Looking at building this house and need help

byro007April 30, 2012

Hi there, my fiance and I are looking at building this house and we have never build a house before so we need some help trying to figure out if this house will be in our budget. I posted a link to the home so if anyone could give us a approx price let us know and we are not looking at going high end everything just mid range. thanks


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Sophie Wheeler

Curved staircase, zillions of bumpouts and angles, yes, this will be an expensive house to build. i don't know what your budget is, but something with this complexity on a custom build would probably start at about 500K and go up from there depending on your location and level of finish. That doesn't include land. If you finish out to the level that that staircase demands, you could be spending 1M before you are done.

Even just a big square box, which is the cheapest form of any house to build, will start at about 350K for similar square footage. It's much cheaper to buy than build right now.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 2:18AM
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Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 6:39AM
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I don't know how anyone could even guess at the cost of any house design with so little information and without knowing the location. The location and special features and finishes could make a 50% difference in the price.

The plan company offers a customized cost estimator for $24.95. It probably won't be very accurate but it would be far better than asking strangers on the internet to guess.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 6:48AM
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In the Los Angeles area you would pay around $1.5+ mill to get this built and then you would need to add another $1.5 mill for a tear down lot! Cheaper to buy an existing home as the cost of building hasn't decreased much. As mentioned above, the regional costs can vary by huge amounts.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:25AM
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Here's what I can tell you that might help you to at least figure a ball-park price. First I'll tell you in some detail how my home compares to your design then I'll tell you what we paid to have our home built so you can attempt to figure out for yourself what your design MIGHT cost to build.

Total sq footage: My total living area is 3200 sq ft heated and cooled and I have a 650 sq ft bonus room (no HVAC) over my garage. According to the specs on your design, it has only slightly more living area (heated/cooled square footage?) than my home BUT that assumes that you don't opt for the optional media room and optional game room. (You can't have the media room unless you also get the game room b/c there would be no way to walk from the balcony to the media room.) Adding those two optional rooms adds 806 sq ft to the total heated/cooled living area. But, if you don't add the game room and media room, I assume that you would have a two story family room instead (otherwise, why the balcony?) so you'll be heating and cooling a portion of that space regardless. And, regardless of whether you put in the game-room and media room, except for the flooring joists, you'll be BUILDING that space anyway. So, in actuality, you would basically be building the envelope for a 4100 sq ft home plus garage, bonus room, breezeway, and porches.

Foundation and roofing: My home's square footage is evenly divided between the two floors and this minimizes the amount of foundation and roofing that I have to have. Your plan puts most of the square footage on the first floor so you'll need a significantly larger slab and much more roofing than I have. Likewise, you'll need more exterior wall sheathing and siding. All of that adds up extra cost.

My home has a somewhat complex shape (several bump-outs) but not quite as many as you have. I also don't have any round wall sections. So, my roof line, while admittedly complex, is considerably simpler than your. My roof has a 12/12 pitch and it looks like your design calls for a 12/12 as well. The more complex a roof shape and the steeper it is, the more it costs to frame it up and finish it. I opted for architectural shingles. Your plan images show metal roofing which, as I recall, runs about twice the cost of architectural shingles. In my book, metal roofing is definitely worth the cost if you can afford it.

Garage: I have a similarly sized 3 car garage with a bonus room over it reached by an L-shaped stairway. Except for exterior siding differences, I imagine our garages would cost about the same amount. I used three metal garage doors that are made to look like carriage house doors. It looks to me like that is what is planned for your design. You could save money by opting for plain metal garage doors (tho I don't think they would look at all good on this house) or really splurge and get true wood carriage house doors.

Breezeway: Like your design, my garage is connected to the house by a breezeway. Your breezeway is fully roofed and appears to be fully framed and sided on at least one side. Mine is basically a screened in space that is built under a 2nd story deck (with a solid floor) that runs between the house and the bonus room over the garage. So, we basically paid for a deck and got the screened room breezeway for almost nothing. My breezeway is a rectangle that is about 12X14. Yours looks larger. My breezeway's framing pretty much consists of eight 12' tall cedar posts and a few cedar cross pieces. Except for a 10'ft section of 3ft high brick wall along one side of the breezeway, the only "siding" costs for the breezeway were for screening material, a couple of 4x8 trellis panels, and two very inexpensive screen doors. Therefore I suspect your breezeway will cost quite a bit more than mine did.

Exterior finishes: We used Hardiboard siding. The only masonry anywhere is that small section of 3 ft high brick wall on the breezeway that I mentioned already. Your design shows a mixture of stone, brick, and shingles. I'm pretty sure that stone and brick are more expensive than Hardie.

