Monday, February 08, 2010
Building home a big task, but you get what you want
By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer
Very rarely can a family find everything they want in a house on the market ready for them to buy.
Families usually have to remodel or build new in order to get their dream house in the right location.
One of our clients, the Coreys, are a young professional couple with three children. They had actually found their dream home. It had everything they always wanted, with just one problem: It was in the wrong state.
Their perfect house was a model home they had seen in Washington, where they were living at the time. When they had the opportunity to relocate back to Utah, they hoped they could find a similar floor plan here. They found homes with "almost" everything, but they always missed the deal breaker — all the bedrooms on the same floor.
Many newer home designs have the master suite on the main floor with all the other bedrooms upstairs.
"We wanted all the bedrooms on the same floor," says Heidi Corey. "With younger kids (4, 7 and 10), it just feels safer, and it is more convenient. It was a personal choice. Right now, it is the best situation for our family."
With that stipulation, they priced out what it would cost to add a master suite to the upper level on several of the houses they found. They ended up deciding that they might as well build a new house, because they would end up spending almost as much remodeling an existing home to meet their criteria.
Luckily, their Washington dream home's design had been published, so they had some photographs and a simple floor plan in their possession.
They then found a small development with about six lots in the middle of an established neighborhood in Holladay.
With these two pieces of the puzzle in place, they enlisted the help of an architect to adapt the plans and elevations for their particular family, for their budget and for their lot in Holladay.
The original floor plan was too big, so the architect nipped and tucked, keeping most of the floor plan, with some Corey family recommendations.
"I love the charm of older homes, with all their nooks and crannies," Heidi Corey says. "We wanted more character than the typical cookie-cutter house."
They created an all-shingled Cape Cod home that looks like it "belongs back East."
With interior beams showing and lots of windows to bring in natural light, the home definitely has character. It has an open main-floor plan with a great room (kitchen, dining and gathering space) as well as an area for a more formal living room, and a mudroom off the three-car garage. Add that to having all the bedrooms upstairs, and it equals everything they wanted in a home.
"I love that the house is completely unique to us," she says. "There is not another house exactly the same."
Building a new home isn't without its challenges. "Every job has its own individual challenges, and we had a few miscommunications," Heidi Corey says. "My advice is to find a contractor and an architect that you are comfortable with, because you are going to be dealing with them a lot. You have to be able to communicate with them, especially when the issues arise."
Building a new house takes time, so be patient. It is also time-consuming. "I spent so much time in my car that year," she says. "We had to go see this tile or that fixture. Not to mention all the time getting permits and approving plans. My poor kids — they spent a lot of time in the car that year, too."
Because you have to choose everything in a new house, Heidi Corey spent a lot of time bargain shopping.
"Everything adds up quickly," she says. "Price things out. Decide what is important to you and what you can do without."
Having to select so many things for a new house can be a challenge, "but really that is what makes it more special," she says. "It is kind of fun to look around your house and see the things you picked out. It really makes it yours." As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.