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Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Posted by m5askqu5 (My Page) on
Sun, May 11, 14 at 15:53

Feedback is appreciated. I'm stressing. We could start our build as early as a month, but I cannot come up with a plan!! I have posted two below that I'm going back and forth with. I would like to choose one and just go with it! Pros/cons to either?

Please decline to comment if you don't have anything positive or helpful advice to add...I've posted a few designs, I'm seeking help, not someone to tell me to seek an overpriced architect.

This post was edited by m5askqu5 on Sun, May 11, 14 at 17:21


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Plan 2.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I prefer the second to the first. The one thing that really stood out on the first plan is that when you walk in, you see straight thru to the kitchen. However, in the second one, your master is pretty small. I'm okay with not having a bath in your master, but would recommend having two sinks. I'm assuming you've looked at all of the online house plans available and can't find one? We found our first one on coolhouseplans.com


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I've looked through (what feels like thousands) so many house plans, all online. I am leaning toward the second one. The first is just so simple and I've seen it (friends of ours has something similar) and I like the simplicity of it. But I like the nook in the second. The halls. It's different.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I'm not trying to be snarky, but how can you plan to start your build without architectural drawings? You have nothing to file to get your building permit and you have nothing to give your general contractor to even get a price.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

We "could" start. We'll close on our current home and have the funds to begin our build. But no, we're not ready.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Not everything can be DIYable. Especially without a couple of years to devote to full time education for yourself. Even if you had those years to learn medicine, you still wouldn't perform open heart surgery as your maiden voyage in medicine. Nor would you take over as COO for a Fortune 500 company after a couple of community college business courses.

There is no shame in hiring a professional to do the job of a professional. They have mostly gotten the amateur mistakes out of the way after they've been in practice a few years.

Take a couple of drives around to see what's being built, and stop and talk to the guys in the trenches doing the work. Ask them who does plans that make sense to them and who they'd hire if they were building their own home. You'll get the unvarnished truth from the framers, roofers, and HVAC guys. They can tell you who makes pretty to look at but poorly designed plans. And they'll tell you the guys who ceate homes with powder rooms that are actually big enough to function as powder rooms without being too big or constantly staring at a toilet from the always open door.

You will need the services of an architect in order to get your building permit. Start there now. Neither plan is optimal. Both have flow and proportion issues. And even if you care nothing for how the exterior of the home looks, I don't think you will be happy with this home's featureless exterior.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

The second one has no powder room. Do you have children? Would you invision their bathroom to be ready for day to day guest use?

I also don't see a guest coat closet. Are you in a warm part of the country?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Of the two, I like the second plan better.

Have you tried walking through new/model homes or open houses of place you think you might like? I loved the floor plan of a house I rented (many years ago), that on paper - never thought I'd like.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Slow down! If you do actually design your own home, plan on it taking a long time. If you rush, I'll guarantee that mistakes will be made; some possibly unworkable. I designed our house, and time will tell whether I did a good job, but I spent years studying design concepts,, making drawings, and getting feedback here and other places. With the walls finished inside, we have a good idea how our house will 'live', and I haven't found any issues yet.

It is possible to DIY design a house. In our area, there is no plans review, so you can get a permit with no more information than the square footage, number of bedrooms, and various info about plumbing fixture, etc. Drawings have to be submitted before getting a certificate of occupancy, but they can be pencil sketches. That being said, many areas will require professional drawings, engineering, and possibly many other things. You need to find out what your area requires. Some areas even have minimum square footage requirements that your design wouldn't meet!

My advice at this point would be to back up a bit and find out what the legal requirements are first. FWIW, I like the second design better, but it needs a lot of work. I also recommend getting a basic drawing program and learn how to use it. It's so much faster and easier to make changes once you get the hang of it. Many use Google Sketch-Up, which is free.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Here's a little background on our situation: we never had our house on the market. We had someone approach us two months ago and make an offer (we told them we'd be likely selling next summer) and it was enough for us to build. So we accepted. We should close mid-June. We (my husband, myself and our four children) will be living with my parents who live close by (they have a full finished basement) until our build is complete or until we have all stressed each other out and find a place to rent. We live in a very small town (<1,000) and don't have to have an architect's drawing to build. Yes, we do have to have permits. Anyway, just FYI on where we are, why the rush and why I'm seeking the help from this forum. I've looked at plans upon plans upon pics online. I know it's not the best situation, but we hope to build the most efficient plan we can in the amount of time we have. I know some might think we're crazy, but time isn't on our side (unless we move our family into a rental for a longer period of time, which isn't our most favored option). I think this is do-able. Sure, we might have a wall we wished would be 1' deeper, but I'm hoping to work through as many foreseen issues with the help of you guys. So...any tips you have for the actual plan I really do appreciate. Really :)


