Are you in love with your house?

jenswrensMarch 21, 2011

Were you "in love" with your house before you built? Or did you just like it?

I'm beginning to feel like a crazy person. See, I have this notion that I should be absolutely in love with the house I want to build. Maybe I'm expecting too much. Maybe I'm a perfectionist with a fear-of-failure complex. I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm not in love with my current design. I like it. It's okay. I could live with it, because just about anything is better than what we're living in now. But I don't love it.

We're ready to apply for the approvals, and suddenly I've put on the brakes. I'm looking at other house plans, wanting to rearrange everything or completely start over. Maybe even with a different builder and architect. Maybe a whole new concept.

I've delayed everything for the past 2 weeks, not answering calls from the engineer or architect, because I'm afraid it's not right for us. We've been working on this plan for over a year. If I let myself go and explore endless options, I could carry on like this for at least another year or two. Shouldn't I bite the bullet and Just Do It?

Is this normal? Am I crazy? If I'm not in love, should I be? Were you? What's wrong with me?

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No, I do not love my house. I like most things about it. Over time, I have developed an "attitude of gratitude" and as part of that, I am grateful for my house- as well as many other things. My advice for this time is to look very critically at the things in your plans that you might wish to be different- and change those things if you can. Once building starts, be grateful for what you will have. Being unhappy after the build is a tragedy.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:24PM
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LilFlowers MJLN

I think that you should LOVE your house that you are building, but at the same time not ignore your builder or architect calls. You just never know if you are going to need them again. Just tell them that you need to think about it a little more before you finalize everything.

I know that when my husband and I build, we want a house that "fits" us not one that looks good on paper and we're always wanting to change something. For example, I fell in love with a house plan. We loved it but after going through a house almost like it, we changed our minds and are still on the drawing board. I know exactly what I want but it's the problem with me communicating it. I think that if you are not happy with your current design and are wanting to change aspects about it then you are not ready to build that particular house because you will always be faced with the "what ifs." What if you would have went with this style instead? In a sense it's almost like getting married. You spend money to get it just right. You have to live with it for most of the rest of your life, unless of course you sell and build again. LOL :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:30PM
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It's normal...and it might also be crazy...but I'd pay attention to your sixth sense. I've remodeled a lot, even doubling the size of my house, but I've never built a whole house from scratch. However, based on this, I think it's safe to say that you can plan all you want, but the result will always be somewhat different from what you had envisioned. So it's a good idea to proceed with caution.

I remember when my kids had left home and we needed a different type of house. We looked at a lot of nice houses and could easily have lived in a number of them, but none of them were "special." Then one day our realtor took us to an unusual, modern house: it took us 5 minutes to decide it was perfect. Six years later we are still in love with it.

If you are going to build a house and plan to stay in it any length of time, make sure you love it. It will probably be the biggest investment you'll ever make, so don't settle for "almost." I've been into architecture for 40 years, and am still amazed at the ordinariness of most American homes, even the really expensive ones. I find the forums here fascinating and very useful, but I am also sometimes surprised at how much effort and money goes into producing pretty, but -- to me -- somewhat lifeless and impractical spaces, like gargantuan gourmet kitchens.

You may want to step back, put things on hold, and allow yourself to visit 20-30 open houses for ideas and to get an idea of the type of space that feels good to you. You may be surprised at how this type of viewing experience of completed houses informs what you are staring at on paper. For example, the house I'm currently in is very light and airy, and I'm always amazed at how happy that makes me feel when I wake up in the morning. You may ultimately decide that your plan is pretty good, or you may want to do something a lot different. But at least you can proceed more confidently then.

If you were about to get married and you had these feelings about your spouse, would you go through with the wedding? I suggest that if you are having these doubts about your new house, they are only going to get worse during construction and after you move in. You may be a perfectionist, but I don't see how you can get completely away from that with such a big endeavor.

Take a time out...just my 2 cents. But good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:53PM
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Jenswrens- You're building a house, which you want to be a wonderful home, for you and your family. Make sure it's what you really want!

