Monday, October 21, 2013

My Dream Job - Build A House

I went on a project hiatus back in February and filled my time working on a BIG project. I had discovered that I love the planning process just as much as I enjoy the project coming to fruition. To help me get through a necessary hiatus, I took on a project that involved a lot of planning, but it would be something I may never see. 

I designed my dream house, and it was so much fun. I lived and breathed this project for months. I created a package to show all the details and even made multiple floorplans. I didn’t have the right computer tool like an architect has, but I came up with a cool floorplan.

I used It’s free. It even creates a 3D view.

The 3D view helps you get a visual on hallway openings, door placement, window placement, etc. Some of those details are hard to see on a 2D drawing.

The only thing I wish is that it would create an outside rendition. All you have to do is tell it what type of house you want it to look like (Tudor, Craftsman, New American, Cottage, etc), and it would change the style of the exterior.

That was the main reason I used because I thought it would. Oh, well.

Today I’ll share pictures of my dream house. This house has five bedrooms and six bathrooms. Enough space for three (or more) kids and my parents.

My current house is perfect in a lot of ways. It won’t be too big when my family is grown and left me, and the layout is what I fell in love with. Tudor is not my style of house, and the driveway could have been longer, but that’s all I’d change.

The dreamhouse’s garage is huge! Empty, it could fit five cars in there! I even added a small garage door to the back side so that a riding lawn mower could enter the backyard through the door instead of going the long way around.

And the driveway was long enough to hold six, possibly nine, more cars. With more kids and parents living under one roof, you need a place for the vehicles. (Looks excessive, but I was anticipating friends’ cars.) It looks junky when you have cars lined up outside your house 24/7, and it's a neighborhood covenant of ours not to have cars parked on the street overnight. I also added a semi-circle driveway in front of the house.

Originally, I had planned for the driveway to look like this:

I calculated the size lot I would need for this configuration and realized how hard it would be to find the perfect-sized lot to accommodate.

I had even gone so far to design the landscape already! That’s one of my favorite parts. I try to envision the views from inside that I want to create. I also took into consideration what views I wanted to take advantage of and what I wanted to obstruct. Of course, the landscaping is best done when the lot is chosen. I fictitiously picked a lot and designed according to it. Flipping the floorplan was the main change. You'll notice the flip in all the comparison pictures.

Since floorplanner did not come up with an outside sketch, I had to create my own.

That was the hard part. It was so hard to make it look like I envisioned.

Here was an actual picture that looked like the look I was trying to go for. Not the color, but the look/style.

Until I found this design, and knew this was the style. It was the only one Mr. JCrew and I could decide on. We liked everything about it.

Even the mix of stone with the brick. I like brick; Mr. JCrew likes stone, so this was our compromise.

Mr. JCrew and I came up with guidelines that a dreamhouse would have to fill:
  • More bedrooms to accommodate more children
  • An In-Law suite located on the first floor
  • A larger shower than we currently have
  • A space for all of Mr. JCrew’s books
  • A wrap around porch
  • A larger garage and a longer driveway
  • Tornado Safe

I found an existing floorplan and made my tweaks. I used eplans to find a floorplan to modify. 

Finding a floorplan with an in-law suite is not impossible, but finding one with the suite on the first floor is!! Parents are older; they cannot be climbing stairs to get to their space! So, I looked for floorplans that had a guest bedroom on the first floor that I could convert: or space that allowed for an addition to be added easily.

The original floorplan had 15 exterior doors! That is WAY too many doors to be checking at night before going to bed! I eliminated 9 of those doors.

Mr. JCrew and I both want to be available to take care of our family and friends. The in-law suite would be for my parents, but we could take in anyone and everyone that needed it. I turned the extra bedroom on the first floor into a suite.

I almost added a kitchenette for the suite, but I wanted meal times to be a time of gathering. The kitchen and dining room would be able to accommodate everyone and no one would be eating alone. The openness of the kitchen to the family room is my favorite part of the house.

The side porch was my second favorite  part. They call it a Friendship Door. However, the original plan had three exterior doors on the side porch. You’d have to open the door from the garage, walk across the porch, and open another door to get into the house. Imagine yourself carrying groceries from the car; doesn't sound fun.