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

In the second plan, the dining area looks tight, esp. with four kiddos. Another concern is the hallway to the bedrooms...getting furniture into the master, esp. is going to be problematic.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

With room for a side load garage, there's no reason for it to be so prominent a part of the façade. Pull it back, and maybe have your laundry room there to the front. The rooms will be awkward for furniture placement because of their proportions and traffic paths that are not accounted for in their dimensions. The dining room especially suffers from this, with it not being big enough for it's intended purpose, plus the 4' of high traffic path needed to go out to the patio from the kitchen. Room proportions are more pleasing (and functional) if they are longer than wide, and then add in the traffic paths that you will need to pass through the space. Those traffic paths should be 3' minimum, and 4'-6' in high traffic zones like the entryway to the home. Paths and circulation through a home are important, and dead end spaces like your dining room should be avoided if at all possible. In other words, there should be more than one way in or out of a room that sees a large number of people use it. Small destination spaces like offices and pantries are fine with a single point of entry and exit, but a kitchen or dining room is not..


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

We are just finishing up our build on a home that has all the same elements you are looking at in your Plan 2 and very close in size. We did most of the preliminary design ourselves with a computer program and then went to an architect who fine tuned the layout. He was worth every penny and more! He made what we knew we wanted "work". I agree with MushCreek, take your time planning. You will be glad you did. Good luck.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

My experience is it will take a lot longer than you think. I would plan on finding a rental and then take your time to do the planning correctly. For example, the 1st drawing doesn't even have wall dimensions so it is not buildable.

If you really are in a hurry, and it sounds like you are, I would go straight to a modular home company. (This is not mobile homes.) They have stock plans, professionals who can help you choose one, and architects who can make custom alterations to any plan to fit your family's needs. That is all part of the deal. Once you sign off on the plan, you get your foundation done. It typically takes 6 weeks (or at least it did when I looked into it for our house) for them to build the "boxes" which get assembled on site on your foundation to create your home. Once the boxes are in place, then it's a matter of "plugging the house in" as I think of it...making the plumbing, electrical, heating connections, etc. and the interior finishes.

It also really streamlines the process as they have their standard stuff and/or upgrades for you to choose from vs. as an individual, having to make every single design decision from trim molding to switch plates to insulation and joists. And I don't see anything overly custom in your sketches that the home you want couldn't be modularized.

I don't know where in the country you are, but we looked at Westchester Modular Homes and, had we not had so many site limitations and constraints, we would've gone with them. I'm sure there are many other good modular home firms around the country.

Here is a link that might be useful: Westchester modular


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

If you aren't going to hire an architect...maybe e-plans would be helpful :)

Here's one example...and you could change the facade (dormers) if you like. Concentrate on the layout for now and best of luck with your new home!

From Kitchen plans

And here's a link to e-plans with the rest of the details...

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to e-plans


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

If you want free advice from an architect you would be wise to not characterize architects as a group as "overpriced".

Considering the poor quality of the design you have posted it is obvious to me that the cost of an architect would save you a great deal of money and allow you to eventually sell the house at a substantially greater profit.

I'm not just speculating, I've designed many homes at very reasonable fees and then watched them sell many years later for incredible profits. Usually the construction savings alone is greater than my fee so there can be no reasonable argument for trying to design a house yourself. However, I understand the need to do that; I built a house in my 20's but I got over it.

But that's all I'll say; you don't deserve even that much advice from a architect.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I am not trying to be negative here, just want to give you some added things you may want to take into consideration if you are moving forward with this 'plan'.

I would make the dining a lot bigger. Unless you are putting built in benches, I don't see how that size of a room is usable for your family. If nothing else, make the dining extend onto the patio, so it is wider than you have drawn. Also I think you need more room around that island - 3 feet is very tight and that wall that sticks out across from the corner of the pantry will not be enough walking room.

I would add a walk-in pantry on the bottom of the kitchen under the corner pantry back to the right thru the closet in the mud room and make whats left of your sketched laundry and mud rooms one large area. There is no way you can fit 6 people in that narrow of a space when coming in with back packs and coats, etc. The door from the new mud/laundry to the kitchen/hall would be similarly placed to your current pocket door.

I would need a front entry closet, I think you could size down the 'new' mud/laundry to move the office over into some of that space and add a coat closet to the front entry. I would put the closet at the front of the house and move the french doors closer to the stairs...