Kitchen & Laundry room. Taken as a whole, your kitchen, pantry, butler's pantry, wine room & utility areas appear to be similarly sized to my kitchen, laundry, and mudroom/pantry. They also appear to have similar amounts of cabinetry but I have one more bar sink than you have. All of my appliances came from Sears and were bought on sale in their annual appliance sale. None are "high end" tho I did splurge on a French door fridge. My dishwasher, stove, freezer and washer and dryer set were definitely in the lower middle range of Sears prices. I lucked out and got my three Blanco Silgranit sinks via Craigslist for $125 for the double basin kitchen sink and $50 each for the two bar sinks. They would typically have run 2 to 3 times that amount but you can get stainless steel sinks for about what I spent and maybe a little less. My countertops are 3/4 inch thick Silestone with a standard eased edge which was purchased when Silestone was on sale for $42/sq ft installed. Thicker Silestone or fancier edge treatment run up the cost of counter-top fast. If you want granite you would probably find some options that would be in about the same $40/sq ft range. Fancier granites could cost significantly more or, obviously, you could go with one of the less expensive countertop options.

Cabinetry: My kitchen cabinetry is all custom made with lots of drawers in the base cabinets (a splurge) but I skipped having any fancy built-in dividers anywhere. Also the wood we selected for our cabinetry was one of the less expensive "farmed" woods and the finish is a simple clear coat. No complex stains. We weren't particularly trying to save money on our cabinets, it's just that the wood and finish we liked best was one of our cabinet makers cheapest options. We also had our cabinet maker make built-in bookcases for the library and great room and vanities for two of our bathrooms. These are similar in style and made of the same wood as our kitchen cabinets except that the bookcases have no doors and there are no drawers in the base cabinets in the great room and library. Our total cabinetry bill was $42K and, while I don't recall the exact break down, I think the great room, library, and bathroom cabinets totaled about $10K of that. So figure $32K for the cabinets in kitchen, laundry room and pantry/mudroom.

Because there are so many options for kitchens, you'll have to decide for yourself whether you would want to spend more or less in this area.

Bathrooms: You have 4 full baths. I have three full baths and two powder-rooms. You might think there wouldn't be much difference in cost for your 4 bathrooms compared to ours but I got some great deals. For example, I purchased both my tubs and all of my faucets from Signature Hardware. They have better prices on those items than anywhere else I looked and I was totally pleased with the quality. I also lucked out when buying our five Toto toilets and three pedestal sinks. One of our local big box hardware stores was moving to a new location and cut prices by about 40% rather than moving the inventory. I think I paid $160 each for the Totos and $135 each for the pedestal sinks. And, I used very cheap (like $35/each) ceramic sinks in two of the bathrooms b/c I was planning to under-mount them in a Silestone countertop anyway. I figured the only thing anyone would ever see would be the insides of the bowls so no point in spending hundreds on bathroom sinks.

Fireplace: I have one fireplace (a direct vent gas unit that cost about $3.5K installed). We opted to tile around the unit so had no masonry costs. We also didn't have to build a chimney. You have a masonry fireplace indoors and a second masonry fireplace on the lanai. So, your fireplace costs will likely be more than ours.

Exterior doors: You have three exterior doors plus two sets of patio doors and a set of "sliding doors" between nook and lanai. I have total of 8 single exterior doors plus three sets of patio doors (I went kind of crazy with with doors because I like immediate access to the outdoors. So all my main rooms, including those upstairs, open to a porch, patio or deck.) So, normally I would say my door costs would be more than double what yours would be. BUT, those "sliding doors" from the nook to the lanai in your plan are definitely not your standard 72" sliding patio doors. (see image #34 on your link.) I'm guessing the designer actually envisioned the use of something like a NanaWall system, not simple sliding doors. I looked briefly into the cost of a NanaWall system to open my dining area to my back patio and quickly decided that was WAY out of my budget! Instead I opted for a set of patio doors plus two tall side-light windows and a set of three transom windows over the whole thing. A NanaWall sustem for your nook will probably set you back more than my all my extra doors put together. Or, I suppose you could opt for a non-moving glass wall plus a single patio door. I have no clue what a floor to ceiling glass wall would cost.

Windows: If I counted right, your plan has 46 windows. Including transoms, my house has 44. Comparing the sizes of the various windows is impossible without more info on your plan but I have one large octagonal window and one small octagonal window, two large picture windows, three non-opening transom windows over my dining room patio doors and one 6ft wide transom window over my double front doors. The rest of my windows are 32" or 36" wide double- hung windows that range in height from 58" to 72". Your design shows quite a few fairly small windows but these are balanced by a number of arched windows. Larger windows and non-rectangular windows tend to be more expensive than smaller, rectangular windows. My windows are Jeldwen's top of the line clad windows with simulated divided lights in the top sash. The windows, along with our three sets of patio doors, cost us about 1/10th of our total budget. Windows come in lots of grades and from lots of different manufacturers so there is a lot of variation in cost. There is everything from contractor-grade vinyl to Marvin's top of the line which is considered by many to be the creme de la creme of windows.