I took out the back hallway and added a door through the pantry for quick access to unload groceries. But I think I would add that hallway back in. I like it. Some may feel it’s wasted space, but I know I’d like the feel and look of it.

The Pool Bath, as I call it, had a shower. I wouldn’t ever plan on having a pool to maintain, so I eliminated the shower and exterior door in that bathroom. Showers would be in bathrooms near bedrooms.

The upstairs did not have many changes at all. There was only a shower in one bathroom, and I turned it into a tub/shower combo. I added more of a wall and door to the toilet portion of the other bathroom. Two boys would be sharing that bathroom, and if someone is using the shower or toilet, the other child can still go in and wash their hands/brush their teeth.

The front porch doesn’t look like there was much change.
  1. Four sets for French doors were removed.
  2. The front door was recessed. 
  3. The opening to the dining room was widened.
  4. The porch was extended to wrap around.

Now, I even revised my floorplan to be all on one level. I have gotten use to living on one level and I enjoy it. I like having the kids close by, especially when they are small. And if this were to be our forever home, I wouldn't be going upstairs in my old age. So, I toyed around with the idea of putting all the bedrooms downstairs. This meant we would lose the playroom (okay by me) and we'd lose the formal living room (also, okay with me). The office would then relocate to the area where the living room was and the new bedrooms would occupy the space where the study was. Doing this added about 12 feet to the width of the house. The only down-side to this floorplan in general is how wide it is! It's hard to find a lot in a neighborhood wide enough. But I still love the layout. I pretend to walk through the house all the time.

I really had so much fun planning this project. I took so much into consideration. Sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling. I get so excited seeing dirt trucks on a construction site. I even get excited seeing the road construction going on. Building a new road is equally as awesome as a new house. Especially, if you have to build it over a river!

I even took into consideration the building materials and making the house as green as possible. I would use ICF framing to ensure comfort control and strength during tornado storms. Instead of a a storm shelter, the whole house would be storm-safe! I would use brick instead of siding. It is more expensive, but less maintenance in the long-run. I would use the Icynene Spray Foam Insulation again in the attic. I would also use the automatic timers on outside lights and motion-sensor lights inside. 

I would REALLY love to design and build a house for a builder. When I was planning my dream house, I imagined striking a deal with a builder and letting him show the house in the local Parade of Homes Tour in exchange for discounts possibly. It would be great advertising for the builder! All they have to do was execute the plan. I planned every little detail, so there would be no flip-flopping with decisions during the building process. I would LOVE the opportunity to work with a builder and use new materials and educate the community. That’s usually what showcase tours are about; thinking outside the box. I researched builders that use ICF and not many popped up in my area. However, SouthernConstruction is licensed and they are also a Southern Living builder. I like Jimmy Bryan Construction, but he's not worked with ICF. The quality of his work is fantastic and they have GREAT customer service!

I had put too much work into this, not to share. It may be a dream of mine, but maybe I can be a part of someone else’s dream, too!

I have come up with other floorplans that I may share later. This floorplan is the one I kept coming back to because I could envision how we would use the space efficiently.

The inside of the dreamhouse I envision looks the same as my house. This is home, so I wouldn't change a thing. Same colors, same furniture, same everything. The only thing I would possibly play around with was doing something different in the kitchen. I'm not a fancy person, so although my dream house is larger, it's not fancier. My home is comfortable and I don't want to take away that feeling. 

And when I say, "larger" I want to note that the dream house room sizes are the exact same as my house. The bedrooms are exactly the same size! I didn't want them to be bigger. They are big enough. The family room is bigger and we added the in-law suite and a playroom. Basically, it's the same rooms we currently have in a different layout  (combining my parents' house with mine.)

I really do get excited when any new house is being built. I don't necessarily have to live in it, just be a part of the process. A fly on the wall, even! That would be my dream job. Any local builders want to partner with me?

1 comment:

  1. I loved seeing your work in this big project. I think you really love and put your heart in your designs. I wish one day I will work in your assistance. It's great knowing you.

    Sanola Jerry
    Plos Constructions


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