The Master closet and the main bath should switch places so that you have more walls in the master and you're not walking across the room from the bath to the closet and so on.

That bedroom hallway must be wider or you will never get furniture into those back rooms.

Also the front of the house is completely flat/straight - do you have a rendering of how it will look?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

livewireoak: we had the garage moved up so I could have a window over my sink.

Renovator8: Thanks for the undeserving advice. Why are you on this forum anyway?

back2nd: thanks for all your tips. As far as the front- we're considering a full front porch or a partial. I'd like enough room for at least two chairs. Not just a stoop. I want a fairly simple roof line, with less corners, thus lest cost/cuts. The baths back to back was to save on plumbing. I would rather switch them (have a window in each bath), but from I've read it's more cost-effective to have it this way. I like your walk-in pantry idea!

To the others: thanks for your tips. We have expanded the dining, hallways. I appreciate your help. We do have someone that will be doing our final draft for us, a local retiree. I'm bringing him my draft on graph paper.

This post was edited by m5askqu5 on Mon, May 12, 14 at 19:08


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

If you plan to have an island cooktop...you need more space for the seating. You don't want splatters to hit those seated, so maybe a raised backsplash or an extra foot for stools?

Did you get any good ideas from the kitchen forum? Here's the link, below...

Also, here's my favorite kitchen (Laura Calder) which has windows over the sink and an island cooktop...but no seating. That might be an idea too...with the dining area so close. You could have cabinets or bookcase behind the island. Just a few ideas :)

From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to kitchen post


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Someone posted about the cooktop in the island being a safety concern with kids, so I'm not sure. I suppose if more space was added, it would be okay. I like being able to cook and see the kids. I wasn't crazy about the kitchen layout- as much as I appreciated her help coming up with it. I just know I would dislike not having a window above my sink.

This post was edited by m5askqu5 on Mon, May 12, 14 at 19:34


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Me too! :)


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

How about flipping your kitchen and dining room?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I like the laundry by the kitchen...less walking with groceries, stuff to the laundry, etc.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

"Renovator8: Thanks for the undeserving advice. Why are you on this forum anyway?"

Renovator8 and other very knowledgeable folks have offered a great deal of advice and insights on this forum, all for free. As for why they are here, I can't speak for them but they seem like people who love what they do, like to share their knowledge and don't want to see others make unnecessary and costly mistakes. However, most of the people receiving their advice here appreciate it and don't disparage their profession by calling them over-priced and don't question their right to participate on this forum.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

So at what point in the design/build process is it okay to come to this forum and seek advice? After I pay an architect?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Architects and what they cost is ALWAYS a sensitive subject, on this forum. While we have some wonderful architects...there are some in the country that are not. This is true in EVERY profession.

If someone does not or cannot afford or find an architect they are comfortable with...that should not keep them from enjoying the forum. Most of us here are Amateurs, who enjoy sharing ideas and experiences...or just contributing pictures, etc.

Every once in a while something blows up...but for the most part, we all enjoy the forum. No one should be discouraged from asking questions....and forum members are not obligated to respond.

To the m5- best of luck with your planning! This process will probably be stressful, but hopefully a lot of fun, too :)


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

So at what point in the design/build process is it okay to come to this forum and seek advice? After I pay an architect?

Many people do post plans after they have received them from an architect.

If you are short on time, why not go with a pre-designed house? Trying to design a house on your own is more for people that have plenty of time to draw and redraw and redraw. Once you draw it out, who will be doing the final plans? The ones the builder will be using to build?

I know all about building before you thought you would. My husband retired two years before we thought he would and our build was pushed up two years. But the extra months spent getting the plan right are nothing compared to the years you plan to spend in the house.

Do you have a builder? If so, have you looked at his plans?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

The biggest problem with this process that you've undertaken so far is your lack of understanding as to why a house plan is successful, and why it's not. Some amateurs have a good sense of spatial and zonal relationships and proportions, and some do not. Some can learn that. Some can not. And some never develop the discernment to see why something is poorly proportioned and displeasing to the senses. Those people need to hire professionals who can think in 3D and understand the space that humans need both psychologically and physically.

When you can barely hand hem a skirt, you don't try to design haute couture because you understand that you don't know enough to attempt the job. It's a special type of arrogance that would have someone with such limited discernment and abilities to attempt something so complex without first immersing themselffor quite some time in the information that you actually need to do the job----and then insult those who DO have the knowledge and skills of which you so desperately need to avail yourself. Stick with your day job to pay for the expert doing his day job.

