Thursday, February 28, 2008

More Floor Plans, very very close!

The next set of floor plans has arrived!

It is almost exactly what we wanted. Largely a reinterpretation of what we had roughly drawn out and sent to Jon and Kandy. You will notice the kitchen and garage have been moved to the north and the east-west wing is longer making for more southern sun exposure. Joe is very happy about this feature. Aunt Susie will be happy to see this also puts the bathroom near the garage and entry way. We also had to loose the formal pantry which we decided is okay. It is no secret I preferred the layout the other way but can understand the merits of this organization.

I am okay with all this and excited to move forward. We are going to tentatively work from these set of plans except we plan to leave the "craft room" unfinished in the basement and change it from a carport to a 3 car garage separated from the house by a hall/breezeway. It seems silly to face an open car port into the winter winds.

Square footage wise it seems it is getting a little big but we are actually pretty close to my estimate of 2500 square feet (not including the "granny shack" and a open finished space in the basement for the kids to play). It is much bigger than Joe's plan for less than 1800 square feet but there was no way to fit everything we both wanted into that space.

The next step is more formal exterior drawings and if this looks good then 2D elevations.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our revisions and thoughts

Over the weekend we had some time to talk about the previous plans and came up with a few ideas.

Tasha's thoughts:
  1. Move entryway next to E-W wing. (She doesn't like it dividing the kitchen/dining/spaces)
  2. Laundry room in E-W wing
  3. Slightly larger dining room to better accommodate extended table. Most likely we'll leave it fully extended as we don't really gain anything by leaving it small.
  4. Place couches perpendicular to fireplace. We're planning on large rug between them for children driving cars, reading on the floor, playing monster, etc.
  5. Have basement bathroom in the E-W wing.
  6. Family room -- open finished space with storage for toys, etc -- in basement.
  7. Bathtub along exterior wall with windows in master bath so Tasha can look out the windows will soaking and also have orchids.
My thoughts:
  1. Garage to the north for sheltering house. Opens up southern face--much to Tasha's (who doesn't want to see neighbors at all costs!) chagrin--of N-S wing--including the basement; I was surprised at how much the land dropped off in that direction.
  2. Just toilet separate in second floor bathroom.
  3. Bedrooms upstairs slightly larger.
  4. Some sort of landing with a bookcase and chairs on the second floor.
  5. Simple family room in basement.
It was the painting fiasco that convinced me that moving the garage to the north was a good idea. I sure hope, for my sake, the neighbors don't put there house any where over there! Also for my sake, I hope no noise will make it from the kitchen to the bedrooms upstairs! I also was thinking about having the deck covered in the back with the gable from the screened porch in the front mainly because I love symmetry. Symmetry is beautiful.

We came up with some imperfect floor plans detailing some of our thoughts.

Main Floor

Second and Basement Floors

In case any one's keeping score: by having no southern views out of the N-S wing Tasha was going to let me buy several bikes. Now, with my bright idea to move the garage to the north and open up the southern views my bikes have been nixed and Tasha's picking out all of the furniture.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Some concerns

I have a few concerns with the plans after the painting fiasco yesterday.

I'm a little concerned that it's going to end up looking just too long. I know Jon and Kandy can help with that, but it's something like 114' from the end of the garage to the end of the house. I'm wondering if it wouldn't help a bit to move the garage to the north side of the house--connected via a breezeway--and make more of a 'T' shape with the house rather than the current 'L' shape. The garage could protect the bedrooms from the wind--of which there is much--and also create some sort of cool summer getaway with a water garden or something like that.

I also don't like that at both the northern and southern end there are no windows. I'd like a little something at each end. Not much, just a little window to draw you in. 60' is a pretty long sight line to end on a wall.

We are trying to minimize the distance between our room and the stairs so, well, at least for the next few years while the kids are still little. Long term, though, it would make more sense to have the laundry room closer to the bedrooms and bathrooms where the laundry is generated. The kids could have a laundry chute then. I loved our laundry chute when I was little!

I was also surprised at how much the hill falls away to the south. I always think of it as just falling away to the east for some reason.

My mother-in-law showed me some information on the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center. While looking at their construction techniques, I realized we could have a thermal flux zone on the east-west bedroom wing with some cool interior windows.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spray paint, snow drifts, and floor plans version 2

Joe asked me to get my own account today so I could write my own comments and not just add to his posts (I will ask him to help me clean it up tomorrow as it is late and I am having some technical issues). This post is long but will probably make you laugh.

Today was.... well interesting. Last night we received new floor plans from Jon and Kandy (see below). We were very excited. They looked good and they made some changes we really liked but there were still some things we thought needed be be fine tuned and moved around. No big deal right? All part of the process of building your dream home "where you plan to live for the rest of your lives." Then we had a long talk and decided that we really didn't understand the space very well or what it felt like. I am big into flow and function given the space is supposed to be just the right size and not too big. So, this morning Coleman (age 3) and I measured all our rooms in our current home and I decided that some of the rooms on the plans were "perhaps" too small. Then we came up with today's plan.

The plan: walk up to the top of our 15 acres in subzero temperatures in 2 feet of snow and spray paint out the spaces so we could see what it really looked like. We figured we should do this before we went any further. Now this idea may sound crazy but honestly it seemed like sheer genius at the time. I thought I would be surprised how big it looked and be reassured that this was not a space crisis. Joe seemed to think it would help him get a better idea of interior spaces.

We put the kids down for a nap at my Mom's house and drove out to the land with a property size tape measure, a yard stick (to measure the drifts) and a can of bright yellow marking spray paint. We were pretty optimistic and excited despite the weather. I should have brought the camera because we looked like freaking lunatics out in the freezing cold spray painting a field. If you are in Wisconsin right now, and can appreciate the weather, you understand why this just might be considered crazy. I had to keep the paint inside my coat so it wouldn't freeze. It is now certain we are nothing if not dedicated to this project.

Anyway, we spray painted out all the rooms and then put in a few pieces of furniture we knew the size of. This was not a quick task. Then we stood back and freaked out. It looked tiny! Joe immediately said, "it must be some sort of optical illusion, I think we need plywood walls." To which I said, "you must be kidding." So we walked from room to room and tried to picture it with walls. It seemed impossibly small so then we remeasured the rooms. Much to our dismay, if anything we painted a little on the big side. Then we start to look really crazy. I laid down in the pretend king size bed, sat in our fake couch, and tried to walk around our fully extended dining room table.. all were depressing. We stayed there until Joe could not feel his fingers or toes and my butt was completely numb. Something was wrong.

After this we drove around the town of Berry for a bit looking at new homes and trying to guess how they compared to our "not so big" approximate 2,200 square feet. This was a dumb idea too since most people seem to build homes bigger than they need and you are only looking at the shell with no clue what is on the inside.

Finally, we arrived back at my Mom's house and I had (for the second time in this process) reached the decision that if we could not build the house of our dreams we should just buy one in the city and wait until we could afford the house we really wanted. Luckily, my Mom recognized our insanity and suggested we measure the rooms in her house and see how they compare to our plans. These did not seem small and were not much bigger than the ones on our plans.

Well, we are left with some uncertainty. We think we may need something along the lines of a diorama. Maybe something with little GI Joe figurines, Barbie pets, and perfectly scaled furniture? Coleman did ask for a dinosaur on the farm, maybe we can fit this in the diorama too...