The Floorplan

Let’s forget the bus for a minute, shall we? Because there IS  a reason that we are putting ourselves through all this rigamarole. Eventually we would like to have a house built.

We are currently working with a local contractor on the design stage of our house plan. Noah has harbored a desire to be an architect since he was a kid, so this aspect of the project has been brewing in his brain for years.

When we first purchased the land, over a year ago now, he drew up this custom floor plan for our dream home:

FLOORPLANWATERMARKCROPPED

A few notes:

-We decided to go with two stories because there are some fantastic views from the pad that we would like to take advantage of. This is also why we didn’t opt for the master on the bottom story.

-We don’t actually want a spa in the master suite,  it’s supposed to be just a normal tub.

-The Narnia Lamp in the Reading Nook is simply a touch of whimsy.

-The Library will also be an office/school room. 

 It adds up to a total of a little over 2,000 square feet, which seems absolutely enormous to me. I am picturing hours and hours of sweeping and dusting.

I like to think that we would be satisfied in less space. Our rental was less than 1,000 square feet and the bus is only 400. With the kids as little as they are, we honestly don’t feel super cramped (yet – I am still in the early stages of this pregnancy). Plus, a larger house generally means higher utility costs and more maintenance. Blech.

We are also projecting into the future when our kids are over 4 feet tall and (hopefully) have friends. Part of our hope is to have a home that is spacious and welcoming – where they will feel comfortable bringing people and hosting slumber parties instead of always being elsewhere.

The contractor is waiting on us for our final approval to draw up the rest of the plans to go with the design. He has assured us that it will fit into the budget that we agreed on, although it will be on the high end, which is why we are hesitating to sign off right away. We are currently almost at 0 for our debt-to-income ratio (we have a bit left on a private car loan) and we don’t like to give that up lightly.

We are debating starting a project that will wind up being a large financial stretch for us in the present, but that we intend to be our family’s home for years and years to come. Is it worth it? Or will we wind up merely having a house without a life? 

We have also been told repeatedly by different contractors that downsizing the house DOESN’T actually save you a whole lot of money like you would think and that you wind up sacrificing things that you wanted *cough*library*cough* for merely a fraction of the cost over the long term.

So, this is where we stand for now. We will obviously keep you posted as things progress, and we welcome your input on our conundrum.

I would love to hear if you’ve been in a similar situation and the factors that you considered. 

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28 thoughts on “The Floorplan

  1. Ooh, I LOVE floor plans! I’ve been drawing them since I was a kid (back then it was castles…now it’s farmhouses). In fact, I drew two today!

    I love your floor plan. Even though I usually steer away from open-concept/great room, yours works because of the L shape. So the chaos of kids, TV, whatever, doesn’t feel like it’s in the kitchen. My future dream house will be about that size, between 1800 and 2300 square feet. Currently we’re living in a 1200 sqft duplex that drives me crazy ;-)

    Keep dreaming and planning! It’s going to be marvelous.

      1. I’ll have to see what I can dig up. Usually I start it (with pencil, on graph paper), then hit some snag and give up. I like best to start with an existing plan, then drastically modify it. Most recently, I designed my ideal laundry/mud room for my someday dream farmhouse.

        1. I love graph paper! I usually start with the square footage and build inwards. I decide where the most important rooms, bathrooms (north? west?) and the kitchen (south? where’s the view?), and then the bedrooms (north for sure! we think we’re eskimos.) have to go and fiddle around from there. It really is fun, and graph paper is cheap therapy.

  2. I would encourage you to save for as long as you can. I know the bus must be difficult, but I suggest sacrificing now to make sure you are in a position to afford exactly what you want for the long haul.

      1. Sarah, that reminded me of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life: “Save up? Save up for what?!? So that their children can grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken-down… Say, Mr. Potter, do you know how long it takes for the average Joe to save $5,000?..”

        Uh, maybe I’ve seen that just a bit too many times. But maybe you should look for the Bailey Brothers Savings and Loan!

        1. One more comment and then I’ll shut up: “Hey, am I talking too much?”

          (Can you tell that I’m doing laundry and walking by the laptop in between loads?)

  3. I understand the difficult decisions you currently are facing. My husband and I decided over Christmas 2013 that having three kids in our former house was not going to work so we put it on the market. We looked at a lot of resale homes and new homes. Sometimes building was cheaper. We went from a 1700 square foot home and are now building a 2700 sq. foot home with the number of bedrooms we need. Despite going up 1000 sq. feet in size due to new efficiency windows, insulation, etc., our electricity and heating bills are estimated to remain the same. Also when I got a quote from my insurance agent, our homeowners insurance was going to go down 80 dollars because we were in a new home as opposed to our old house which was eleven years old. The size of your house sounds good. We have 14, 9, and 1 year old girls so we can say that they definitely take up more room as they get bigger even though they have fewer toys. Good luck.