Good design is invisibly correct. You don't pay attention to the light switch not hidden by the open door, or the aisle that's big enough for you to move past someone else with a laundry basket in your hands. You only notice poor design. And curse it every day that you do live with it. And that's why many people don't value the quality of life that good design brings to that life. Sometimes it takes living with bad designs to create that appreciation for correct spatial relationships and function as form beauty. Not to mention the intangible benefits that beauty and a pleasing form can enrich your life. Sure, you can live your life in an awkward little hovel, but you can have a better life with the same small square footage if that space has proper design and is attractive--and is cheaper to build because someone who understands building designed it.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

dekeoboe: we do have a builder. I'm sketching what I'd like, taking it to a local retiree to draft it for me. I have looked at some modular companies. I'm not totally ruling that out.

hollysprings: I'm a SAHM. Wish I could use my day job paycheck to hire one! :)

I understand what everyone is trying to say. I never aimed my initial comment of "overpriced architects" at anyone specifically. It's an opinion, quite like those shown today. My apologies.

Moving on...


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

dekeoboe: we do have a builder. I'm sketching what I'd like, taking it to a local retiree to draft it for me. I have looked at some modular companies. I'm not totally ruling that out.

hollysprings: I'm a SAHM. Wish I could use my day job paycheck to hire one! :)

I understand what everyone is trying to say. I never aimed my initial comment of "overpriced architects" at anyone specifically. It's an opinion, quite like those shown today. My apologies.

Moving on...


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

You mentioned you had 4 kids but only 3 bedrooms in this house. Don't know how old they are but once they start to become teenagers, they will will want their own space. Do you really need a garage? That area could be reduced and still add 2 bed/1bath that would reduce the roof which would save some money. Is the house going to be on a slab or crawl space? If on slab, that would reduce cost. I've never had a garage and don't miss having one. I've read numerous articles that almost 80% of people that have garages....don't use them as garages!
As for architects, I've only talked to several and the impression I get is they charge thru the &^*&^ for their work. Of course that is a verrrrry small percentage and I'm sure some do charge a reasonable rate. I bought a plan from Frank Betz 12 yrs ago and asked how much it would cost to change the 2 car garage to a 3 car.......$2600!!!!!!!!!! For something 'that' simple was outrageous!!!
Renovador sounds like he would be reasonable, it's the others that give them a bad name. He is highly regarded on this forum.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Did you see the new plans Buehl came up with, on the kitchen forum? They're really nice...and they have sink under the window and corner pantry!


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

robin- yeah, we need a garage. Between the three vehicles we have, big mower, kids bikes/toys and all our other garage stuff, we need one. There will be two bedrooms, one bath, family room and storage though in the basement.

lavender_lass- no! I'll have to go check it out!


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation on the internet about architects.

Frank Betz Associates sells a lot of stock pre-drawn house designs but it is not an architectural firm nor does it offer drawings stamped by an architect or an engineer. Their fees for stock drawings are reasonable for the amount of information they contain but because they have no design or drafting staff they must send revision work to independent contractors (often students) and that usually makes those fees less than reasonable except for large builders who will use the plans repeatedly.

Stock plans are a good way to avoid making serious mistakes in the design of a house but they usually require serious revisions so it is best to get the CAD versions if that is offered and give them to someone who has a CAD system.

At any rate, the percentage of a typical architectural firm's work that is private residences averages about 17% and is usually not profitable according to the AIA surveys.

The total revenue of all US architectural firms dropped by 40% from 2008 to 2011. Many of the firms that did private residential work had to make adjustments to survive: they either stopped designing houses; downsized to a few employees, worked a 3-day week or the principals became teachers or retired.

That means it should be pretty easy to find an architect willing to work for a reasonable hourly rate unless you live in Wyoming. Of course, many sole-practitioner architects are now in competition with unlicensed designers who often illegally advertise their services as "architectural" so it can be frustrating to comb through the Craigslist "Skill'd Trade" services ads.

I lost all of my work in 2009 and responded to an ad on Craigslist for a local architect to renovate a 2-family house and discovered that the owner had received responses from over 300 people in 4 states. Most of them could shave done the work but I was able to find a way to legally avoid the zoning restriction for 2 additional bedrooms in the former attic which I think justified my exorbitant fee.

If you think all architects are overpriced, I suspect you haven't spent much time looking for one. Anyway, you can't complain about the price of advice from architects on the Garden Web, however, few last very long here. So, if one responds, you should drop the arrogant tone and pretend that you respect their profession long enough to get what you need from them.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I am curious how the OP has determined architects are "overpriced", as it seems to me the OP does not have any personal knowledge of some sort of billing paradigm for architects. I may of course be wrong, so please feel free to enlighten me as to your (OP) first hand experience with architects wherein you paid more than the service was worth. Certainly there are people who can claim that experience and thereby may be expected to presume architects are "overpriced". Of course, I had an electrician overcharge me once and I didn't hire him again, but even then I didn't conclude all electricians are overpriced.

