expense) and deciding on a foundation. I also have ordered and gotten in all my interior doors and finally bought the matching fridge to my discontinued Viking freezer for a bargain. It definitely is hurry up and wait.
    I also went through the same things you have with the whole design process. I had to go through it twice. Once with the architect and once with our house builder (they are erecting the shell that includes log veneer). So tough when you can see in your mind what you want, but trying to convey is sometimes difficult. We made it through, though.
    I enjoy reading about your experiences and maybe I’ll get moving and start a blog about mine.

  3. Monica says:

    Those are some crazy setbacks you’re dealing with! Liking the courtyard in the front to take up that space. Houses can be both beautiful and functional and I can’t wait to see your final plan!

  4. Nick Tedesco says:

    Well of course it should be just right. When you put that much time and effort into something to make it just right, you’re creating a good deal of value that will pay off when it’s finished. Looks like it will be a great home.

  5. James Kast says:

    Many people just nod to whatever the architect says. It’s not the architect is wrong but he doesn’t know everything too! When not comfortable of something, homeowners should speak up. After all, they’re the ones who’re going to live there. Thankfully, your architect’s a great one and you figured out what you really wanted for it’s too late.

  6. Can’t wait to see the end result! I agree with James Kast, your architect is also great!

  7. I’m glad that you realized what exactly want before it’s too late for changes. Yes, building a house is a big investment and if you want to be not only a house but your home you have to be satisfied with everything in it. Hope that everything will go as yuo planned it and acn’t wait to see the final result!

  8. I like the plans you have for your house that you are having built. Having a planned spot for the pool like that is really important, even if you aren’t having it built right away. I hope it turns out exactly how you want it to.

  9. Brendan says:

    I’m just eager to see the house when it’s finally built – though I’m sure it’ll be quite a while until then ;)

  10. Jen says:

    Hah, I’m sure architects are used to people wanting last minute changes all the time. In fact I’d bet anything that you’re probably one of their less problematic clients!

  11. Isaac says:

    It’s great you had such a cool architect. I’ve dealt with quite a few who get all upity when I didn’t completely like their design, kind of like i was insulting their baby (which i guess I was). Having a cool architect who understands your misgivings and is able to work though them is the sign of someone who is truly confident in their abilities.

  12. I’ve also had an experience with architects. Last year me and hubby decided to redesign our backyard, build an extension to the house, something like a summer kitchen and a relaxation area combined into one. I’m very thankful for the architect’s advices. The new-built features would probably not get as good as if I had to make the plan by myself, in terms of functionality, efficiency and disposition.
    I am sure this house will look gorgeous too and I just can’t wait to see the final pictures!