    1. That is great about the utility bills! In our tiny rental (which was totally energy inefficient) we had our gas and electric down under $50 a month on average. In summer we were around $30. I would LOVE to be able to maintain that!

  4. I have no advice, but I have to say I LOVE the simplicity of your floor plan. So many houses these days have a bathroom for each bedroom, it drives me crazy! Good luck :)

  5. This is somewhat like the house we built in the mountains, but I (I shoulda been an architect, too!) made it longer and narrower in order to face it south for not only the view, but the sun! Two story houses are way more economical to build than a one story of the same sq. footage, so I think you’re going the right way to maximize your dollars. One thing that I did was put the laundry room upstairs, and it was such a labor saver! If you can squeeeeeze it in somewhere, boy, do I recommend it, since most laundry is generated in the baths and bedrooms. We had a small deck /balcony to the back yard,so that when I wanted to hang clothes out on the line, I could just use those stairs.

    It’s a fine line to walk, the “live for a house” or a “house to live in”, and the answer probably is to ask yourselves what kind of people are you? If where you live is very important to you and you’re mostly stay-at-home people, I say go with it! But, if you want to travel to Europe in the next ten years…. maybe do some re-thinking?

    1. We did consider the upstairs laundry and dismissed it in part because I do enjoy line drying. I never considered an outside staircase… hmmmm… we did include the laundry chute to ease that in part… good thoughts.

      1. I liked the outside staircase, too, for fire escape reasons. Our teeny little deck/balcony was about 4 X 6, 2 chairs worthy!

  6. Oo, a Library and Reading Nook, how fun! And since you’re obviously into Narnia, hope your 4th is another boy so you can have two daughters of Eve and two sons of Adam. That’s what I used to joke that we’d have. Our 3rd expected girl is making us go more of the Little Women route. =P

  7. And make sure that you have a window, or a door with a window in it, in the laundry room. Hmmmm, maybe I spend too much time doing laundry…. But I’m guessing you will be, too!

  8. We live in a tiny old house and I feel that we have plenty of space, but I only have two kids. It is less to clean, but more stuff crammed together, so either way has its good and bad points. My only complaints about our house is that there is only one bathroom and only a few tiny closets. We used to live in a 5 bedroom house with 2 1/2 baths, which worked great, but we really only needed the two. The reason for the half bath was because it was downstairs. Who wants to run upstairs every time you gotta go. Or send your friends up there. But, I did hate clean three bathrooms. Even though we rented out a room to a friend, we still didn’t use the 5th room. I ended up letting my violin teacher use it once a week for a teaching studio in exchange for free lessons. But, I loved all the closet space. The last thing I love in any house is having a big window in front of the kitchen sink. A must. The planning stage is so much fun. I don’t know much about building, but from what my parents have done twice, it seems like the actual sq. footage of the house isn’t what cost so much, but the building materials and the stuff you put in it, like fixtures and appliance, that make a difference. My neighbors are building a beautiful house (on their 6th year) and they have done it in stages as they can afford it. First, they just got the shell done so it was livable. They lived with OSB floors for a couple of year, even with a crawling baby. Now they have beautiful hardwood floors. There kitchen is still just rough board countertops and shelves while they save for the cabinets they want. One thing at a time. They built rough stairs to the second floor, but closed it off for a couple more years. As their 3 kids get older they plan to finish one room at a time upstairs. It has worked well for them. Of course, he is building it all himself, so that helps.

  9. Nice layout! Go for the space. You will be happy to have it as the kids grow. You’re going to spend a lot of time in that house, and the size you’ve picked is comfortable for your family. You will enjoy having a nice wide open space for family and friends to gather in your great room/dining/kitchen areas.

    When we bought our first place, I wish we had extended ourselves a little more to get exactly what we wanted. Our place was nice and we lived there for a long time, but there were things I wished we hadn’t compromised on. It would have been a little tight financially in the beginning, but after a couple of years, the extra expense would have been very manageable. So if the budget you’ve set is within your reach and won’t overextend you, I would go for it!

    Look into building energy-efficiency in wherever you can. With the federal tax incentives they have now, adding things like geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels can be VERY affordable. We’re converting our oil heat to geothermal right now, and with all the incentives from federal, state, and county sources, it’s not costing us any more than a normal heat pump and a/c would, and we’ll be saving more money every month. WIN! WIN!

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