It is my experience that in hiring an architect versus a draftsperson, as in most things you generally get what you pay for.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Goodness..."you should drop the arrogant tone." I do not have an arrogant tone and I certainly don't need a lecture. Did you miss, "my apologies?"

I would like to kindly ask to move on. I simply do not care to argue. It's a waste of time for both of us.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I agree...if you all want to discuss architects, prices, etc..maybe start a new post.

Let's move on and work on THIS plan, if you don't mind.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

This "plan", or these "plans" needs to be thrown away and start over entirely. Learn something about the dimensions of wet walls and pocket door walls, and the span distance for dimensional lumber vs. LVLs vs. steel, and the proportions of classic architecture before starting over. This isn't knitting a sweater where you can just rip out the incorrect increases or decreases that you did and start over. A draftsman isn't going to correct your fundamental errors. All he will do is be a stenographer and transcribe drawings for you out of what you've done. If you keep this up, you'll be a couple of years away from breaking ground. Which is a good thing, because you may have learned something about something by then, but it's not what you say you want.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Your comments have been inexplicably defensive, hostile and resentful instead of kindly or apologetic.

I have no interest in this thread or your house but I will respond to unfair comments about architects whether you like it or not. It's the price I extract for helping people on the forum for the last 9 years.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I think you've gotten some wonderful help from Buehl, on the kitchen forum. Maybe show her the rest of the plan and see if she and others might have some ideas...over there :)


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

M5askqu5 - these are the 6th and 7th home plans you have posted on this forum in the past 3 months. First you are building a barn house. Then it's on a slab with a loft. Then it's a ranch house. Then were adding a basement. Sometimes we have porches and sometimes not.

You keep posting plans, yet you are not taking anyone's advice and you keep coming back with plans that don't account for wall depths, plumbing, electrical, stairs, etc. when somebody tries to give you advice, you get all defensive and arrogant and tell us not to tell you what to do.

You also keep saying this is your forever house. So instead of burdening your parents and moving into their basement while you piece together some half baked plans that you will be miserable in for the rest of your life, get yourself into a rental when your house sells, then take some time to get professional design advice and truly build your forever home.

In the meantime, the people on this forum are truly trying to help. If you don't want people to disagree with your plans, stop asking for advice.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I've been reading this forum for quite a while, but this is the first time I've ever posted.

What is the matter with you people??? This woman is asking for help and all you are doing is attacking her. If you don't want to help her why do you feel the need to keep posting negative comments?

She's obviously been told repeatedly that some of you think she needs an architect. After the way she's been treated by some of the architects on this forum, why would you think she would want to go hire one?

All due respect to Renovator8, if this is the way you interacted with potential clients maybe your attitutude is part of the reason your business went down.

As for the rest of you, why do you have the time to respond on this forum if you know so much about this process? Why aren't you working on helping actual clients, rather than trying to intimidate a woman, who has already apologized for upsetting the all-knowing members of this forum?

I suggest you either help or move on.

Best Regards, HomeBuilder32


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

HomeBuilder,

Thank you for saying what many of us have wanted to for some time, but haven't wanted to rock the boat. It's a harsh lesson, but needed to be said.

To the OP, you might want to get an architect at some point, but I do not think you should have been treated the way you have been on this forum.


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Help with house plans

:o

Oh my...welcome to the forum, Homebuilder. You definitely speak your mind!

Now, maybe we can move on...


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Yes, moving on. HomeBuilder, you're hired.

Part of the decision making process is weeding out plans that aren't going to work well. We initially had some acreage in the country, but then some land in town became available. Thus the change in plans. I didn't realize asking for help would make me a target. I know there are good people on here, that are willing to help those seeking good advice. And I appreciate you. To the others who don't care to help or even try to word things politely: move on please.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

m5askqu5, if you only want votes on plan 1 vs. plan 2, I vote plan 2 -- but I really think you can do better. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide.

If you're still reading, I would suggest you take the background info (location, site constraints, family, building constraints, needs and wants) from your various threads that pixie_lou mentioned, and put that all in one place so that folks here with expertise can weigh in from the start. My good friend in management consulting says the most important part of reaching a solution is articulating the problem -- and you have to help people help you.