Specifically, what is it about your plan, that you're not sure about? Do you feel you've compromised yourself, to the point, where this is no longer YOUR home?

If you're not sure, tell your engineer and architect that something has come up and you need a few weeks to deal with it. You don't have to tell them what, just let them know you'll be too tied up, to work on the home build, for a few weeks. Take that time to decide what's wrong with the plan. Have your tastes changed? Did you see something new, that fits your lifestyle better?

I know you've been hesitant to post your plan, but if you're having doubts, anyway, I say post it...and tell us what works and what doesn't. I think part of the frustration can be, the more you look, the more your tastes change and that change is reflected in your house plan.

When I started out, my plan was for a french country kitchen, with a bit of english cottage mixed in. Now, I've decided a 1930s vintage cottage is much more 'me' with a little english cottage and french country in some of the furniture and accessories. I did a bunch of research and found out that the late 1920s and early 1930s, had a bit of a 'fairy tale' style, which included a european style in furniture and I think I can pull it off (hopefully!) This change in style, has changed the colors I plan to use, some of the finishes and even a bit of the layout...and that's just the kitchen.

Don't settle and don't get rushed into anything! Take your time, make sure it's exactly what you want...and then build. You shouldn't settle for anything less. It may never be perfect, and you may not always be 'in love' with your home...but if you don't love it, starting may be time for a new plan :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 5:44PM
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We absolutely 100% love our home. It is exactly what I imagined. There is very little I would change if give a do-over. We moved in over five years ago, and I still pinch myself.

What is it you're not sure about with yours? Can you post plans?

I would do what Lavender Lass suggest - tell the architect and engineer something has come up and it will be a few weeks.

Have you let your DH know about your second thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 7:37PM
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We are in the middle of building our home, and while there are a couple of things that in a perfect world I would have done a little differently (made both the laundry room and our master bath a tad bigger) all in all...I am in love with our house. Like mad, ga-ga, love. I love the flow of it, I adore the look of it, and I think it will "age" beautifully. Being in it just makes me happy, even though it still hasn't even been sheetrocked yet. One thing that was really important to me was to verbalize to the architect not only our needs in a house, but how I wanted the house to "feel." I made sure she "got" me, and we were on the same page. I did the same with the interior designer...she totally gets me and is helping me to make our house a true statement of our family. Can you have a chat with your architect and voice your concerns? What is really bothering you the most about the plan? Does it reflect you and your family, or is it just what you think you need/want? I think there can be a big difference there and that might be what your gut is telling you. Don't start building if you don't love...the love is what makes all of the minor glitches and frustrations fade.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 8:11PM
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We moved in 7 months ago and yes, I love it. There are things I learned about the building process that I would do again if I could. And there are little things here and there that you're never going to know until you move in, but for the most part I love it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:14PM
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After just passing our 3 year anniversary I, too, love our home! What you are feeling I think I did at one time also, right before we "dove in" with financing, etc. It is a huge step, lots of money and a little bit of uncertainty. I think it is normal, but, if you don't feel confident with your architect, or something is "nagging you", maybe you should give it a few weeks. We also include in the "love of our house", the goals and sacrifices it took to actually do it and complete it; very satisfying!!
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:37PM
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I TOTALLY understand you!!! We are almost ready to get started building, and I can't decide if we should build a rambler, two-story or modified two-story!?! I 'think' any of them we will love, but how do we know for sure? We walk through lots of model homes, and most are pretty, but do we want to build that exact home? Not really.

So you are not alone. :-)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 4:39AM
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Assuming you feel it is possible to 'love' as house that is within your budget, you should love the house you intend to build. You should be able to picture living in it and it should fit like an old glove.

If it doesn't, go back to your plans or change architects. Or decide what it is you really want, which is not as easy as it sounds.

My architect drove us up the wall over nearly a year of design but in the end he was able to capture what we wanted within the realm of what we could afford. That is no small feat and it's becoming more appreciated as the build progresses.

