So they finally were able to get some of the framing up,just the first floor. If the weather would cooperate we could really get going. So you probably can not tell from this picture,but we chose an American Farmhouse design for our house. You may also call it a barn-style house,but I will write more about that another time.
The first decision we had to make after choosing a builder was whether or not to hire an architect. This was a hard decision because it costs more money,but at the same time it is such a HUGE endevor not to hire an expert. After sorting though many,many books and magazines of floor plans,I finally found one I thought I could work with. In addition,our builder has designed homes in the past for his clients,so we decided to dive in and try it together. This was nerve racking for me,but I had lots of support from friends and family in reviewing and commenting on the plans as they evolved.
Once we saw the lot in Hidden Springs,I knew it was perfect for a Farmhouse and an Orchard or Farmhouse style is required. But first we had to pick a floor plan because you can put almost any outside on any floor plan. In the beginning,we wanted a single story 3 bedroom at least 2 bathroom floor plan with a basement or second story bonus room. But we could not afford it because first floor square footage is SO much more money than a second story. In the end,we settled to have the Master Bedroom/Bath and Guest/Bonus Room/Bath on the second floor with everything else downstairs.
I found a floor plan I liked in a book called [amazon-product text="The Big Book of Small House Designs:75 Award-Winning Plans for Your Dream House,All 1,250 Square Feet or Less" type="text"]1579123651[/amazon-product]All the floor plans in this book are under 1250 square feet. I liked this because I could tinker with it and still add 1250 more square feet. We knew the house had to be under 2500 square feet because of costs. And going from basically 1500 to 2500 seemed like a big enough leap for us. After many months of tinkering,here is the final result.
I think the biggest difference between this floor plan and most of the houses designed today is that it does NOT have an open floor plan or great room (where the kitchen,dining room,and living room are all open to each other). I have a lot of trouble living in open floor plans because of the additional noise. I especially can not handle all the noises of the kitchen (dishes,pots,pans,fans,etc.) competing with all the noises of the living room (TV,music,games,children,etc.). So I purposely did not want the kitchen open to the living room.
I also wanted the kids room on the first floor. After living with two stories at my parents house,I find that I run up and down the stairs constantly and 99% of those trips are for something to do with the kids. I figured I can live with my room upstairs. I might even enjoy being able to escape if necessary. We did put our bedroom at the back of the house,so that if the kids are in the back yard I can still see them. All the main living areas face the back yard for that reason.
Another important feature for me is the centrally located fireplace. I find fireplaces so comforting,I wish I could have one in every room,but since I can only have one,I liked the idea of it being the center or the heart of the house. The double sided fireplace between the living room and entry way will provide some drama when you enter the house and warmth when lounging on the sofa. This layout does not place the fireplace and TV on the same wall,which is also different than most houses today. But I like to sit by the fire and feel it’s warmth,not just look at it. My dream is to eventually use the entry as a library with book shelves on both walls.
Another of my favorite features is the covered porch off the kitchen and laundry/mud room. This patio is sheltered enough to enjoy most of the year,to cool off a hot summer day,or warm up on a cool autumn night. It also can act as an extension of the mud room for our gardening gear. There will be a shelf under the kitchen window to act as a pass through for entertaining on the porch.
I think the most awkward thing about this plan is that there is only one bathroom on the main floor. But we did not have the money,not the nerve,to design a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath house. So everyday guests will have to share a bathroom with the kids. But we have always done it before,I think we can manage.
Our desire in designing this house is to have a house that is not too big,not too small,flexible,comforting,and welcoming. Time will tell how well we suceed!