During the process of designing and building our house, I've tried to find ways to communicate effectively with the various professionals (architect, contractor, etc.) in order for us all to get the best possible result. I find it useful to keep in mind that the professionals are coming at things from different perspectives. Here is one description of an architect's view (from Matthew Frederick "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School") that I wish I had read before starting this adventure:

"Being process-oriented, not product driven, is the most important and difficult skill for a designer to develop. Being process-oriented means:
1. seeking to understand a design problem before chasing after solutions;
2. not force-fitting solutions to old problems onto new problems;
3. removing yourself from prideful investment in your projects and being slow to fall in love with your ideas;
4. making design investigations and decisions holistically (that address several aspects of a design problem at once) rather than sequentially (that finalize one aspect of a solution before investigating the next);
5. making design decisions conditionally -- that is, with the awareness that they may or may not work out as you continue toward a final solution;
6. knowing when to change and when to stick with previous decisions;
7. accepting as normal the anxiety that comes from not knowing what to do;
8. working fluidly between concept-scale and detail-scale to see how each informs the other;
9. always asking "What if . . . ?" regardless of how satisfied you are with your solution."

Good luck.

P.S. if you would indulge me a quick story about letting go . . . Once I was going to visit a friend in the city, circled the block multiple times but could not find a place to park my new (to me) car. My friend and her boyfriend come out to the curb, boyfriend says, why don't you go on in and visit, and I will park your car. At first I decline, but he is very insistent and by that time I need to use the facilities so I go in and by the time I'm done he's back inside already. I'm incredulous and he shows me out the window where he's managed to fit the car in what was Not A Space. Turns out during school he worked as a valet and was very, very good at parking cars. I was a bit embarrassed thinking how frustrated he must have been at my repeated assertions that I had driven around and there were no spaces available. I think that was when I realized the value of letting a professional work his/her magic. The great thing about GardenWeb is that like a friend's boyfriend, the help is free.

This post was edited by Oaktown on Tue, May 13, 14 at 16:48


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

duplicate

This post was edited by HomeBuilder32 on Tue, May 13, 14 at 19:07


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I would have 'never' guessed that Frank Betz wasn't an architect and was just a third party!! Where does he get all those plans?

This post was edited by robin0919 on Tue, May 13, 14 at 22:21


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

For what it's worth, I too was under the impression that we couldn't afford an architect. But then we located a builder and were quoted $8,000 for plans from a draftsman or $9,000 for plans by an architect. It was a no brainer for us to go with the much more educated architect.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

michelle....just curious, how many s/f was your house? I've heard so many ways architects charge, s/f, % of how much the house will cost(which is totally absurd), etc.....
What's your opinion on this renovator?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

This talk of architects and costs make me chuckle...one architect we talked to, we decided against as he didn't charge enough....we knew he wasn't going to give us what we needed for that price. There were other architects we dropped as we knew they would be far to expensive...when they started insisting in custom designed trim molding, we knew we were in the wrong place. Fortunately we found our goldilocks architect, and our house would not be the delight it is for us on a daily basis if it weren't for him.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

We're still in design phase, but it will be around 3,000 sq ft. The price is independent of the size.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Oaktown, thank you for posting that advice....it is helpful in so many ways beyond just a build and design process.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

I'm sorry, but I feel that you need to stop, drop back, and take a break from plans. You're letting an artificial time deadline influence the process in a very negative manner. That shouldn't happen for a home that you hope to spend a significant portion of your life in. Getting things wrong in a home plan has a huge negative consequence to the life you hope to live in this home.

I also think you need to explore real world budgets for a custom build in your location. A very very rough cost per square foot is no way to estimate how much home you can afford. Building is always more costly than buying existing, so you should take some of that break time to explore what your budget could buy you on that front. It's a terrific type of relief to be able to not worry about expenses mounting up during a build. With an existing home, you know most of that up front, and all you need to worry about is upkeep.

For anyone with a modest budget for building, that is the #1 alternative to fully explore before committing to spending more money for a more personal dwelling. Life is what happens inside the walls, and having more money to make that richer and more enjoyable could be a great benefit to your family as a whole.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Thinking more about the building process, I can remember years ago when we first started talking about it, an "uncle" of sorts said, just go see a builder and he'll build you a house...what's the problem?

And that is true if we wanted a standard home that worked for a lot of people in many neighborhoods. There's nothing wrong with that and it is a good solution for providing housing. And it's a lot faster process than going really custom.

