So, I’m told that normal people spend a lot of time looking for a house plan to start building when they purchase property on which to build a house.
So, this is yet another way that the Woodwards are not normal.
Instead, we took down a 100-year-old-barn and rebuilt it with plans to live in it. And then we put in a driveway. And we also planted some trees and other plants. We bought a gator, a tractor and a skid loader. You know, the important things.
Hm … something is missing?
The thought of picking a house plan was not something to taken lightly. And it was just so dang overwhelming.
But the next things that HAVE to get done before we can move onto the property is well and septic. The well digging is happening sometime soon. (Insert money signs here.) Our septic guy won’t even give us a quote until we have a house plan and location so we can make sure it’s in the best/right location. So, we sort of need to know where we want the house. Which means we need to sort of know what house we’d like.
Nothing like doing things in the correct order, right?
For months (probably closer to a year), Ryan and I have been house plan searching and dreaming. We’ve made lists of must-haves. We’ve searched to the end of the Internet to find the perfect thing.
The biggest thing we want with this house is the feeling that it could have been there forever. We love old houses and the character that comes with them. We had no desire to build something that looks out of place. We want people to be asking themselves, is this a new house? Because it looks like it could have been an updated farmhouse.
In truth, it’s much harder to find a house plan that’s (in my mind) simple and modest.
And in the end, there wasn’t anything that was exactly perfect without major modifications. (If you are interested in some things that caught our eye, check out our build it Pinterest board. We were actually originally considering more of a Craftsman-style home design.)
But, then I spotted this house in a recent issue of Country Living. It stopped me in my tracks.
I mean, seriously. I love this house. My heart beats faster when I see this house. It’s a new(er) build, but it looks like an old farm house. I love the simple roof line. I love the symmetry of the windows and doors. I love the centered double French glass doors for the entry. I love the trim work. I love the 1 1/2 story.
I was sold.
Ryan liked that it looked relatively simple to build. (As simple as building a house could be.) He also liked that I liked it.
He was sold.
So that gave us inspiration, but I wasn’t able to find a similar exterior aesthetic with a floor plan I liked. I didnt think our wants were out of line, but that’s life. In case you have any interest, here are our wants:
- A modest 1 1/2 or 2 story home with an open main level floor plan. (In case you’re curious, our idea of modest is a 1,000 to 1,400 square foot home, not including an unfinished basement.)
- Lots of big, tall windows to allow for natural light (this is something we don’t get in our current house. We have tons of windows, but they aren’t facing the right direction. And then large trees, houses and our front porch block the great light we could get.)
- An old farmhouse aesthetic from the outside.
- First-floor mudroom space with room for the dogs.
- Attached garage that isn’t overtaking the front of the house. We’d prefer it to be hidden as much as possible.
- 3 bedrooms. (Ryan’s comfortable with 2 since there will be a basement that we can eventually finish plus the barn space. I’d prefer 3.)
- At least one bath on every floor.
- Exposed basement.
- Some sort of a large back outdoor space for outdoor dining and grilling.
I swear, my “wants” didn’t seem so strict in my head. They look a little more strict in writing, don’t they?
So, we finally determined that a plan from the web wasn’t going to work for us without serious modifications. And we began researching home designers and architects. Finaly – a few weeks ago, we met up with a local home designer who came highly recommended. I brought the picture above and tons of floor plans and inspiration images we’ve found. (Thank you, Pinterest.)
We weren’t sure what to expect. We were afraid it was going to be way out of our budget to do this. But we knew that we needed to get a house plan that was the right one for us. We’re planning to be here for the foreseeable future.
After a two-hour meeting, we left feeling energized. Our designer has a lot of experience and truly asked the right questions (many we hadn’t even considered). He also really listened to what we wanted. And some of the things we wanted weren’t even really things we realized we wanted.
- Neither of us want a master bathroom. (I know, you can all gasp.) I don’t want to clean another bathroom. I don’t want to take up more room from an already tight upstairs. I would much rather have one larger shared bathroom.
- We had to communicate the desire to utilize as much of the upstairs space as possible, even if it meant we’d be working with sloped walls from the roof.
- We also discussed the need for the exterior aesthetic versus interior practicality. For example, I strongly wanted a centered double front door (like the inspiration image). He shared some possible downfalls (like the fact that the doors will open into the main living space. And also that there are some pitfalls to double-opening doors). In the end, I decided that the symmetry was pretty important to me and that I was totally find with a French door where only one door opened. (This would give us much more flexibility with the living space, save us money and avoid potential leaking.)
He also gave us some tough love. I was adamant about having three bedrooms upstairs. In the end, to get an exterior look like my inspiration (without dormers), I may have to live with two upstairs bedrooms and one bedroom downstairs. I am okay with that compromise (although I’d be thrilled if he could make my dreams happen).
Ryan and the designer also spent a lot of time talking about how Ryan wanted to build it – trusses and such. To be honest, I have no clue what was discussed. But Ryan was impressed with his knowledge.
In the end, we learned that the cost of using a local home designer over a web-bought plan will actually SAVE us money. Plus we feel more comfortable knowing the person and communicating with him in person. So, in a few weeks time, we’ll have a home plan that’s designed for us with our inspiration and needs in mind. From there, we’ll communicate changes/adjustments and then he work to get us the full plans and elevations. It’s amazing that within a month or two, we’ll know where we’ll be living.
Then, all we have to do is build it.
No big deal, right?
What do you think about our house plan progress? Any advice from those who have been there?