Siding: We have Hardiboard siding. The only masonry is a small section of 3 ft high brick wall about 10 ft long that is on one side of our breezeway. Your design shows a mixture of stone, brick, and shingles. Stone and brick are more expensive than Hardie.

Interior finishes:
Walls: All my walls are sheetrock with a smooth finish and painted. I have no arched opening or arched ceilings anywhere. I also don't have any brick or stone cladding on any of the walls/ceilings. All that interior brick and stonework, especially on arched surfaces and on the ceiling will, I imagine, cost you a pretty penny.
Flooring: I have tile flooring throughout most of my downstairs and in all of my wet areas and have 3/4 inch hardwood flooring for the rest. I got VERY VERY lucky and found ceramic tile that I absolutely loved on sale for $1.19 sq ft. Most people spend 2 to 6 times that amount on ceramic tile. My hardwood flooring (prefinished Tigerwood from Lumber Liquidators) ran me about $6.50/sq ft. Installation on both was extra.

Staircase: My main staircase has a U-landing and another L-landing. Instead of buying solid prefinished Tigerwood staircase treads (at something like $120 each), we pieced our staircase treads out of floorboards and routed and stained the edges of each tread ourselves.) I have oak box newels and poplar balusters. My guess is that your staircase would probably be more expensive to frame and, with angled treads, you'll want to purchase solid treads rather than try to make them out of hardwood flooring. So that'll cost you more but I think metal balusters cost a little bit less than wood so you'll save some there.

Interior doors: Our interior doors are stain quality, solid, 6 panel doors that we stained ourselves. Paint quality, hollow-core doors would be less expensive but the images accompanying your design show stain quality doors so I'm guessing that is what you want. You could go with stain quality luan doors but I personally don't think they would look right in a home like this. Solid door made of any wood other than pine will be more expensive.

We have 6 inch stain-quality pine baseboards throughout the house. Again, you could go with cheaper or more expensive options.

Miscellaneous pluses and minuses: We have a couple of upstairs decks (unroofed) that you don't have The cost of finishing those and ensuring that the one over our screened breezeway didn't leak was probably about $5000. Considering you lanai as a porch, we have about the same amount of covered porch area. Our porches have plain concrete floors tho and our porch posts are plain columns wrapped in hardiboard. Still, probably not a significant cost differential there. We don't have a hot-tub or pool or anything like that. So if you're thinking the hot-tub will be included in the build, add additional money for that. Our costs also do not include any landscaping except the bare minimum moving of earth necessary to ensure that rain water runs away from the foundation. Also, our land was basically flat to begin with and we had already cleared all the trees and brush off so that there were no unexpected earth-moving costs. Finally, we have an elevator that ran us $30K. That is one significant cost factor you would not have.

Okay, now that you know how the plans compare, here's the bottom line. My home was supposed to cost $520K turn-key. We ran into issues with our builder that caused us to fire him mid-way thru and take over the build our selves. I know he pocketed more than he rightfully should have for the work he completed. However, I also know that once I took over, I saved significant amounts by very careful shopping. Ultimately our build cost us right at $570K to complete. This is in the central Texas area where building costs are probably a little lower than the nationwide average but not by too much. That $570K figure does NOT include our land, nor the cost of running electricity and cable to the house or running the water line from the street to the house. We had completed those things before hiring our builder so they were not included in his turn-key price nor in my computed final-build cost. The cost does include installing an aerobic septic system tho and a large propane tank. As I recall, together those two items ran us about $8000.

Hope some of this is helpful.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:24PM
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wow, thanks for taking your great response. A little more about this plan and us are that we live in MN in the country. We already have our land which has a house that we are tearing down in july. So we are only looking at actual build cost. Since we will have the excavating crew do the tear down and the basement. We also have all the utilities there but we will have to do a new septic system, since up here we have to now do the mound sepetic's. Also we are not going to be doing the pool or hot tub and all of the high end masonry work, just the fake looking stone on part of it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Epiarch Designs

the only way to get a good idea of costs is to meet with a builder and discuss things. In the midwest, more specifically Iowa, new homes are being built for around $95-150 sqft. If you do some of the work, obviously that number can drop. Matrial choices drive a lot of the cost as well.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 5:33PM
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That will be a beautiful house if you can afford it. With a screen name like that, and being from MN, are you from Byron? My wife and I will be building in byron soon hopefully as well.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 1:24PM
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No actually my last name is byro and i like jamesbond so i just incorporated them both. We are building in winthrop, mn in the county

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 2:06PM
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If you want a "mid range" build, pick another plan that isn't so large and complex. This will be well above average to construct for the amount of square feet it contains.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 4:10PM
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That house would look awful in vinyl siding.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 9:41PM
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