But we wanted something different, special and unique to our needs and goals. As much as I enjoy design work, it was definitely not a DIY thing. It's like when a kid asks a question, and rather than providing an answer, it provokes even more questions. The more I worked with our architect, the more I understood about how many things there were to learn about and understand, how many moving parts there are to the design process, let alone the technical aspects of making sure the thing meets code and can stand up!

I mentioned on another thread about friends who are starting to build and what a mess their plan is....the draftsman sketched up what they wanted, but the design is horrible...not just for my taste, which I understand and can be flexible about, but from a basic design principle point of view for looks, function and desirability. I know they can't afford an architect...but after seeing their design, they can't not afford an architect as they are pouring all of their savings into a house that, with an educated eye, could turn into something far more attractive and sellable and workable. They would easily get their architect fees and more back on resale. It's a real shame, esp as they have a lovely spot with a view.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Hello OP- Just want to say that your plans look a lot nicer than my original scribbles. I like your 2nd layout better than the first. You have the potential to create a visually stunning line of sight through the house from the front door, and that is what I would try to do if I was looking to maximize a feeling of space in a modest amount of square footage.
For example, install double French doors to the outdoor patio and install something visually interesting out to where you want to terminate your line of sight. We used an outdoor fireplace for this, as an interior fireplace has always been underused in our climate. It makes the house "feel" bigger. You could accomplish the same thing with a water feature as well. As far as room size goes, you know your family's needs better than any of us. Just take your time and see if you can find a premade set of blueprints that come close to your ideas. Your contractor will request at least 5 detailed copies of the blueprints- the plumbing, hvac, electrical, roof pitch will all have to be laid out before they start. A good builder can always tweak the plans, but you need something solid to work from.
As to designing your own house- yes, you can:-) Where we live, there is a building partnership which relies on draftsmen working with homeowners to develop their ideas. We used an architect who fine tuned a plan I'd worked on for over a year. I am safe in saying our final plan looked nothing like my earliest napkin scribbles:-) All part of the fun... and it IS fun.
I've always loved the feeling of walking into a foyer space as opposed to simply walking into a room from the front door. I like the way your dining space is situated in the back of the home... I could see doors there that open up to the patio easily and a nice flow for entertaining. Best wishes in your planning.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

This forum has gotten way out of hand!!!! It almost hurt to catch up!! I appreciate all of the architects out there that do a great job, I wish you lived by me. We are at the mercy of so-called single family home architects (not sure how they got the title) as they are only drafters of which I have had the 'pleasure' to experience....

Real architects around here do commercial and only HIGH end homes I'm told they won't waste their time on small/starter homes. Not sure of how 400K is a starter home?? anyway

Do you have another sketch you can show us with some of the changes you have made?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

We toured a home for sale in the neighborhood we'd be building that just became available. So I'm going to take a break from this and if that falls through (we liked the home- but the price/timing has to work out), I'll be back with plans. I have to be honest though, I'm really hesitant to post anything further, for obvious reasons.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Even if you don't buy the house you toured, I would consider renting until you can really put your plans together. I would also check with a couple of architects to see what it would cost, it wouldn't hurt! I have posted my own plans before based on the houses we have lived in, and it wasn't received too well, but that doesn't bother me. I would love to have someone dream up a home that meets all of my requirements, but honestly they would probably be sick of me before I liked it! lol. Anyway, good luck with your current venture, hope it works out for you, otherwise, you know where we are!!


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

That's great! Sounds like it could be the best solution especially giving the timing of your house sale. I would have loved to buy an existing home If we had found something suitable in nearly 2 years of looking . . . I've found this process to be a Lot of Work, but rewarding and educational.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Homebuilder32, you stepped into something you didn't understand, made some unfounded assumptions and some inappropriate comments.

The OP has not "been told repeatedly that some of you think she needs an architect". Last week she asked for help with her plan at the HOUZZ forum and many professionals there gave her good advice for the better part of a week but eventually several of them advised her to use an architect since she was spinning her wheels and she said she felt attacked and asked that those who did not want to comment on her floor plan, not make comments.

Shortly after expressing her dissatisfaction at the Houzz forum the OP came to the GW and posted the same plan and told us, "Please decline to comment if you don't have anything positive or helpful advice to add … I've posted a few designs, I'm seeking help, not someone to tell me to seek an overpriced architect."

After that statement it was silly of you to suggest that the OP might be a potential client for me or any other architect but it was pure meanness to use the housing collapse tragedy to suggest that I was responsible for my clients deciding not to build. My clients lost a great deal of money and so did I. Why would you use a personal tragedy to malign someone?

You asked why the members were not helping actual clients as if the members here were design professionals. They are homeowners; why would you chastise them for offering to help other homeowners? What have you contributed to the forum?