According to the bank, our house is 65% done and any problems we've had so far really haven't been with the design.

Good luck and keep working until it is right. Before you start to build.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:57AM
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regarding the "love" of your house. its hard to say whether I love it or just like it. Its not everything that I want, I can't afford that in my area. I think its the best design for me that I can do with my existing footprint I had to deal with and the money i have to spend on this. I'm not living there yet, but I'm happy with what we have, although I do always have second guesses, but thats human nature.

Getting to the point I'm wnat to make: this is a long and involved process. I think anyone is nuts to go through with this crap if they're not going to be thrilled with the end result.

also, if you're not "set" on things, you're going to have a painful, change-order filled, expensive process. After the fact changing, although possible, requires replanning, redoing and rebuying of material. its not cheap and easy most of the time.

stop avoiding calls, answer tell them you need to a week or two to go over things then will get back to them. I hate it when I call someone on something and don't get a call back.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:20AM
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OP here - only have time for a quick note. Just wanted to let you know I'm still here, reading all your wonderful comments. I emailed both engineer and architect this morning to update them on my "moment of crazy." I'll be back to this thread later today with more details and updates. For now, thanks all.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:54AM
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God luck...and I'd love to hear the update when you figure out the best course for yourself.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:45PM
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We started our home in Nov 2010. It took me more than 1 year to design the house. We had to make some changes because of the zoning boars but I had at least 25 iterations for the layout. When we were designing the house, we made it clear to the architect that the layout and the flow was very important for us. Once we finalize that, we will not ask him to make any changes. Once we finalise the drawings, I could walk in the plan and imagine the house. I love it!!
Yesterday I stopped by my architect's office as I needed gas diagram for plumber and township. The architect mentioned to someone in office - "She sould give us the layout, go back home, have a dream and call us to make that change. Then she will be quite for some time, dream again and call us back". I think that happened quite a lot. I was not able to move forward if I did not like one thing.
For few things we knew we wanted and were not able to compromise, others we were able to accomodate. One thing that helped during the process is - pictures. I collected lots of pictures that I shared with my architect. Those pictures are very handy now that we are talking to sub-contractors. The other thing that helped us was 3-d rendering of the house. We were able to visualize the house much better with the rendering. Again that is also helping with the sub-contractors.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:34PM
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We have a plan drawn up and I feel like I love it. Our architect gave us a digital program so we could walk through the house in 3D. After I used that program it made me wonder about some things. That 3D thing is a bit distorted and I hope that's what is throwing me and how I relate to the rooms. I went and remeasured out our current breakfast room just to make sure the size I was planning would be sufficient based on what we have!

We are in the process of getting our financing and paperwork taken care of. I am nervous but I feel pretty confidant that I will love our house. I certainly love it on paper!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Jenswrens- Glad you e-mailed your architect and engineer :)

Do you know what type of house really makes you happy? Do you see something in movies or on TV that you think...that's exactly the type of house I'd like to live in?

Hooked on Houses is a fun website! I don't know if you've ever been there, but it gives you a lot to think about. I love the gardens and porches in "Practical Magic" and the front yard, in the movie "Bewitched". The marble work table in "It's Complicated" not to mention the potager, are great, too :)

Here's a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hooked on Houses...Bewitched (the movie)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 2:36PM
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I thought I was in love with our home but lately not so much. We are less than a week before we take possession. Most of the bad taste is due to some of the careless trades and the damage and shoddy work they do, and the lack of care and respect for us home owners. It's ridiculous, really.

I think they truly like to re-do things, for example we have a laundry sink that will be in our garage. The worker who came to put the garage stairs in placed the stairs going down right into where the sink will be. Duh, how are we supposed to walk down the stairs? He couldn't figure out that the taps and drain sticking out are for a sink and run the stairs down the other side. Shakes head.

