Newbie's pictures of our first home, pre-dry wall.

andykApril 11, 2007

Hi all,

I've been lurking here for the past few months and reading so many informative posts from this entire site. I go to new home building most of the time but since our new home is only 1873 square feet of living space I thought it was appropriate to post here. We love the intimacy of smaller homes and we thought our money could go farther if we sacrificed some square footage. Believe me though, smaller doesn't necessarily equate to cheap. In some parts of Florida you can get twice the square footage for what we paid, but when we researched the area, close to the Gulf of Mexico, its relative safety from Hurricanes as well as the more expensive homes in the surrounding neighborhoods we thought we made a good choice. We thoroughly researched our builder here in Florida and I believe we have a good one, no problems thus far, but this is our first home and it is a semi custom build. They have an excellent reputation in Florida and are a small family owned custom builder company with over 2000 homes in Florida. I only hear great things about them from the locals here.

Some of the custom upgrades of our new home:

Custom electrical plan with alzak coated recessed cans in the kitchen.

Structured media panel with cat6 data, cat 5 phone and RG6

Whole house surge protection with a back up generator switch.

Water softener with reverse osmosis water cleaner at the kitchen sink.

Our builder was cool and gave us an allowance for flooring, light fixtures, appliances, all plumbing fixtures and recessed cans. Basically they allowed me to bring in my own subcontractors so long as they were licensed and insured.

The house is elevated 13 feet above sea level, concrete block construction, steel reinforced joints and trusses to withstand 130mph winds and hurricane windows plus shutters. We live about 400 yards from the Gulf of Mexico with a pond view, and we recently moved here from the North East as we couldn't afford the most basic starter home in the NY area.

I've learned so much from so many people here on this site and if I can be of any help given my first build experience I would love to help.

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Here are some pics.

Here is a link that might be useful: J an L's first home

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 12:54AM
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Cool! So very different than the types of homes you see around here.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 10:56AM
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Cool house with prairie and Chicago bungalow elements.

1893 sq ft - that's huge compared to our 1084!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 10:43PM
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Thanks for the nice comments.

I'm a big fan of Sarah Susanka's books,"The Not So Big House" and "Creating the Not So Big House", if those from this particular forum have not had a chance to read them I would suggest you stop by the local Barne's and Nobles and take a peek. Lot's of great stuff in those books. I think she's also one of the editors of the magazine Inspired Homes.

Anyways from the planning stage on, we based our build on so many of S. Susanka's principles, such as matching the home to the lot and designing the home for the way we live. The home is one of a half dozen designs our builder offered within our subdivision and we chose our design based on how well it matched our lot. I didn't choose a home based on square footage but rather more on the quality of the build. I probably spent just as much as some Floridians who were building 2600-2800 square foot homes, but I was looking for detail work and not so much size. Quality over quantity etc... the anti McMansion.

Again, based on Susanka's suggestions we purchased a lot that had its front and back main views facing north and south for better lighting and we chose a design that took advantage of a nice view. Other element's we gleaned from Susanka's ideas included building a window seat around our front bay windows and choosing a design that allowed for long diagonal views that make the house appear larger than it actually is.

We didn't alter the original plans structurally as we liked the home the way it was and it saved us money.

I did write up my own electrical plan based on a lot of the advise I gleaned from this site and after reading a lot of magazines and articles on how to light up my home correctly.

Its been a learning process, stressful at times, but fun nontheless.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 8:27PM
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We updated our website with some new pics. Things are slowing down to a crawl for the past 2-3 weeks, apparently an inspection was missed and thus the delay.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 12:05AM
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