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Renovator8: You're beating a freaking dead horse. I have never met someone that cannot let things go such as yourself! Just GO AWAY already.

He didn't step into something he doesn't understand. If anyone read just the things you wrote, they'd be disgusted in how you represent yourself on this website...and as a "professional." I'll tell ya- there are more aspects to being a professional than just having the schooling.

And SO WHAT if I asked for advice on Houzz. I'll ask for it from a dozen forums until I figure out what I want to do and what's best for my family. That's called research. I want to build the best possible home for my family. So I went here and to Houzz for advice. Big FREAKING deal! Do you know why I was disappointed in the Houzz forum? Because people like you made their way into the discussion that was going well.

Now if you'll please stop stalking me on the internet and go away, I'd much appreciate it.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

You use others and then you abuse them. You have no right to tell anyone what to do on this website.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

just a suggestion - ignore mean people


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

And SO WHAT if I asked for advice on Houzz. I'll ask for it from a dozen forums until I figure out what I want to do and what's best for my family. That's called research. I want to build the best possible home for my family. So I went here and to Houzz for advice.

Was pixie_lou correct when he/she stated:

these are the 6th and 7th home plans you have posted on this forum in the past 3 months. First you are building a barn house. Then it's on a slab with a loft. Then it's a ranch house. Then were adding a basement. Sometimes we have porches and sometimes not.

If pixie-lou was correct, then this is more than just research, it is not knowing what you want. The first step in building a custom home should be determining your needs and your wants. That is an important first step and it cannot be rushed. You are rushing the process. Once that step is completed, then there should be no need to ask for advice on a half a dozen home plans over a short amount of time. People on this site give generously of their time, posting to ask advice on that many plans is IMO taking advantage of their generosity and jumping the gun - you need to do your part first.


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Renovator8- I don't understand why you're acting like the injured party here. You give great advice...at times. And I think you've helped a lot of people. But sometimes, you come across pretty harsh and that advice is not appreciated.

Everyone else- When a poster asks not to have negative comments...I think we should do as they wish. If this means their plan is not as good as it could be or just awful altogether....and normally a few people have already pointed that out...then let them live in a dream world. We're not morally obligated to force them to go see an architect. Live and let live, at that point.

However, it is also not necessary to jump into a thread and change its entire direction by harping on one comment...that probably was not directed at anyone, specifically. Architects are expensive...and that's a fact. That makes them seem overpriced to some people...although their service is probably worth the expense. As in any industry....some are better than others.

I've seen too many threads, where a few individuals will de-rail the entire thing and the OP leaves in frustration and hurt feelings. How did that help??? Is that why the forum is here??? I don't think so.

I try very hard to NOT lose my patience with people, understand that we all have our indiosyncracies and allow latitude to those I know are trying to help. The same is true on the kitchen forum. And sometimes those very individuals have the best ideas...when they're not shooting someone's entire plan down. And let's face it...some plans are not good. But, we say that...we tell them to think about a KD or architect...and then we move on!

Time to move on and let this go. Not only on this thread, but on others, too. There's no upside to this on-going issue of berating people, who do not do what we think they should do. Let it go, let them do what they want...and save your ideas and help for the next person, who may be more willing to accept it.

Let's not make the forum such a negative place that no one wants to be here anymore. I was gone for a year, while my husband was sick...and while it's nice to 'see' some familiar faces, I could do without the harsh criticism "for their own good".


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

With all due respect Renovator8, I would not call the national economic downturn that impacted so much of this country a personal tragedy. You are not alone in having your business affected by the recession.

And I would urge you to take your own advice. "You have no right to tell anyone what to do on this website."


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Deleted.

This post was edited by red_lover on Thu, May 15, 14 at 17:12


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

Exactly red lover, the economic dowturn was a "personal trajedy" to thousands of people in the industry, not just Renavator8


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

lavenderlass-what you said:-)


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

please pass the salt...

 photo popcorncat_zps3ffa2e6b.gif


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RE: Please...new plan thoughts. I am begging.

carsonheim-LOL! Everyone loves pet pics and that one is no exception. ;)

OP-we couldn't afford a full fledged architect, ended up using a house designer. If we could do anything over I would have taken more time to ponder things and maybe lay a few rooms out differently. They are okay and will be fine but I do think in some instances they could be better. We did rush, we were in a hurry to beat winter (which is hilarious because it came early, was more harsh than usual and left late - HA, mother nature won that one).

I get why you want to get it nailed down quickly but if you have any other options it might serve you well to slow up a bit just to be sure YOU are happy with what you settle on. :)


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