Not to mention the tiler who did a complete hack job on our very expensive glass backsplash yesterday that was my last straw. The carpenters that shot out their saw dust on the stucco on the back of the house and turned into a big wet frozen stain, or all the ones that used our land as a bathroom and place to throw out pairs of poopy underwear instead of using the outhouse.

The worker who cleared our building spot who did not follow the bright orange ribbons that clearly marked where our beautiful winding driveway was supposed to be and drove straight up instead, knocking out many of our 30 foot un-replaceable trees. Ruining my dream of the winding driveway through the trees and on and on.....

Thanks for the rant. :) Hopefully soon all this will be forgotten and we will be enjoying our new home.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 7:13PM
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I am so sorry for the lack of respect and neglect that you have suffered!!! I would be livid and having a rant with the GC!! I would threaten legal action.....go to your local newspaper!! The GC is the one in charge, he should be held accountable! There, my rant is over too!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 8:40PM
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Thank you twotogo, your support means a lot. I'm so upset as I was assured today by my builder my tile hack job was all fixed, to go to the house to see it had been ruined even more by the crappy tiler by covering all his hacks with sanded grout almost an 1/2 thick. After I said "Do not grout!"
Grout on all planes that should of had caulk and an area around over an inch big by the crown he did not tile to fit has been filled with grout. All very very wrong and not at all the proper way to do things. I could cry.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 11:27PM
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that's sad. i'm sorry they aren't doing a good job for you.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 7:47PM
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We are 7 months into our build and I'm sad to say I'm not sure that I love the house. There are many things that I like a lot about it but there are some things about the house that keep nagging at me and I can't seem to get over them. My husband keeps telling me to move past it since we can't change whats alraedy done - unfortunately I have a tendancy to lament.
I really regret not spending more time selecting our architect and going through the design process. We were so gung ho to start building as soon as we bought our property we spent less than three months designing. We went so fast we didn't give ourselves time to digest the design.
Overall the house is great but I really wonder how much more great it could have been had we spent several more months on the design. With that being said I don't think I could have handled spending a year or more doing the design that would make me nuts!!

I think I will love this house a lot more once it's finished! I totally understand the anxiety and craziness the OP is feeling - I felt the same except I was stubborn and kept moving forward.
My advice is not to ignore your feelings at all, however I would say anxiety and being hypercritical is quite normal when it comes to home building.
Best luck to you!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 2:28AM
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I am still in the planning stage and I thought I had it drawn to satisfaction. Too much looking on the internet and here specifically, I have changed a few things and now not comfortable with where I am at. Concerned that while I may like what I am building, how will it sell 20 or so years from now when I'm ready to retire. I am basing the structure on Craftsman style, but updated somewhat. I would like to build a single story house with a 2 story tower on one end that would house a library on the first floor and a sitting/reading room on the second floor with many windows open to a view of several miles of the countryside. Just not sure if the second story would look out of proportion. Still working on the elevations.

xc60, so sorry to hear about your troubles with workmanship. I have worked on many houses, done just about everything and never had one complaint. Almost always receive compliments on workmanship and it pains me greatly to hear of all the troubles with contractors and workers that people here have experienced. There is no excuse for it other than the lack of pride in what one does or ignorance. Either way it is no excuse for not making the customer happy. I have always worked with the owner to understand what they want and expect. I will make suggestions if I think there is a better way to do things but in the end, whatever the homeowner desires is what should be done. To me the job is not finished until that is accomplished.
When visiting someone in Texas a few years ago, we visited several houses in various stages of construction. One had a large library finished in walnut. The miter joints were open and the workmanship was very sloppy. I mentioned this to my host and told him this would not be acceptable where I'm at, he said that it was the standard for workmanship in that area and people were resigned to it because if they were too picky, no one would do their work. Sad state of affairs.
Hopefully your contractor will make things right for you.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 3:38AM
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Jenswrens- Do you know what you'd like instead? Are you thinking of making a few changes...or starting completely over? Hope you let us know how things are working out :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 6:32PM
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